Dogs in Our Digital Archive (Bark-ive?)

May 13, 2019 | Ann

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Archives of Ontario's wonderful exhibit ANIMALIA: Animals in the Archives inspired us. So we pawed through our Digital Archive Ontario to dig up items with a particular pet in mind — dogs. (Sorry, cat lovers!) A lot of items highlighted below are either from our large number of digitized early...

Recording Charles Smith: Notes on a Diary

Jonathan Locke Hart, a Canadian poet and literary scholar, is launching his new book, Unforgetting Private Charles Smith, at Ben McNally Books tonight. The book is based on a small diary that Hart came across in the Toronto Public Library’s Special Collections Department. Last week, Mr. Hart gave a sneak...

Inside General Stores of Ontario: A Step Back in Time

May 2, 2019 | Raya

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North of Village of Malvern (now Scarborough), circa 1880. Toronto Star Photograph Archive. It's 1886. You need flour to bake a loaf of bread to go with the beef stew you're serving for dinner. Where do you go? More than likely, the general store. General stores were the place to...

Remembering John Ross Robertson and the Telegram: April 18: Snapshots in History

April 18, 2019 | John P.

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On April 18 and beyond, those interested in Toronto history are invited to take a moment to remember journalist and philanthropist John Ross Robertson (Born: December 28, 1841 in Toronto; Died: May 31, 1918 in Toronto) who founded the Toronto Telegram newspaper on April 18, 1876. The Telegram ceased publication...

Ontario's Tuberculosis Sanatoriums, 1897-1960

April 18, 2019 | Sam

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“It is an appalling reality that, during the first five years of World War II, 36,000 Canadians died of TB, while 38,000 Canadians were killed by enemy action.” — Saturday Night newspaper, quoted in Katherine McCuaig's The Weariness, the Fever and the Fret Tuberculosis (TB) used to impact a huge...

Know Your Place: Finding Local Communities in Toronto's Online City Directories, 1837 to 1969

April 16, 2019 | Barbara Myrvold

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Toronto city directories are invaluable for researching local history, genealogy and other topics. Now, for the first time, there is an online guide – Places in Digital Toronto City Directories, 1837-1969 – to help researchers quickly find directory information about more than 100 former hamlets, villages, small towns, townships and...

Signs of Spring: Tremulous Eyes, Like April Skies

April 9, 2019 | Ann

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Saplings, 1994. Toronto Star Photograph Archive. (Subtitle is from the poem, "The Miller's Daughter" by Lord Tennyson.) Is it still chilly outside? Can we safely assume that temperatures will continue to rise? Is it reasonable to store away our scarves, hats and winter coats? These questions go through the minds...

Remembering the Ontario Legislative Building: April 4: Snapshots in History

April 4, 2019 | John P.

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The Ontario Legislative Building that adorns Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto at the present time was officially opened on April 4, 1893 (after six years of construction from 1886 to 1892) in an incomplete state by the then-Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, George Airey Kirkpatrick. The building was designed by British-American...

The Toronto Reference Library Archive of the Dead

April 2, 2019 | Beau

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I just finished reading Adam Bunch's The Toronto book of the dead (eBook), and above and beyond enjoying it as an interesting work of local history, I also found it engrossing on a professional level because many of the people who feature in these darker moments in Toronto's history are...

Remembering Toronto’s First Subway: March 30: Snapshots in History

March 30, 2019 | John P.

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Toronto’s first subway underneath Yonge Street officially opened on March 30, 1954. How did the print media capture the moment of that auspicious beginning? Wilfred List, writer of “$50,000,000 Bundle of Joy: TTC Nervous as Expectant Father” in the March 30, 1954 issue of the Globe and Mail on pages...