Local History

Share Your Stories! An Introduction to Memoir Writing June 4 - 25

April 17, 2014 | Andrew | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Allyson at OWC - croppedMemoirswriting Writing

Have you ever wanted to record your life stories, but don't know where to begin? If your answer is yes then consider joining Allyson Latta, literary editor and writer for a set of four exciting, free classes that will show you how flexible memoirs can be, how to tap your memory (exercise your brain!) and your creativity, energize your writing and create a story collection that can be treasured by your family or a wider audience.

Classes will take place at:

North York Central Library
5120 Yonge Street
1-3 PM Wednesdays June 4, 11, 18 and 25
Room 1

Space is limited. Registration is required by phoning 416-395-5623.

The Canadiana Department holds a reference collection of Canadian genealogy, Ontario local history, North York history, and materials related to Canada. The Department also houses collections from these genealogical societies:

  • Ontario Genealogical Society
  • Jewish Genealogical Society (Toronto Branch)
  • Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants
  • York Pioneer and Historical Society

Researching Historic Buildings in Toronto

March 26, 2014 | Katherine | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

TO Built

Researching old buildings in Toronto can be extremely interesting but also extremely frustrating. Often people come to the library to begin their research. Here are some online sites to use before you come to the Toronto Reference Library. You will be amazed at what is available online in a digital format.

Let's start with our own website . It's not just a catalogue of books. You will find print books and journals, online magazines, pictures, digital books, directories and maps, blogs, audio-visual materials, programs and events as well as links to outside sources. Here are some quick tips:

Once on our site, you will see FIND YOUR WAY in big letters near the top of the page. Go to History and Genealogy. Then go to the Local History and Genealogy section. Don't miss it! Check each section of every page carefully so you don't miss any of the many leads to other sources.

Click on the Local History section. You will see Toronto History listed along the left side of the page.

Toronto Neighbourhoods leads to an interactive map:

Toronto Neighbourhood Map

Toronto City Directories;

Toronto Buildings and Architecture;

Toronto Geography and Maps.

Outside Sources: 

Toronto City MapDo not miss the City of Toronto site. You can find the Inventory of Heritage Properties which lists historically designated properties.

Try the City's Archives for records and photographs of buildings.


There are some terrific sites put up by individuals but beware! These could change or be removed at any time:

Put together by J. Robert Hill, try the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950. This site lists the work of individual architects by address and building name and more.

E.J. LennoxHave a look at Nathan Ng's Historical Maps of Toronto which aims to improve digital access to fire insurance plans and other maps found at the Toronto Reference Library and City Archives.

And last, but not least, a wonderful site lovingly put together by Bob Krawczyk : TOBuilt. Enjoy the blue skies and sharp images of our Toronto. You'll find information on historical buildings, ordinary buildings, new and old, residential and commercial - even some demolished sites are included.

1851 Fleming maps-r-19








Digitized Toronto Newspapers: Globe and Mail and Toronto Star

February 3, 2014 | Jean Lochis | Comments (9) Facebook Twitter More...

Getting Started

The ProQuest Historical Newspapers Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail are two databases that allow users to search for words and phrases in complete issues of these newspapers.   These databases display images of the newspapers as they were originally published, including news stories, editorials, photographs, advertisements, classifieds, and birth, marriage, and death notices.

Coverage: (usually stops at 3 years before the current year)

Globe and Mail  - starts in 1844 ; Toronto Star starts in 1894


Access to the databases from outside the library 

Note: Valid Toronto Public Library card required. (Many Ontario Public Libraries also subscribe to these two databases)

Toronto star basic search


In the ProQuest search platform, the indexing is different for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. The Globe is more detailed than the Star. Searching by document type is only available with the Globe and the page viewing options are more limited in the Star than the Globe.  The Search Results page in the Globe is article specific and gives the title of the article. Only the page number is displayed in the Star search. Obituary/death notices searching, especially for a common name, can be difficult in both  databases, despite the search tab labelled "Obituaries". (See separate searching instructions for obituaries).

