Original historical materials are stored in our Records Centre. See Using the Database for instructions on searching and requesting records.
To access records, an appointment to the Archives is recommended.
Access to some materials is restricted and can only be seen under certain conditions. Any restrictions are noted under “Access conditions” in the database.
Access to government records is governed by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). This Province of Ontario legislation determines whether municipal government records must be reviewed by city staff before you can see them. Sometimes, personal and other sensitive information will be removed from records during this review.
In the Archives online database, look at the “Access Conditions” field.
To see records that require review, you will need to file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
If you wish to see a large amount of records (for example, for an academic project) you can also apply for a research agreement.
FOI requests can take 30 days or longer, so should be made well in advance.
To view some non-government records, the permission of the donor is required..
In the Archives online database, look at the “Access Conditions” field. Records restricted by the donor will say “Conditional Access (Donor).”
Please fill out the Application for Donor Permission Form, and attach a list of the files you wish to view. When complete, give the form to Archives staff. The Archives will contact the donor for you.
It may take a few days or longer, depending on the number of files and whether the donor is available. These requests should be made well in advance.
If your application is approved, we will return the form to you. You must show it when you order the records at the Archives.
Some other non-government records contain sensitive information. To see these records, you will need to apply for access.
In the Archives online database, look at the “Access Conditions” field. Restricted records will say “Conditional Access (Form).”
Fill out the Application for Access – Non-Government Records form and attach a list of the files you wish to view. Give the completed form to Archives staff.
It may take a few days or longer, depending on the number of files. These requests should be made well in advance.
Archives staff will contact you when your request has been processed.