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Research Guide to York - Township, Borough and City, 1793 - 1997

April 15, 2016 | Barbara | Comments (0)

Getting Started

This research guide focuses on Toronto Public Library's resources on the former City of York, a municipality that was located northwest of the old city of Toronto, southwest of the former city of North York and east of the Humber River and the former city of Etobicoke. It was one of seven municipalities that were amalgamated in 1998 to form the current City of Toronto.
York logo

City of York coat of arms.

Background History

The history of the former City of York dates back to 1791 when Upper Canada (Ontario) was first surveyed and divided into townships. Originally known as Dublin, York Township was a large area surrounding Toronto, designated as the provincial capital and renamed York in 1793. The name Toronto was resumed when the Town of York became a city in 1834.

On January 1, 1850, the Township of York was incorporated within the large County of York. Between 1853 and 1926, about a dozen areas separated from York Township and became incorporated as individual municipalities, considerably reducing the size of the township. From 1883 to 1912, several of these municipalities, including Yorkville, Brockton, Parkdale, East Toronto, West Toronto and North Toronto, were annexed to the city of Toronto.

On April 15, 1953, York became one of thirteen municipalities in the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. York and the neighbouring Town of Weston amalgamated on January 1, 1967 and were incorporated as the Borough of York. In turn, it was incorporated as a city on June 10, 1983.  York ceased to be an individual municipality on January 1, 1998, and became part of the amalgamated City of Toronto.

 

York_Civic_Centre_Time_Capsule
City of York Time Capsule.

Searching the Library Website

Recommended Subjects and Keywords

 

B1bd45c4-9508-4f80-b0c4-062bf4a5c94b_thumbnail_600_600
York, Upper Canada, by Elizabeth Hale. 1804.

York (Ont. : Township)

York (Ont. : Borough)--History.

York (Ont. : Borough)

York (Toronto, Ont.)

Toronto (Ont.)--History.

 

 

 

 

 

More sources are available through the TPL old catalogue. To access follow these steps:

1. Go to TPL homepage

2. Click on "Old Catalogue" to the right of the search button

3. In the "Exact Search" field, select "Subject Heading"

4. In search bar, type "York (Toronto, Ont.)"

  

Recommended Books

Maria A. Shchuka Local History Reference Collection

[The collection is located on the second floor of the library]

Child, Youth and Family Services Directory: for the City of York, by City of York Community and Agency Social Planning Council. 1992.

Community Profile of the City of York: a Social Report of the Metro, by the York Community and Agency Social Planning Council. 1992.

City of York: A Local History, by Gene Miller. 1987.

City of York Municipal Code, by Michael J. Smither and Nicholas R. Smither. 1994

Heritage of York: a Bibliographical Study Related to the History of the Township of York, 1793-1840. 1973.

A Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)-funded research project, sponsored by the Borough of York. Note that Volume II has the title: Township of York: Historical Sources.

History of the County of York, Ontario: Index. 2005.

Book coverHistory of Toronto and County of York, Ontario. 1885.

Outline of the history of the Dominion of Canada and a history of the City of Toronto and the County of York. See "The Township of York," volume I, pages 77-96. Read both volumes online at Internet Archive (Volume IVolume II).

A History of Toronto Fire Services, 1874-2002, by Jon Lasiuk. 2002.

History of Weston, by Fredrick D. Cruickshank. 1937.

The Legacy of York: (a Survey of the Early Development of the Communities of York), by Wilbert G. Thomas. 1992.

Lights... Camera... York!: In the City of Toronto. 1998.

Mount Dennis Redevelopment Study: Phase I Report; Background Research & Analysis for: City of York, by Macaulay Shiomi Howson. 1990.

Pioneer Life in the County of York, by Edwin C. Guillet. 1946.

Volume 1 of the County History Series.

Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto, by John Ross Robertson. 1974.

The Settlement of York County, by John Mitchell. 1952.

2483046

St. Clair West in Pictures: a History of the Communities of Carlton, Davenport, Earlscourt and Oakwood, by Nancy Byers and Barbara Myrvold. 2008.

 

St. Phillip's Church: 150 Years Beside the Humber, 1828-1978. 1978.

Stories of York, edited by Bill Bailey. 1980.

York Memorial Presbyterian Church: a Brief History, edited by Jean Ann Lowry. 1994.

York Township: An Historical Summary, by J. C. Boylen. 1954.

York, Upper Canada Minutes of Town Meetings and Lists of Inhabitants, 1797-1823, edited by Christine Mosser. 1984.

 

Other Books at Toronto Public Library

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York, Ontario: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Many of the Early Settled Families, by J. H. Beers & Co. 1907

From Methodist Episcopal and Wesleyan Methodist to Central United: The History of Central United Church, Weston, Ontario, by Stanley V. Musselwhite. 1970

Heritage: A History of Riverside Mission, Riverside Church, Weston, Ont., Riverside-Emry Church, Weston, Ont., with History of Claremont Methodist Church (the old Emery Church) also the new Emery Church, by C. J. Ware. 1978

I Was There: A Book of Reminiscences
, by Mary Edith Carey Tyrrell. 1938

1878york-titleIllustrated Historical Atlas of the County of York, by Miles & Co. 1969

Originally published in 1878, this was one of approximately forty county atlases published in Canada between 1874 and 1881. Consists of a historical text, township and town maps, portraits, views, and patron directory / business cards. In addition, names of residents are marked on lots of the township maps.

Life in Ontario: A Social History, by Adrian Dingle. 1968

Lost Toronto: Images of the City's Past, by William Dendy. 1993

41G7v+njeVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Old Toronto: A Selection of Excerpts from Landmarks of Toronto, John Ross Robertson. 1954

 

 

One Hundred Years: A Retrospect, 1857-1957: Weston Grammar School to Weston Collegiate and Vocational School. For the Centenary Celebration, October 18 to 20, 1957, by Dora E. Wattie. 1957

Ontario Since 1867, by Joseph Schull. 1978

A Pictorial History of Weston, by Weston Historical Society. 1981

A Picture History of Ontario, by Roger Hall. 1978

Pioneering in North York: A History of the Borough, by Patricia W. Hart. 1968

The Story of Etobicoke, by Robert A. Given. 1973

A Thread in the Gardhouse Family Tapestry, by Wilbert W. Gardhouse. 1969

Toronto During the French Régime: A History of the Toronto Region form Brûlé to Simcoe, 1615-1793, by Percy James Robinson. 1965

The Trail of the Black Walnut, by George Elmore Reaman. 1957

William Tyrrell of Weston, by Edith Lennox Morrison. 1937

 

Urbantoronto-7302-24839
Former branch of The Canadian Bank of Commerce, located on King and Jarvis Streets.

 

 

Photo
Plaque commemorating the York Council Chambers, which were located above the King and Jarvis Streets branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, 1907-1950.

Using Online Resources

Toronto Public Library Digital Archives

York neighborhoods (Map) 1924 Eglington from Locksley

 

Scanned TPL Reference Material

 A Summary of the History of the City of York

Including historical information, community and industrial profiles, and a history of the City of York flag and crest. (c.1981)

Download Borough of York Public Library - Annual Report, 1971

Detailed report on the services, programs and statistics of the Borough of York Public Library system, including a breakdown by branch.

City of York (Booklet)

Booklet containing a profile of the City of York. Including information on labour, employment, population, and future development. (c.1986)

City of York - An Historical Bibliography

A selected list of books about the history of York and its notable citizens. Several titles about the history of the Toronto region and the province of Ontario are also included for historical reference. [See 'Recommended Books' section for links to TPL holdings]

City of York - Local Government

Profile and summary of City of York local government. (c.1985)

Dennis News, 1891-1977

Dennis Avenue School Newsletter. (c.1951)

Explore the City of York

An informational pamphlet composed by LACAC (Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee) regarding the city of York. Details eight properties which have been designated as "being of historical and ard1itectural value or interest" under the Ontario Heritage Act, including a picture, historical and architectural information, and its location on the map of the city.