Globe advanced search screen

  • Click on "Advanced Search"
  • Enter search term(s) e.g. Hurricane Hazel or Heintzman piano
  • Enter date or date range e.g. 1954
  • For the Globe and Mail, select Document Type e.g. " Front page article" or "Display ad"

Obituary Searching

The "Obituaries" tab can be useful IF you are looking within a very narrow date range or for an uncommon name, because there is no reliable way to search for first and last names together. Enclosing within quotation marks does not work.

Since especially prominent people are more likely to have articles written about them rather than specific death notices or obituaries, it may be better to use "Advanced Search".

Death notices in the Globe can be searched by doing the following, also using "Advanced Search".

  • Enter Last name in the first search box
  • Choose a date range
  • Under Document Type, select Obituary

In theory, if you first select the subject box on the right "Genealogy" before entering a name, it will search both the Globe and the Star simulataneously. However, in practice the vast majority of the results are from the Globe. It's best to try the Star separately.

 Viewing the results of a search

Search results

  • Results will appear most recent article first. (To change this, go to " sort results by" on the right side of the screen)
  • Clicking on a result brings up a PDF version of the article [Globe] or the page [Star].
  • Search terms should be highlighted. If not, try Ctrl-F (Find). (not always successful)
  • From the PDF article in the Globe, there are additional options to see the entire newspaper page, "Page view PDF" or "Page view clickable". The "Page view" options allow browsing of the pages of the Globe.  The Star also has "next page/previous page" options in the upper right of the newpaper page.
  • Also at the top right of the screen are the commands to go to the Next search results, start a New Search, or go Back to results.
  • To change the size of the image use the Adobe Toolbar and Click the + or - buttons.


Printing or Saving

To print a specific article (Globe only) or the whole newspaper page to fit on one piece of paper

Adobe toolbar again


  • Click on the printer icon  Adobe Print icon in the Adobe toolbar 
  • Cick Print
  • Printout will also include the details of newspaper title, date and page number.

To save a page to a flash drive/memory stick (PDF format)

  • insert a memory stick into the computer
  • click the save Adobe Save icon or download icon in the Adobe toolbar 
  • in the "save" box select the correct drive name for the flash drive
  • give the file a meaningful name
  • click "Save"

To copy or select part of a page

  • From the Search Results, open the newspaper page  in "PDF"
  • When the page appears, click "Open in PDF Reader"
  • Save as a PDF Adobe Save icon
  • Open the saved PDF
  • Click Edit on the Adobe Toolbar
  • Scroll down and click "Take a Snapshot"

Edit menu take snapshot


  • Outline the desired article. It will be " copied to the clipboard" or "selected area has been copied"
  • Click the printer icon Adobe Print icon on the Adobe Toolbar to print

To Save the selected item 

  • Use Copy command on the Edit menu of Adobe and Paste the selection e.g. to a Word document and then
  • Save that document


Try the "search tips" available from ProQuest on the upper right of the Search Screen.


Toronto Public Library contacts:

Answerline: 416-393-7131

[email protected]

Canadiana Department, North York Central Library, 416-395-5623

Humanitites and Social Sciences Department, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175


Passenger Lists & Immigration Records & Home Children

November 11, 2013 | Jean Lochis | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Getting Started

Ship passenger lists contain useful information such as a person's age, country of birth, last place of residence, and occupation. However, there are no comprehensive lists of names of immigrants arriving in Canada before 1865. A few surviving early lists are at Library and Archives Canada.  Research on specific groups or settlements may also provide further information on early settlers.  For early French immigration to Quebec/Acadia, consult TPL’s French Canadian and Acadian Genealogy Research Guide.

To obtain records for passenger lists after 1935, please follow these instructions from Library and Archives Canada website.

