Gibson House Museum

Conservation / Preservation:


This archives contains

  • Early land surveys and the development of the province.
  • Diaries of David Gibson covering the years 1819 to 1864, and misc letters. These are typescript, originals are available on a case-by-case basis.
  • Misc documents surveying, reform politics, rebellion.


  • Mid-19th century objects used for tours and recreations: kitchen and housewares, weaving looms.
  • Gibson’s mid-19th century surveying equipment.
  • Mid-19th century furniture and other period pieces not necessarily owned by the Gibson’s are used to recreate the setting.

Public Programming:


  • Static exhibit is an experiential examination of mid-19th century homelife targeted to school-aged children.
  • Changing exhibit is often archival based. For example, displaying materials related to the 1834 survey of Toronto.

Re-enactments / Theatre

Experience based and offered to school aged children, looking at period living, food preparation and games.


Adult level classes on hearth cooking. Seasonal dining using 19th century recipes in theatre.

City of Toronto Archives



Government Records

The archives collects documents created by the City of Toronto government and by its predecessor municipalities that existed between 1792 and 1997, including records of councils, agencies, boards, and commissions.

Cities and towns included are the current City of Toronto 1998-Present, the former City of Toronto 1834-1997, East York 1924-1996, Etobicoke 1850-1997, North York 1922-1997, Scarborough 1850-1997, York 1792-1997, Brockton 1881-1888, East Toronto 1888-1909, Forest Hill 1924-1966, Leaside 1913-1966, Long Branch 1915-1966, Mimico 1911-1966, New Toronto 1913-1966,North Toronto 1889-1913, 1942, Parkdale 1879-1889, Swansea 1926-1966, Weston 1882-1966,West Toronto 1888-1910, Yorkville 1853-1883.

Non-Government Records

These records were created by a wide variety of groups and individuals, including interest groups, resident and ratepayers’ associations, clubs, social service groups, businesses, retired politicians and civil servants, artists, activists, families, and ordinary citizens. A complete list is available on the website.

Public Programming:


The archives has two exhibit spaces which features photographs and textual records from its collection. The smaller exhibit space highlights recent acquisitions, while the larger main-floor gallery explores changing themes, such as how immigrants in Toronto’s notorious slum “The Ward” were portrayed in the media, or the history of food production in Toronto. Main exhibits change annually and smaller ones change more frequently.


  • The archives’ descriptive database provides an online finding aid for its collection, and includes well over 10,000 digitized images of Toronto and its former municipalities, including photographs and maps.
  • Web Exhibits include such topics as, “The Earliest Known Photographs of Toronto”, “A Work in Progress: Preserving Toronto’s Architectural Heritage” and “An Infectious Idea: 125 Years of Public Health in Toronto”. The archives also has a Flickr account and a very active Twitter account.

Tours and educational programming

The archives’ educators provide curriculum-based programming for students in public and high school. For university or college students, they provide educational workshops on archival theory and practice using the archives’ collection, or on a specific research area which aim to provide students with the skills needed to conduct future research. Tours of the facilities are available to fit the visitors’ requirements.

Archives of Ontario



Ontario Government Records:

The majority of the records in the collections of the Archives were created by the government of Ontario and its predecessors in the fulfillment of its legal and administrative functions. These records date from the late eighteenth century to the present day concerning:

  • Political and legal decisions.
  • The evolution of provincial administration.
  • The interaction between the government and its citizens.
  • The rights and responsibilities of Ontarians.

Private Sector Records:

Since 1903, the Archives of Ontario has been acquiring records from the private sector. The Archives holds the records of over 2600 private individuals, businesses, clubs and associations, labour and political organizations. These collections can range in size from one or two items to thousands of items that occupy hundreds of metres of shelf space.

These records include:

  • Paper files, diaries and photographs.
  • Maps and architectural records.
  • Sound recordings and moving images.

Genealogical Records:

The Archives of Ontario holds many important sources for researching family history in Ontario. There is no single finding aid or database for this type of research.

