Architectural historian Marta O'Brien takes us on three illustrated tours of neighbourhoods near the Miles Nadal JCC, including Yorkville, Forest Hill, and our own Spadina Avenue.


Guest speaker: architectural historian Marta O’Brien

Some of Toronto’s most interesting neighbourhoods are near or closely connected to the Miles Nadal JCC. Enjoy three virtual tours: posh Yorkville, affluent Forest Hill, and our own Spadina Avenue. Marta will use archival and current images to reveal their diverse histories in these illustrated lectures.


May 6 – Yorkville: Counter-Culture to Haute Couture
Now a posh neighbourhood and shopping district, Yorkville was once a self-governed village north of Toronto. During the 1960s, it became “The Village”, the Bohemian centre of hippie and youth counter-culture movements. Today, it is a destination for couture shopping, fine art galleries, and celebrity watching. Despite changes and new condo developments, Yorkville still retains some of its original character.


May 13 – Spadina Avenue
Whether you pronounce it “Spa-dee-na” or “Spa-deye-na”, this wide street extending from Front to Bloor tells a fascinating story through its buildings. It includes the fashion district lofts, some University of Toronto buildings, and Chinatown shops.
This illustrated lecture explores the history of Spadina Avenue – a street that changes character several times along its length.


May 20 – Forest Hill: A Vision Realized
An independent village until 1967, affluent Forest Hill has retained much of its distinctive character as a place apart from the larger city. This largely Jewish neighbourhood includes 1930s apartment buildings, prestigious private schools, and the grand houses are remarkable examples of traditional Period Revival architecture – with a few surprises.


Marta O’Brien has been an architectural historian for 25 years. She earned her architecture degree with honours from Ryerson University, and Masters degree in environmental studies from York University. Marta develops and teaches many architectural history courses for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Through her own company, Citywalks, Marta presents tours and illustrated lectures for historical societies, seniors’ learning organizations, libraries, and others. She volunteered with Heritage Toronto for 15 years, including two terms on their Board of Directors. For more information, please visit

Marta has given several lectures at the Miles Nadal JCC, including Toronto Island: A Unique Community and The Annex: Toronto’s First Suburb and we are very pleased to welcome her to the virtual Miles Nadal JCC this spring.

Presented by:

A Kultura Collective Member

Start Date: May 6, 2021

Closing Date: May 20, 2021

1:30 PM


Virtual Tour




If accessibility options not listed, please contact the venue to confirm


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