This post provides several different free walking tours you can take in Toronto, covering a wide variety of subjects and locations in the city.
Despite the fact that the city of Toronto has only been around for a few hundred years, there’s still a pretty extensive and intriguing history behind this city.
Thanks to the cultural and historical significance of Toronto, there are a plethora of tours you can take which cover multiple interesting topics.
The most common tours focus on the history of either the oldest part of the city or the downtown area, including a focus on architectural style and some of the more notable events which took place in each neighbourhood.
There are also a few street art tours you might want to consider which provide a look at some of the best graffiti in Toronto while discussing some of the controversy surrounding this type of artwork.
Finally, you might also want to consider a ghost tour to learn about the darker side of history in Toronto!
Each of these services is either a self-guided tour or a pay-what-you-wish guided walking tour, which means they are essentially tip based and you can pay your tour guide however much you feel the tour was worth.
Most guests feel comfortable tipping $10-$15, but it’s entirely up to you to decide how much you would like to offer for these free walking tours.
Most of these walking tours don’t have limits on the size of the groups and can sometimes get quite large. If you’d rather avoid large groups, there are several paid small-group tours you can choose from instead.
Learn about the history of Toronto by taking a free walking tour through the old town neighbourhood to see some of the most notable landmarks in the area.
Toronto might be a relatively young city, but there are still a lot of interesting and historic structures and locations to see, and these tours also cover a lot of important events in the city.
While walking through old town Toronto, you can expect to see some of these sites:
- Metropolitan United Church
- York County Courthouse
- St. Lawrence Market
- Courthouse Square
- St. James Cathedral
- Sculpture Garden
- And more!
Explore the oldest part of the city and learn about the locations listed above on one of the following free walking tours.
Over the course of 1 ½ hours, this old town Toronto tour will provide a breakdown of the most notable events in the history of the city, including massive fires, duels to the death and more.
This pay-what-you-wish tour is available daily at both 11 am and 1 pm, the route is approximately 2 km long, and it is offered rain or shine.
Old Town Toronto Self-Guided Tours
If you’d rather explore the city at your own pace and you’re not interested in joining a tour group, there are a few self-guided tours of old town Toronto which are offered by the city of Toronto.
You can either download these tours onto your smartphone or print them out to use at your discretion, and each one includes a map you can use to find your way around the city with ease.
Paid Old Town Toronto Tours
Although there aren’t a lot of paid tours that cover the history of old town Toronto, there are some outings that visit the St. Lawrence neighbourhood.
Thanks to the market in the area, there are several food tours and beer tours you might want to consider, as well as a few walking tours you might enjoy.
Check this list of old town Toronto tours to find a service that fits your itinerary.
If you want to discover the downtown area, there are a few different free walking tours in Toronto you may want to consider.
Downtown tours focus on the most notable skyscrapers, architecture, and public spaces in the city, providing details about the history of these structures.
Here are a few of the more significant sites you can expect to see on these tours:
- Union Station
- The Toronto Sign
- Old & New City Hall
- The Financial District
- Underground PATH Walkway
- And more!
To see or learn more about any of these locations, consider one of the pay-what-you-wish walking tours listed below.
This company offers a downtown tour and they have received a lot of positive reviews for their service. As a matter of fact, they have a 5 out of 5 star rating on TripAdvisor!
You can take this 1 ½ hour free walking tour daily at 10 am and 2 pm. You can expect to walk at least 2 km throughout the city and make at least 6-8 stops.
Downtown Toronto Self-Guided Tours
In addition to the pay-what-you-wish tour listed above, there are also some interesting self-guided tours provided by the city of Toronto themselves.
Each of these services is easily accessible via their website, and they all include a route map you can use to find your way around the city with ease.
Paid Downtown Toronto Tours
If you’re more interested in seeing this part of the city from another perspective, there are some great paid tours of downtown Toronto you might want to consider.
While there are some other walking tours available, you may also enjoy a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, bike tour, helicopter tour or even airplane tour. Ticket prices range from $20-$120 on average.
Here is a list of well-reviewed paid downtown Toronto tours you can take.
Discover another side of the city when you learn about the best street art and graffiti in Toronto on a free pay-what-you-wish walking tour.
While on a street art tour, you’ll see a variety of interesting artwork and visit locations such as “Graffiti Alley.” Your guide will discuss the controversy around this form of artwork in Toronto.
There are also some tours which cover some of the more traditionally artistic sites in the city, including stops in Toronto’s “Village of Murals.”
Aside from their historic tours of the city, this company also offers a service which covers the subculture of graffiti art in Toronto over the course of 1 ½ hours.
Most reviews for this tour are very positive, and it has received an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. You can take the street art/graffiti tour daily at 4 pm, and it’s approximately 2 km in length.
Self-Guided Toronto Art Tours
If you’re more interested in traditional artwork, there are also some nice self-guided walking tours provided by the city of Toronto.
One option is their Art Walk, which visits the Village of Islington to explore more than 15,000 feet of murals spread across 5 blocks of the neighbourhood. This tour includes a route map to help you find each stop.
Alternatively, you may also enjoy the NHS Urban Walk which covers Cultural Toronto. This self-guided tour provides a look at the most notable locations for music, theatre, film and visual arts.
Visitors who are interested in seeing more greenery might enjoy discovering the beautiful parks in this city on a self-guided tour of Uptown Toronto. Once again, a route map will help you locate each site.
Paid Toronto Street Art Tours
Although there aren’t a lot of other tours which cover this subject, there are a few Toronto street art tours you can pay to take which might be of interest.
Some of these outings include food and drink samples as well, essentially making them food tours.
- Kensington Market and Chinatown Tour
- Afternoon Arts Walking Tour + Food & Drink
- Arts, Food & Culture Tour
If you want to discover the spookier side of Toronto, there are also some free ghost tours you can take which provide information about the darker stories from throughout this city’s history.
Discover some of the most infamous and potentially haunted sites in the city, and learn about some of the myths that continue to persist to this day.
Here are a few of the locations you can expect to see on these tours:
- Old City Hall
- Stewart Building
- Queen’s Park
- Trinity College
- Soldier’s Tower
- St. James Cathedral
- And more!
Learn more about the darker side of these sites on one of the free walking tours listed below.
In addition to covering the more disturbing aspects of Toronto’s history, this tour also attempts to do a bit of myth-busting and questions whether or not the stories of the past were accurate.
Much like their other free tours, this company has also received an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars for their pay-what-you-wish ghost tour as well.
This outing is available every Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and it is approximately 2 km in length.
Self-Guided Toronto Ghost Tour
If you’d rather discover the spookiest locations in this city at your own pace, the city of Toronto actually offers a free self-guided tour with a route map you can use to find each stop.
This outing can be enjoyed either from South to North or from North to South, and it is estimated to take around 2 hours total to see every site included.
Paid Toronto Ghost Tours
While there aren’t any other free ghost tours available in Toronto, there are a lot of really affordable paid tours you can take which cover specific locations in the city such as the Distillery District, the University of Toronto, and more.