Vital Statistics:

Historical registrations of births, marriages and deaths. No database yet exists that allows you to search these records by name. Rather, these records must be searched using microfilm.

Records Relating to Aboriginal Peoples:

The Archives of Ontario has a substantial number of records relating to aboriginal history, very widely scattered through the Archives’ total holdings. Dating from the 1760s, most focus on what is now Ontario. However, a reasonable number — for example, fur trade and missionary papers — refer to Aboriginal people of Quebec, other parts of Canada, and the United States


The J. J. Talman Library at the Archives of Ontario is a research and reference collection for the general public and the staff of the Archives. Most of the Library collections relate to the social, political, economic, cultural and military history of the Province of Ontario.

There are approximately 75,000 pieces including:

  • Books, pamphlets and Ontario Government publications.
  • Periodicals, microfilm, microfiche and other printed and published items.

Special Collections


The Archives of Ontario’s photographic collection consists of approximately 1.7 million images documenting activities, people, places and events in Ontario from the mid-1800s to the present.

These images come in many formats including: colour and black and white prints, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, slides, and glass plate negatives.

The Archives photographic holdings include images from many private sources such as: photojournalists, studio photographers, amateur photographers, and corporate collections.

The Archives’ photographic holdings also include images created by many Ontario government ministries and agencies to document programs and activities.

Photographs are accessed through the Reading Room.

Online Photographic Database:

A selection of images drawn from the holdings of the Archives of Ontario which document the province’s history and landscape. Images are continually being added to the database.

Cartographic Records:

The Cartographic Records Collection of the Archives of Ontario contains over 40,000 maps, plans, hydrographic charts, atlases, bird’s eye views, and other cartographic materials relating to the Province of Ontario. Many of these maps are in manuscript form and thus are unique items.

The Archives has significant collections of private cartographic records including those produced by or for: Lieutenant Governor Simcoe, Thomas Talbot, the Canada Company, and David Thompson.

The foundation of the collection consists of maps produced by and for the Government of Ontario, most notably the Ministry of Natural Resources and its predecessors. Maps in the collection span the period from the early eighteenth century, when Ontario was still part of New France, to the present.

The collection contains maps and plans documenting many aspects of the province’s history and development including:

  • Exploration maps, settlement maps and township and town surveys.
  • Road maps, fishing maps and boundary maps.
  • Electoral plans, fire insurance plans, and maps showing the location and distribution of various natural resources.

Architectural Records:

An extensive architectural records collection of approximately 200,000 drawings and other items, dating from the early 1820s to the 1990s. These records document Ontario’s built environment and heritage.

The collection consists of architectural materials created or accumulated for government purposes. An example would be the records of the Public Works Department, which was responsible for the construction of prisons, hospitals, special schools, and other facilities.

The Archives also holds architectural records created by individual architects or private sector firms. The scope of these records ranges from houses to factories to skyscrapers.

Documentary Art:

The Archives of Ontario holds a collection of approximately 4000 documentary art records that document the people, places and events in Ontario from the 1790s until the 1900s.

The collection contains paintings, drawings, and prints by both amateur and professional artists, such as: Caroline Armington, William Armstrong, Thomas Burrowes, Anne Langton, C. W. Jefferys, Stewart C. Shaw, Elizabeth Simcoe, Fred Brygden, Robert Sproule, Owen Staples, and Dorothy Stevens.

It covers a wide range of subjects such as views of small towns, famous and infamous people, and historical events.

Public Programming:


Several exhibitions that highlight the collections. The most recent online exhibits can be accessed directly from the website.

Applewood-James Shaver Woodsworth Homestead Foundation



The building, moved in 1980 to avoid demolition, serves as an example of the architecture of 19th century farmhouses in this region.


The interior of the homestead has been restored and furnished in the Victorian period of 1870-1890 (e.g. furniture and personal effects such as desks, china dolls, roll top desks, kitchen appliances).

Public Programming:


A tour of the main floor rooms and basement, with a slide presentation of the big move and restoration of the homestead.

Tours can also be tailored to a group’s interest, (i.e. J.S. Woodsworth, historic buildings, pioneer life, the Shaver Family, etc.).

