Toronto Archives

Doors Open

Visit the City of Toronto Archives for a jam-packed day of local history and behind-the-scenes exploring.

Saturday, May 27

10am, last entry at 4.30pm

Get an up-close view of some of the most remarkable and unique documents in the collection, with a special focus on the 150th anniversary of Confederation. See the types of records that unlock the mysteries of house and family history, meet the digitization staff to learn how records are preserved electronically, and discover how the online catalogue can be successfully navigated.

See the tools and techniques used by the conservator, and take part in some fun family conservation activities. The current exhibition, From Streets to Playgrounds: Representing Children in Early 20th Century Toronto will be on display, and in the afternoon children are encouraged to experience EarthPLAY, the POP UP outdoor children's adventure play activity, hosted by Earth Day Canada.

For our full list of events, see below

Ground Floor


From Streets to Playgrounds: Representing Children in Early 20th Century Toronto

Featuring archival photographs, video and artifacts, this exhibit paints a vivid picture of the lives of children in impoverished Toronto neighbourhoods such as 'The Ward.' Using rarely seen images, this exhibit demonstrates how social reformers of the time helped move children from the streets into structured, supervised and purportedly safer playgrounds.

Who lived in your house?

All homes have a story, and the Toronto Archives can help you discover the story of yours. Drop by the Archives table to learn how to research your house.

Community Wall

See Toronto photographer Eliot Wright’s study of our neighbourhood’s changing urban landscape in his photographic essay titled: On Dupont.

Spadina Room


Over 100,000 images from our collection have been scanned and made available on our website. Staff will be on hand to answer questions about how our collection is scanned and photographed.


See the tools and techniques used by our conservator to preserve the city’s archival records, and take part in a fun family conservation activity.

EastEnders - 12noon to 1pm

Archivist and owner of an inter-war semi-detached house, Lawrence Lee looks at the development of Toronto’s east end, with an emphasis on housing development after the First World War.

Second Floor

Viewing Gallery - Records Centre

Capacity for 123,000 boxes - almost 26 boxes for every seat in the Rogers Centre. Shelves are 36 feet high - that’s 3 storeys or over 23 miles of shelving!

Argonaut Rowing Club

See a small selection of material from the Argonaut Rowing Club collection. This donation to the Archives was made in 2015, and contains over 4,500 photographs, programmes, medals and other material, revealing the history of one of Toronto’s oldest sporting institutions.

Research Hall

Take this opportunity to see some of the city’s rarest and most precious documents. Celebrating 150 years of Canadian architecture, view original plans of some of Toronto’s most signicant buildings. You will also have the opportunity to talk to staff who can help you to discover more about our shared history.

Boardroom - 11am to 12noon and 1 to 2pm

Join an archivist to explore our website and online catalogue. Learn how to effectievly search for records, photographs and maps. Get navigation tips and lots more! 


Let the kids loose on our nature-inspired EarthPLAY pop-up adventure playground, hosted by Earth Day Canada.

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