High Risk for York

Newspaper clippings from various newspapers, on topics such as transit problem, expansion, tax gains and hikes, zoning bylaws and conflicts, and amalgamation. (1969-1980). [Please note that clippings from The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star are accessible through ProQuest, Toronto Public Library card login required.]

Mount Dennis Residents Proud of Their Community

Article by Dan O'Reilly. Source unknown. (c.1990).

Welcome to the City of York - 1994-1997 Council

Informational pamphlet from the City of York Council, 1994-1997.

York (Borough)

Articles and Reports about the Borough of York. Including a history of the Village Weston, a directory of churches (1980), a report to the Borough of York Planning Board regarding the housing policy (1975), and a profile of York (1982).

York County

A series of articles regarding the history of York County, 1615-1950.

York Public Library Annual Reports

Google Drive folder containing York Public Library Annual Report pamphlets, 1980-1997 (excluding 1994-1996).

York Public Library Newsletters

Google Drive folder containing York Public Library Newsletters. Including: News & Notes (1981-1982) and News Plus (1986-1993).

York Township

Newspaper clippings from various newspapers, regarding York Township, amalgamation, annexation, etc. (1950-1980). Includes the chapter on The Township of York from The History of Toronto and the County of York, Ontario, Vol.1 (pp. 77-96). [See 'Recommended Books' for TPL holdings and links to the online copies]. [Please note that clippings from The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star are accessible through ProQuest, Toronto Public Library card login required.]

York (Misc)

Miscellaneous clippings and reference material on the City of York. Including the chapter on The Township of York (East) from The History of Toronto and the County of York, Ontario, Vol.2 (pp. 179-208) [See 'Recommended Books' for TPL holdings and links to the online copies.]

[To access the physical copies of these files please see the librarian on the 2nd floor reference desk. Please note that not all item are available.]

 

Recommended Articles (newest to oldest)

The Township of York Railways (Deceased), by James Bow. Transit Toronto. June 25, 2015.

Toronto, by James Maurice Stockford Careless. The Canadian Encyclopedia. March 17, 2013 (Revised by Elaine Young, July 27, 2015.)

Rebellion in York Township, by David Wencer. Heritage Toronto. January 6, 2013.

Towns and Townships in Southern Ontario, by Taylor Griffith. Economic Geography. April, 1945.

The Changing Shape of Ontario - County of York, Ministry of Government and Customer Services. [no date].

 

Recommended Websites

Discover Toronto's Heritage (blog)

Maps-r-122
Map of York, showing the lines of the Toronto.

Presented by Heritage Toronto, "a charitable arms-length agency of the City of Toronto established in 1949 to promote a greater appreciation for the city's rich architectural, cultural, archaeological and natural heritage."

Historical Maps of Toronto

"Simple and free access to a selection of notable historical maps of Toronto." Compiled by Nathan Ng.

Internet Archive

"The Internet Archive is a [...] non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format." Link contains digitized materials regarding the former City of York.

 

Resources at other institutions

City of Toronto Archives

Township, Borough, and City of York - Government Records

This page contains records created by the City of Toronto and its predecessor municipalities, including records from the Township, Borough, and city of York. To reach those records either use the link provided in the list, titled "York 1850-1997" or scroll down toward the end of the page.

York Records

 University of Toronto

An Examination of the Work of the Educational Social Worker in York Township Public Schools, by Ruth L. Johnston. 1947.

Master's thesis. [This thesis is located at the University of Toronto Archives, located at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Contact to access]

Flying With One Wing: Memories of Life in York Township, by Catherine Townsley Pears and edited by Peter B. Mérey. 1989.

 

This research guide was developed by Barbara Baillargeon, Librarian, Maria A. Shchuka, Toronto Public Library and Abby Sharon, Graduate Student, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.

Updated April 15, 2016

Snapshots in History: March 19: Remembering the Royal Ontario Museum

March 19, 2016 | John P. | Comments (0)

Royal Ontario Museum,Queen's Park Road, s.w. corner Bloor St. W.

 

On March 19 and beyond, take a moment to celebrate and remember a treasure in Toronto: the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the largest museum in Canada. Although the ROM was established on April 16, 1912 by the ROM Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the museum officially opened its doors to the public on March 19, 1914 at 3:00 pm with Canada’s then-Governor General, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, officiating.

The ROM has close ties to the University of Toronto and was directly under the university’s control until 1968 when it began an independent agency of the Ontario government. The ROM is Canada’s largest field-research institution with conservation and research initiatives all around the world. Originally, the ROM location housed five separate museums of archaeology, paleontology, mineralogy, zoology and geology. Expansion of the museum’s collections and staff resulted in overcrowding that necessitated a physical expansion into a new wing facing Queen’s Park that opened on October 12, 1933. The ROM was consolidated into a single museum entity in 1955. In the late 1970s, the ROM began a $55 million renovation to facilitate increased collection and research activities, including the addition of a curatorial centre and a new library. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2 opened the Terrace Galleries, the new exhibition and gallery space, in 1984. On June 3, 2007, the ROM opened the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal (named after Jamaican-Canadian billionaire and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin) to symbolize the museum and Toronto’s place in the 21st century as a cultural attraction and destination.

The ROM has 40 galleries and holds greater than 6,000,000 items divided into diverse collections promoting natural history and world cultures. Visitors enjoy viewing collections of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, the world’s largest fossil collection from the Burgess Shale (150,000-plus specimens), Near Eastern and African art, European history and Canadian history. The museum also has strong collections of design and fine arts, including clothing and Art Deco.

Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

 

The entire city project Royal Ontario Museum Every object has a story extraordinary Canadians celebrate the Royal Ontario Museum Gems & minerals earth treasures from the Royal Ontario Museum Iconic the must-see treasures of the ROM Position as desired exploring African Canadian identity photographs from the Wedge Collection Bold visions the architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum Glass worlds paperweights from the ROM's collection Déco Lalique creator to consumer High style masterworks from the Bernard and Sylvia Ostry Collection in the Royal Ontario Museum Journey to the Ice Age discovering an ancient world Rococo to rustique early French-Canadian furniture in the Royal Ontario Museum The museum makers the story of the Royal Ontario Museum

 

Click here for a list of the 50 Toronto Public Library branches from which one-time use Sun Life Financial Museum & Arts family passes for the Royal Ontario Museum are available for borrowing. Five ROM passes per week are available for borrowing from each of those 50 branches, which are valid anytime excluding the Family Day weekend, March Break, ROM for the Holidays and for separately priced exhibits.

Click here for frequently asked questions and answers about the Sun Life Financial Museum & Arts Pass program.


Snapshots in History: March 15: Remembering King’s College, University of Toronto

March 15, 2016 | John P. | Comments (1)

University_of_Toronto

On March 15 and beyond, take a moment to remember the establishment of King’s College on March 15, 1827, initially a Church of England-sponsored institution of higher learning that has since morphed into the more pluralistic University of Toronto. King’s College was granted a Royal Charter by then-King George IV for the "establishment of a College… for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature… at or near our town of York… to continue forever, to be called 'King's College.'"

