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Digital Archive

The Digital Archive includes rare historical pictures, maps, manuscripts, ephemera and digitized books from our Special Collections and other library 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 Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library, the Baldwin Collection of Canadiana 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.

Explore a selection of digitized treasures from the Toronto Public Library's Special Collections. Virtually turn the pages, zoom in on the images, and find related texts, images and sounds.

A student learning resource for Ontario's history from the 1820's to the 1970's. Includes primary documents such as pictures, pamphlets, speeches, wills, diaries, thematic maps, clippings, and more.

This educational tool for Ontario Grade 7 and 8 students and their teachers features a digital collection of 19th century books including almanacs, yearbooks, schoolreaders, and pioneer guides that come to life with an interactive, page-turning user interface and fun facts about each item.

Online exhibits featuring items from the library's Special Collections.

Images and other resources on William E. Logan, Canada's first great scientist and founder of the Geological Survey of Canada.

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