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City Directories

One of the most important and easy-to-use sources for Toronto research is the city directory. The first Toronto directory was published in 1833. The next one, published in 1837, included the whole Home District, and therefore all of today’s Toronto including rural areas. Others were published in 1843, 1846, 1850, 1856 and 1859. Directories were being published annually for Toronto by 1861.

Most directories contain an alphabetical list of inhabitants (usually heads of households and others working outside the home), and a list of occupants arranged by street. Be sure to browse the advertisements, business listings and other information to get a good picture of what your ancestor’s Toronto was like.

Toronto Branch Publications has published facsimile editions of the 1846 and 1850 directories.

Toronto directories from 1833 to 1999 can be found at the Toronto Reference Library. This is the easiest collection to use and is well worth a visit to the Library. The directories from 1833 to 1899 have been digitized and the more than 40 editions are each full-text searchable on the Toronto Public Library’s web site. Later Toronto directories (up to the 1920s) have been digitized as part of Internet Archive.

Use the following chart to link directly to these digitized directories.

1833

1837

1843-4

1846-47

1850-51

1856

1859-60

1861

1862-63

1864

1865

1866

1867-68

1868-69 or 1868-9

1870

1871-72

1872-73

1873

1873-74

1874

1875

1876

1877

1878

1879

1880

1881

1882

1883

1884

1885

1886

1887

1888

1889

1890

1891

1892

1893

1894

1895

1896

1897

1898

1899

1900

1901

1902

1903

1904

1905

1906

1907

1908

1909

1910

1911

1912

1913

1914

1915

1916

1917

1918

1919

1920

1921

1922

©Toronto Branch OGS and Jane E. MacNamara