By-law Digitization Program - Going back in time
Each municipality had its own way of keeping records. Some by-laws are folded into small packets; others are large flat pages taken from ledgers. They were created on different sizes of paper, and often include large planning diagrams. The earliest are handwritten; others illustrate the improvements over time of typewriter technology.
Hundreds of hours have been dedicated to scanning old by-laws, starting from 1998 and working back. Now, more than 60,000 have been scanned. City Clerk's Office staff assessed which municipalities' by-laws were requested most often, and started with North York. Then Etobicoke was completed. The 320 boxes holding 43,790 former City of Toronto by-laws are now being scanned, page by page.
If a researcher requests a by-law that hasn't yet been scanned, staff will retrieve it and scan it out of order so a digital copy can be provided.
Scanned by-laws can be found in the By-law Status Registry, which includes a description, the date it was passed and when (or if) it was superseded, amended or repealed. Many Registry entries don't yet include a scanned image of the original by-law; in fact, the Registry is still a work in progress.