Modest Hopes & Homes

Black and white photograph looking down a desolate street. There are a few children scattered through the foreground and background playing games.

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.

June 22, 2022 6:00 pm
6:00 pm-7:30 pm

More dates available

Start Point
423 Queen Street East
End Point
Ashby Place
Cost & Registration
$20 audio equipment fee; pre-registration required

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 uses individual audio headsets. All registered participants will be provided with an individual headset that will allow you to hear the live tour guide throughout 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). To offset the cost of administering and sanitizing our audio headset equipment, a $20 fee is required for this tour and must be paid in advance when registering.

Donations Encouraged

If you share our passion for accessible and inclusive heritage programming, we invite you to make a donation 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 kilometre taking place mostly on city sidewalks.


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 [email protected]

Register now


423 Queen Street East

Southwest corner of Sackville Street and Queen Street East (423 Queen Street East)

Nearest TTC Stop: 501 Streetcar, at the Sackville Street Stop (travelling either west or east)

Look for the volunteers in blue shirts and our Heritage Toronto umbrella.

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