Ontario History: 40 Colouring Pages from Our Special Collections
Toronto Public Library has 170,000+ digitized photos, books, maps and more. You can search these historical items on our Digital Archive Ontario. No library card needed.
We've transformed 40 Ontario-related items into colouring sheets. We hope you learn something new as you colour in history!
Full colouring book
Colouring pages 1 to 40
Single colouring pages
Colouring page 1
Waterfront Fish Market, 1838 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Around this time, a father and son fishing near Toronto Islands recorded earning one York shilling for a single salmon or a dozen whitefish.
Colouring page 2
Maitland's Wharf, 1838 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). This wharf changed names based on who owned or leased it, and is best known as Cooper's Wharf. Formerly at the end of Church Street, the site is now buried by infill.
Colouring page 3
General Store, 1840 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). In the early 19th century, general stores had floors covered with sawdust to absorb mud, molasses and tobacco juice.
Colouring page 4
Horse Ferry, circa 1845 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Did you know that horses on treadmills were used to power boats? This "horse boat" (also known as "team boat") travelled between Toronto and Toronto Islands.
Colouring page 5
Toronto Harbour, 1847 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). The harbour was a key area of settlement in what is now Toronto. The city is on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.
Colouring page 6
Trumpeter Swan, 1847 | PDF (Canada). Sketch by William Pope. He drew wildlife — especially birds — in what is now Ontario. Pope has been compared to American naturalist John James Audubon.
Colouring page 7
James Shaw's Hotel, 1849 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). From Landmarks of Toronto (1894), a book by John Ross Robertson, founder of two newspapers: The Toronto Daily Telegraph and The Toronto Evening Telegram.
Colouring page 8
Velocipede Rink, 1860 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Indoor velocipede (a type of bicycle) rinks were built in Canadian cities offering riders of the rough and rickety "boneshaker" bicycles a smoother surface to ride on.
Colouring page 9
Merit Card for Ontario Students, 1870 | PDF (Ontario). Public school teachers awarded students with these cards. There were four categories: "Diligence", "Good Conduct," "Perfect Recitation," "Punctuality."
Colouring page 10
Prince Arthur's Landing, 1873 | PDF (Thunder Bay, Ontario). Port Authur is named after Prince Authur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. He is the only British prince to have served as the Governor General of Canada.
Colouring page 11
Trade Card for Oil Merchants, 1875 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Trade cards were an early form of advertising popular in the late 19th century. Beautiful illustrations made them attractive to collect even at the time.
Colouring page 12
Chaudière Falls, 1876 | PDF (Ottawa, Ontario). Algonquin First Nation called these falls "Asticou," meaning "kettle" or "boiling water." Accordingly, French settlers called it "Chaudière," French for "boiler".
Colouring page 13
Elgin Square, 1880 | PDF (Ottawa, Ontario). Elgin Street, an Ottawa street with lots of history, now is home to life-size statue of Oscar Peterson, the famous Canadian jazz pianist (1925 to 2007).
Colouring page 14
Cottage in Financial District, 1880s | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Exact location: corner of Wellington Street and Bay Street. The home was owned by Andrew Mercer, a marriage issuer.
Colouring page 15
Old Ontario House, 1888 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Fun fact: according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest hotel in operation is in Japan. Nishiyam Onsen Keiunkan was established in 705 CE.
Colouring page 16
Post Office, 1888 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). This illustration by Owen Staples was based on an engraving in a newspaper from 1832 by painter Lucius Richard O'Brien (born in what is now Oro-Medonte, Ontario).
Colouring page 17
Ad for Organs and Pianos, 1890 | PDF (Bowmanville, Ontario). In addition to ads like this, one of the ways Dominion Organ and Piano Co. promoted sales of its pianos and organs was publishing free sheet music.
Colouring page 18
North Market, 1890 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). St. Lawrence Market now consists of what was the South Market, North Market and St. Lawrence Hall. The last of these hosted lectures by abolitionist Frederick Douglas.
Colouring page 19
Holy Blossom Temple, 1890s | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Founded in 1856, the Holy Blossom Temple is the oldest Jewish congregation in Toronto. The synagogue in this illustration was used until 1897.
