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Riverdale Historical Society (Virtual): Modest Hopes: Homes and Stories of Toronto’s Workers by Leslie Valpy

November 29, 2022 @ 6:30 pm

RHS welcomes Leslie Valpy, a heritage conservationist practitioner and Don Loucks, a Heritage Architect, to speak about their recent book, “Modest Hopes, Homes and Stories of Toronto’s workers from the 1820s to the 1920s, which celebrates Toronto’s built heritage of row houses, semis, and cottages and the people who lived in them.

Toronto’s workers’ cottages are often characterized as being small, cramped, poorly built, and in need of modernization or even demolition. But for the workers and their families who originally lived in them from the 1820s to the 1920s, these houses were far from modest. Many had been driven off their ancestral farms or had left the crowded conditions of tenements in their home cities abroad. Once in Toronto, many lived in unsanitary conditions in makeshift shanty-towns or cramped shared houses in downtown neighbourhoods such as The Ward. To then move to a self-contained cottage or rowhouse was the result of an unimaginably strong hope for the future and a commitment to family life.

Note: this is a Zoom presentation. If you are not on our mail list, send us your request via the “Contact RHS” page.