A crowd of approximately 75 people dressed in fall clothing outside the Metropolitan United Church on Bond Street participating in the "Mackenzie's Toronto" walking tour led by Patricia McHugh.



On April 4, 1949, the Toronto Civic Historical Committee (the first of its kind in Canada) was established by City Council. Much of its early work was focused on the preservation of Fort York NHS.

Renamed the Toronto Historical Board, the organization became an arm’s length agency of the City on July 1, 1960, and a registered charity in 1967.

On October 4, 1969, the Toronto Historical Board unveiled its first plaque commemorating the volunteer reserve company that later became HMCS York. Heritage plaques recognizing designated buildings were introduced in 1977. We now produce an average of 30 plaques a year, and maintain about 900 plaques located throughout our city.

In 1974, the Board established its Award of Merit to recognize notable contributions in the heritage field in Toronto. The first awards were presented on March 6 at City Hall during the city’s 140th anniversary celebrations, to Edith Firth; David Macdonald Stewart; The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Toronto Region Branch; the firm of Diamond and Myers, Architects and Planners; and to the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse Foundation. Since then, 613 recipients have been recognized at our Heritage Toronto Awards—the premier event in the sector celebrating excellence in the field.

The first walking tours occurred in the early 1980s and were organized for school children visiting the Board’s historic site museums like Fort York. For the city’s 150th anniversary in 1984, the Board published a series of walking tour pamphlets. Our guided walks began a decade later in 1994. The Tours program now explores the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, and subjects as varied as Toronto’s architecture, our immigrant history, and our natural heritage.

On January 1, 2000, the functions and composition of the Toronto Historical Board changed significantly. Responsibility for the historic site museums and heritage preservation services was removed from the independent board; they became city departments. Renamed Heritage Toronto, we retain responsibility for Plaques, Awards, and Tours programming.