The intention was for King’s College to be operated by members of the Church of England, with the university’s president being the archdeacon of York (soon to be Toronto) who at the time was John Strachan. Students of any faith were permitted. The current site of the downtown St. George campus (150 acres of vacant forested land) was bought for £3,750. English architect Thomas Fowler completed the design of King’s College in 1829. However, the institution’s close ties to Anglicanism became a topic for political debate in Upper Canada. Consequently, King’s College’s first students would not be enrolled until the year 1842 and new legislation in 1849 from the newly-instituted “responsible government” would result in the more secular University of Toronto on January 1, 1850, following failed attempts by reformer Robert Baldwin in 1843 and conservative William Henry Draper in 1844-1845. Strachan had already left King’s College and lobbied for a charter and funding for a religious university -– the cornerstone of the University of Trinity College was laid on April 30, 1851 with classes commencing in January 1852. As a counterpoint, the non-religious, non-denominational University College was created as a Provincial College and as a constituent college of the University of Toronto on April 22, 1853, carrying out teaching responsibilities of the former King’s College. Following the advent of the secular University College, Knox College (Presbyterian) and Wycliffe College (Anglican Church seminary with emphasis on Protestantism) affiliated with the University of Toronto in 1885 and became federated schools in 1890. Victoria University (formerly in Cobourg) was initially opposed to federation but financial benefits persuaded this institution to join in 1890. Following the death of Strachan, Trinity College followed suit in 1904. St. Michael’s College, a Roman Catholic institution, joined the federation in 1910.

The addition of New College (1962), Innis College (1964) and Woodsworth College (1974) provided the University of Toronto with three additional constituent colleges that are monetarily dependent upon and accountable to the University’s central administration. Massey College, a college for graduate students, was established in 1963 with support from the Massey Foundation. Regis College, a Jesuit seminary, agreed to federation with the University of Toronto in 1979. The University of Toronto also has campuses in Scarborough (1966) and Mississauga (1967).

The University of Toronto has followed a decentralized governance model with authority shared amongst its affiliated colleges, academic faculties and central administration. Currently, the University has a unicameral Governing Council; previously, it had a bicameral board of governors and a university senate.

The University of Toronto has a variety of faculties, including the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Forestry, Faculty of Information, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Music, Faculty of Nursing, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Social Work, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Rotman School of Management, Toronto School of Theology, and Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. The University of Toronto also has the third-largest academic library system in North America, following those of Harvard University and Yale University in size -– measured by the number of volumes held.

Consider the following titles held by Toronto Public Library collections:

Books:

A meeting of the minds the Massey College story Partnership for excellence medicine at the University of Toronto and academic hospitals Arts and science at Toronto a history 1827-1990 For the record the first women in Canadian architecture

Historical distillates chemistry at the University of Toronto since 1843 The University of Toronto a history A not unsightly building University College and its history

The University of Toronto and its colleges 1827-1906 We will do our share the University of Toronto and the Great War

 

 

eBooks:



The University of Toronto and its colleges 1827-1906

Snapshots in History: February 25: Remembering John Graves Simcoe and York

February 25, 2016 | John P. | Comments (0)

Colonel Simcoe

(Credit: Government of Ontario Art Collection, 694156 - Portrait of Colonel John Graves Simcoe, [ca. 1881] - Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, 1791-96 - George Theodore Berthon (1806-1892) - Oil on canvas - 109.2 x 83.8 cm (43" x 33") - This image is in the public domain.)

On February 25 and beyond, take a moment to remember the life of John Graves Simcoe (born: February 25, 1752 in Cotterstock, England; died: October 26, 1806 in Exeter, England) who served as the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1791-1796. Simcoe served with British forces during the American War of Independence, being invalided home to England before the surrender of Yorktown in 1781. During the war, Simcoe had been promoted from lieutenant to lieutenant-colonel and became one of the more successful regimental commanders. He demonstrated his penchant for tactics with the publication of his Journal of the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers. During his convalescence, Simcoe resided at the home of his godfather Admiral Samuel Graves in Exeter, England. There, Simcoe met and married Admiral Graves’ ward Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim (“Mrs. Simcoe”) who was an heiress in her own right, owning a 5,000-acre estate in Devon, England.

Simcoe briefly served as a Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons in 1790 before being promised and appointed to the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada in September 1791. Upper Canada, as it was then known, was comprised of southern Ontario and the watersheds of Lake Superior and Georgian Bay. Under Simcoe’s stewardship, Upper Canada’s bicameral legislature founded York in 1793 (previously Fort Toronto (French) and afterwards Toronto as of 1834) which became the capital on February 1, 1796 (as Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) was too prone to American attack) and introduced elements of the British legal system into Upper Canadian society, including English common law, trial by jury, and freehold land tenure. Upper Canada also abolished slavery with the passage of the Act Against Slavery on July 9, 1793, resulting in no slaves present by 1810 which predated the rest of the British Empire by 23 years. 

Ill-health cut short Simcoe’s time in service in Upper Canada as he left in 1796 and resigned as Lieutenant-Governor in 1798 after a brief stint serving as British force commander in 1797. Simcoe also commanded the Western District in Britain subsequently but died in 1806 before taking up his new post as commander-in-chief in India to succeed Charles Cornwallis who had also died after shortly assuming the post himself.

To learn more about Simcoe, consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:

Mrs Simcoe's diary

Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary offers those interested in Canadian history a primary source snapshot of the 1791-1796 time period. She met aboriginal Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant and explorer Alexander Mackenzie. She was interested in the First Nations peoples as well as the fauna and flora and the developing social customs of the British settlers in Upper Canada. Follow Elizabeth Simcoe’s journey (and that of her husband) from September 17, 1791 to October 16, 1796.

See also: copies of the 1965 edition. Or, consider the following version:

The diary of Mrs. John Graves Simcoe: wife of the first lieutenant-governor of the province of Upper Canada, 1792-6 / Elizabeth Simcoe; with notes and a biography by J. Ross Robertson, and 237 illustrations, including 90 reproductions of interesting sketches made by Mrs. Simcoe, 1973, [c1911].

Consider this edition of Elizabeth Simcoe’s diary edited in 1911 by journalist and publisher John Ross Robertson.

John Graves Simcoe 1752-1806 a biography

Also available in eBook format.

Follow the military career of John Graves Simcoe from his time as commander of the Queen’s Rangers during the American Revolution through to his appointment as the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and founder of York (now present-day Toronto), followed by his ill health, additional military appointments and eventual death.

Simcoe's choice celebrating London's bicentennial 1793-1993

John Graves Simcoe wanted present-day London, Ontario to be the capital of Upper Canada in 1793 but was overruled by Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester, who agreed to Simcoe’s second-place choice of York. However, this historical development did not stop London from becoming the largest municipality in southwestern Ontario and a centre of higher learning with the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College.

For additional resources, please consider the following items:

Infant Toronto as Simcoe’s folly / John Andre, 1971. 

Read about the role of German artist and settler William Berczy (founder of Markham, Ontario) in the founding of York (predecessor to Toronto) in co-operation with John Graves Simcoe.

Click here for more copies.

Governor Simcoe and his lady / Marcus Van Steen,1968. 

This biography of the Simcoes recounts the death of John and Elizabeth Simcoe’s infant daughter Katherine (January 16, 1793 to April 19, 1794) and her burial in the old military burial ground at Victoria Memorial Park (now Square) at Portland and Niagara Streets, several blocks northeast of Fort York. 

Toronto stories from the life of a city, Part 1: York / Lynx Images Inc., 1994. VHS. Documentary. 

Learn about the early history of York (Toronto) from 1793 to 1834 through quotations attributed to early inhabitants and through the narration of a facsimile of “Mrs. John Graves Simcoe”.

Click here to view digitized images associated with John Graves Simcoe (including pictures and photographs and posters and printed ephemera) in Toronto Public Library collections.

 

Research Guide to Reggae Lane: Toronto's Jamaican Music Scene, 1960s to the Present

February 3, 2016 | Barbara | Comments (0)

 

 

Getting Started

Reggae Lane signage

“Reggae Lane" is a the name of a laneway located behind the storefronts south of Eglinton Avenue West and east of Oakwood Avenue.  It was given this title in 2015 by Toronto Councillor Josh Colle to honour the rich music tradition of this area. The York-Eglinton BIA and the Laneway Project joined to help with planning related initiatives. 

