Since its establishment in 1883, the Toronto Public Library has collected historical materials, resulting in large and significant collections. Digitization of these collections enhances access and use of these resources for research, exploration and enjoyment, while preserving fragile originals.
The Toronto Public Library Digital Collections website brings together a variety of primary and secondary source materials from the Library’s collections. This is an ongoing programme created to digitally capture and provide online access to the Library’s rare and special collections to further historical research and personal study. Several text-only databases are also provided.
The digital collections content provided on the Digital Collections website is also provided on other specialized Library websites, including Historicity: Toronto Then and Now , Canadian Theatre Record, and Ontario History Quest that offer digital collections and other resources.
These include digital images of books & printed text, city directories, manuscripts, maps and pictures. Each item is provided with a full description. Full text searching is provided for most records. They may be searched using a number of search terms and search options. While the content is primarily related to Toronto, there are also thousands of images from across Ontario and several other provinces. Of note, each image has been indexed by city or town, and for Toronto materials, also by region and neighbourhood name. More digital images and formats will be added to the Digital Collections website over time.
These include a variety of specialized index resources created by Library staff: the North York History Index, Canadian Theatre Record Production Index, TPL Collections Index, and the Toronto Neighbourhood Names Index.