Old Town Toronto History Tour

Free Walking Tour Toronto

Interactive history tour

1.5-hour tour

Pay what you feel

Toronto’s history may be dark, but it’s far from dull! On this free walking tour though Toronto’s Old Town, we’ll visit the sites of some of Toronto’s greatest tragedies and disasters–from massive fires and riots to outbreaks and duels–and learn how the city overcame and eventually thrived.


Hear the stories most would rather forget

Stand on the sites of Toronto's worst fires

Participate in (or watch) a dramatization of a duel to the death

Learn about murders from the distant past to yesterday's headlines

Discover more about cholera than you probably want to

Perhaps gain a better appreciation for being alive today!

Tour Details

Click here to find our schedule
If you’re on time, you’re on tour!

Bookings are highly recommended, as we assign the number of guides according to the number of people booked. To avoid large groups with just one guide please complete your booking below.


1.5 hours


Free! We only ask that you tip your guide at the end if you enjoyed the tour.

Tell me more about free tours

Comparable tours will cost you $20-$30 per person plus gratuity. Our tours are free but our guides work for tips only. The average tip per tour-goer is $10, but you are welcome to tip more or less depending on how much you enjoy the tour!

Meeting point:

The steps of Old City Hall, 60 Queen St West, Toronto

End point:

St. Lawrence Market, where you can explore this historic marketplace and the surrounding neighbourhood afterwards.

Distance covered:

About 2km (1.25 miles)

Weather contingency:

Our tours run rain or shine!

See more

*If the weather is bad (or cold), this tour can be done almost entirely indoors using the famous PATH system of underground corridors!

Participation requirements:

Please note that we cannot accommodate school groups on public tours. Plan your school group tour here.

Duels, Disease, and Destruction: The Toronto Backstory

They say that things must get worse before they get better — Toronto is living proof of this! This tour follows Toronto’s fascinating history, illuminating the calamity and chaos that are ultimately responsible for the existence of many of Toronto’s world-class institutions today. This tour is a romp through the early history of Toronto, as it grew from the Town of York into the city it is today. Your guide will share the very best stories of the past two centuries, dramatize a duel to the death, describe a public hanging, divulge a failed rebellion, and maybe even dish out a shocking fact here and there.
Your guide—an expert storyteller—will show you the city’s historical landmarks while shining a light on Toronto’s gruesome past.

Good to Know

Our tours run rain or shine. Please dress for the weather!

We do not charge anything for this tour and our guides are not paid for it, so please tip your guide if you enjoyed the experience!

While we can’t accommodate school trips on our free public tours, we would be happy to lead your school group on this tour route! Check out our school groups offerings here.

CANCELLATION POLICY - If you decide not to join us for a tour you have booked (your promise to attend), please notify us as soon as possible so we can free the spot so another person can take your place.