Mackenzie House is the restored home of William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first Mayor, a radical journalist and publisher, and leader of the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada. This house was given to Mackenzie by friends and supporters, when he retired from public life, and in recognition of his many years of serving the community.

To book a school trip to Mackenzie House, please contact the museum directly:

82 Bond Street
machouse@toronto.ca
416-392-6915

Ontario curriculum subject: Social Studies

Topics: Early Settlements in Upper Canada, Diversity in Urban and Rural Communities

Discover the unique composition of Victorian Toronto communities. Learn about the everyday life of urban children and their families. Investigate the experiences of new arrivals, their origins, and the push/pull factors that brought them here.

  • Explore aspects of geometry, shapes and dimensions with reproduction Victorian quilts.
  • Choose a popular style of Victorian Toronto architecture and print a depiction on the 1845 printing press.
  • Dress for the occasion and learn a popular group dance from the era, complete with etiquette lessons drawn from Victorian dance manuals.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 45 students
$4.43 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: Social Studies

Topics: Early Settlements in Upper Canada, Media Literacy

Discover what daily life and the printing trade were like in mid 19th-century Toronto while visiting the home of a famous Toronto printer. Students are trained as “Printer’s Devils,” compositors and pressmen on an 1845 press.

  • Examine 19th-century family life, roles and pastimes through artifact investigation.
  • Try on a hoop skirt, look through a stereoscope and handle a flat iron.
  • Learn to write with a steel nib pen in Victorian penmanship.
  • Discover how levers and pulleys work together by printing a newspaper.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 35 students
$4.43 plus tax

Grade 4 Ontario curriculum subject: Language

Grade 4 Topics: Urban and Rural Communities, Media Literacy

Grade 5 Ontario curriculum subject: Social Studies

Grade 5 Topics: Diversity in Urban and Rural Communities, Early Settlements in Upper Canada

Investigate newspapers as mass media while working in a recreated 1860s print shop. Study primary sources to understand why Black residents created their own newspapers.

  • Learn about influential editors Henry Bibb and Mary Ann Shadd Cary.
  • In the role of editor, students create a front page banner and assemble the content for an 1850s newspaper.
  • Compose a “Letter to the Editor” with a steel nib pen.
  • Discover how early newspapers were constructed by printing a copy of The Provincial Freeman on the 1845 press.

2 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 35 students
$4.87 plus tax

Ontario Curriculum subject:  Social Studies

Topics: Heritage & Citizenship, Canada’s link to the World, Canada and World Connections

Learn how a famine in Ireland changed Toronto forever.  In the 1840s, Toronto’s population doubled with Irish refugees fleeing starvation and political unrest.  Activities include preparing an Irish lunch in the historic kitchen, learning about Irish ballads in our recreated printshop and a walking tour of Toronto’s downtown.

4 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 30 students
$10.41 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: Language

Topics: Conflict and Change, British North America

On a walk through William Lyon Mackenzie’s Toronto:

  • Investigate the social and political issues facing Toronto’s residents from the 1820s to the 1860s and discover how Muddy York became the provincial capital
  • Visit original buildings and locations such as St Lawrence Hall and Hangman’s Square.
  • Hear original accounts of how Mackenzie and his contemporaries felt about the issues facing 19th-century Toronto.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 45 students
$4.43 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Topics: Conflict and Change, Canada: A Changing Society

Learn what led some ordinary citizens to take drastic measures against the government.

  • “Travel” to market and learn about the hardships of pioneer travel.
  • Re-enact an Assembly debate as Tory and Reform members of government.
  • Identify social and political issues in the colony and complete a petition using primary documents
  • Learn how and why Mackenzie printed his newspapers and print a souvenir rebel poster for the classroom.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 60 students
$4.43 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Topics: Conflict and Change, Canada: A Changing Society

Visiting the retired rebel’s home, students examine the personal side of the Rebellion of 1837.

  • In the role of reporters or rebels, interview key personalities from the Upper Canadian Rebellion.
  • Hero or traitor? Using steel-nib pen and ink, present your verdict on Mackenzie’s legacy.
  • Explore the rebel leader’s writings and print your own newspaper.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 35 students
$4.43 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Grade 7 Topics: British North America, Media Literacy

Grade 8 Topics: A Changing Society, British North America

Working in a re-created 1860s printshop:

  • Invent a banner and select historical articles from The Voice of the Fugitive and Provincial Freeman to create a new front page for your own newspaper.
  • As a fugitive slave or freedom seeker,write a letter with a steel nib pen,relating your experiences and feelings to editors Henry Bibb or Mary Ann Shadd Cary.
  • Discover how 19th-century printing was done by learning to typeset and print your own copy of The Provincial Freeman on the 1845 printing press.

2 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 35 students
$4.87 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Topics: Confederation, Canada: A Changing Society

Discover daily life in Confederation-era Toronto while exploring the home and recreated printshop of Toronto’s famous printer, William Lyon Mackenzie.

  • Discover the challenge of becoming a printer by typesetting and printing a souvenir copy of an 1860 newspaper.
  • Explore the roles and routines of everyday life in an urban home through artifact-based activities.
  • Learn to write with a steel nib pen and express an opinon on Confederation.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 35 students
$4.43 plus tax

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Topics: Confederation, Canada: A Changing Society

Discuss the politics of Confederation in William Lyon Mackenzie’s home and recreated printshop.

  • In role as provincial delegates, re-enact the Quebec Conference.
  • Examining artifacts, discover some common occupations of Confederation-era Torontonians.
  • Exploring the media’s role in public perception, learn about the importance of newspapers and help print a souvenir poster on the 1845 press.
  • Using reproduction calling cards, learn about the Fathers of Confederation and the “behind the scenes” gossip of the day.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 60 students
$4.43 plus tax

All Grades: Victorian Christmas Traditions

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Topics: Traditions & Celebrations, Local Community

Exploring the 1858 home of former Mayor William Lyon Mackenzie, discover how everyday life was made more cheerful with festive preparations.

  • Learn how holiday food, decorations, music and get-togethers became traditions passed down between generations.
  • Participate in a sing-a-long as you enjoy a holiday treat and warm mulled cider in our cozy dayroom.
  • Print your own holiday postcards on the 1845 printing press as you learn about the history of Christmas cards.
  • Create a thaumatrope as a souvenir.

1.5 hours
Min. 15 students; Max. 35 students
$4.87 plus tax

All Grades: An Urban Toronto Christmas

Ontario curriculum subject: History

Topic: Traditions & Celebrations, Urban and Rural Communities

Let the seasonal magic unfold as you tour the last home of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, to learn how city-dwellers celebrated in the 1850s.

  • Explore the festively-decorated parlours to discover the history of modern decorations and customs, and share your own.
  • Visit our printshop and learn how greeting cards, newspapers and books were printed on our 1845 printing press.

1 hour
Min. 15 students; Max. 60 students
$4.43 plus tax