Searching the Library Website

Suggested Keywords

If you need information about ships' names, schedules etc. try the following:

Suggested Titles:


Arrivals in Canada:

→More  passenger lists

→More  home children

→More  registers of immigrants

Arrivals in North America

→More passenger lists

→More registers of immigrants

Departures from England

→More passenger lists

Departures from Ireland

→More passenger lists   

Departures from Scotland

→More on  emigration and immigration


Using Online Resources

Recommended Websites

Recommended Databases: Passenger Lists by Date

Ancestry Library Edition (available in any Toronto Public Library branch)

  • 1817-1896 Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists (British Colonial Office records)
  • 1819-1838 St. Lawrence Steamboat Company Passenger Lists
  • 1865-1935 Ships' Passenger Lists
  • 1895 - 1956 Border Crossings: Canada to US
  • 1908-1935 Border Crossings: US to Canada
  • 1919-1924 Immigration Form 30A – Ocean Entries

Library and Archives Canada

Archives of Ontario

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

In Library Resources

The Canadiana Department at North York Central Library has an extensive collection of microfilmed passenger lists to official Canadian ports. Some records are available for eastern US ports including New York.

If your ancestor was a juvenile or came over with a sponsoring agent like Dr. Barnardo, check the finding aid Home Children and Juvenile Immigration, or the description of the records at Library and Archives Canada. The Canadiana Department has the following microfilm reels:

  • Central Registry Files Index – Soundex Index of Children's Names, 1892-1932
  • Central Registry Files – Listed by Organization, 1873-1950
  • Juvenile Inspection Lists – Chronological 1874-1939
  • Inspection Reports – Alphabetical List 1913-1932

If your ancestor came over in early 20th century as a domestic or farm labourer, consult the binder "Supplementary  Immigration and Passenger List Information" for details on the microfilm reels available. This same binder includes information on the microfilm reels on Deportation from Canada  1893 – 1977.

Toronto Public Library contacts:

Answerline: 416-393-7131

[email protected]

Canadiana Department, North York Central Library, 416-395-5623

Humanitites and Social Sciences Department, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175

How the Railways Shaped Toronto : find out more on September 18th

September 12, 2013 | Andrew | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

20101227-1907-Old_Union_Station_TorontoCanada_foundry Cnr-pension-plan-booklet-canadian-national-railways-59

On May 16, 1853 the first passenger train steamed out of Toronto from a  wooden depot located close to the eastern entrance of Union Station. Over the next century the railways had a profound impact on the geography and economic fortunes of Toronto and helped transform the city into the commercial centre of Canada.

Join Derek Boles, chief historian of the Toronto Railway Museum and author of the book Toronto's Railway Heritage, as he presents rare images and animations depicting the first decades of Toronto's railway history.

North York Central Library, Room 1
5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Wednesday September 18
7:30-9:30 p.m.

Canadiana Department staff will present some of the railway history items available and on display on the 6th floor of North York Central Library prior to Derek Boles' presentation. The display is named after and based on an earlier Virtual Exhibit produced by Toronto Public Library titled All Aboard Toronto! Railways and the Growth of a City.

Co-sponsored by the North York Historical Society and the North York Central Library Canadiana Department. Free admission, all are welcome! No registration is required. 

In addition to Derek Boles' book Toronto's Railway Heritage, Canadiana owns many interesting railway history books from around Toronto and Ontario such as:

Check out these related links:

The Canadiana Department holds a reference collection of Canadian genealogy, Ontario local history, North York history, and materials related to Canada. The Department also houses collections from these societies:

  • Ontario Genealogical Society
  • Jewish Genealogical Society (Toronto Branch)
  • Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants
  • York Pioneer and Historical Society
  • North York Historical Society

Free North York Art Exhibit

August 24, 2013 | Stacey | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Looking for something to do in North York this weekend? Spend some time in the sun checking out the Oh Dear: public art that unhinges North York’s sense of modesty exhibit. This is your last chance—the exhibit is only on until Monday August 26. As a bonus, if you need a break from the heat, a few of the installations are located indoors. You can view the installations at various North York spots, including North York Central Library, the Toronto Centre for the Arts, North York Civic Centre, Mel Lastman Square, Gibson House, and the Ontario Historical Society’s historic John McKenzie House.

