website security

Census Records

Census records are important to genealogists because they capture a picture of a household—usually a family group—at a particular point in time. A census of the population of what is now Toronto was taken in 1842, 1848, 1852, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 and 1921. All of the extant records for those years have now been digitized and indexed and are available free of charge online. Most of the returns are also available on microfilm at several Toronto repositories, at Library and Archives Canada, and through FamilySearch.org. There is a good finding aid on the Library and Archives Canada website. Library and Archives film numbers which will also work at the Archives of Ontario and Toronto Public Libraries) are available in this online database.

For locations in the City of Toronto, the census was taken by ward. These census wards closely resembled the municipal wards. We have included links to maps showing the municipal wards for each census. City directories are also useful tools to find wards. Use the “streets” section.

The following list shows each census year and how the records can be accessed. PLEASE NOTE: All indexes and transcriptions may contain errors and omissions; always consult the original records!


1842 CENSUS

This census named only heads of household and summarized the rest of the household by age range and sex, but includes many columns of data including country of birth, number of years in Canada, occupation, etc. Because of the large size of the originals, you may find them easier to follow on microfilm.

NOTE: The nominal returns survive for the City of Toronto, but for Etobicoke, Scarborough, and York townships, only aggregate returns—without names—have survived.

1842 Map of Toronto showing wards (Look for saints’ names in large open capital letters.)

1842 IMAGES

The Library and Archives Canada microfilm covering Toronto, C-1344, has been digitized at heritage.canadiana.ca. It is presently identified incorrectly on that site as “Census for the Township of Augusta”. The Home District returns start at image 346. The Toronto nominal returns begin at image 378.

The same microfilm has been digitized at FamilySearch.org with additional navigation to take you to the specific geographic area, making it much easier to use.

On microfilm C-1344 at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario or through FamilySearch.org on film 281226 Items 18-22

1842 INDEXES

Library and Archives Canada – searchable by name of head of family, district and sub-district, and links to the image. However many Toronto names have been missed or incorrectly transcribed. We recommend using the microfilm, or digitized microfilm listed above.

FamilySearch.org – searchable by name of head of family, and occupation and links to the image. However this index was created from the same data as LAC’s, so many names have been missed or incorrectly transcribed. We recommend using the microfilm, or digitized microfilm listed above.

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries) Note: this index does not appear to include any Toronto names.


1848 CENSUS

Returns for the Home District (which contained Toronto) do not survive.


1852 CENSUS

Often referred to as the 1851 census, although it was enumerated in January 1852. The returns survive for Etobicoke and York Townships—Toronto and Scarborough are missing.

1852 Map of Toronto showing wards (Wards are shown as colour tints, but not named. Refer back to the 1842 map for ward names.)

1852 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

The Automated Genealogy index noted below links via a split screen with the LAC images.

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario or through FamilySearch.org on films 283615 and 283616.

1852 INDEXES

Library and Archives Canada (free)

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

FamilySearch (free)

Automated Genealogy (free)

OGSPI (free – partial transcription) – York

Eker, Glen. Jewish residents in Ontario according to the 1851-1901 censuses of Canada. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002


1861 CENSUS

Both nominal and agricultural schedules have survived. Be sure to read the extensive enumerators’ notes.

1862 Map of Toronto showing wards

1861 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario, or through FamilySearch.org on films 390221, 390222, 390224, and 390240-390251.

1861 INDEXES

Library and Archives Canada (free)

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

FamilySearch (free)

OGSPI (free – partial transcription) – York

Scarborough Census Indexes 1861-1891. Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Eker, Glen. Jewish residents in Ontario according to the 1851-1901 censuses of Canada. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002


1871 CENSUS

Considered to be the most complete surviving census. Be sure to consult all nine schedules. Find the household on the nominal index first; note the page number and line number of the head of household; then locate the schedules that match District, Sub District, and Division; your household will be identified by page and line number rather than by name.

1871 Map of Toronto showing wards

1871 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario

On microfilm through FamilySearch.org on films 349170-349173 (nominal returns), and 2230926 -2230935 (all other schedules)

1871 INDEXES

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

Two separate indexes are available from Library and Archives Canada (free)

  1. full nominal index for all provinces
  2. heads-of-household index created by the Ontario Genealogical Society (local knowledge of names and handwriting may be beneficial)

FamilySearch (free)

  1. 1871 Census
  2. 1871 Mortality Schedules

Heads-of-households index created by OGS (free) – online version or printed volumes available at libraries.

OGSPI (free – partial) – Toronto

Scarborough Census Indexes 1861-1891. Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Eker, Glen. Jewish residents in Ontario according to the 1851-1901 censuses of Canada. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002


1881 CENSUS

1884 Map of Toronto showing wards

1881 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario or through FamilySearch.org

1881 INDEXES

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

Library and Archives Canada (free)

FamilySearch (free)

OGSPI (free – partial) – York

Scarborough Census Indexes 1861-1891. Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Eker, Glen. Jewish residents in Ontario according to the 1851-1901 censuses of Canada. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002


1891 CENSUS

1891 Map of Toronto showing wards

1891 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario

On microfilm through FamilySearch.org

1891 INDEXES

Library and Archives Canada (free)

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

FamilySearch (free)

OGSPI (free – partial) – Toronto

Scarborough Census Indexes 1861-1891. Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

Eker, Glen. Jewish residents in Ontario according to the 1851-1901 censuses of Canada. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002


1901 CENSUS

The 1901 census is the first to supply birth dates (rather than just ages) and the first to give a year of immigration. Two schedules have survived. Find the family or household on the “Nominal return of living persons”; note the page and dwelling number to find the property on the “Return of buildings and lands, churches and schools”. The “Return of buildings…” is usually filmed immediately before the “Nominal return”. To access this additional information, you will need to use the microfilm or choose a digitized version that will allow you to scroll back to these pages.

1901 Map of Toronto showing wards

1901 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

The AutomatedGenealogy index noted below links via a split screen with the LAC images.

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Library and Archives of Ontario

On microfilm through FamilySearch.org

1901 INDEXES

Library and Archives Canada (free)

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

FamilySearch (free)

Automated Genealogy (free)

Eker, Glen. Jewish residents in Ontario according to the 1851-1901 censuses of Canada. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 2002


1911 CENSUS

1910 Map of Toronto showing wards

1911 IMAGES

Digitized images (free) at Library and Archives Canada

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

On microfilm at Toronto Reference Librar

On microfilm through FamilySearch.org

1911 INDEXES

Ancestry.ca (subscription required, or free at many libraries)

Library and Archives Canada (free)

FamilySearch (free)

Automated Genealogy (free)


1921 CENSUS

1921 IMAGES

Digitized images at Ancestry.ca (free from a Canadian ISP with registration – or access without registration through many libraries and at the Archives of Ontario)

1921 INDEXES

Ancestry.ca (free from a Canadian ISP with registration – or access without registration through many libraries)


© Jane E. MacNamara and Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society