The history of reggae in Toronto dates back to the 1960s when many Jamaican musicians settled in the city where they performed jazz, calypso, soul, R & B, and other popular genres. Around the same time, musicians in Jamaica had started a new sound - reggae - which soon was adopted by Jamaican-Canadian musicians. Before long, record shops, music studios, and performance venues lined Eglinton Avenue West between Marlee and Dufferin streets. The strip was also home to many West Indian clothing shops, beauty and barber shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses, and became known as “Little Jamaica”.  

Find research materials on reggae in Toronto in the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection and at the Toronto Reference Library Arts Department

Searching the Library Website

Recommended Subjects and Keywords

Jamaicans--Canada--History

Reggae Toronto

Reggae music

Recommended CDs

Jamaica to Toronto Series. Listed below are six CDs featuring reissued soul and reggae albums and singles that were compiled by DJ/Canadian music historian Sipreano with Light In The Attic Records of Seattle, Washington.

Innocent youths 

Innocent Youths, by Earth, Roots & Water. 2008; originally released 1977.

 

 

 

 

 

  Jamaica_cover

 Jamaica to Toronto Soul, Funk & Reggae 1967-1974. 2006.

Liner notes - front (PDF)

Liner notes - back (PDF)

 

 

Noelellis_cover  

  Noel Ellis. 2006; originally released, 1983.

    Liner notes (PDF)

 

 

 

  Summer-recs-anthology-cover

 Summer Records Anthology 1974-1988. 2007

Liner notes - front (PDF) 

Liner notes - back (PDF)

 


Wayne_cover
 Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy. 2004; originally released 1970.

    Liner notes (PDF)

 

 

 

 JACKIE MITTOO wishbone - cd

 Wishbone, by Jackie Mittoo. 2006; originally released 1971.

Liner notes (PDF)

 

 

 

Recommended Books

Dubwise book cover

Dubwise: Reasoning from the Reggae Underground, by Klive Walker. 2005

Series of essays that delve into the Jamaican diaspora and its musical influence. See "One-Drop Dubs the Maple Leaf: The Story of Reggae in Canada," pages 155-176.

 

 

 

 

Global Reggae
Global Reggae, edited by Carolyn Cooper. 2012

Plenary lectures from the 'Global Reggae' conference convened at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica in 2008. Chapter 9 discusses "The Journey of Reggae in Canada". 

 

 

 

 

Book-cover-brown

Jamaican Canadian music in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s : a preliminary history, by Keith McCuaig. 2012.

Master's thesis on the musical community of Jamaican musicians in Toronto in the 70s and 80s.

Read it online (pdf) 

 

 

 

Jamaican Popular Music

Jamaican Popular Music: From Mento to Dancehall Reggae: A Full Bibliographic Guide, by John Gray. 2011.

Bibliographic references to books, articles, reviews, dictionaries, newspapers, electronics sources, videos, and dissertations on popular Jamaican music and the music abroad. Materials about Jamaican music in Canada are detailed on pages 88 to 89.

 

 

 

Jam in Canada when ackee meets codfish-3
Jamaicans in Canada : When Ackee Meets Codfish, by Kamala-Jean Gopie. 2012.

Profiles of 250 Jamaican-Canadians from across Canada. Jay Douglas is featured on page 62.

 

 

 

Book-cover-brown

King Alpha's Song in a Strange Land : Jamaican Migrant and Canadian Host in Toronto's Transnational Reggae Music Scene, 1973-1990, by John Jason Collins Wilson. 2013.

Doctoral thesis on the migration of people and music from Jamaica as seen through the eyes of the immigrants themselves and locals.

Read it online (pdf)

 

 

 

Settling in Canada

Settling in Canada: Jamaicans Have a Story to Tell, by Billroy Powell, 2014.

Through interviews, this book provides accounts of the Jamaican experience settling in Canada over five decades from the 1950s to the 2000s. There are references to the Eglinton Avenue West neighbourhood on pages 181 and 267. Music and culture are described throughout.

 

 

 

 Book-cover-brown

Jackie Mittoo at Home and Abroad: The Cultural and Musical Negotiations of a Jamaican Canadian, by Karen Anita Eloise Cyrus. 2015.

Doctoral thesis on the career of Jackie Mittoo and an analysis of his body of work.

Read it online (pdf)

 

 

 

 

Using Online Resources

Recommended Articles (newest to oldest)

Video: A home for reggae in Toronto, by Adrian Mendes. The Laneway Project. January 8, 2016.

Video footage and interviews taken during the unveiling of the Reggae Lane plaque on September 19, 2015.

Reggae Lane mural unveiled in Toronto, by Amy Grief. BlogTO. September 21, 2015.

The Eglinton West neighbourhood got a new 1,200 square foot mural that throws a spotlight on Toronto's rich history of reggae music and culture.

IMG_4930a

Toronto’s reggae roots to be celebrated in Eglinton-Oakwood laneway celebration: Party for ‘Reggae Lane’ takes place Sept. 19, by Dominik Kurek. York Guardian. September 15, 2015.

Councillor Josh Colle is hosting the unveiling ceremony for Reggae Lane.

Eglinton Avenue laneway renamed to celebrate Toronto's reggae history: Coun. Josh Colle hopes Reggae Lane can be a successful model for revitalizing Toronto's side streets and alleyways, by Luke Simcoe. MetroNews. September 14, 2015.

Contains images of the mural and plaque dedicated to the musical history of the area.

Toronto Reggae Hall of Fame Launched, by Kerry Doole Mon, FYI Music News, August 31, 2015.

First inductees into the Toronto Reggae Hall of Fame are Jay Douglas, Leroy Sibbles, Everton 'Pablo' Paul and Bernie Pitters.

Toronto Laneway to Become Reggae Hot Spot (Once Again), by Ryan Ayukawa. Blog TO. April 18, 2015.

The clean-up project of Reggae Lane led by Dewitt Lee and JuLion King.

A Brief History of Reggae in Toronto, by David Dacks. Blog TO. December 24, 2014.

Chronicles the reggae music scene by collating the venues, musicians, promotors, and record stores which comprised the genre's infrastructure in Toronto.

Eglinton West's Music History Gives Beat to Street Name. The York Guardian. August 14, 2014. (Access through Canadian Newsstand Torstar - Toronto Public Library card login required)

Eglinton Avenue West's rich music history to be remembered in the naming of Reggae Lane. 

Historicist: Sounds of Home II: After-hours clubs and the West Indian Music scene of the 1960's, by Kevin Plummer. Torontoist. Dec 28, 2013

Details the West Indian after-hours nightclub scene in Toronto going back to the 1950s.

Wisdom’s Barber Shop and Hair Salon: A community hub in Little Jamaica, by Nancy J. White. The Toronto Star. July 13, 2012.

Jimmy Wisdom is a legendary singer from Jamaica who has been barbering on the Eglinton West strip for over three decades.

Toronto's Lost Soul & Reggae Stars Revisited, by Kevin Plummer. Torontoist. December 12, 2007.

Tells the story of the "Jamaica to Toronto" series and the reissue of classic Canadian soul and reggae albums by Seattle-based Light in the Attic Records. Includes an interview with Jay Douglas and his experiences with his band The Cougars.

The soul survivors, by Murray White. The Toronto Star. July 15, 2006. (Access through Canadian Newsstand Torstar - Toronto Public Library card login required)

Chronicles the process behind Light in the Attic Records' launch of the "Jamaica to Toronto" CD and the reunion of contributing artists such as Jay Douglas, Everton "Pablo" Paul, Terry Lewis, Jimmy Wisdom and Bob Williams.

Maple Leaf Soul Compiliation, by David Dacks. Exclaim.ca. June 30, 2006.

Announces the release of the From Jamaica to Toronto CD by Light in the Attic Records.

A Soul Man Lost...And Found, by Guy Dixon. The Globe and Mail. July 31, 2004.

Jay Douglas recalls finding his old friend Wayne Mcghie and reminisces about the Toronto music scene in the 1960s and 1970s.

