All terms used in this Acquisition Priorities document are as defined in the Acquisition Policy for the City of Toronto Archives.


This document is to be used in coordination with the Acquisition Policy for the City of Toronto Archives (approved in 2018). It provides additional information about the acquisition and disposal of archival records and documents, and outlines key areas in which we seek to build the Archives’ holdings.

Acquisition Priorities will be reviewed by Archival Services staff every five years or more frequently as required.

The City of Toronto Archives preserves and provides access to government records of enduring value regardless of media or format, that provide evidence of the decisions, policies, and activities of the City of Toronto and its predecessor municipalities. Archival Services also acquires, preserves, and provides access to non-government records that make a significant contribution to an understanding of the development of the City, its natural and built environment, and the people who lived, worked, or had an impact upon Toronto.

We are aware that there are gaps in our holdings and that some areas are not currently well represented. At the same time, some areas are very well represented and we do not require additional similar material. In addition, we are addressing the challenge of capturing born-digital records effectively and efficiently, and ensuring their ongoing preservation.

The following areas have been identified (2017) as weaknesses in our holdings, and we are therefore receptive to donation offers that reflect the following subjects:

  • ¬†Toronto’s diverse communities
  • Toronto’s neighbourhood or grass roots organizations
  • Toronto’s music scene, particularly relating to jazz, folk, and punk music
  • Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods, for example, Rexdale, Flemington Park, Malvern, etc.

The following are areas for which we currently have sufficient representation, and are not seeking to add additional records or documents:

  • Architectural records (drawings and business records) from the second half of the 20th century. Photographs of the built environment, however, are welcome
  • Administrative and fund-raising records of large arts organizations
  • Transit-related records post 1950
  • Artistic works, particularly photographs, that are conceptual in nature, rather than documentary in nature
  • Material with no link to the history of Toronto or former municipalities
  • ¬†Material which duplicates or is similar to existing holdings
  • Material which duplicates the holdings of other repositories or is available on the internet
  • Readily available published material (unless relating to Toronto), including books and articles available online
  • Material relating to routine activities, regardless of whether these activities occurred in Toronto, or were undertaken by Torontonians
  • ¬†Photocopies or facsimiles of archival material
  • Material in languages other than English, unless the material, with assistance from the donor or another resource, can be adequately described in the Archives’ database
  • Material in any form which we do not have the capability to preserve and make available to the public. For example: obsolete formats of audio-visual or electronic records, or records that are so fragile that they cannot be handled

Such items may, however, be retained if they form an integral part of an archival fonds or collection.