Annual Fundraising Gala

 Every year, the Town of York Historical Society celebrates the incorporation of the City of Toronto with a birthday bash! 

This annual fundraising event supports the Town of York Historical Society and Toronto’s First Post Office. The only museum interpreting the history of the Town of York and the early Toronto, while advocating for the preservation of the Town of York’s surviving built environment.


Thursday, March 7th, 2024 | St. Lawrence Hall

Unveiling Toronto’s Architectural Tapestry: A History of Toronto’s Changing Landscape

Join us for a captivating evening of exploration and celebration at the Town of York Historical Society’s annual fundrasing gala in celebration of Toronto’s 190th Birthday. This event not only commemorates the incorporation of the city of Toronto but also serves as a significant opportunity to support the preservation of our rich historical heritage.

Delve into the evolving architectural scene of the Town of York and the City of Toronto, as we emphasize the importance of built heritage in shaping the identity of our beloved city.

Engaging Lineup of Speakers:

Alessandro Tersigni: Exploring the TOBuilt Database

Like all cities, Toronto is changing over time. This is true not only of its transforming streets and landscapes but also of how we ourselves view the city. Which spaces and architecture are significant, why, and in what ways? These are questions that communities and societies are continually answering. At its best, that process means engaging with parts of the urban environment that have been lost, that exist today, and that are forthcoming — and sharing and discussing these experiences. Cataloguing Toronto in motion allows for these conversations to take place on both public and personal scales.

Alessandro, a cultural critic and writer-researcher at ERA Architects, will explore these questions while providing insights into the TOBuilt database—a crowd-sourced treasure trove of images and information about buildings, structures, and human-made landscapes across Toronto, from the original blocks of York to the city’s outer limits. Discover a breadth of built heritage, and your role in defining its significance, through Alessandro’s expertise, gained from his work as a project manager at the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s Toronto branch.


Adam Bunch:The Hidden Romantic History of Toronto Architecture
Award-winning storyteller Adam Bunch, known for his compelling narratives about Toronto and Canadian history, will captivate the audience with tales of Toronto’s past filled with romance and heartbreak to explore the lives of those who’ve built our city.

In his talk, we’ll explore the love stories of the architects and artists whose work surrounds us every day. We’ll uncover the passionate affairs, devoted marriages and shocking betrayals that have influenced the construction of some of our grandest buildings — the hidden romantic history that you’ll find written into the very brick and mortar of which Toronto is built. As the recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media, Adam’s storytelling expertise brings history to life.


Summer Leigh: “The Past is Never Far” and “EnvisionTO”
Toronto-based artist Summer Leigh will lead us on a visual journey, offering unique perspectives on Toronto’s past and future topography from an artistic standpoint. Using archival material and her innovative photographic process, Summer contrasts and compares the relationships between past and present, showcasing the extraordinary changes Toronto has experienced since its founding.


Event Details:
Date: March 7th, 2024
Time: 6:30 to 10:00 PM
Location: The Great Room at St Lawrence Hall – 3rd Floor, 157 King St E, Toronto, ON


Supporting Toronto’s Heritage:
Your attendance and support contribute to the preservation of Toronto’s historical gems. As Toronto’s First Post Office relies on the backing of its members, supporters, and volunteers, your participation in this event directly contributes to the ongoing mission of preserving the history of the Town of York and early Toronto.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to unravel Toronto’s architectural tapestry and connect with the vibrant history that has shaped our city into the cultural hub it is today. Secure your tickets now and be a part of this enriching experience!

For ticket information and reservations, please visit our eventbrite. Thank you for supporting Toronto’s First Post Office and the Town of York Historical Society!