North York Central Library

The Oh Dear art exhibit celebrates the rich history of North York. In examining North York history, we need look no further than our very own North York Central Library. North York Central Library opened more than 25 years ago in its current location, but its previous iteration was housed in the Gladys Allison Building, North York Public Library’s first stand-alone library. Prior to the Gladys Allison Building’s construction, the library operated out of a Bookmobile as well as the children’s library, which was housed in a portable on the Gibson House property (note: building on far right below):

Planning for a central library in North York was underway in the early 1950s (supported by the North York Public Library Association), construction kicked off in 1958, and the building opened to the public on July 8, 1959. The Gladys Allison Building’s innovative design featured a frieze created by Harold Town, which might look familiar to you: you’ll see it in the North York Central Library atrium if you approach the library from the south entrance.

Remembering Gladys Allison

Wondering who Gladys Allison was, and why the first North York Public Library building was named for her? It’s impossible to discuss the history of the North York Public Library system without giving credit to Gladys Allison. She was a fierce advocate for the creation of the North York Public Library system:

She began to campaign for a library service in 1938; helped set up a library in the basement of [the Willowdale United Church] in 1945; and served on the Library Board both as a member and chairperson from 1950 until 1966. (Cross, Kettel, & Myrvold, 2012)

Gladys Allison asked, “Why can’t my own community in Willowdale have a library?”—but didn’t stop there; instead of merely posing the question, she sought to resolve the problem by helping to drive the development of the North York library system.

Oh Dear!: the Exhibit—Get Involved

View the art exhibit, then offer your own contribution to the project: Share what you like about North York, why you think North York is unique, and where you think the neighbourhood will be headed in a few years or even a hundred years into the future.


Fill out one of the postcards available throughout the North York Central Library. When you drop off your postcard in the Willow box on the first floor, take a few minutes to pop up to the sixth floor and wander the Gladys Allison Canadiana Room. Here, you can access information about Mrs. Allison and view her portrait, painted by artist May C. Setchell.

To find out more about the Oh Dear art installations, visit the project website at http://OhDearNorthYork.blogspot.com.




Sources consulted include: Historical Walking Tour of North York Centre: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of North York Central Library, 1987-2012, by Mary Ann Cross, Geoff Kettel, & Barbara Myrvold; North York History vertical files (Note: all sources available in the Gladys Allison Canadiana Room, North York Central Library).

Oh Dear! Art that Pushes the Boundaries

July 23, 2013 | Stacey | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This July and August, a project involving seven art installations located in and around North York Central Library celebrates North York and invites participation from local residents. Oh dear: public art that unhinges North York’s sense of modesty features works based on the artists’ lives growing up, living, and/or working in the North York area, specifically in the the area of Yonge Street between Sheppard Avenue and Finch Avenue that constitutes Willowdale.


In addition to North York Central Library, participating venues in the exhibit include the Toronto Centre for the Arts, North York Civic Centre, Mel Lastman Square, Gibson House Museum, and the Ontario Historical Society’s historic John McKenzie House.

John McKenzie House: Celebrating 100 Years

John McKenzie House, a Willowdale landmark designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, has served as headquarters for the Ontario Historical Society since 1994. Construction on John McKenzie House dates back to 1913, so they are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. However, the house and the land on which it was built has passed through a number of hands over the last two centuries.

