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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

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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Toronto Branch Meetings

7:30 pm York’s Underground Railroad
York’s Underground Railroad
Feb 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
York's Underground Railroad @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
YORK COUNTY AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD  Speaker: Guylaine Petrin  In honour of Black History Month, Guylaine Petrin will give a special presentation on York County and the Underground Railroad.  During the last 30 years, York[...]
7:30 pm Records of Migration at the AO
Records of Migration at the AO
Mar 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Records of Migration at the AO @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
RECORDS OF MIGRATION AND SETTLEMENT AT THE ARCHIVES OF ONTARIO: Speaker: Jane E. MacNamara Since its founding, Ontario has been involved in supporting and promoting settlement. This lecture will look at the major groups of[...]
7:30 pm Closing the Loop
Closing the Loop
Apr 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Closing the Loop @ Lansing United Church | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
CLOSING THE LOOP: THE LONG JOURNEY TO RECONNECT WITH A UKRAINIAN FAMILY Speaker: Terry Maurice Researching Eastern European genealogy presents many daunting challenges to the family historian. Unfamiliarity with the languages, history and geography of[...]

Courses starting & Workshops

4:00 pm Hands-On Land Registry Records
Hands-On Land Registry Records
Feb 13 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Hands-On Land Registry Records @ Archives of Ontario | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
Course runs on two Thursdays: February 13 and 20, 2020. Registration is required.  Sorry, this session is now fully booked. Click here to add your name to the waiting list. Once land was granted by[...]
6:30 pm Genealogy Resources in TPL’s Cat...
Genealogy Resources in TPL’s Cat...
Mar 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Genealogy Resources in TPL's Catalogue @ Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1 | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2020 Co-sponsored by Toronto Public Library. The Toronto Reference Library contains many excellent genealogy resources. This hands-on class will demonstrate how to use the Toronto Public Library’s online catalog to find items[...]
10:00 am TRL Genealogy Collection Tour
TRL Genealogy Collection Tour
Apr 23 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
TRL Genealogy Collection Tour @ Toronto Reference Library, 2nd Floor | Toronto | Ontario | Canada
This tour is now full.  Please email us at to be put on the waiting list. TOUR OF THE GENEALOGY COLLECTION AT THE TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY Co-sponsored with the Humanities and Social Sciences Department[...]

Did you know?

That Toronto Branch OGS has more than 600 members? That members get a discount on publications, and course and workshop registration fees?