Preserving Toronto’s Architectural Record

Architecture is a fundamental human activity, involving both the design of structures and the shaping of public space. This exhibit highlights some of the many architectural records housed at the City of Toronto Archives, which span the period from the 1840s to the present.

These records are a rich and fascinating resource since they document many facets of architectural design and implementation. The drawings, specifications, contracts and correspondence are of interest to anyone exploring the historical evolution of Toronto’s buildings, and add to our understanding of the development of our city and its urban fabric.

Civic Architecture and Municipal Regulation

The core of the Archives’ architectural holdings are records that were created or acquired by municipal government departments whose responsibilities included building, housing, parks, planning, property and works-related matters.

Some of these records document specific civic structures, while others relate to the city’s regulation and oversight of building and planning activities in Toronto.



Commercial Architectural Firms

Significant acquisitions have been donated to the Archives from various private architectural practices in the city. These records are a testament to the careers of several prominent Toronto architects, illustrating in detail the creative processes involved in designing buildings.

In addition, the Archives has received records that document the significant contributions to our built environment made by related professions, such as landscape architects and the building trades.