Your City

What's in the Archives

What's in the Archives

The Archives holds a wide variety of government records (Council minutes, departmental files, reports, etc.) as well as non-government records (photographs, letters, architectural plans, and so on) that may help you in your research.

Our descriptive database is a good place to start, or see below for a general overview of our holdings.

Norman James with several different types of cameras.


The Archives has 1.25 million photographs, dating from 1856. Here are some highlights.

Coloured map of Toronto streets.


The City of Toronto Archives has over 10,000 maps and aerial photographs in its collection.

Text from city directory.

City directories

City directories give the name and occupation of the "head of the household"  at an address in a given year.

Assessment roll entry showing property owners.

Assessment rolls

Assessment rolls give a wealth of information about Toronto citizens and properties.

Section of by-law.


By-laws are municipal laws passed or amended by Council.

Building permit.

Building permits

Building permits provide information about property owner, building materials, architect, use, and cost of a structure.

Rolled government records on the shelves of the Archives.

Government records

The Archives collects documents created by the City of Toronto government and by its predecessor municipalities that existed between 1834 and 1997.

Link to non-government records showing examples of different media.

Non-government records

The City of Toronto Archives collects non-government records that complement the government records and help create a more complete view of Toronto's history.

Colour drawing of Rinso package from an advertisement

Records by topic

A list of highlights from the collection of the City of Toronto Archives arranged by topic.