Reggae Roots Run Deep, by Nick McCabe-Lokos. The Toronto Star. July 27, 2003. (Access through Canadian Newsstand Torstar - Toronto Public Library card login required)

Highlights the immigration experience of artists from Jamaica to Canada within the context of Canadian immigration during that time.

Jamaica Beckons and Sibbles is Listening, by Peter Howell. The Toronto Star. April 26, 1991 (Access through Canadian Newsstand Torstar - Toronto Public Library card login required)

Leroy Sibbles, a reggae pioneer who moved from Jamaica to Toronto, describes his immigration.

Randy's take out shop
Randy's Patties at 1569 Eglinton Ave. West

  

Wisdom's shopJimmy Wisdom's barber shop at 1754 Eglinton Ave. West

 

Recommended Websites

The Canadian Encyclopedia

An encyclopedia article on the history of reggae in Canada written by Daniel Caudeiron.

Canadian Reggae World 

A blog by JuLion King that promotes and showcases Canadian reggae artists and events.

Reggae Lane Project  

Information about the laneway improvement project presented by The Laneway Project and the York Eglinton Business Improvement Area.

Reggae Toronto

Lists influential artists, and provides an interactive Google map of the venues, shops, recording studios, record labels and more.

The STEPS Initiative

The public arts organization involved in designing the mural to be placed in near Reggae Lane.

Interviews

The Fabulous Cougars: Reggae in Toronto, Jay Douglas and Everton "Pablo" Paul, with Karsten Frehe, 2010. This interview is on a German online magazine called Irie Ites, which features information, interviews, recordings, and live streaming on dub, reggae, dancehall and ska. 

Everyday Ambassadors: Jimmy Wisdom. Toronto 2015: Panamania. This video (3:22) tells the story of Ronald "Jimmy" Wisdom who came to Canada in 1968 from Montego Bay, Jamaica and now owns Wisdom's Barber Shop and Beauty Salon on Eglinton West in Toronto.

This research guide was developed by Barbara Baillargeon, Librarian, Maria A. Shchuka, Toronto Public Library and Tania Gamage, Graduate Student, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.

 

Making Historical Photographs Accessible Online

March 25, 2015 | Canadiana Staff | Comments (1)

The Toronto Public Library Digital Archive is a rich source of Toronto history. From the time an item in the collection is selected for digitization to when it is available in the Toronto Public Library Digital Archive, it undergoes an in-depth process to ensure it is accessible to everyone searching the Digital Archive. As a student at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information, I had the opportunity to be part of the initial steps in this process while working on a project for the North York Central Library Canadiana Department. The objective of the project was to create metadata records for a collection of historical photographs that were recently donated to the library by the North York Historical Society (NYHS).

If you’re not familiar with the concept of metadata it is broadly defined as data about data. In this project metadata was any details about a photograph gathered from a NYHS database and NYHS scrapbooks: date, description, size, format, spatial location and subject headings. The metadata is attached to each photograph on Digital Archive. These metadata records are also what leads to the discovery of a photograph when you search the Digital Archive.

In working with a historical photographic collection there are challenges in gathering descriptive information. For example, in trying to determine the subject(s) of a photograph I had to look closely at them and think creatively. This is where my role in the process got interesting.    

While many photographs in the NYHS photograph collection showcase important landmarks in North York like Gibson House and the Golden Lion Hotel, images of uncommon historical scenes posed an interesting challenge. When creating these metadata records it was important to consider which subjects headings would make scenes like plane crashes and children playing on a farm findable for anyone searching the Digital Archive. 

Golden Lion Hotel when residence of Rev. Pickett
Golden Lion Hotel when residence of Rev. Pickett

 
Plane that came down during WW1
Plane that came down during WW1
 

Arlington Tomlinson holding Freddie Wicks on a pig
Arlington Tomlinson holding Freddie Wicks on a pig 

Another challenge was photographs in NYHS collection that had too little or incomplete information and required outside research. The collection includes a photograph of the Weston Foundry and Machine Shop, but no date or location information about it. When I came across this photo, I needed to fill in these gaps with further research in the Canadiana Department. With the help of the Canadiana Department staff, I finally found this information in a Directory of North York from the 1920’s. This type of additional research ensures complete metadata records for NYHS photographs that can be searched to find photographs in the Digital Archive.


Weston Foundry and Machine Shop
Weston Foundry and Machine Shop

Working through the challenges of creating good metadata records is an initial step in the process, but all together this digitization project will help make the collection of the Canadiana Department more accessible to you. While working on this project I also learned about the many historical materials already available through the Digital Archive. Even more, there are lots of easy ways to access these materials like the interactive Toronto Neighbourhoods map, to which the NYHS photograph collection will be added. The North York Central Library Canadiana Department has a great collection of North York history to be discovered online and in the library.

Valuable Historical Photographs, Scrapbooks and Family Papers Part of Donation from North York Historical Society

March 9, 2015 | Andrew L | Comments (0)

The North York Historical Society (NYHS) and the Toronto Public Library signed an agreement on February 6 to officially add the NYHS archives to the collections of the Canadiana Department on the sixth floor of North York Central Library. A special event was held to recognize this significant donation of historical materials about North York. 

The Canadiana Department and the NYHS have a mutual interest to preserve and make historical and current information about North York accessible, and have a long history of working together. This donation increases Canadiana’s collections related to the history of North York, and library staff and NYHS members plan to work together to promote and enhance access to these materials in the future.

NYHS and TPL representatives sign the donation agreement Feb. 6, 2015
 
 

 

The donation agreement is signed by Linda Mackenzie, Director
of Research and Reference Libraries for Toronto Public Library,
and Bill Aird, President of North York Historical Society on
Feb. 6, 2015.
 

 

  Group photo of NYHS executives and TPL managers with Councillor John Filion.

 

 

Standing from left to right: Edith Geduld (Director, NYHS),
Ruth Kingma (Secretary, NYHS), Geoff Geduld (Past President,
NYHS), Glenn Bonnetta (Vice President, NYHS), Greg Kelner
(Manager, North York Central Library Departments), Councillor
John Filion (Ward 23 Willowdale). Seated: Linda Mackenzie
(Director, Research and Reference Libraries, Toronto Public
Library), Bill Aird (President, NYHS)
 

The Canadiana Department has had a collection on the history of North York since its earliest days in the 1960s. The collection is in-depth covering North York back to its earliest human habitation, and includes books, local newspapers, photographs, maps and clipping files on North York people, places and events. Also part of the collection are about 30 small archival collections, and many municipal and planning documents issued by North York prior to its amalgamation into Toronto. Among the gems acquired in the NYHS donation are:

  • Aerial photographs of North York in 1942 and 1954
  • Series of 39 scrapbooks about lot owners, communities, schools, and churches
  • Papers of the Coulson family, which include documents going back to the 1830s
  • More than 1,600 historical photographs


North York Central Library Manager Greg Kelner served as master of ceremonies and introduced remarks from:

“Having these resources available in the library will be a wonderful aid to anyone researching the history and development of North York,” said Linda Mackenzie, director of Research and Reference Libraries. “We value our partnership with the North York Historical Society and look forward to more years of fruitful collaboration.”

Examples of NYHS photos on display.  
Examples of historic North York photos from the donation
were on display.
 
Event photos by Dona Acheson.  

  St. Andrews Golf Course, ca. 1935
 

 

St. Andrews Golf Course, ca. 1935 [NYHS00349]  

 

Colonel Cameron's House  

 

Colonel Cameron's House (later St. Andrews Golf Course) [NYHS00346]  

For more than 50 years, the North York Historical Society has successfully worked to preserve the history and heritage of North York, and maintains an active schedule of programming working with other community organizations. Notable achievements include the preservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of the Gibson House as a museum, and supporting the preservation of other historic buildings such as the David Duncan House, Dempsey Store, Elihu Pease House and Jolly Miller Tavern.

