Explore Ontario History from O to Z.
Experience Ontario Heritage Through Living History Museums! Organized alphabetically by city.
Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) is actually NOT in Ottawa -- but it's right across the river in Gatineau -- a few minutes drive from Ottawa's Parliament Hill.
Ottawa Jail Hostel – Served as a prison for more than a century. Said to be haunted by the ghosts of prisoners and hanged men. This isn’t a real heritage site in the sense of being open to visitors – it’s actually a working hostel! – but you can see it if you stay there, or if you take the Ottawa Haunted Walks tour. Tour original cells, walk down Death Row, get a glimpse of the gallows and listen to gruesome tales.
For more Ottawa history museums, see my page on Ottawa Museums.
This peaceful small town on the shore of Georgian Bay is the hometown of World War I fighter pilot Billy Bishop. You can visit his childhood home in downtown Owen Sound Ontario.
Westfield Heritage Village - A wonderful living history village with 35 buildings, located near Rockton Ontario. Come see where Anne of Green Gables was filmed. Visit the county store, take tea in the parlour of a century home, and ride the horse and wagon.
Visit the birthplace of Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, which is now a museum. Born in 1857, the famous activist fought for many social improvements including better education for girls and women and better public health.
Visit Annandale House, a mansion decorated in the EXTREME...
Black Creek Pioneer Village - Explore 40 authentically restored buildings in a 19th century village.
Campbell House – Built in 1822 for a judge. See how the wealthy lived in the early days of Toronto.
Casa Loma Toronto – Built between 1911 and 1914. Toronto’s “castle”. Conspicuous consumption at its best. A fairy tale castle with a Sleeping Beauty story.
Colborne Lodge - An 1837 regency villa in High Park.
Fort York Toronto – Toronto’s first garrison was built here in 1793 in an effort to defend the colony from the Americans. The City of Toronto grew up around it. Canada’s largest collection of War of 1812 buildings.
Gibson House Museum - afamily farmhouse from the 1850s.
Guildwood Park - The Graveyard of Lost Buildings.
Historic Zion Schoolhouse - A one-room schoolhouse. What was school like it the early 1900s?
- A small park commemorating the arrival of Irish potato famine victims
in Toronto. Five statues and a slab containing the names of victims. At
the foot of Bathurst Street.
Mackenzie House – Built between 1855 and 1859. Former home of radical politician, journalist and publisher, William Lyon Mackenzie.
Montgomery's Inn - A 19th century inn in the west end of Toronto.
Spadina House Toronto - The ancestral home of the Austins is now a museum displaying furniture and art treasures from the Victoria to the Art Deco era.
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site - Former industrial site once housed a brewery and paper mills. Now it's being renovated and is popular for its weekly farmers' market, small art gallery and lovely walking trails.
Wellington County Museum & Archives – Between Fergus and Elora. Built in 1877. This building once served as the local poor house. See a part of the past that is usually ignored.
The wonderful Woodstock Museum started
out life as as the Town Hall. Much of it has been restored to its
original glory. For more information, see Woodstock Ontario.
For more Museums see Ontario History sites - A-O
Sleeping with History?
If you enjoy heritage, then you may also like staying in historic hotels. Here are just a few "grand dames" you might want to visit:
Ontario Travel Secrets > Ontario History