Torontonians and visitors invited to celebrate summer at Toronto’s History Museums

Toronto History Museums have announced their summer programs, giving residents an opportunity to celebrate the season and learn local history. With a focus on outdoor programs that utilize the curated gardens, tranquil courtyards and beautiful green spaces at each site, summer activities at Toronto History Museums include The Big Picnic, Staycation Sundays, Dog Days of Summer and a series of guided neighbourhood walks, as well as Raw History Thursdays, Emancipation Day and Simcoe Day events. The full program lineup is available at

Staycation Sundays
On Sunday afternoons from noon to 5 p.m. in July and August, enjoy picnicking and playing in the gardens, courtyards and outdoor spaces of Toronto History Museums. Play cottage games, join a landscape tour or sit back and enjoy an outdoor acoustic music concert. Sample sodas, make art, have your face painted and enjoy live music and dance. Participating museums include Colborne Lodge, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Scarborough Museum, Montgomery’s Inn, Spadina Museum and Todmorden Mills. Admission is free for outdoor events. An admission charge applies to interior tours.

The Big Picnic
On Sunday, July 14, from noon to 5 p.m., the beautiful grounds of Toronto History Museums will host a big, old-fashioned, city-wide picnic. Bring your picnic blanket and basket, and participate in a range of historic picnic traditions and activities. Participating locations include Colborne Lodge, Montgomery’s Inn, Gibson House, Spadina Museum, Fort York National Historic Site, Todmorden Mills, Mackenzie House and Scarborough Museum. Admission is free for outdoor events. An admission charge applies to interior tours.

Dog Days of Summer
On August 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit Colborne Lodge and Scarborough Museum to celebrate your best furry friends and learn about the history of dogs in Toronto. Dogs and their friends will enjoy a variety of activities including opportunities for pet dress-up selfies, a mini-obstacle course and yummy treats. Admission is free.

Walk into history with the following series of three curated neighbourhood walks:

Schooners to Skyscrapers 
Explore the architectural vestiges of the Fort York neighbourhood where relics of a bygone era remind us of the history and ongoing development in the area. Fort York, on Saturday, August 10, from 10:30 a.m. to noon and on Sunday, August 11, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Ghosts and Grenadiers 
Come on a twilight walk and hear offbeat stories and some little-known tales of High Park. The tour concludes with behind-the-scenes ghost stories and a Victorian fruit drink inside Colborne Lodge. On Thursdays in August, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., $15 a person. Tickets are available at

Appetizing August
Learn which flowers and herbs on Todmorden Mills’ grounds have been used in the past as part of a wholesome harvest at an event on Sunday, August 11, 1 to 2 p.m. Adult $8, Senior/youth $7, Child $5. Advance tickets are available at

This summer, Mackenzie House gets a little edgy, racy and raw on Thursday evenings with a new program series called Raw History Thursdays. 

Victorian Secrets 
Learn what Victorians thought about masturbation, sex and prostitution and discover how public disapproval and governmental legislation controlled the desires of the Victorian era. Mackenzie House on August 1 and September 5 from 7 to 9 p.m., $30 a person, plus tax. Tickets are available at 

Victorian Escape Game 
Solve historically-based riddles and puzzles to discover Mackenzie’s location before the Loyalist Militia arrests him. Mackenzie House on August 8 and August 29 at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., $30 a person plus tax. Tickets are available at

The Victorian Doctor 
Explore the medical profession in early Toronto, the understanding of human anatomy and disease, and the medical advice available at the time. Mackenzie House, on Thursday August 15, from 7 to 9 p.m., $30 a person, plus tax. Tickets are available at

Victorian Gothic 
From Dracula and Frankenstein to the fear of being buried alive and the fetish of post mortem photos, this interactive tour explores the Victorian obsession with death. Mackenzie House on Thursday August 22 from 7 to 9 p.m., $30 a person plus tax. Tickets are available at

Montgomery’s Inn, Scarborough Museum and Fort York will host Emancipation and Simcoe Day events in August. 

Finding Freedom – The Joshua Glover story
This is a dramatic, first-person performance exploring the extraordinary true story of Joshua Glover, an escaped slave who made his way to Canada and Montgomery’s Inn. Montgomery’s Inn on August 3 and 4 from 5 to 7 p.m., $25 a person plus tax. Tickets are available at

Simcoe Day weekend fun at Scarborough Museum
Sample treats baked in the wood burning stove and the open hearth, play giant life-sized board games from checkers and chess to connect four. Scarborough Museum on August 2, 3 and 4 from 1 to 8 p.m., and on August 5 from 1 to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Simcoe Day celebrations at Fort York
Check out a special exhibit presented by the Ontario Black History Society called Black Canadians in the Military in the lobby of the Visitor Centre. Enjoy an evening performance by Jason Wilson’s Sumach Roots. Fort York on August 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Walking in the Footsteps of Black Victorians 
In honour of Emancipation Day, Mackenzie House will celebrate the stories of some of Toronto’s earliest Black residents on this fascinating walking tour of neighbourhood surrounding Mackenzie House. Learn about anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher and lawyer Mary Ann Shadd Cary.
Mackenzie House on August 4 from 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free.


“Our Toronto History Museums are home to meaningful collections that tell the stories of our city’s past, present and future. I encourage you to take part in their summer programming to experience the vibrancy and diversity of our city through a new lens.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Councillor Ward 21 (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee 

“The museum experience is not only about the interiors of historic sites. We are excited to provide new summer programming that showcases the curated gardens, tranquil courtyards and beautiful green spaces at each site for a new experience at Toronto History Museums where Toronto’s many pasts, presents and futures meet.”
– Cheryl Blackman, Director, Museums and Heritage Services

Toronto History Museums are a group of 10 museums owned and operated by the City of Toronto that bring Toronto’s history to life for residents and visitors. They include Colborne Lodge, Fort York National Historic Site, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Market Gallery, Montgomery’s Inn, Scarborough Museum, Spadina Museum, Todmorden Mills and Zion Schoolhouse. More information is available at, or follow Toronto History Museums on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

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