Previous March 6th Fundraisers

2023 |2022 |2021 |2020 |2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006


Toronto at 189

    • First Nations Canadian arts journalist and chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts, Jesse Wente shares a unique monologue-style story telling experience, presenting “A Spot on the Brain-Healing & Truth.
    • Native Earth Performing Arts presents an excerpt of “Niizh,” a coming-of-age story that explores themes of love, familial ties, identity, and community.
    • Food from local vendors
    • Old Town Silent Auction


Toronto at 188

  • Virtual Event
  • Old Town Silent Auction


The Old Town Revue: A Love Letter to Toronto

  • Virtual Event, emceed by Bruce Bell
  • Entertainment included Julie Nesrallah, Rosemary Lawton, The Haunted Walk, and Toronto History Museums
  • Trivia, Raffle, Cocktail Demonstration, and virtual Word Cloud
  • Old Town Silent Auction


Toronto's 186th Birthday!

  • Richard Fiennes-Clinton shares stories from the Town of York
  • Food from St. Lawrence Market vendors
  • Old Town Silent Auction


Toronto's 185th Birthday

  • Bruce Beaton as William Lyon Mackenzie
  • The Interpreters
  • RSCDS Toronto (Scottish Country Dancers)
  • Food from St. Lawrence Market vendors
  • Old Town Silent Auction


King Street: The Great Thoroughfare of Toronto

Christopher Hume, urban affairs columnist
with Rollo Myers, heritage advocate
and Barbara Gray, Manager, City of Toronto Transportation Services
Old Town Silent Auction

Table Presenters:

  • Mackenzie House Museum Toronto
  • Transit Bricks
  • On The Bright Side
  • City of Toronto Transportation Services


1867 / 1967: An Evening of Story and Song

  • Bruce Bell, with Randy Vancourt on piano, spoke on the history of St. Lawrence Hall and of Toronto, at these turning points in Canadian history. 
  • A Battle-of-the-Bands performance of music from 1867 and 1967 by Ian Bell, Michelle Rumball, Tom Leighton, and Conrad Kipping
  • Old Town Silent Auction


The Flood

The Flood by Leah-Simone Bowen

  • Handwriting Analysis by Edda Manley
  • Old Town Silent Auction


The Postman

  • Appledore Productions previewed The Postman
  • Old Town Silent Auction


Soldiers of Song: A Tribute to the Dumbells

  • Jason Wilson and ABMG presented Soldiers of Song: A Tribute to the Dumbells
  • Old Town Silent Auction


There was no fundraiser in 2013, as the St. Lawrence Hall was undergoing renovations.


Petticoats, Scoundrels and Soldiers
  • Peter Meyler, author of A Stolen Life: Searching for Richard Pierpont,
    on the “Coloured Corps” and its contribution during the War of 1812.
  • Single Thread Theatre Company premiered Petticoats, Scoundrels and Soldiers


Then and Now: A Poetic Landscape of Toronto
  • Brick Road Creations premiered Then and Now: A Poetic Landscape of Toronto
  • Performance and workshop of English Country dances by dance mistress Karen Millyard and friends, accompanied by trio Playford’s Pleasure.


175 Years of Toronto
  • Michael Comstock on Toronto’s 175 years.
  • A display of plans for Fort York’s new interpretive centre by the Fort York Guard.
  • A performance by Random Roads band.


175 Years of Cakes
  • Bruce Bell and Richard Fiennes-Clinton in discussion on Toronto’s history.
  • Performance by the Fort York Regency Dancers.
  • Soprano Aleksandra Balaburska, accompanied by pianist Irene Wong-Montgomery, performed songs popular in the 19th century.
  • Refreshments provided by the Culinary Historians of Ontario and George Brown
    College’s students of Applied Food History, featuring “175 Years of Cakes”.


An Ode to St. Lawrence Hall
  • A performance by the Downtown Alternative School Singers
  • Bruce Bell on the performance history of St. Lawrence Hall
  • A performance by the St. James’ Cathedral Choir


Toronto: A Retrospective
  • Bruce Bell, on Toronto as a colonial outpost to Imperial city during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
  • Silent Films: Toronto in the Dawn of Cinema, a program of early footage curated by Candida Paltiel of the Planet in Focus film festival and narrated by Mike Filey.
  • Former mayor David Crombie, on some of the challenges of the past few decades.


Toronto's Birthday

Bruce Bell and Mike Filey in discussion on the history of St. Lawrence Hall.