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Service Update

All Toronto Public Library branches will be closed on Wednesday, July 1 for Canada Day.

Toronto Reference Library

789 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON
M4W 2G8


Branch has Telephone Typewriter Service Teletypewriter (TTY): 416-393-7100
*Sunday hours in effect from September to June
Branch Hours
Day Opening Time Closing Time
Monday 9:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.


Closest major intersection Yonge Street and Bloor Street. Located one block north of Bloor Street on the east side of Yonge Street.

Public Transit

TTC subway station Yonge. Walk to library north on Yonge Street.


Paid - parking lots on Cumberland Avenue, Asquith Ave and Church Street.


Map to library branch


General Features

Equipment for persons with disabilities

  • Book stand(s)
  • Braille writer (Perkins Braille typewriter)
  • CCTV (closed circuit TV also called print magnifer)
  • Computer with at least 29” clearance under table top
  • Computer(s) with screen magnification software (Zoomtext)
  • Computer(s) with screen reader software (JAWS)
  • DAISY player
  • FM amplification system
  • Height adjustable table or desk
  • Kurzweil equipment or software - computer with Kurzweil 1000 software and scanner
  • Magnifiers - hand held or stand
  • Page turner
  • Study carrels with at least 29” clearance under table top
  • Study tables with at least 29” clearance under table top
  • TTY telephone device for the deaf



  • Adult Literacy Materials
  • Art Room Collection
  • Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
  • Arts Department
  • Audio/Visual Lab
  • Audiobooks on CD
  • Baldwin Collection of Canadiana
  • Browsery
  • Business, Science and Technology
  • Career Information Collection
  • English as a Second Language Materials - Adult
  • Genealogy and Local History Collection
  • Government Publications
  • Humanities & Social Sciences Department
  • John Ross Robertson Collection
  • Language Learning Kits
  • Languages & Literature Department
  • Map Collection
  • Microforms
  • Picture Collection
  • Resource materials for people with disabilities
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Room
  • Urban Affairs Collection
  • Very large collection of books in other languages. In addition to those listed for Toronto Reference Library, the many languages of the Americas, Africa, the South Pacific and some languages spoken in Europe are not included - nor are languages with collections under 50 volumes.


  • Large collection in Arabic (books only), Chinese (books only), Czech (books only), Danish (books only), Dutch (books only), Estonian (books only), German (books only), Gujarati (books only), Hindi (books only), Hungarian (books only), Italian (books only), Japanese (books only), Korean (books only), Latvian (books only), Lithuanian (books only), Panjabi (books only), Persian (books only), Polish (books only), Portuguese (books only), Russian (books only), Spanish (books only), Swedish (books only), Tamil (books only), Turkish (books only), Ukrainian (books only), Urdu (books only), Vietnamese (books only)
  • Medium collection in Bengali (books only), Bulgarian (books only), Croatian (books only), Finnish (books only), Greek (books only), Marathi (books only), Norwegian (books only), Romanian (books only), Slovak (books only)
  • Small collection in Afrikaans (books only), Albanian (books only), Amharic (books only), Armenian (books only), Azerbaijani (books only), Basque (books only), Catalan (books only), Esperanto (books only), Frisian (books only), Hebrew (books only), Icelandic (books only), Indonesian (books only), Irish (books only), Kannada (books only), Macedonian (books only), Malayalam (books only), Maltese (books only), Serbian (books only), Sindhi (books only), Sinhalese (books only), Slovenian (books only), Somali (books only), Swahili (books only), Tagalog (books only), Telugu (books only), Thai (books only), Welsh (books only), Yiddish (books only)

Branch History

Year Details
1830 York Mechanics' Institute founded to promote adult education by providing a library, lectures and night classes; renamed Toronto Mechanics Institute in 1834, when the Town of York became the City of Toronto. Toronto's Historical Plaques
1833 Mechanics’ Institute Library housed in Timothy Parson's straw-bonnet and drapery warehouse on King Street between Yonge and Bay.
1846 Moved from rented premises to the second floor above the Court Street Fire Hall.
1854 Cornerstone laid for the Toronto Mechanics’ Institute’s permanent home, Church Street at the northeast corner of Adelaide Street East, 17 April.
1861 Toronto Mechanics's Institute opened at the northeast corner of Church and Adelaide streets. The building included a library with a separate reading room. Architects F.W. Cumberland & G. W. Storm.
1882 Ontario Free Libraries Act passed by the Ontario Legislature, the first such act in Canada.
1883 Toronto voters approved a free public library bylaw to establish a public library, January 1. Toronto Mechanics' Institute building and collections transferred to the new Toronto Public Library Board, March.