Spent an interesting day yesterday learning about the archaeological significance of several areas of the city of Toronto. This was a bus tour organized by Heritage Toronto, an organization whose purpose is promoting awareness and educating the public about the history of our city.
The tour was conducted by Dr. Ronald Williamson, Chief Archaeologist at ASI Archaeological Cultural and Heritage Services, a prominent consulting and education-oriented company that has been involved in many high profile projects over the years including the recent find of an 1800’s schooner at a construction site in downtown Toronto.
The day started with a few introductory words from Francisco Alvarez, Director of Heritage Toronto, after which we boarded a very comfortable tour coach and proceeded to explore the city.
With stops at places such as Hillcrest Park, Taber Hill, and James Gardens, to name a few of the locations,
Dr. Williamson introduced us to the history of our city dating back to the end of the last ice age. We learned about the changing coastline of Lake Ontario, significant finds and archaeological sites that we pass every day, yet never consider as important, or even realize exist.
We were joined by Carolyn King of the Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation, who provided first-hand recollections of experiences of the indigenous peoples and their significance in the history of this area.
The trip took us to the Taber Hill Ossuary, a sacred burial site in Scarborough, the resting place of 472 souls.
We also visited Moatfield, The Alexandra Site, and James Gardens, places that many of us have probably been to without realizing their historical importance.
It was a long day, more than seven hours travelling, and a lot of information to process.
Personally, this was just the start for me; the information that we were presented with has served to make me curious to learn more and I am certain to be following the activities of both the ASI and Heritage Toronto.