History Links

The following is a list of links to external websites about Toronto, Toronto history, Ontarian and Canadian history, as well as some sites about U.K. locations pertaining to history. When a link is selected, it will open in a new browser window. To return to this page, close the new window. The links immediately following this paragraph will take you to different sections of this page; the small triangles in the left-hand column will return you to the top.



Toronto Resources

The official website of the City of Toronto City Hall’s web presence, with lots of good info and links. They have an excellent section on Toronto area museums here, and other resources of interest to local history buffs.

Toronto.com Essentially a commercial venture but it does provide things like weather, traffic, entertainment listings, webcam views, and lots of links.

Toronto Public Library Digital Collections A growing collection of digitized rare and unique Canadian materials, viewable online. York minutes (1797-1823) and York and Toronto city directories can be searched in a variety of ways.

City of Toronto Archives The website of Toronto’s official archival repository. Gives information about the archive’s holdings, location, opening hours, and exhibits/special events.

Heritage Toronto This organization is concerned with preserving Toronto’s heritage, both built and cultural. They offer a wide variety of programs and services including walking tours, lectures, award programs, maintenance of public monuments, and preservation of significant buildings.

U of T Celebrating 175 years Website devoted to the University of Toronto’s 175th anniversary, which took place in 2002. The site’s launch coincided with the release of a comprehensive and very readable book, The University of Toronto: A History, written by Professor Emeritus Martin Friedland of the Faculty of Law. Excerpts from the book are included on the site, along with many marvelous old photos.

Toronto’s First Post Office Profiled in the “buildings” section of this site, Toronto’s first post office on Adelaide Street is now a post office and postal museum. Site gives history, opening hours etc.

Campbell House Web Page Site dedicated to the home of William Campbell, an early resident of Toronto and Chief Justice of Upper Canada. The house is now a museum restored to the period. Website contains history of William Campbell and virtual tour of the house. Campbell House is one of the structures included in the “buildings” section of this website.

The Grange Operated by the Art Gallery of Ontario as a museum, the Grange was built in 1817 and has been restored to its mid-19th century elegance. The Grange is included in the “buildings” section of this website.

Black Creek Pioneer Village Recreation of an 1860’s rural village, complete with shops, homes and hosts in period costume. Website gives opening hours, admission, directions, etc., as well as a photo gallery and listing of upcoming special events.

Casa Loma Toronto’s own castle, built between 1911 and 1914 by wealthy financier, industrialist and military man, Sir Henry Pellatt. Casa Loma has been operated as a museum/tourist attraction for over sixty years by the Kiwanis Club. It is really worth a visit if you can get to Toronto. If not, their website is also top notch.

Doors Open Toronto Each year in May a growing number of Toronto’s most significant and interesting historic buildings are open to the public for two days, free of charge. Included are heritage museums that normally charge an entrance fee, such as Spadina House, and buildings that are not normally open to the public, like Ogoode Hall. A full list of participating buildings is on the website, with photos and information.

Toronto’s Past  Bruce Bell is a local playwright, actor and historian, who has a gift for bringing Toronto’s past to life in written and spoken word. His website contains some very interesting information on the history of the Old Town of York (today’s St. Lawrence Market area). Bruce is the official historian for St. Lawrence Hall and is involved in the erection of historic plaques in the area.

Muddy York Tours The website of a company that provides fascinating walking tours of Toronto that focus on the city’s early history. There are several different tours, each having a specific theme. A neat way to learn about Toronto’s past.

Pages of the Past  is a paid online archive of the Toronto Star newspaper. The database is searchable by keyword or date; For a fee you can view and download digitized images of the paper back to its inception in 1892.

Sylvana & Hans’ Toronto This “middle-aged, middle-class” couple (in their words) have put together a wonderful collection of photos and information about Toronto and its various neighbourhoods, places of worship, and unique features. Their website is quite vast in scope, including the above plus similar content for other parts of Ontario, Canada and the world.

Toronto’s First Synagogues This website explores the history of three of Toronto’s earliest synagogues – First Narayever, Knesseth Israel and Kiever Synagogue. An excellent website with a wealth of interesting and rare photos, historical documents and audio/video clips.

Ontario Resources

About Ontario – History Part of the Government of Ontario website. A good lesson in Ontario history from 400 years ago to the present.

Ontario Museum Association This website provides a listing of just about every museum and historical site in Ontario by region. Information about the museum is given, along with location, hours of operation, admission price, and a link to their website, if one exists.

Ontario Heritage Foundation Dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario’s rich and varied heritage, this organization is something like Heritage Toronto with a wider geographical mandate. They are also involved in protecting Ontario’s natural heritage, including endangered species and their habitats. Since 1956 they have erected over 1,100 plaques to commemorate people, places and events in Ontario’s heritage.

Archives of Ontario The website of the official archival repository for the Province of Ontario. Apart from detailing its holdings, the website has searchable databases and online exhibits that are very interesting and educational.