The Canadiana 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

Toronto Local History Collections in Toronto Public Library

March 2, 2015 | Barbara Myrvold | Comments (0)

Toronto local history collections are provided in more than 30 branches of the Toronto Public Library. The collections include materials of historical significance about a specific geographic area. This could be the Toronto neighbourhood(s) served by the local branch library; an historic community, such as an annexed municipality; or the City of Toronto as a whole.

The collections are intended to serve students working on projects from elementary school to college and university, and adult independent learners, including newcomers, long-time residents and visitors, interested in learning more about a community.  The collections are also good starting places for local historians and genealogists, heritage groups and other professionals needing local information for their avocations or jobs.

Local history collections vary significantly in size, ranging from occupying a few shelves or file drawers to being housed in separate rooms, but generally they:

  • Cover a wide range of subjects.
  • Include a variety of formats, often books, vertical files, community newspapers, pictures and maps. 
  • Are for in-library reference use. Circulating copies of many books also are available in Toronto Public Library collections. 
  • Emphasize secondary sources and copies of rare, original materials. 
  • Include some items that are not listed in the library’s online catalog.

In some branch local history collections, new items are not being added to collections of vertical files, pictures and maps, which may have been superseded by electronic databases and digital archives.

Map of Neighbourhood Historical Resources
Browse or search by neighbourhood for books, pictures and maps

Consult our Map of Neighbourhood Historical Resources for additional local history materials in Toronto Public Library’s collections and links to websites selected by Library staff. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Branch Local History Collections

Annette Street Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Junction, High Park (north of Bloor Street)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference   

Beaches Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Beach, Upper Beach, Danforth (Main Street area)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures
Use: Reference  
 
Bloor/Gladstone Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Brockton (north section), Dovercourt, Dufferin Grove-Bickford Park
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference. Duplicate copies of some books circulate
 
Cedarbrae District Branch Scarborough Historical Collection
Neighbourhoods: Former City of Scarborough and its neighbourhoods - Agincourt, Bendale, Birch Cliff, Clairlea-Golden Mile, Cliffside-Cliffcrest, Guildwood, Dorset Park, Highland Creek, Knob Hill, L'Amoreaux, Malvern, Maryvale, Milliken, Oakridge, Port Union-West Rouge, Rouge, Scarborough Junction, Scarborough Village, Upper Rouge, West Hill, Wexford, Woburn.
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps, Microforms
Use: Reference

Deer Park Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Deer Park, Rosedale/Moore Park (north of the CP line)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference.  Duplicate copies of some books circulate.

Don Mills Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Don Mills
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Maps, Ephemera
Use: Reference

Dufferin/St. Clair Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Earlscourt, Wychwood–Hillcrest (northwest section), Oakwood-Vaughan (southwest section)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Pictures, Maps, Community newspapers
Use: Reference

Forest Hill Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Forest Hill
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers
Use: Reference

Gerrard/Ashdale Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Leslieville, Upper Beach (Gerrard and Coxwell area of both neighbourhoods)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (inactive; PDF), Newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference

Guildwood Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Guildwood
Formats: Books, Community newsletters
Use: Reference

High Park Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: High Park, Parkdale (Roncesvalles area and High Park – the park itself)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Ephemera
Use: Reference

Leaside Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Leaside, Thorncliffe Park
Formats: Books, Community newspapers, newsletters and magazines, Pictures, Maps, Artifacts, Archival records (Leaside Public Library), Ephemera (scrapbooks)
Use: Reference

Long Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Long Branch
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps, Archival records (Long Branch Public Library)  
Use: Reference

Maria Shchuka Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Former City of York and its neighbourhoods: Lambton, Mount Dennis, Silverthorn, Weston
Formats: Books, Vertical files, Community newspapers, Ephemera (Scrapbooks), Archival records (York Public Library)
Use: Reference

North York Central Library. Canadiana Department. North York History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Former City of North York and its neighbourhoods - Amesbury Park, Armour Heights, Bayview Village, Bridle Path-Sunnybrook, Don Mills, Don Valley Village, Downsview, Elia-Branson, Emery, Fairbank, Flemingdon Park, Henry Farm, Hillcrest Village, Humber Summit, Lansing, Lawrence Manor, Maple Leaf, Newtonbrook, Pleasant View, Weston, Willowdale, York Mills, York University-Black Creek  
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Ephemera (including pamphlets, posters and postcards), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps, Microforms, Artifacts, Archival records (e.g., North York Historical Society, North York Public Library)
Use: Reference
Finding aids (in branch): Electronic databases for Maps, Photographs, North York History, North York Public Library Archives, North York Newspapers. North York Scrapbooks Index; Archival Holdings List.  Research Guide to North York History Resources

Northern District Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: North Toronto
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Ephemera, Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference

Palmerston Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Annex, Palmerston-Sussex Ulster, Seaton Village
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures
Use: Reference  

Parkdale Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Parkdale, Brockton (south section), Exhibition, Sunnyside
Formats: Books, Vertical files (inactive PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference
Finding aids (in branch): Card index

Parliament Street Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Cabbagetown, St. James Town, Regent Park
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference; duplicate copies of some books for circulation

Queen/Saulter Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Riverdale, Leslieville (Queen-Broadview area)
Formats: Books, Vertical files, Community newspapers, Pictures
Use: Reference

Richview Branch Etobicoke History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Former City of Etobicoke and its neighbourhoods - Alderwood, Eatonville, Eringate Humber Bay, Humber Valley Village, Islington, Kingsway, Long Branch, Mimico, New Toronto, Rexdale, Richview, Sunnylea, Thistletown and Weston
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Ephemera (e.g., Tweedsmuir history scrapbooks), Community newspapers, newsletters and magazines; Pictures, Maps (PDF), Artifacts, Archival records (e.g., Etobicoke Public Library, Richview Women’s Institute) Microforms, Oral histories
Use: Reference
Finding aids (in branch): Subject card index to Etobicoke newspapers, 1950-present

Riverdale Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Riverdale, Danforth (west of Pape Avenue), Leslieville, Port Lands
Formats: Books; Vertical files (PDF), Ephemera, Community newspapers, newsletters and magazines, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference; duplicate copies of some books circulate.
Finding aids (in branch): Subject card index, 1880s-1970s

Runnymede Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Bloor West Village (including Baby Point, Runnymede), High Park (including Roncesvalles), Junction, Sunnyside, Swansea
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference; duplicate copies of some books circulate

S. Walter Stewart Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: East York
Formats: Books, Ephemera, Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference

Sanderson Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Kensington-Grange (west of Spadina Avenue); Palmerston-Sussex Ulster (south of Harbord Street); King-Spadina, Trinity Bellwoods (east of Ossington Avenue);
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Ephemera, Community newspapers, Pictures
Use: Reference

St. Lawrence Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Financial District (east of Yonge Street), St. Lawrence
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Community newspapers
Use: Reference; some books circulate

Swansea Memorial Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Swansea
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference; some books circulate

Toronto Reference Library.  Humanities and Social Sciences Department. Local History and Genealogy Collection
Neighbourhoods: City of Toronto and its neighbourhoods (along with many other geographic areas)
Formats:  Books (including copies of Toronto city directories (1833-1998) and telephone directories); Vertical files (Donald Jones' "Historical Toronto" articles, Toronto Star, 1973-1991; Toronto buildings - both inactive); Maps (including copies of Toronto fire insurance plans); Microforms (including Biographical scrapbooks, Toronto scrapbooks and Toronto Public Library scrapbooks); Ephemera (including The A. Norman Sands Collection of Local History)   
Use: Reference
Finding aids (in library): Card file indexes to biographies and Toronto buildings vertical files. Published Index to Donald Jones Toronto Star articles; Index to biographical scrapbooks; Index to Toronto scrapbooks. Electronic subject headings for A. Norman Sands Collection of Local History York (County) - Toronto section