The home was built on land that predates the McKenzie family. The land (Lot 18, Concession 1, East of Yonge, to be exact) had been deeded to Jacob Cummer in 1801. Jacob Cummer, a major figure in North York History, became a devout Methodist and built a log church to serve the developing community in Willowdale. This was replaced in 1856, after Jacob Cummer’s death, by a brick church, pictured here:


In 1884, Philip McKenzie, a carpenter and cabinet maker, purchased part of the Cummer property and moved into the old Cummer farmhouse. Farm operations were taken over by his son, John, when Philip died in 1901, and John continued keeping Holstein cattle, pigs, and poultry until the farm was subdivided for residential development in 1912. In 1913, construction began on a new house to replace the existing farmhouse with its current iteration. After John’s death in 1941, his eldest daughter Florence retained occupancy of the home with her husband, Frank H. Brown, Treasurer of North York during the 1930s to 1960s. In 1975, the house was sold; in the 1980s, the city of North York acquired the house; and, in April 1994, the Ontario Historical Society moved in and began work on restoring the house.

Here is the house as it appears today:

McKenzie House
Photo source: Ontario Historical Society.

The house is described as a blend of both Queen Anne Revival and Edwardian Classical architectural styles:

The simple classical details combined with vernacular elements and overall asymmetry are evidence of McKenzie House’s debt to the Queen Anne style, while the regular pyramid roof, the massiveness, the regularity of the main part of the house, the very large verandah and the impression of home comfort confirm it as Edwardian (Brown, 2005).

Visit the Ontario Historical Society website to see more pictures of McKenzie house.To learn more about McKenzie house and North York history in general, please visit the Gladys Allison Canadiana Room at North York Central Library to view materials from the North York History Collection, including books, photographs, scrapbooks, vertical files, maps, and pamphlets, as well as newspapers, both in print and on microfilm. When you visit the library, check out the nearby art installations that are part of the Oh dear exhibit.

Oh dear: The Exhibit—Get Involved

Interested in participating? Share what you like about North York, why you think North York is unique, and where you think the neighborhood will be headed in a few years or even a hundred years into the future. Fill out one of the postcards available throughout North York Central Library, and drop off your postcard in the library or at Gibson House Museum.

Or, participate in one of the artist-led tours: On Friday July 26, Mark Warrack, Senior Heritage Coordinator for the city of Mississauga and Heritage Toronto board member—as well as a former Willowdale resident—will lead a one-hour walking tour alongside two of the participating artists: Otino Corsano and Teresa Casas. Meet by the Mel Lastman Square reflecting pool at 8:00 p.m. on Friday July 26 if you’d like to join. No pre-registration necessary.

To find out more about the art installations, visit the project website at http://OhDearNorthYork.blogspot.com.

Note: Sources consulted include: OHS Bulletin (1998), Issue 114 and The Genealogy of John McKenzie House by Douglas Brown, in Ontario History (2005), Vol. 97(1). (Note: all sources available in the Gladys Allison Canadiana Room, North York Central Library).


Guide to French Canadian & Acadian Genealogy

June 27, 2013 | Jean Lochis | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Getting Started

The North York Central Library and Toronto Reference Library have resources in English and French and in print, microfilm and online to help you research French Canadian and Acadian genealogy.

Searching the Library Website

Suggested Subject and Keywords

Suggested Titles



Using Online Resources

Recommended websites:

Recommended databases:

(Franco-Ontarian research; membership required)

Réseau du patrimoine franco-ontarien  http://www.rpfo.ca/

In Library Resources

Available at the North York Central Library:


  • Ancestry Library Edition (access from any Toronto Public Library computer)
    Drouin Collection whose records are primarily from 1621 to the late 1940’s. Includes the following databases:
    • Quebec Vital and Church Records 1621 - 1967 (which contains records for all religious denominations)
    • Ontario French Catholic Church Records 1747 - 1967
    • Acadia French Catholic Church Records 1670 - 1946
  • Quebec Records.com (available at North York Central Library and Toronto Reference Library) from the Drouin Institute has a number of different databases which are usually linked to digital images, including:   
  •  La France: Catholic marriages up to 1911; baptisms and deaths up to 1849 includes vital records and notarial records and covers  Acadia and parts of Ontario - must be searched geographically.  Comprehensive coverage up to late 1940's ; spotty thereafter through mid-60's

