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Research Guides

Canadian Studies

Subject Collections at U of T Libraries

Barren Lands Digital Collection

"This site documents two exploratory surveys of the Barren Lands region west of Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the area now known as Nunavut. Drawing on materials from the J.B. Tyrrell, James Tyrrell and related collections at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, it includes over 5,000 images from original field notebooks, correspondence, photographs, maps and published reports."

Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides

"This site provides access to the pre-1930 Canadian pamphlet and broadside holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library by supplying both page images in full colour, and full searchability of the contents of each item. [...] The collection includes items printed in Canada, by Canadian authors, or about Canadian subjects, mainly of a non-literary nature."

Canadian Poetry Online

Poetry, biographies, and bibliographies of more than seventy Canadian poets. Also provides information about literary events and awards, Canadian poetry journals and magazines, other poetry sites, and other related resources.

Canadian Printer and Publisher

This site contains the first 20 years of the most significant Canadian trade journal documenting the history of the printing and publishing industry.

Canadiana Collection, E.J. Pratt Library (Victoria University Library)

A collection particularly strong in 19th and early 20th century poetry, drama and fiction. Much of this material is rare and some items are unique. Includes historical and geographical works with a number of rare gazetteers and l9th century travel books.

Champlain Society Digital Collection

"The collection contains 101 of the Champlain Society's volumes (almost 50,000 printed pages) dealing with exploration and discovery over three centuries. It includes first-hand accounts of Samuel de Champlain's voyages in New France as well as the diary from Sir John Franklin's first land expedition to the Arctic, 1819-22."

Collection Franco-Ontarienne, OISE Library

"The Collection Franco-Ontarienne contains approximately 2,000 volumes, principally in the areas of Language and Education and covering topics such as the teaching of French as a first language, sociolinguistics and Franco-Ontarian history. Materials also include newsletters of organizations that serve Francophone educators, as well as Ontario Ministry of Education research reports."

Iacobucci Archives, Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies

The Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, located within the Department of Italian Studies of the University of Toronto, is a major resource for Italian-Canadian Studies. The Iaacobucci Archives site includes a searchable digital archive of primary source materials. Users must register first to search these archives.

Labrador Inuit Through Moravian Eyes

"This site provides information on the 250-year relationship between Moravian missionaries and the Inuit of Labrador. This interaction led to the establishment of settlements for a formerly nomadic people, their conversion to Christianity and exposure to aspects of North American culture. The information has been gathered from a variety of sources that shed light upon this unique adventure."

Ontario Historical Education Collection, OISE Library

"Includes numerous documents, mainly from the Ontario Ministry of Education (formerly the Ontario Department of Education) that cover the areas of elementary, secondary and teacher education in the Province from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. [...]  Access to the Collection is by appointment only."

Ontario Textbook Collection, OISE Library

"includes elementary and secondary school texts approved for use in Ontario circa 1846 to 1970, as well as some materials used in nineteenth-century schools which were not authorized by the Ontario Department of Education.  Supporting this collection are other holdings of textbooks including post-1970 texts deleted from the approval lists. [...] Access to the Collection is by appointment only."

Purdy Collection, Laidlaw Library (University College Library)

"This is a collection of about 3,000 Canadian literature books which once belonged to the Canadian poet Al Purdy."

Collections on Individuals at U of T Libraries

Manuscript Collections at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

The Library houses well over 400 manuscript collections covering a wide range of subject areas. Holdings range from a collection of about 40 third-century B.C. Egyptian papyri to papers of the co-discoverers of insulin: Banting, Best, Collip and Macleod; and finally to drafts, research notes, and correspondence of Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Leonard Cohen, Mazo de la Roche and Josef Skvorecky. The majority of their manuscript collections date from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries and pertain to Canadian historical, literary, artistic or scientific fields.

Special Collections, E.J. Pratt Library (Victoria University Library)

Victoria University Library maintains a number of special collections in various subject areas. Included in their collections are printed books, manuscripts and papers for a number of Canadians, such as Norman Jewison, Northrop Frye, Peter Jones, and David Gilmour.


Special Collections at Toronto Public Library

Baldwin Collection of Canadiana

The Baldwin Room houses an extensive collection of primary source material on the history of Canada. It is part of the Special Collections, Genealogy and Maps Centre of the Toronto Reference Library.

Special Collections in the Arts

The Special Collections Centre at the Toronto Reference Library includes  Canadian theatre materials such as manuscripts, posters, playbills, p[hotographs, and stage designs.

Historicity: Toronto Then and Now

Toronto Public Library's information portal about Toronto.


Guides to Special Collections

Directory of Special Collections of Research Value

Lists special collections of research value in libraries across Canada. Collections must be recognized as an important resource at the provincial, regional, and/or national level and be considered significant within a discipline.

Guide to Oral History Collections in Canada

Printed guide published in 1993, available at U of T Libraries.


ARCHEION: Ontario's Archival Information Network

An online research tool providing access to descriptions of archival fonds and collections held by members of the Archives Association of Ontario. You can search their online catalogue of descriptions of records (textual and media) located in archives across Ontario.

Archives Canada: Canadian Archival Information Network

Archives Canada is a gateway to archival resources found in over 800 repositories across Canada.

Archives of Ontario

  • Rich resource for the study of the history of Ontario and its people
  • See "Our Collections: An Overview" for the type of documents collected

Canada's Digital Collections

  • Digital Canadian content of local, regional and international interest
  • Digitized between 1996 and 2004

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

"With a focus on Canadian content, the CLGA acquires, preserves and provides public access to information and archival materials in any medium. By collecting and caring for important historical records, personal papers, unpublished documents, publications, audio-visual material, works of art, photographs, posters, and other artifacts, the CLGA is a trusted guardian of LGBTQ+ histories now and for generations to come."

City of Toronto Archives

Visit the City of Toronto Archives to use a wide range of documents about the social, political, economic, natural, and built history of Toronto.