Toronto Reference Library. Humanities and Social Sciences Department. Toronto Collection (PDF)
Neighbourhoods: City of Toronto and its neighbourhoods
Formats: Books, Vertical files (closed in 2010), Community newspapers (mostly on microfilm), Maps, Microforms, Archival records (e.g., City of Toronto Council minutes), Ephemera (e.g., election campaign literature).
Use: Reference

Weston Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Weston
Formats: Books, Pictures, Maps, Archival records (Weston Public Library and its predecessor and successor libraries), Ephemera
Use: Reference; duplicates of some books circulate
Finding aids: Pages of Weston History 100 Years and Beyond

Wychwood Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Wychwood-Hillcrest, Oakwood-Vaughan (southeast area), Cedarvale (south area)
Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Pictures, Archival records (Bracondale Public Library), Ephemera
Use: Reference

Yorkville Branch Local History Collection
Neighbourhoods: Yorkville, Rosedale-Moore Park (south of CP line, west of Mount Pleasant Road) Formats: Books, Vertical files (PDF), Pictures, Maps
Use: Reference

Guide to City Directories of Toronto: Decoding Abbreviations

March 1, 2015 | Canadiana Staff | Comments (2)

This updated guide was originally posted in 2011.

This guide provides explanations of many abbreviations for personal names, occupations and other words used in 19th-century Toronto city directories. 

1896 Toronto City Directory-sample

A 
ab  above
acct  accountant
adv  advertisement
ag implts agricultural implements
agt  agent
al  alley
Albt  Albert
Alex  Alexander
app  apprentice
appr  appraiser
arch/archt architect
Archd  Archibald
assce  assurance
assn  association
asst  assistant
attdt  attendant
av/ave  avenue


b  boards
barr  barrister
bdg  boarding
bdg h  boarding house
bds  boards
Benj  Benjamin
bet  between
bg  building
bgemn  baggageman
bkbndr  bookbinder
bkkpr/bkpr bookkeeper
bkr  baker
bkslr  bookseller
bld/bldg building
bldr  builder
blksmith blacksmith
br  branch
brklyr  bricklayer
brkmn  brakeman
brmkr  boiler maker
btchr  butcher
btlr  bottler


c  corner
c h  custom house
cabt mkr cabinet maker
Can  Canadian
carp/carpr carpenter
carr  carriage
cash  cashier
Chas  Charles
chauf  chauffeur
chkr  checker
clk  clerk
clnr  cleaner
Co  company
col  colored
coll  collector
com  commission
com mer  commission merchant
comp  compositor
comr/commr commissioner
cond/condr conductor
confr/conftr confectioner
contr  contractor
cor  corner
Corp  corporation
cres  crescent
ct  court
ctr  cutter


d gds  dry goods
Danl  Daniel
dept  department
depy  deputy
dlr  dealer
do  same place or same street
dom  domestic
Dom  Dominion
drftsmn  draftsman
drsmkr  dressmaker
dsgnr  designer


e  east
e s  east side
Edwd  Edward
elect  electrician
electro  electrotyper
elev oper elevator operator
Eliz  Elizabeth
emp  employee
eng/engr engineer
engr  engraver
est  estate
examr  examiner
exp  express


fcy  fancy
fnshr  finisher
Frdk  Frederick
ft  foot of
ft  foot
furn  furniture
furng  furnishing


GTR  Grand Trunk Railway
GWR  Great Western Railway
gard/gdnr gardener
gds  goods
genl  general
Geo  George
geol  geological
gro  grocer
gts furngs gents' furnishings


h  house
h  householder [general owner]
hdwre  hardware
Hert  Herbert
hlpr  helper
hsekpr  housekeeper


imp  importer
implts  implements
ins  insurance
insp  inspector
insts  instruments
Intl  international

J & K 
Jas  James
jwlr  jeweller
kpr  keeper


l/la  lane
lab  labourer
landrs  laundress
lino  linotype
litho  lithographer
lndry  laundry
ltd  limited


mach hd  machine hand
mach/macht machinist
mar  market
Margt  Margaret
mech  mechanic
mer  merchant
mfg, mfr, mfy manufacturing -urer -ory
mgr  manager
mkr  maker
mkt  market
Mkt gdnr market gardener
mldr  moulder
mlnr  milliner
mlstr  maltster
mng dir  managing director
mntr  mounter
moto  mortorman
mssr  messenger
mus  musical
mus tchr music teacher


n  north
n  near
n e  northeast
n s  northsouth
n s   north side
n w  north west
NR  Northern Railway
NRC   Northern Railway Company
nr  near


off  office
Ont  Ontario
op/opp  opposite
opr  operator


pc  police constable
Parlt  Parliament
pat med  patent medicines
pckr  packer
ped/pdlr peddler
photo/photr photographer
phy  physician
pl  place
plmbr  plumber
plshr  polisher
plstr  plasterer
pntr  painter
pntr  painter
pr  proprietor
pres  president
prin  principal
prntr  printer
prof  professor
prop  proprietor
provns/provs provisions
prsfdr  pressfeeder
prsr  presser
publr  publisher


r/res  resides [not owner]
r  rear
rd  road
Regd  Reginald
rep  representative
repr  repairer
rest  restaurant
ret  retail
Richd  Richard
Robt  Robert


s  south
s e   side entrance
s s  south side
Saml  Samuel
sch tchr school teacher
sdlr  saddler
se  southeast
sec  secretary
sec hd goods second hand goods
sew mach sewing machine
shpr  shipper
slsldy  saleslady
slsmn  salesman
smtrs  seamstress
soc  society
sol  solicitor
sq  square
Stand  Standard
statr  stationer
staty  stationery
stenog  stenographer
stero  stereotyper
stkpr  stock keeper
stmftr  steamfitter
stn  station
stu/studt student
suprvsr  supervisor
supt  superintendent
surg  surgeon
sw  southwest


tchr  teacher
tel  telepraph
tel opr  telephone operator
telph  telephone
ter  terrace
Thos  Thomas
tlr  tailor
tlrs  tailoress
tmstr  teamster
tnsmth  tinsmith
Tor  Toronto
trans  transportation
trav  traveller
treas  treasurer
trk drvr truck driver
twp  township

U & V 
uphol  upholsterer
v pres  vice president
vet  veterinary
vet sur  veterinary surgeon


w  widow of
w  west
w s  west side
wd wkr  wood worker
wh/whol  wholesale
w'hse  warehouseman
wid  widow
wks  works
Wm  William
wrehsemn warehouseman
wtr  waiter
wtrs  waitress

The A. Norman Sands Collection of Canadian Local History

February 6, 2015 | Katherine | Comments (0)

This post by Richard was previously published in the Toronto Reference Library Blog.

Norman Sands Bookplate

The bookplate belonging to A.N. Sands is affixed to many of the items in the collection

A. Norman Sands (1894-1979) was a veteran of WWI (48th Highlanders, Naval Air Service, and Corps Cyclist Battalion), a Director at T. Eaton Co. Ltd, and an avid collector of local history. With 50 Years of service at T. Eaton, he amassed a considerable collection of pamphlets, booklets, and ephemera from
all across Ontario and Canada.

Sands Collection CabinetsIn March 1971, Edith G. Firth, then Associate Head of the Metropolitan Toronto Central Library, contacted Norman Sands to express interest in his collection. The A. Norman Sands materials were subsequently donated to the library. The collection is now housed and available for research in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library

Things to know

A. Norman Sands collected Canadian church histories, local history pamphlets, travel brochures, souvenir booklets, and postcards, printed between 1890 and 1970.  The collection emphasize Ontario church history and histories of Ontario counties, towns, townships and tourist attractions. Churches, cities, and rural communities celebrating 100 year anniversaries trace their early roots, identify founding families, and comment on origins and changes in place names and district boundaries. Many items were produced as part of Canada's centennial celebrations.

