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Toronto Research Tip: City directories

City directories are key sources for Toronto research. Most contain an alphabetical list of inhabitants, as well as an alphabetical street list identifying occupants at each address. By cross-checking both lists, you can find out where your ancestor lived at a particular date and with whom, and who else was in the neighbourhood. You may even discover what your ancestor did for a living and the name of his or her employer. Browse through the advertisements and other listings in the directories to really get a sense of the city at the time your ancestor called it home.

Bound hard-copy Toronto directories from 1833 to 2001 are available in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department reading room on the 2nd floor of the Toronto Reference Library. But you can also access most of these on-line from your home computer. Directories up to 1969 have now been digitized — some with funding from Toronto Branch — and can be accessed through the Toronto Public Library’s website. You’ll find more information as well as a handy chart with direct links to all the digital versions on our City Directories page.

Canadian Cleaning Co advertisement

Advertisement in Might’s Toronto City Directory, 1949. Toronto Public Library; digitized by the Internet Archive.

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7:30 pm Debt, Drunk & Disorderly: Ontari...
Debt, Drunk & Disorderly: Ontari...
Sep 28 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Debt, Drunk & Disorderly: Ontario Jail Records @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Debt, Drunk & Disorderly, Vagrancy, Prostitution, Theft, Assault, Insanity: Are You Sure Your Ancestors Were Never in Jail? No one wants a criminal at the dinner table, but finding one in your family tree can[...]
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7:30 pm Researching Imperial Soldiers
Researching Imperial Soldiers
Oct 26 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Researching Imperial Soldiers @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Researching Imperial Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the First World War When the First World War broke out in August 1914, Canada was immediately involved as a Dominion of the British Empire. Tracing the history[...]
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23
Mon
7:30 pm Great Moments in Genealogy
Great Moments in Genealogy
Nov 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Great Moments in Genealogy @ WEBINAR | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
In keeping with tradition, a number Toronto Branch members will be sharing “great moments” in their family history research in a series of short presentations. This year because of the global pandemic we are reaching[...]
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