Toronto: off-the-beaten-path historic villages

Toronto is a vibrant, modern metropolis. But sometimes it’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle and spend time in a quieter place, like these four historic villages. They are incredibly well-preserved, almost too perfect, but gorgeous.

Streetsville, Oakville, Unionville and Thornhill provide a welcome change of pace and a glimpse into Canada’s past. All these villages are a delight to walk around, shop and eat. The architecture is mainly Victorian, although there are buildings from earlier and later periods.

I adore visiting these historic villages because I’m interested in local history, the buildings and homes are beautifully preserved and the streets are clean and tidy. Also, I admire the way Canadians honour their past history and integrate it into the present.


TO Villages - Streetsville

Streetsville lies on the banks of the Credit River near Mississauga. It was founded by Thomas Street, who surveyed the lands the British government acquired from the Iroquois. Heritage buildings are scattered throughout the village, like the Grammar School (1851) or the village hall (1860). The Cenotaph in the middle is from 1926 and commemorates local soldiers who died in WWI.

How to get there

By car, via the Gardiner Express W, then take ON-427 N and ON-401 W to Mississauga Rd/Peel Regional Rd 1 S in Mississauga. Take exit 336 from ON-401 W

By public transit: the 21bus towards 21B – Milton GO from Union Station Bus Terminal and a longish walk from the Millcreek Dr. @ Erin Mills Pkwy stop.


TO Villages Oakville

Oakville is located on the shores of Lake Ontario. The town centre is vibrant and modern but I’m interested in Old Oakville, the original settlement. It is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll among historic houses –look out for plaques with information-, along the lakefront and the parks. This guide from The Oakville Historical Society may come in handy.

How to get there

By public transit: take the LW713LWxtowards LW-Aldershot GO at Union Station.

By car: via Gardiner Expressway W and Queen Elizabeth Way.


TO Villages Thornill Historic Village

This pretty little village is located in Vaughn, north of Toronto. Pick up a self-guided walk leaflet at the public library, a lovely white gingerbread house. This village was founded in 1794. After a nice stroll, go towards Yonge Street for refreshments.

How to get there

By car, via the Don Valley Parkway North and Bathurst St/York Regional Road.

By public transit: Queen Station – Northbound Platform Subway1 towards Line 1 (Yonge-University), Finch Station – Subway Platform, Finch Go Bus Terminal Platform 10: Bus77towards Hwy 50 via Centre – WB


TO Villages- Unionville

Unioville is a suburb of Markham, an hour or so northeast of downtown Toronto. It was settled in 1794 but really developed in the early 1840s. Wikipedia tells me that “The main street has been used as a stand-in for fictional Connecticut town Stars Hollow during the first season of Gilmore Girls television show, and for other television and movie backdrops.” Unionville is really beautiful. I remember having a very nice lunch of Central European food.

How to get there

By car, via the Don Valley Parkway North (404), then take the exit right onto 407.

By public transit, a combination of subway and buses.


Have you been to any of these villages?


Make sure to visit this link. Happy trails!


4 thoughts on “Toronto: off-the-beaten-path historic villages

  1. Historic villages are so cool! I am adding these to the list for my December Toronto trip. I imagine they’ll look pretty in the freezing cold with snow on them too. 😉 I am going to be poking around your site, but if you have any other Toronto recommendations I would love to have them!


  2. I didn’t realise there were these cute little historic villages so close to Toronto! you’re right I only think of Toronto as the modern metropolis. Thanks so much for linking up with #WedesdayGlobetrot. Hope to see you next week!


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