Visitors may drop in and staff are available to answer questions.

Mackenzie House



Nineteenth century furniture and household items, as well as printing shop artefacts including a printing press built in 1845.


The Mackenzie House is a nineteenth century home which was once part of a terrace of houses. The house was constructed with a Greek Revival style between 1855 and 1858.

Public Programming

Programming includes walking tours of the downtown core, historic cooking and printing workshops, and special programs such as Hogmanay, Robbie Burns, Doors Open and Nuit Blanche. Mackenzie House participates in city-wide programs such as Luminato, Pride Week/Month and Contact Photography Festival. The site often partners with outside community groups to present programming and exhibits such as Archives of Ontario, Ryerson University and the Downtown Yonge BIA.


A modern gallery space hosts changing exhibitions covering different historical themes, such as William Lyon Mackenzie’s life,  Christmas in Toronto, In the Footsteps of Black Victorians, The History of the Black Press, Contact Photography Festival photos, and Read All About It: The First World War as Front Page News.


Mackenzie House offers guided tours of the historic house and re-created print shop.

Educational Programming

Mackenzie House offers curriculum based education programs for elementary, intermediate and high school and specialized programs for University and College students. Each are designed to complement a particular grade school curriculum, including the Grade 7 Rebellion program, Mackenzie’s Toronto walking tour, Black Press and Green Fields of Canada: the Impact of the Potato Famine on the City of Toronto.


Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto Archives

Conservation / Preservation:

Archives / Library

  • Episcopacy of the Archdiocese of Toronto – Administrative records of the Bishops, Archbishops and Auxiliary Bishops of Toronto documenting their ecclesiastical challenges and daily activities. This includes papers of Bishop Alexander Macdonell, who was the first bishop of the Diocese of Kingston, which from 1826-1840 included the territory of the current Archdiocese of Toronto.  The papers are described at the file or item level up to the end of Archbishop Pocock’s episcopate. Finding aids, including item level descriptions, are available for research use up to 1961, which marks the end of Archbishop James C. Cardinal McGuigan’s active episcopate.
  • Administrative Records of the Archdiocese of Toronto – Documents pertaining to the day-to-day business of the offices and agencies of the Archdiocese, including some subject based collections such as the World Wars, Catholic Cemeteries, Education, etc. The most commonly accessed collections are the Parish Historical Records, and Architectural Drawings.
  • Other Collections – Ancillary records regarding Archdiocesan committees and commissions, as well as Catholic institutions and organizations working within the Archdiocese.
  • Special Collections – Collections determined by material format. In the past, these items were often removed from other areas of the archives to facilitate preservation and access. Special collections (including photographs, rare books, artwork, textiles, and artifacts) enrich the administrative records of the other three parts of our holdings.


Examples of Special Collections include: Artifacts, Altar Stones, Diocesan Seals, Medallions, Papal Bulls, Relics and Textiles.

Public Programming:


Weekly posts to blog, The Archivist’s Pencil.


This archives provides reference service for phone and email inquiries as well as in-house research assistance. Researchers are welcome to book an appointment after consulting with the reference archivist and determining a course of research that is consistent with ARCAT’s policies.

Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives

Conservation / Preservation:

Archives / Library

The archives’ holdings date primarily from the early 1800s to the present, and consist of approximately 3,500 cubic feet of textual records, 15,000  photographs, several thousand hours of audio-visual recordings, hundreds of architectural plans, and more than a million pages of documents on microfilm, including,

  • Records of General Assembly and the National Office departments of the Church.
  • Records of Synods.
  • Records of Presbyteries.
  • Records of congregations from across the country.
  • Records of individual ministers, moderators, missionaries, college professors, and church officials.
  • Records of the various Presbyterian theological colleges.
  • Records of the Women’s Missionary Society and its predecessors.
  • Presbyterian periodicals / journals.
  • Several resources that may be helpful to family historians and genealogists, including local church records, microfilmed registers from across the country, reference books, biographical files, and private papers.

Public Programming:


Numerous online exhibits are available on the archives’ website: