By Elspeth Chalmers –
Engineer turned entrepreneur Erica Romaniuk has combined her love of history and community to launch her own walking tour company, Step by Step Tours. The female-owned and operated company is dedicated to showcasing the rich history of Toronto’s Downtown East.
Erica, who lived in the downtown core as a student at Toronto Metropolitan University, started the business after an unfulfilling career.
“I was working for a full-service mechanical engineering consulting firm in Woodbridge,” she says, “I had always been told a 9-to-5 was the way to go, but I felt isolated.”
Erica daydreamed about a job that would allow more human connection. After the Covid-19 pandemic pushed her isolation to the limit, she quit her job and started Step by Step Tours. “It was born out of a love of Toronto history and community, along with a major decision to prioritize passion and mental health over a stability.”
The Downtown East felt like the perfect place for her tours, both because of its important role in Toronto’s history and her personal connection to the area.
Step by Step Tours’ flagship offering is the Toronto’s Greatest Hits Walking Tour, which takes guests through the Financial and Market Districts, starting at Yonge and Dundas. Tour stops include landmarks such as the Flatiron Building, Berczy Park, St. James Cathedral, St. Lawrence Hall, The Oldest Post Office and St. Lawrence Market.
The company also plans to launch a cemetery tour, featuring significant Torontonian deaths, and a miniature Old-Town specific tour. The tours are listed on Airbnb Experiences and Viator.
Erica’s clients are not just tourists, but often Toronto residents interested in learning more about their city. “Even long-time Torontonians are absolutely delighted when I tell the tale of the Rebellion of 1837 and show them the photographs of those involved posted on the walls of the Oldest Post Office.”
Step by Step Tours has partnered with Toronto-based business Happier to offer hybrid walking tours and getting-to-know-you events in the St. Lawrence Market District as spring arrived. Happier, founded by Maggie Arai last September, aims to help people form meaningful friendships. Erica is looking forward to helping more people connect.
For more information, Step by Step Tours is on Instagram at @stepbystep.tours.