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Digital Archive Ontario

Current and historical content, curated by Toronto Public Library

About Digital Archive Ontario

Digital Archive Ontario was previously known as the Virtual Reference Library until September, 2018.

Developed and managed with resources from the Toronto Public Library, Digital Archive Ontario (DAO) provides free access to digital material of historical importance to Ontario and Canada.

DAO is a unique and vast digital collection of high quality images including Ontario maps, fire insurance plans and views of towns and cities over time, culled from the Library's collection and dating back to the 1880s.

The site also offers universal access to extensive Canadian literary programming and librarian expertise.

Funding and Accountability

The annual budget for DAO's content development and management is $5.3 million. The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport contributes a $1.4 million grant and Toronto Public Library provides remaining funds from its operating budget.

Toronto Public Library annually reports to the Ministry on DAO usage, financials and future directions.


Between 2010 and 2015, usage of Digital Archive Ontario grew by 21 per cent.

YearOntario Reach - Visits1Pageviews2

1 Ontario visits to Toronto Public Library websites from outside Toronto.

2 Digital Archive Ontario items examined includes but is not limited to the following: Digital Archive Items, Blog Post Views, Video and Image views (YouTube & Flickr).