Colouring page 20
The Old Peacock Tavern, 1893 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). This illustration is part of our Baldwin Collection of Canadiana (named after Robert Baldwin, who established responsible government in pre-Confederation Canada).
Colouring page 21
Summer Resorts Guidebook, 1895 | PDF (Canada). The first sentence reads: "So much ignorance prevails on the question of Canadian Summer Resorts, which to thousands are only known as names on the map."
Colouring page 22
Niagara Falls Stunt, 1900 | PDF (Niagara Falls, Ontario). On top of the platform in this illustration is Sam Patch. The American daredevil jumped near the base of Niagara Falls in 1829.
Colouring page 23
Thornhill House, 1900s | PDF (Thornhill, Ontario). This hotel was located in the village of Thornhill, which is now a community split between the City of Markham and the City of Vaughan.
Colouring page 24
Hamilton's Store and Post Office, 1907 | PDF (Mississauga, Ontario). With urbanization and the rise of the department store mail-order catalogue, general stores began to disappear in the mid-20th century.
Colouring page 25
Book Cover of Souvenir of Cobourg, 1908 | PDF (Cobourg, Ontario). In Cobourg's early history, the town's harbour on Lake Ontario was a key entry point for immigrants from Europe and the United States.
Colouring page 26
Alexander Muir Public School, 1909 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Muir is famous for the song "The Maple Leaf Forever" (1867). Though popular back then, its pro-British lyrics likely disqualified it as a possible national anthem.
Colouring page 27
Canadian National Exhibition, 1909 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Originally known as "Canada's Great Industrial Fair", the CNE changed to its current name in 1912.
Colouring page 28
Jesse Ketchum Public School, 1909 | PDF (Mississauga, Ontario). Among other ventures, Jesse Ketchum opened a tannery in what is now Toronto — it made leather for boots during the War of 1812.
Colouring page 29
Riverdale Public Library, 1910 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Opened in 1910, this was the last of four libraries constructed with a $350,000 grant by Andrew Carnegie to Toronto Public Library in 1903.
Colouring page 30
Sharon Temple, 1909 | PDF (Sharon, Ontario). Designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990, this site is now an open-air museum. It was constructed by a Quaker sect, Children of the Peace.
Colouring page 31
Collins' Hotel, 1910 | PDF (Vaughan, Ontario). This hotel has an unfortunate history. Andy Collins, its namesake, died after being mistakenly shot in a dispute at a nearby hotel. Collins' Hotel later burned down.
Colouring page 32
Chapman House, 1910 | PDF (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario). This house was built in 1816 by a master carpenter from nearby Fort George. The house was later used as a school.
Colouring page 33
Book Promoting London, 1910s | PDF (London, Ontario). The land where London is located has been home to Indigenous peoples including the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee and Lenni-Lenape Nations.
Colouring page 34
Book Cover of Souvenir of Guelph, 1912 | PDF (Guelph, Ontario). Guelph was named after King George the IV. The British monarch descended from the Guelph family of German lineage.
Colouring page 35
WWI Poster for Canadian Forestry Corps, 1914 | PDF (Canada). Canadian volunteers harvested lumber in Britain and France for the production of wooden paths, crates and underground supports.
Colouring page 36
Miller Tavern, 1915 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Known as the York Mills Hotel when it was built in the late 1850s, its long history includes being home to a gambling den in prohibition years.
Colouring page 37
Temperance Poster, 1920s | PDF (Canada). The temperance movement aimed to prohibit the sale of alcohol in Ontario. The movement succeeded (for a time) with The Ontario Temperance Act in 1916.
Colouring page 38
Union Station, 1927 | PDF (Toronto, Ontario). Construction started in 1913 but was delayed by the First World War. The current Union Station officially opened in 1927.
Colouring page 39
Meat Processing Plant, 1929 | PDF (Barrie, Ontario). Known as CAPACO, this plant was modeled on Danish co-operative companies. The building is now partly occupied by an antiques shop.
Colouring page 40
Book Cover of Afternoons in Utopia, 1932 | PDF (Canada). Collection of stories by Stephen Leacock poking fun at the genre of utopian fiction. Leacock taught and studied in Toronto.