Google Search
Sold-out Tour de Scarborough cycling event lives on in published interactive historical guide

The interactive historical tour that guided participants of the popular Tour de Scarborough bike ride has been published online for anytime use. (Photo by Marvin Macaraig)

When Tim Lang, manager of the Sustainability Office at U of T Scarborough, began organizing the first Tour de Scarborough cycling event, he would have been happy if there were 50 participants.

The tour, held on May 13, had 120 cyclists.

Among the riders was Professor Bruce Kidd, Vice-President, U of T and Principal, U of T Scarborough, who has lived over half of his life in Scarborough.

“It was such a joy to take this ride to both discover and reconnect with the beauty of Scarborough, especially with this historical information, much of which I did not know,” Kidd says.

The 35-kilometre ride visited seven key historical points around Scarborough. Participants were guided by a website with an interactive map, pictures and descriptions of the stops, and a nine-part audio tour. 

After the ride, organizers announced that website, Scarborough Crossroads, would be available for public access—offering those who live and visit Scarborough an opportunity to travel the route and learn about its history at any time. 

“It’s really the beginning of a bigger project where people can highlight historical points around Scarborough,” Lang says. “The tour gives a sense of an independent Scarborough history that isn’t just the history of Scarborough as an appendix to Toronto.”

Lang proposed the Tour de Scarborough through the U of T Scarborough Canada 150 Fund, a fund available to staff, faculty and students for unique projects that reflect on the past, present and future of the campus and its location. The Sustainability Office partnered with the Department of Athletics and Recreation, Scarborough Cycles and Toronto Police Services to host the event.

The guided tour and website were created by The Scarborough Historical Society, in collaboration with undergraduate students from the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies and Associate Professor Christine Berkowitz

“We looked for a combination of Indigenous, settler and more modern suburban history, choosing stories that would be engaging and might not be well-known to people,” Berkowitz says.

Berkowitz added there is potential for student researchers to grow the route, create new routes and add to the site. She says it may expand to include thematic or neighbourhood tours and work with residents sharing memories of Scarborough locations.

“I want to engage students in meaningful, ongoing research projects rather than one-time projects that fit the short, 12-week [semester],” Berkowitz says. “We could see the potential to continue to develop a collection of Scarborough-focused research projects.” 

Four undergraduate students helped research, write and develop the website. Tyler Webb designed the interactive map and the audio tours were narrated by Zahra Rajabi and Pirouz Salari. Adrian Agrippa, a fourth-year history student, was the web designer for Scarborough Crossroads.

 

“(Scarborough Crossroads) allows for the histories that are less known to be presented and publicized,” Agrippa says. “There is so much that can be shared through it. Even within just the Scarborough community, there is a rich and hidden history that is waiting to be told, or rather, toured.”

Agrippa says the site can be a useful medium for more than the ride, like examining migration patterns and development patterns over time in Scarborough.

“It feels like a positive first step in conceptualizing ongoing undergraduate research projects,” Berkowitz says. “I do think the idea has potential and hope to explore it further.” 




© University of Toronto Scarborough