The files contain travel brochures from the early part of the 20th century, but primarily issued in the 1950's and 1960's. Souvenir postcards are available for some large cities and popular tourist destination.

The Toronto files were expanded by including pamphlets for the period 1970-1999.

Geographic Arrangement

The Ontario files are organized alphabetically by country or district and then by town or township. Files for other Canadian provinces and territories are arranged from west to east coast, and then alphabetically by town or township. Large communities with more than 3 pamphlets have their own file folder. Topical files on churches, history, tourism, etc. are interfiled alphabetically with the corresponding province/territory or county/district.

Access to the Collection

The Sand's Collection is located on the 2nd Floor of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.  Please ask a librarian for assistance in browsing and retrieving the items you want to see. The Sands collection is in locked filing cabinets for security reasons. You will be required to fill out a retrieval slip in order to view materials in the library.

Items in the Sands collection are uncatalogued. However, a significant portion of the collection is duplicated in our regular collection and does appear on the Toronto Public Library (TPL) website. For example, the Souvenir Book authored by St. Patrick's Church (Phelpston, Ont.) in 1965, is in the Sand's collection and is also at the North York Central Library. Whereas, Women in the Church, compiled by the Local Woman's Associations of Simcoe Presbytery in 1957, is only located in the Simcoe folder in the Sand's collection and is not in the regular collection or on the Toronto Public Library website.

Finding Aids

You can view a county list of Ontario coverage here: Download The Sands Ontario County Index (PDF).  If you know the town name but need the county name Download The Sands Ontario Towns & Cities Index (PDF). For a listing of files outside of Ontario for the rest of Canada Download The Sands Index of Other Provinces (PDF).

Size of the Collection

There are over 500 place names listed for Ontario alone, and over 200 place names listed for the rest of Canada. While some folders may contain only few pieces, other folders contain over a dozen. A sampling of two of the drawers would suggest that the collection exceeds 2,700 items, in roughly 25 linear feet or 7.5 metres of storage.

One dozen examples . . .

Toronto:

Order of Service St. James' CathedralA special service at Toronto's St. James cathedral was held to commemorate the coronation of George V and Queen Mary in June of 1911.

The Internet Archive has digitized the form and order of the service  of the actual coronation in Westminster, on Thursday, the 22nd day of June, 1911, which includes the Oath taken by George V.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto Visitors' Guide

This map brochure, printed by the TTC in the mid-20th century before Toronto had subways, shows Routes and Rates of Fare for Street Cars, Buses, and Coaches.

The back page notes, "The Commission is required to collect a self-sustaining fare. No taxes have been or may be collected for the support of the system...in addition to the city transit system, the Commission owns the Gray Coach Lines, with interurban bus routes radiating from Toronto to Buffalo, London, Owen Sound, Alliston, North Bay, Beaverton, Uxbridge and Oshawa...(and) also owns the suburban electric line to Long Branch and the Scarboro and Port Credit bus routes".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dominion Bank King & Yonge

This pamphlet [no date] details the construction of the Dominion Bank Building at 1 King Street West at Yonge in 1913 in an area of the city that "was considered at the time to be the busiest corner in America outside of New York City".

The building includes a great vault "which, when constructed, was the largest and best equipped in Canada".

To enter the Safety Deposit Vault, "it is necessary to pass through one of the largest and heaviest doors ever built. It is circular in shape, four and one-half feet thick and has an opening of seven feet six inches. Although the complete door assembly weighs in excess of forty tons, the precision is so fine that a paper clip accidentally dropped in the opening will halt the door from closing".

The building is now part of One King Street West, a hotel and condominium development (2005).

 

 

 

 

 


Official Guide to TorontoThis Official Guide (46 pages), published in 1899, describes Toronto in classic Victorian style, and includes an Historical Sketch, a section on Municipal Progress and Government, Public Buildings and Institutions, etc.

The Guide boasts of the recently built City Hall...the "total cost (not yet definitely settled) is estimated at about $2,500,000, for which one of the finest buildings on the continent has been secured...it is in the Romanesque style and is of magnificent proportions'.

The Guide also highlights many of Toronto's other accomplishments: "The water supplied to the City is of excellent quality, and is taken from the depths of Lake Ontario by a steel conduit, through which it is forced by pumping engines having a capacity for pumping more than 40,000,000 gallons daily. The supply is stored in Rosehill Reservoir, which covers a bottom area of more that 40,000 square yards, one-third of which is laid with concrete, and around the banks of which is one of the loveliest of Toronto's many lovely parks."

 

 

Secord Secretarial School for Girls

A real piece of ephemera, this little booklet outlines: the purpose of the Secord Secretarial School for Girls, the course offerings (Secretarial - Stenographic - Business Machines), the time required for each type of course (12 weeks to 10 months), the Tuition fees ($5/wk or $18/mth) School Hours, description of subjects, and employment prospects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario:

Muskoka Lakes

This CNR fold-out four page brochure, with no date, was possibly printed in the 1910's. It includes a listing of over 90 hotels in the area along with accommodation capacities. Rates on the "American Plan" range between $2 and $4 per day or $12 to $31.50 per week. Listed are famous hotels that went up in flames: the Beaumaris Hotel (1945), Royal Muskoka Hotel (1952), and the Windermere House (1996).

 Women in the Church"In the following pages", this 47 page booklet begins, "may be found the History of some fifty-five local Woman's Associations of Simcoe Presbytery compiled by ladies searching through old minute books and any other source they could find available." The economic contribution of these Associations is one of the recurring themes of these accounts e.g. the "Treasurers' Reports since 1891 show a total amount raised during those 66 years of $113,995.90" - St. Paul's United Church Woman's Association, Orillia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



These sixty years

One of the many Church Histories in the collection.

"The pages which follow are intended to indicate the trends and high points which sketch, in briefest outline, the story of "These Sixty Years". The publication of this brochure is timely, if only as a record of facts of historical value, though it is more than that. It is a story of Vision; of devotion to God and the fruits of the investment of love and labour."

"Ours the task sublime
To build Eternity in Time!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canada:


Canadian Memorial ChapelThis Chapel in Vancouver was constructed as a memorial to those who died in WWI. 

REV (Lt-COL) G. O. Fallis, CBE, B.D. is identified as the "Man with a Vision", who was responsible for raising the money for the building. He served as the minister until 1933.

The booklet describes the 10 beautiful stained-glass windows representing the provinces and one territory ..."Keep in mind the thought that the soldier went overseas dreaming of a peaceful world to be. Think of him as he was in that strange environment, and remember the suffering of those who remained behind". Note that Sir Robert Borden, our eighth Prime Minister, is listed as the Chapel's first patron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cathedral Church of the Redeemer

Another example of one of the many church histories; this one is for a church in Calgary.

The church pictured replaced an earlier wooden church built in 1884. The replacement of church buildings is a common recurring theme in these sorts of church histories.

"The cornerstone of the present Church was laid by His Excellency, the Earl of Minto on September 9th, 1904".

 

Charlevoix, Chicoutimi, Lake St. Jean

This guide with a beautiful cover, published by the Québec Tourist Bureau in 1940, includes a formal looking Invitation "to Our Friends from the United States of America".

"Your President, Mr. Roosevelt, declared in a recent official statement that no deterrent to travel exists among the friendly nations of the Western hemisphere, and he then proclaimed 1940 Travel America Year."

The invitation is signed by, "Adelard Godbout, Prime minister of la Province de Québec".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irving Oil Travel GuideIrving Oil expanded across the Maritimes in the 1930's.

"This booklet is one of a series, developed by the Irving Oil Company Limited, for your information and pleasure, covering all principal cities, main routes and points of interest throughout the three Maritime Provinces. Ask for these and for the Irving Road Map of Eastern Canada at any station identified by the Irving Sign".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the above examples illustrate, the A.N. Sands collection is a treasure trove of documents of potential interest to a wide range of researchers across many disciplines.

 

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.