Bloody York : Crime and Punishment
Visitors to modern day Toronto often comment on its cleanliness and how safe it feels. But social justice, law and order were not always the highly regarded institutions that they are now.
Two hundred years ago, social despair and political strife led men and women to do some radical things, just to survive. But the consequence for even the smallest of crimes could be brutal. Stealing a loaf of bread could earn you a trip to the gallows. Curfews prevented women from being out on their own at night – the assumption (usually a correct one) was that she was a prostitute. Slavery was abolished at the end of the 1700s, but indentured service was nearly as bad. If an apprentice left his master to work for himself and escape poverty, he faced public humiliation at the whipping posts outside the local market.
On this tour, you will learn about the backdrop of harsh life that made up early Toronto history, and also about a few specific criminal cases. These include the brutal murder of the first lighthouse keeper, the assassination of George Brown, one of Canada’s Fathers of Confederation, Toronto’s last fatal due between Samuel Jarvis and John Ridout, and the public execution of two participants in the Rebellion of 1837.
Points of more general interest include one of the city’s earliest jail cells, and Market Lane, the historic site of the stocks, pillories and branding posts where citizens were beaten and tortured in public on a weekly basis.
Come and discover the gruesome history
Things You will Need to Know about this Tour
PLEASE REMEMBER TO CALL AHEAD BEFORE COMING ON ANY OF TOURS, TO CONFIRM TOUR AVAILABILITY. AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT BY CHECKING WITH US BEFORE THE TOUR BEGINS.
If you have any more questions, just ask!
Dates & Times
Thursdays at 5.00 p.m.
This tour is available throughout the entire calendar year. REMEMBER, if it is not scheduled for when you want to do it, just let us know, and we’ll change our schedule just for you! We suggest making reservations at least 24 hours before the tour starts.
Students and Youth - please contact us for details
We offer GIFT CERTIFICATES and special discount passes for visitors who plan to attend more than one tour. Contact us to find out more information.