Archives Unboxed and Revealed: A Guide to Understanding Archives: What are archives? - Page Banner
Tender for printing
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Tender for Printing, January 24, 1910
Brant County fonds
Reference Code: F 1551-3-8
Archives of Ontario

Archives are the records created and accumulated by a person or an organization in the course of routine business and kept due to their continuing or enduring value. These will be records no longer needed in day-to-day decisions, but recognized as being important for historical or legal purposes.

Deed of Land for town lot in Amherstburg from Douglas Terry, Photographer to  Lovedy Ann Campeau, 1894
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Deed of Land for town lot in Amherstburg from
Douglas Terry, Photographer to
Lovedy Ann Campeau, 1894
Land Records Collection; file, Amherstburg,
Essex Co., 1853-1916;
Reference Code: F 603, MU1688
Archives of Ontario
Photo: Examples of past and current digital media
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Examples of past and current digital media
Photographed by the Archives of Ontario


While we usually think of archives as tangible items, in today’s digital world, archival material can be “born digital” as documents, or multimedia records. This is quite distinct from the use of the term ‘archives’ in computer departments and at websites, where ‘archives’ refers to long-term storage or a collection of older and less used files.

Photo: Example of a variety of archival media
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Example of a variety of archival media
Photographed by the Archives of Ontario

In Ontario, the Archives of Ontario is the central repository for Ontario’s history. When established in 1903, the Archives of Ontario was charged with preserving historical records and in 1923 the mandate was expanded to include custody of inactive government records.

Guardianship order for Johnston children of Sault Ste. Marie, 1863
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Guardianship order for Johnston children of
Sault Ste. Marie, 1863
Algoma District Surrogate Court guardianship file
Reference Code: RG 22-381-0-1
Archives of Ontario


Death Register page : Temiskaming entries, 1918
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Death Register page : Temiskaming entries,
1918 Registrations of Deaths
Reference Code: RG 80-8-0-688
Archives of Ontario