Modest Hopes & Homes - Walking Tour

Explore some of Toronto’s remaining workers’ cottages in the city’s east end. Hear the stories of the many immigrant groups that first lived in them, newcomers to Toronto from the 1820s to 1920s, and learn how these homes embody their dreams of a better future.

Tour Information

This Heritage Toronto tour runs rain or shine and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and consider bringing sunscreen and water to make your tour as enjoyable as possible.

This tour relies on a loudspeaker sound system. For over 25 years, our goal has been to share Toronto’s history and showcase its architecture, spaces, communities and cultures with as many people as possible. We continue this commitment by providing these accessible tours and ask you to support this work by making a donation when you register or on the tour.

This tour was developed and will be led by heritage architect Don Loucks and heritage conservationist Leslie Valpy, co-authors of the recent book Modest Hopes: Homes and Stories of Toronto’s Workers from the 1820s to the 1920s.

Registration Required

You will not be able to join a tour group if you have not registered ahead of time through our website (see below).

Donations Encouraged

If you share our passion for accessible and inclusive heritage programming, we invite you to make a donation when you register to help fund one of our next walks. Tour volunteers are equipped to accept both cash and contactless donations, and gifts of $20+ will receive a charitable tax receipt.

Tour Distance and Accessibility

This tour is approximately 1.3 kilometers, taking place mostly on city sidewalks. There will be some grade changes as we cross over the Don River.

We ask for your help and patience in making the experience as safe as possible for everyone. All in-person events will follow Toronto Public Health guidelines and Heritage Toronto safety measures. Heritage Toronto tours take place outside. All participants are welcome and encouraged to wear a mask. Masks will be available upon request.

If you have any questions prior to the tour, please contact us at

To register, visit:

Modest Hopes & Homes - Walking Tour

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