  • Great Collections: includes the Drouin marriage information on men and women up to 1935; searchable by family name

  • Obituaries: internet and newspaper mostly since 1980's or later

  • Quebec marriages and deaths 1926- 1996

  • a number of smaller specialized databases including the Loiselle Marriage Index listed below

Additional sources




    1950 onwards available at Toronto Reference Library
  • Montreal Herald 1814-1817 (selected extracts only) (microfilm)
  • Quebec Gazette 1764-1817, 1862-1873  (microfilm)


Check the Finding Aids for the following:

    • Catalogue of census returns on microfilm: 1666-1891 and 1901 supplement
    • →See online version at

Library and Archives Canada


Toronto Public Library contacts:

Answerline: 416-393-7131

[email protected]

Canadiana Department, North York Central Library, 416-395-5623

Humanitites and Social Sciences Department, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175

North York History Resources

June 3, 2013 | Jean Lochis | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Getting Started

The Canadiana Department at the North York Central Library houses the North York History Collection where you can find books, newspapers, photographs and maps of people, places and events in North York. Both Canadiana and the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at Toronto Reference Library house minutes, reports, planning documents etc. from the former municipality of North York

Searching the Library Website

Suggested Subjects and Keywords (to limit results, use Advanced Search and the subject field)

Suggested Titles

Using Online Resources

  • click on a neighbourhood name and follow the link for books and digitized images

Recommended Websites

Recommended Databases

In-Library Resources



    • North York History Files 
    • Contains mainly newspaper articles about North York people, places and events . (In Reading Room)


    • North York Pamphlet Files
    • Contains pamphlets and other material concerning North York people, places and events. (In Closed Reference Stacks)


    • Urban Affairs Scrapbook Collection (years 1969-1999 available on microfiche)
    • →More


Newspapers on Microfilm

  • Bayview-Mills Town Crier (1993- [almost] present)*
  • Bayview Post (1989-[almost] present)*
  • Enterprise (1926-1969) [some issues missing]
  • Mirror (various editions: 1957-[almost] present)*
  • North York News (1951-1995)
  • *More recent issues available in paper format


  • Abstract index [by lot and concession number], York Township (Reel LML 1494+)
  • Assessment Rolls, York Township, 1882-99 (Reel LML 2-105-6+)
  • Deeds, York Township,1868+ (Reel LML 1455-6+)
  • York County Surrogate Court Records Index 1940-1967 (Reels MS 869)

Additional Resources

  • Directories (list in North York History Files) and some extracts (917.1354 Y in North York History Collection)
  • Family histories
  • Maps and aerial photos (see finding aid Guide to Canadiana Maps)
  • Municipal Documents (former City of North York documents such as official plans, minutes of North York Council)
  • Photographs
  • Township Papers (Toronto and York)
  • Voters' Lists, York Township and North York (1942+)

For further assistance contact:

Canadiana Department, North York Central Library 416-395-5623

Humanities and Social Sciences Department, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175

Guide to Census Records

May 16, 2013 | Jean Lochis | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Getting Started

This guide has been updated with 1921 Canadian census information.

Census :  an official enumeration of populations that can help you discover birth dates, the names of parents and siblings, immigration details and much more.

Search the library's website for:

  • census handbooks  for background and tips on using the censuses of various countries
  • Add  location and year to the word "census"
  • Use library recommended websites to discover a variety of  online census records.

    Suggested Titles:

 Finding answers in British Isles Census records

    Additional material on Great Britain census handbooks

 Guide to the United States census 1790 - 1930

    Additional material on the American censuses

Manual containing "The Census Act" and the instructions to officers employed in the taking of the first census of Canada (1871)  .

    Additonal material for 1871 census of Ontario.

Online Resources

Canadian Census Records Online

Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666- 1901
Searchable online geographic index allows for identifying microfilm reel numbers for census returns. 

Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada
Provides access to a set of detailed maps showing federal electoral boundaries. Most of the electoral districts described in this 1895 atlas are identical to the 1901 census districts. Detailed ward maps for cities are also available.

All  Canadian census returns from 1851 to 1921 have been digitized and are currently available on multiple websites in addition to Ancestry Library Edition.   Ancestry Library Edition can be used in any Toronto Public Library branch and has all Canadian censuses from 1851. There is FREE access on Ancestry.ca to the 1921 Census of Canada only, for those with a Canadian IP address. Free account must be set up at http://www.ancestry.ca/1921census

Below are websites that have census information. Note: some are indexes, some have images, some are only searachable geographically.

Library and Archives Canada : Censuses 

Gives an overview of the Census collection with links to LAC census databases and finding aids.  The microfilm of the 1916 census  has also been digitized. Details on census column headings, abbreviations and enumeration dates can also be found on their site.

 Canadian Censuses on FamilySearch  includes provincial censuses prior to 1842, and censuses 1851 - 1906, and 1916. 1861 census is listed by province. FamilySearch is provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Automated Genealogy has indexed the 1852 census (Ontario and Quebec and New Brunswick), 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses

OntarioRoots.com   has a Toronto Street Finder for ward and district for the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

The Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), has the 1851/2 and 1881 census data.

Alberta Genealogical Society, Edmonton Branch   has indexed the 1901 census for Alberta and Saskatchewan.

 Newfoundland (prior to entering Confederation in 1949)

Transcriptions for various years Newfoundland (Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical  Data)   Some are incomplete.


British and Irish Census Records Online

1841 - 1911 Census for England,Wales and Channel Islands   (FamilySearch)
  ( note: 1871 census is ~ 80% complete)

1901 Census of England and Wales
Free to search, pay to view records

1911 census of England and Wales
Free to search, pay to view records


Griffith's Valuation 1847 -1864
Griffith's is considered the Irish Census substitute.

Census of Ireland 1901/1911


Scotlands People
Census records for 1841 - 1911. Free surname searches; pay to view records.

1841 - 1891 censuses  free on Family Search.

US Census Records Online

1790 - 1940 US censuses  (FamilySearch)
 Indexed and usually linked to images. Free

Digitized microfilm of 1790 - 1930 US census on Internet Archive. For help in using the microfilm try Donslist Finding Guides

Note: 1890 US census largely destroyed by fire.


In Library Resources

North York Central Library's Canadiana Department has all the available Canadian census records on microfilm. It also has an extensive collection of Ontario census indexes published by various genealogical organizations. The Toronto Reference Library  has microfilm census records for provinces outside Ontario. Prior to the 1911 census, its Ontario holdings are limited to Toronto & York County only. To identify which microfilm reel to search, consult the Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666 - 1901 also available in paper format.  

The Toronto Reference Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Department houses many CD-ROMs and materials for U.S. and British and Irish census resources as well as early Quebec censuses (1660's) and the 1681 census of New France.

Ancestry Library Edition can be used on any computer in a Toronto Public Library branch, but is not available remotely.  It allows individual name searches, often with original images to:

Canadian censuses 1851 - 1921;  UK Census Collection for 1841 - 1911;  American  Census Records 1790 - 1940 and some European census records

Quebec Records.com  (available at North York Central and Toronto Reference Library)
French Canadian genealogy resource includes census information for Quebec in 1881 and for both Quebec and Ontario in 1901.  

 Additional Library Collections

Ontario Genealogical Society Deposit Collection  at the North York Central Library has an excellent collection of materials on British, American and Canadian censuses.


Toronto Public Library contacts:

Answerline: 416-393-7131

[email protected]

Canadiana Department, North York Central Library, 416-395-5623

Humanitites and Social Sciences Department, Toronto Reference Library 416-393-7175


Discover the history of your family, your Toronto neighbourhood, or places in Ontario and across Canada.

Research online or at Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library.

Learn about exciting programs and events.

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