These resources support research into individuals or families who lived in Toronto for generations or for just a few years before they moved elsewhere. This heading contains links to many local resources, including cemeteries, city directories, archives, historical newspapers, and universities. Be sure to also look at the Ontario Resources and Canada Resources pages, which contain links to relevant sources for Toronto research from provincial or national level organizations.

Beth Tzedec houses the fifth largest Judaica collection in North America. Along with ceremonial objects, the museum has mounted numerous small exhibitions of these objects, photographs, documents, and texts to promote an understanding of Toronto’s Jewish history. One large exhibit was “A Common Thread: A History of Toronto’s Garment Industry,” accompanied by a publication.  The museum is open to visitors. The curator is Dorion Liebgott.

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Bill Gladstone is a Toronto-based journalist, author, publisher, public speaker, and noted genealogist. He has written numerous short stories for Parchment, the Canadian Jewish literary journal, written and published books on the history of Toronto families and synagogues, the Jewish community of London, Ontario, and the exploration of Jewish genealogy.  His website,, contains online links to historic Toronto and Canadian genealogical resources, including books and vital records, as well as thousands of articles he has written about Toronto Jewish history.


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The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has 12 main Jewish cemeteries, most of which contain burial grounds for a large number of synagogues. A description of the burial grounds can be found here: Note that Oakville, Hamilton, and other cities and towns around the province also have Jewish burial grounds. Additional details about the individual cemeteries can be found on the website of Steeles Memorial Chapel, one of Toronto’s two Jewish funeral homes. This information, along with a map, can be found at the bottom of each web page below, under the listings of current funerals.

There are two Jewish funeral homes in Toronto:



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Toronto City directories (1833–1969) have been digitized and are available online from the Toronto Public Library, the Archives of Ontario, and the City of Toronto Archives. The Ontario Genealogical Society also has an excellent chart with links to all available city directories available online. In addition, the library houses many city directories from not only the rest of Ontario but across Canada. The entire run of print directories can be viewed in person on open shelves in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library.


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The City of Toronto Archives holds a large variety of historical records reflecting the history and work of the government of the City of Toronto and its various boroughs and municipal governments, which manage the affairs of the city and its residents. Some records, including photographs, are available online. Check the website to see what is available You can search records by topic as well as by type of record.

Records include:

Of note are fire insurance plans that provide detailed information about buildings and neighbourhoods. The City of Toronto Archives has fire insurance plans from 1858 to 1973. Most are, however, are for the years between 1880 and 1924. Not all areas of the city are covered for each of these years. Fire Insurance Plans are fully accessible for viewing online at . However as the plans are very large files, they are not available for downloading. Should you require copies of Fire Insurance Plans, print or digital copies of the plates must be purchased individually.




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Historical Newspaper Collections

Canadian Jewish News: Issues of this weekly English-language newspaper, published in Toronto, dating from 1 January 1960 to 23 December 1993, and for Montreal as of 2010, have been digitized. They have been digitized and are available on the Simon Fraser University Digitized Newspapers site:

If you do not have a Canadian library card with access to newspapers, but have membership or access to Proquest, you can use their Canadian Historical Newspapers collection:

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Rotenberg Ledger
This valuable resource for Jewish genealogists with roots in Toronto, was indexed by
JGS Toronto. The Rotenberg Ledger provides passenger information for people, many
of Jewish origin from Central and Eastern Europe, traveling to Toronto between 6 June
1911 and 19 January 1915. The information contained in the ledger can include the
names of purchaser of the ticket(s) and the passenger(s), ages of children, points of
embarkation and debarkation, passenger line, Toronto address, cost of voyage etc.
Members of JGS of Canada (Toronto) photographed over 800 pages and entered the
index of names into a spreadsheet which is available online at


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Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society (Ontario Ancestors)

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has indexed, transcribed, digitized, and photographed records that help to make Toronto and Ontario records more accessible to genealogists with roots in Toronto. A number of projects are relevant to researchers with Jewish Ontario roots, including:

  • TONI – The Ontario Name Index, which provides information about where a particular surname can be found in the province.
  • Toronto Research Guide – This guide details the growth and development of Toronto with a chronology, descriptions of the places and communities that have made up the city since its founding, information about street name origins and changes over time; and links to maps, census and land records, biographical sources, school records, and other useful resources.


