First-Hand Accounts of a French Officer in Canada During the Late 17th Century

January 3, 2022 | lfeesey

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Note: This article includes historical materials from the collections of Toronto Public Library. Who tells the story, and how the story is told creates tensions when trying to present content written by settlers about Indigenous people. These materials can reflect offensive historic attitudes, and in some cases, were created by...

Celebrating Main Street Branch Centennial: Snapshots of the Last 100 Years

December 14, 2021 | John P.

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On December 16, 1921, Toronto’s Globe newspaper carried a small article entitled “New Library Opened at Main and Gerrard”: “East Toronto’s new Public Library, at Main and Gerrard streets, was opened last night for the adult population, but the children will have their initial function on Saturday. The building is...

Early Hollywood Star Mary Pickford and Her Toronto Houses

October 25, 2021 | Pamela

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As an early Hollywood actress, Mary Pickford (1892–1979) was one of the most famous people in the world. Pickford's introduction to acting can be traced back to the red brick house that she was born in on University Avenue in Toronto. This post features digitized postcards and photos related to...

Hiking in Ontario: Photos from Digital Archive Ontario

October 12, 2021 | Sam

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Fall is one of the best times of year to get out for a hike, a pastime long enjoyed by Ontarians across the province. Digital Archive Ontario offers a window into that history. It has over 100,000 digitized photos, maps, postcards and other items related to Ontario's past. Below is...

Toronto Islands in the Early 1900s: Postcards, Pictures and a Poet's Diary

August 16, 2021 | Fiona

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In the summer of 1900, a young poet named Marjorie Pickthall and her family rented a cottage on the Toronto Islands. During her stay at Golden Gate Cottage on Hanlan's Point, she kept a diary. Pickthall recorded her daily activities and fascination with the surrounding natural world. Inspired by passages...

Snapshot of Swimming History in Ontario

August 9, 2021 | Sam

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As the summer heats up, Ontarians cool down in the water! To find out where swimmers of the past made waves in the province, I turned to Digital Archive Ontario. It has over 100,000 digitized photos, maps, postcards and other items related to Ontario's past. Photo from our Toronto Star...

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse: History & Old Pictures

July 20, 2021 | Pamela

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Did you know that Centre Island is home to one of Toronto’s oldest buildings? That building is Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, completed in 1808. Here's an overview of its history — from the geological origins of the Toronto Islands to the lighthouse's spooky lore. This post features paintings, photos and other...

6 Posters Collected from the Streets of Toronto that Highlight LGBTQ2S+ History

June 14, 2021 | Nicole

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Did you know that Toronto Public Library has collections of ephemera — things like posters, flyers, brochures? These items offer fascinating glimpses into Toronto’s past. Here are just a few that capture community events, rallies, performances and spaces important to the city’s LGBTQ2S+ history. Clicking or tapping on each of...

Creased Receipts: Historical Receipts from Digital Archive Ontario

May 14, 2021 | Ann

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In the song "Best Regards", Quebec heavy metal band Voïvod's sings about unrequited love. They lament that not even "a creased receipt" was issued from an indifferent world. Unlike in that song, you can find lots of receipts on Digital Archive Ontario, our Ontario-facing database of digitized items held by...

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921–2021): Photographs from Our Collections

April 9, 2021 | David

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Buckingham Palace announced this morning that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh has died. Prince Philip was the longest serving consort of a reigning monarch in the Commonwealth, and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. Below are a selection of photos of Prince Philip from our Toronto...