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Toronto resources for remembrance

As family historians, we often mark Remembrance Day by discovering and sharing pictures and stories of men and women who went to war—whether they are our own relatives or other individuals who have touched us in some way. And there are some wonderful tools available to help us research and commemorate those who served.

Key free Canadian research sources include the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and the Canadian Great War Project. Many commercial databases also offer free access to some of their collections during the Remembrance period. Find out more about how to research Canadian military heritage on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Excerpt from city directory

The Toronto City Directory 1919, Might Directories Ltd. Public domain. Toronto Reference Library. Online at archive.org.

If you are researching the military history of someone from Toronto, or another urban centre, be sure to check the city directories. Most directories include both a list of residents arranged by street and an alphabetical list of residents, often with additional details about occupation and employer. Take a moment or two to look up one of the Toronto directories issued during the war years, and see how many household members were listed simply as being “on active service”.

Digital images of all Toronto city directories up to 1969 are now freely available through the Toronto Public Library website or the Internet Archive, and you’ll find a quick chart of links to the digital versions on our City Directories page.

Thanks to the power of open data and modern mapping technology, you can also explore the impact of war on Toronto streets and neighbourhoods through a series of searchable interactive maps. These maps, hosted on the Global News website, were produced with the help of volunteers using addresses recorded for those who died in World War I, World War II and the Korean War, and are a stunning visual representation of “grief’s geography”.

And finally, visit our For King and Country website to learn about war memorials in Toronto schools. Search our growing database of names of students and staff honoured on school memorials, find out about the history of the schools and communities, and access a range of Canadian military research links.

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