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Digital Archive

The Digital Archive includes rare historical pictures, maps, manuscripts, ephemera and digitized books from our Special Collections for research, study and discovery.


Frozen Ocean

Sought for centuries by explorers, the fabled North-west Passage became for many an obsession. Browse colourful maps, beautiful illustrations, posters and books in this online exhibit.

Toronto: A Place of Meeting

Celebrating 10,000 years of Toronto history, this virtual exhibit is divided into five eras, beginning with the first human presence in the city 8000 BC and ending in 2003. Explore the city's past using a map or a timeline.

Learn more about our Special Collections

Located in the Special Collections, Genealogy and Maps Centre on the 4th floor of the Toronto Reference Library, the Baldwin Room houses an extensive collection of primary source material on the history of Canada.

Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books has over 80,000 rare and notable modern children's books.

The Toronto Reference Library has one of the world's foremost collections of library materials devoted to the life and work of Arthur Conan Doyle. Much of the collection, of course, is devoted to Doyle's most famous character, Sherlock Holmes.

How to buy prints

Special Collections of the Toronto Public Library

Rare and valuable materials are collected and preserved for current and future research.
Special Collections can be found at the Toronto Reference Library.The Osborne and Merril Collections are located in the Lillian H. Smith branch.

View the Special Collections