World War II Posters: 5 Things They Told Canadians To Do

November 8, 2019 | Ann

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Below are posters — also known as "broadsides" — from Canada during the Second World War. They're all from Toronto Public Library's vaults (well, shelves, not actual vaults) and available on Digital Archive Ontario. Made by different government agencies, this batch of World War II posters generally promote one of...

Ghost Towns of Ontario

October 30, 2019 | Marie

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Now-defunct Canadian Northern Railway in 1910, linking Sudbury mines to other parts of Canada from Quebec City to Vancouver. Toronto Public Library. Imagine you're on a road trip, driving west along the Trans-Canada Highway toward Sault Ste. Marie. Being the passenger, you're tasked with handling the GPS device. As you...

Going Nuclear in Canada (Includes Rare Photos of Chalk River Laboratories)

August 12, 2019 | Marie

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Technician using a Geiger counter to measure radioactivity of various items at Chalk River in 1948. Toronto Star Photo Archive. What comes to mind when you hear the word “nuclear?” Many remember hiding under school desks as nuclear conflict loomed during the Cold War. Today, we might think of North...

Remembering Toronto’s First Automated Traffic Lights: August 8: Snapshots in History

August 9, 2019 | John P.

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The City of Toronto’s history of traffic management has had some interesting milestones, beginning with the institution of Toronto’s first automated traffic lights at Bloor Street and Yonge Street, the heart of the downtown city core, on August 8, 1925. Page one of the August 8, 1925 issue of the...

Pride IS Political: Historic Photos of Queer Toronto

July 8, 2019 | Marie

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Stonewall: Celebrating 50 years of activism Another Pride week has come and gone in Toronto, and this year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the beginnings of the Gay Liberation Movement. For this special occasion, I decided to do some digging into the Toronto Star Photograph...

Ontario's Cottage Country: A Bit of History

July 2, 2019 | Sam

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As summer weather comes to Ontario, many people hit the road to "cottage country." You may have a favourite hotspot to enjoy the outdoors — but do you know how the region developed into what it is today? Each area has its own unique history (including its Indigenous land status,...

Photos from Our Archives: Summer in Ontario

June 20, 2019 | Ann

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June often marks the start of summer weather in Ontario, whether it's 2019 or 1919. Below is a sample of old — and not so old — summertime photos from Digital Archive Ontario (including digitized images from the library's Toronto Star Photograph Archive). They span several Ontario communities, all evoking...

Researching the History of Your House in Toronto

June 13, 2019 | Barbara Myrvold

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Queen Street East, southeast corner of Waverley Road, 1903 Researching the history of your Toronto house, or any other building in the city for that matter, can be a rewarding, though sometimes frustrating activity. Fortunately many resources are available online, so that some of your research can be done at...

Cornwall: From Loyalist Village to Industrial City

June 11, 2019 | lfeesey

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Situated on the St. Lawrence seaway, Cornwall is Ontario’s easternmost city. It's also a port-of-passage joined to the United States by the Three Nations Crossing on Cornwall Island, which is inside the Ontario portion of the Mohawk Akwesasne reserve. Cornwall was settled on the land of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians,...

How to Find Old Pictures of Ontario Online

May 27, 2019 | David

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This post is part of Digital Literacy Week at Toronto Public Library, a week long celebration of Toronto's digital skills and technology capabilities. Below is a list of websites to help you find vintage images of Ontario. These images include photos as well as sketches, paintings, maps, postcards, posters and...