Discover Historic Toronto at the 33rd Annual Storytelling Festival

Discover Historic Toronto at the 33rd Annual Storytelling Festival

You have the opportunity to get to know Toronto better by visiting Toronto’s historic sites to experience a series of six fantastic “Fabled City” storytelling events that will be held from March 26 to April 17 as part of the 33rd annual Toronto Storytelling Festival.

Only the story-telling event “Dancing in Toronto’s Shoes” has free admission, but pre-registration is required.

Please note that for the story-telling event of Fighting to Keep Their Freedom: Black Volunteers in the War of 1812 there will be restricted access to Fort York from March 21 to April 1. Due to construction on the Gardiner Expressway, the entrance to Fort York from Fort York Blvd. will be CLOSED from March 21 to April 1, 2011.

During this time, vehicular access to the Fort will be north (right) on Garrison Rd., off Fleet St. (driving west from Fort York Blvd.). Due to the dedicated streetcar line, there is no left hand turn from Fleet St. to Garrison Rd.

Please call 416-392-6907 Ext. 0 for more information

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

News Release

March 18, 2011

Toronto Historic Sites presenting events in annual storytelling festival

The City of Toronto’s Historic Sites are proudly presenting a series of six “Fabled City” storytelling events that will be held from March 26 to April 17 as part of the 33rd annual Toronto Storytelling Festival. Fabled City is an annual storytelling series about events and people from Toronto’s history.

These uniquely Toronto presentations starting March 26 will reveal the lives of women involved in the 1837 Rebellion, tell the story of Toronto’s first woman city councillor, Constance Hamilton, and describe the career of famed vaudeville dancer and choreographer Evelyn Geary. Other Fabled City events will highlight the history of Black volunteers who fought with the British during the War of 1812 and tell the tragic story of ex-slave Joshua Glover.

Tickets can be purchased at each of the sites. Details about the six Fabled City events:

Dancing in Toronto’s Shoes

The Market Gallery, 95 Front St. E., 2nd Floor, South St. Lawrence Market
Saturday, March 26, 11 a.m. to noon. Admission is free but pre-registration is required.

In 1925, 16-year-old Evelyn Geary headed off on a Canadian tour as a specialty dancer with the Dumbells vaudeville troupe. It was the beginning of an illustrious dancing career that took her to vaudeville stages across Canada and the United States and back to Toronto. Storyteller Jim Blake, with musical accompaniment provided by Rob Clutton and Tim Posgate, brings Evelyn’s story to life. It’s presented in conjunction with the current exhibition “Dancing Through Time: Toronto’s Dance History from 1900 to 1980”.

Fighting to Keep Their Freedom: Black Volunteers in the War of 1812

Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Blvd.
Monday, March 28, 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is $8.85 plus tax, with free parking.

Author and storyteller Adwoa Badoe tells the gripping story of Black volunteers who fought for the British in Upper Canada in the War of 1812 to prevent the invading Americans from returning them to slavery. Badoe, author of 14 books, is a storyteller, educator and African dance instructor. She trained as a physician in her native Ghana. Her work has evolved into that of an African griot (transmitter of oral history).

Rebellious Women: Teaspoons Raised

Gibson House, 5172 Yonge St., north of Park Home Avenue
Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, 2 p.m.
Ages 16 and up. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required – the fee is $27.50 plus tax.
The event includes Scottish tea in the historic rooms of the farmhouse.

Gibson House historical interpreter Adrianna Prosser becomes three unique women of Willow Dale – Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Cummer and Mrs. Sheppard – whose lives were touched by the events of the 1837 Rebellion. Discover history thorough the perspective of the wives, daughters, and mothers of the men who fought for change on Yonge Street. Public tours are not available during storytelling events.

Finding Freedom: The Joshua Glover Story

Montgomery’s Inn, 4709 Dundas St. W. at Islington Avenue
Saturday, April 2 at 7 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
Fee is $20 plus tax, with free parking.
This event includes refreshments.

The body of the ex-slave Joshua Glover, who died in June 1888 at the “Poor House” in Newmarket, was never found. It was a sad end for a man who mobilized hundreds to literally break down his prison walls and allow him to escape from a prison in Wisconsin. From there he followed the Underground Railroad and ended up in Canada, working for Thomas Montgomery at Montgomery’s Inn in Etobicoke. Portraying Joshua, his wife, friends and others who knew him, storyteller Dienye Waboso brings this story to life.

Riot on Yonge Street: Mackenzie Returns!

Mackenzie House, 82 Bond St.
Saturday, April 16, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required.
Admission: adults $12; seniors $10; children $8 (plus tax); with refreshments included.

After 12 years in exile for his role in the rebellion of 1837, William Lyon Mackenzie returned to Toronto to visit his wife’s sister, Helen McIntosh. On March 22, 1849, the Yonge Street home in which he was staying was attacked by an angry mob. What was it like for Helen McIntosh to host such a controversial relative? And what of the rioters? Hear both sides of the story with storytellers Iona MacKay and Robert Walker.

Constance Hamilton: A Rebel With Many Causes

Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens, 285 Spadina Rd.
Sunday, April 17, 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Pre-registration is required. Fees: adults $12; seniors/youth $10; children $8 (plus tax); paid parking available next door at Casa Loma. Light refreshments are included.

Storyteller Ann McDougall tells the story of Toronto’s first woman city councillor, Constance Hamilton. Elected to office in 1920 in the first civic election in which women could vote or hold office, Hamilton was a trailblazing reformer and advocate for women, refugees and artists.

Information about how to purchase tickets for these events is available at

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



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