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Biographical Sources

Beyond the standard biographical collections like Who’s Who in Canada and individual biographies of prominent individuals, there are several sources of compiled biographies and biographical indexes for quite ordinary Torontonians.

Here are a few of the most important.

Biographical Card Index at Toronto Reference Library (Social Sciences and Humanities, Floor 2) These cards index the collected biographies mentioned below, and several others, as well as an extensive series of scrapbooks of obituaries compiled by Library staff.

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York. J.H. Beers and Co.: Toronto, 1907.

History of Toronto and the County of York, Ontario. (2 vols) C. Blackett Robinson: Toronto, 1885. Volume 1, Volume 2

Middleton, Jesse Edgar. The Municipality of Toronto: a history. (3 vols) Dominion Publishing Co.: Toronto, 1923. Volume 1, Volume 3.

Robertson’s Landmarks of Toronto: A collection of historical sketches of the old Town of York… and of Toronto
This important series, published by historian and newspaper editor John Ross Robertson from 1894 to 1914, is based on historical columns and illustrations that appeared in the Evening Telegram. While they are a wonderful place to start, and although Robertson’s contribution to Toronto history is remarkable, he didn’t always get it right. Be sure to confirm from primary sources.

Volume 1, 1894

Volume 2, 1896

Volume 3, 1898

Volume 4, 1904

Volume 5, 1908

Volume 6, 1914