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Toronto Family History Centre (TFHC)

24 Ferrand Drive, Don Mills, Ontario
(416) 422-5480 x111

The Toronto Family History Centre has online resources as well as a library of resources from the Family Search organization based in Salt Lake City.

  • A complete list of their online resources is available to download at The resources are grouped according to region by content or subject matter. The file is searchable for terms like the town, city, or village.
  • On-site, the Centre has ten computers available for use that provide access to digital images on FamilySearch and free access to subscription websites, like Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, 19th Century British Newspapers, etc. through the Family History Library Portal.
  • The Centre has more than 15,000 items in its library to assist those pursuing their family history, which are available to use on-site.



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Toronto Reference Library (TRL)

Main branch of the Toronto Public Library (TPL) 789 Yonge Street, one block north of Bloor Street. The closest subway stop is Yonge/Bloor.

The Toronto Reference Library is the largest public reference library in Canada with an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, microfilm, and other items. Most items in its collection are designated for reference use only, so the public is unable to borrow these items for use outside the library. It is the research branch of the Toronto Public Library (TPL).

The library is known for its local history and genealogy resources. These include online research tools that focus on their digital archive of photos, books, and Toronto maps, city directories, fire insurance plans, access to the Ancestry Library Edition, Canadiana Online, and digital newspapers. Their local history and genealogy guide has online research tools, research guides, programs, local history collections, and books that support genealogical research.

Some of the most useful resources include:

  • Digital archive of 170,000+ historical photographs, books, and Toronto maps.
  • Digital newspaper databases for the Toronto Star Historical Newspaper Archive (1894–2016) and the Globe and Mail Historical Newspaper Archive (1844–2016). These are also available online with a TPL library card.
  • Fire insurance atlases and plans — detailed maps used to research the history of buildings and neighbourhoods. Atlases cover the city as a whole. Plans cover specific neighbourhoods and often have more detail than atlases. Library holdings include online atlases and plans (1858–1912) or print versions (1858–1973), found onsite in the Toronto Reference Library.
  • JGS Toronto’s Library Collection is also located at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street (at Bloor Street). The collection is a reference, non-circulating collection, and is housed in closed stacks in the basement in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department. An index to our Society’s library resources is found at: If you wish to view items from the collection you must ask for them at the circulation desk on the 2nd
  • Ontario city directories: Over 1,000 digital city directories for other locations in Ontario, which were originally published between 1853 and 2013, have been digitized by several organizations from the collections of libraries and archives across the province. Find more information here:
  • Toronto City Directories. Published for almost 170 years, Toronto city directories are an invaluable research tool.
  • Ontario Genealogical Society library collection is also located at the TRL. It includes cemetery transcriptions and virtually all publications of OGS and its branches. The catalogue is found here:



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Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group (TUGG)

The Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group (TUGG) is a non-profit cultural and educational organization consisting of persons interested in tracing their ancestors. It operates out of the St. Vladimir Institute, which is located at 620 Spadina Avenue, Toronto. It offers lectures, guidance, assistance, and instruction for its members. TUGG undertakes research in the fields of Ukrainian genealogy, which it shares with participants.

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University libraries

Toronto has three universities: the University of Toronto, York University, and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) — each with large reference libraries. Their collections can be viewed by going to their websites. In most cases, one must be a student to enter the library or to use their resources. However, the bibliographic information contained about their collections can be useful to help plan a research strategy. The largest collection is contained at the University of Toronto.

  • The University of Toronto Libraries has produced a Research Guide to Jewish Studies that provides information and links to primary sources and published materials available in their library. Robarts Library is the largest academic library in Canada. Its collection focuses mainly on the humanities and social sciences and contains many print and archival documents of use in genealogical research. Important sources are a large collection of published and unpublished sources, including yizkor books, historical newspapers, archives, encyclopedias of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and the Islamic world, access to online resources around the world, and archival collections of photographs, stories, film, and exhibitions.



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