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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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Toronto Branch Meetings

Jun
25
Mon
7:30 pm Yes, There Was An Argument!
Yes, There Was An Argument!
Jun 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Yes, There Was An Argument! @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
YES, THERE WAS AN ARGUMENT! Speaker: Bonnie Bell Godfrey Addison Argument, known as Ed, was born in Toronto, August 28, 1921, and died in Belgium on September 17th, 1944 at the age of 23 after[...]

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Aug
8
Wed
7:30 pm The 2018 Toronto History Lecture
The 2018 Toronto History Lecture
Aug 8 @ 7:30 pm
The 2018 Toronto History Lecture @ City of Toronto Archives | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
BATTLE OF THE HUMBER: CANADIAN CYCLISTS AND BASIC TRAINING IN TORONTO, 1914–1916 Speaker Ted Glenn will draw on his forthcoming book on Canada’s Great War Cyclists when he presents the eighth annual Toronto History Lecture.[...]

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