festival of bizarre toronto history

Toronto is getting a festival all about the city's bizarre and unusual history

Ever wondered about the peculiar aspects of Toronto's history? Next week is the perfect time to indulge in your curiousity. 

The Festival of Bizarre Toronto History runs from Apr. 3 to 9. It is dedicated to uncovering strange stories from our city's past, with a mix of online presentations and in-person guided tours. 

The festival spends seven days uncovering the weirdest tales of Toronto, from how the city's founding dog was nearly eaten, to the mysterious disappearance of a famous millionaire, and the ridiculous regulations that were the catalyst to a battle over an iconic culinary delight: the Jamaican patty

The week is filled with online lectures, panels, and interviews from Monday to Friday on Zoom. These stories include the "Myth of Mary Mink," a Victorian woman believed to have been sold into slavery by her husband, and the Toronto Circus Riot, "a true tale of sex, violence, corruption and clowns." 

There is a history told through photographs with weigh ins from Victor D. Caratun who runs the social media account Toronto Past, and Jamie Braburn, a contributor to TVO, Torontoist's Historicist column, and the Toronto Star's history quiz. 

On the weekend, there are walking tours with extraordinary storytellers. Saturday is dedicated to the strange secrets behind Mount Pleasant Cemetary's headstones.

On Sunday you will learn about "Weird Queen West," one of the busiest and most eccentric thoroughfares in Toronto, ending at a mural depicting the more recent bizarre historical moments. 

The festival's organizer is Adam Bunch, author of The Toronto Book of the Dead and The Toronto Book of Love, as well as the host of Canadiana documentary series Canadiana and creator of The Toronto History Weekly newsletter

Tickets and passes are available now on the Bizarre Toronto website

Lead photo by

John Boyd

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