The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project McGill University has made available on the internet searchable digitized versions of Ontario county atlases from last quarter of the 19th century. The atlases consist of town and township maps, historical text, and residents’ names. An excellent resource for historians and genealogists.

Ontario’s Historical Plaques The creator of this site aims to place a photo of every historical plaque in the province (over 1,100 of them) on his website. Excellent site – a great history resource.

Historic Plaques of Ontario Transcriptions of about 800 historic plaques found around the province, searchable by region or by title.

Canadian Resources

Canadian Genealogy and History Links This is an excellent website of links to a huge variety of internet resources pertaining to Canadian history and genealogy. You can search the site to locate listings, or browse in a number of different categories, including provincial, military, cemeteries, census, and history.

Library and Archives of Canada The website of the Library and Archives of Canada, located in Ottawa, has much to offer both history and genealogy enthusiasts. It contains online exhibits, postal archives, history of the Canadian government, a section on Aboriginal Peoples, advice on how to trace your family history, and ArchiviaNet, an online research tool. The latter contains the 1871 head-of-household census index, a database of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from WW1, the Western Land Grants database, a database of British Home Children, the 1901 Census of Canada and the 1906 census of the Northwest Provinces.

Canada: A People’s History Website of CBC’s excellent television series of the same name. Site has episode summaries, broadcast schedule, merchandise available to purchase, and over 350 pages of historical content based on the series and accompanying book.

Canadian Museum of Civilization This website is vast in scope and includes sections on postal heritage, Canadian history, Mayan and Egyptian civilization, Folk Arts and Crafts, Canada’s varied cultural heritage including Native peoples, and archaeology. Also has links to its “sister” sites, the Canadian War Museum, and the Museum of New France.

Early Canadiana Online is a digital library providing access to nearly 2 million pages of Canada’s printed heritage. It features works published from the time of the first European settlers up to the early 20th century. About 500,000 pages of text are free to search; the remainder of the collection requires a subscription fee to view.

Charlottetown Conference of 1864 A great website about Canada’s Confederation, produced by a group of students in P.E.I. through an Industry Canada program. Learn all about the events leading up to the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, what happened at the conference, and its outcome. The site has bios of all the delegates, who were later known as the “Fathers of Confederation”, contemporary photos and documents, a bibliography, and links to related websites.

Canada at War

War of 1812 Website A really good website about the War of 1812 done by a Canadian fellow. It covers the conflict quite comprehensively.

Galafilm’s War of 1812 Website Another excellent and very professional website on the conflict between America and Canada, done by a company called Galafilm as a companion to their four part documentary series.

Canadian Soldiers of the First World War Part of the Library and Archives Canada website, this is an online database of the over 600,000 men and women who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during the First World War (1914-1918). The CEF database is an index to those personnel files, which are held by the National Archives. To date, over 800,000 images of attestation papers have been scanned and are available on-line.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Established in 1917 to keep the records and maintain the graves and memorials of members of the Commonwealth forces who were killed in the two world wars. Site contains the Debt of Honour Register, a searchable database of the personal and service details and places of commemoration for the 1.7 million service men and women killed in the wars.

The Canadian Virtual War Memorial Part of the Veteran Affairs Canada website, the Virtual War Memorial contains a registry of information about the graves and memorials of the over 116,000 Canadians who gave their lives for their country. Also contains photographs and memorabilia about individual Canadians.

British Isles Resources

Gillingham Museum The website of Gillingham Museum contains some interesting information about the North Dorset region where my Blackmore ancestors lived. The site gives a history of Gillingham, a bit about artist John Constable’s connection to the town, the coming of the railway in the mid 19th century, some archival photos, and information about the museum itself and its exhibits.

Images of Dorset This website contains over 1200 images of Dorset searchable by place, month or year. The man behind the photographs (and website) is obviously exceptionally gifted and we highly recommend a visit to this site.

Yorkshire Images The website of a very talented Yorkshire photographer named Brian Hill (one of his photos appears on my Pickard page).

The Yorkshire Dales A very informative site about the Yorkshire Dales area of England, where my Pickard ancestors came from.

Yorksview Described as “a website dedicated to the beautiful county of Yorkshire, England”, the site contains lovely photographs and accompanying historical text for nearly 40 different places in the county, including the town of Beverley, where my Pickard ancestors lived.

Beverley Minster Church The web presence of Beverley’s beautiful Gothic Minster, which dates from 1220.

The Dorset Page  Describing itself as “a guide to England’s most beautiful county”, this website has a wealth of material about the history, people, and locales of Dorset.

South Somerset  This website contains historical information and photographs of south Somerset towns and villages, including the ones associated with my Strode ancestors. Also provides info about accomodations and local attractions.

Workhouses.org.uk A fascinating website about the history of the workhouse in the U.K. If you think of “Oliver Twist” when you hear “workhouse”, visit this site and get a true picture of this once prevalent British institution. This is a really neat website!