Government of Ontario

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Ministry of Government and Consumer Services




Preapare for Your Visit banner

Now that you plan to visit the Archives, there are a few things you should do to prepare for your visit that will help you find what you need. The Archives of Ontario has assembled a number of tools, databases, links and catalogues of information that can help you conduct much of your research from home. You might wish to start there.

For a very general overview of our collections, click here.

For information on obtaining copies from a distance, click here.

For information of particular interest to university students and professors, click here.


Prepare for Your Visit to the Archives of Ontario

Finding Archival material is somewhat different than finding materials in your library. Records that are located in our facility can be retrieved with a couple of hours notice. However, only the most frequently requested records are located in our facility. Most of the records managed by the Archives of Ontario are located in off-site storage. As a result, you must notify us which off-site records you wish to see ahead of your planned visit to our facility, to ensure that the records you want are on-site when you visit.

Before your visit, we strongly recommend you consult this web site and check our research guides, finding aids and databases to determine if you can identify the records you are seeking, or determine if we have them. This web site has access to the same research tools we have in our facility. In the event you have a question about our records or customer services please contact our Reference Desk at reference@ontario.ca.

Please note: In order to register our guests at the Archives, we require 1 piece of Government issued ID to be presented (such as a Driver’s Licence, Passport, or a Government photo identification card). A Provincial Health card will not be accepted as a valid form of ID.

Please see the links below for other essential information you’ll need to know before you visit!

  • Our Location - Where to find us and how to contact us.

  • Reading Room Hours - Our hours of operation.

  • Online Registration - All visitors to the Archives require an Archives of Ontario Researcher (AOR) card. Sign up for one in advance and save time when you arrive.

  • Ordering Materials in Advance - How to make sure your materials are here when you plan to be.

  • Retrieval Information - What materials we have on-site for same day retrieval and what materials are stored off-site, and must be pre-ordered up to five days in advance.

  • Services and Fees (Word, PDF) - An outline of the services we provide. What’s free and what we charge you for.

  • Rules of the Reading Room (Word, PDF) - What is and is not permissible in the Reading Room.

  • Our Copyright Policy - How to make sure you are abiding by the copyright policies of the Archives of Ontario.

  • Accessibility

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Our Location


Our Address

Archives of Ontario
134 Ian Macdonald Boulevard
Toronto, ON M7A 2C5

Our Contact Information

Telephone: 416-327-1600
E-mail us at: reference@ontario.ca
For more contact options click here.

View Larger Map


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Getting Here


By Toronto Transit (TTC)

The Archives of Ontario is located at the York University Station stop on subway Line 1 Yonge-University.

For more information on how to visit us using the TTC, please consult their website:

  • TTC Will open in a new window

By Other Transit Agencies

We are also accessible by Go Transit, YRT (York Region Transit), Viva and Brampton Transit-Züm.

For more information on how to visit us by these transit agencies, please consult their websites:

By Car

From Highway 401

  • Take Hwy. 401 to Keele Street
  • Exit at Keele Street and go north
  • Follow Keele Street north of Finch Avenue (the campus is on your left)
  • Turn left at York Boulevard, north of Finch Avenue

From Highway 407

  • Take Hwy. 407 to Keele Street
  • Exit at Keele Street and go south
  • Follow Keele Street south of Steeles Avenue (the campus is on your right)
  • Turn onto the campus via York Boulevard, south of Steeles Avenue

From Highway 400 (southbound)

  • Take Hwy. 400 south to Hwy. 7
  • Exit onto Hwy. 7 and go east
  • Follow Hwy. 7 east to Keele Street
  • At Keele Street go south (the campus is on your right)
  • Turn onto the campus at York Boulevard, south of Steeles Avenue

From Highway 400 (northbound)

  • Take Hwy. 400 north to Steeles Avenue

Parking
Parking on campus is subject to York University Parking services and fees. For more information about the daily rates, consult the York University Parking Services website.

Our Precise Location

For those using a GPS our coordinates are:

Latitude = 43.7749 - 43 degrees, 46.5 minutes North
Longitude = -79.5002 - 79 degrees, 30.0 minutes West

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Reading Room Hours


Alexander Fraser Reading Room

As of November 1, 2021, the Reading Room is open for in-person services by appointment only.
Our Hours of service will be: Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm

  • Note: for everyone’s safety, the Reading Room will close from 12:00pm - 1:00pm for extensive cleaning of the workstations and microfilm readers between appointments.

To support safe and efficient appointments to view materials in the Reading Room, we ask that you complete a pre-arrival reference interview with a Reference Archivist to discuss your visit, including the new COVID-19 onsite protocols, and pre-order your records or library items.

How to book an appointment:
Email us today at reference@ontario.ca to book your appointment to view materials in the Reading Room and complete  your pre-arrival reference interview.
You can also call us at: 416-327-1600 or toll free: 1-800-668-9933 (Ontario only)

What to expect for your visit:
As of July 7, 2020, under City of Toronto By-Law 541-2020, wearing a mask or face covering is required in indoor public spaces, which includes our building and Reading Room. Those with exemptions will be accommodated accordingly.

Please refer to the Reading Room Protocol (Word, PDF)


Request Processing:
Staff are continuing to address the reproduction requests received during the temporary closure. If you contacted us during this time and your request was deferred, a staff member will contact you regarding its status. Once full operations resume, all other requests will be processed in the order that they were received.
We will continue to respond to and process requests by email and mail under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) legislation.

Ordering Materials in Advance

Ordering records from the Archives of Ontario

All of our original archival records and library materials require ordering in advance.


FOI Requests

Due to limited capacity to receive and process FOI requests, we might not be able to respond to requests within the legislated time frames.

If your new request is not urgent, please wait to submit it until normal operations resume. If you need assistance, contact the Freedom of Information coordinator at the organization you want information from.

We will try our best to process requests and keep you updated.


This is a Holidays list
Holiday 2021
New Year's Day Friday, January 1
Family Day Monday, February 15
Good Friday Friday, April 2
Easter Monday  Monday, April 5
Victoria Day Monday, May 24
Canada Day Thursday, July 1
Civic Holiday Monday, August 2
Labour Day Monday, September 6
Thanksgiving Day Monday, October 11
Remembrance Day Thursday, November 11
Christmas Day
Saturday, December 25
Boxing Day Monday, December 27*
Chirstmas Holiday Tuesday, December 28

* In 2021, Boxing Day is on Sunday, therefore the holiday is moved to the next day, Monday

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Ordering Materials in Advance


Ordering records from the Archives of Ontario

Most records in our holdings are stored in an off-site facility, so we recommend that you order records in advance. Please note that:

  • You do not need to order self-service microfilm and DVDs, and you cannot reserve them in advance.

  • Records subject to an access restriction must be requested in writing and will take longer to retrieve; please e-mail mailto:reference@ontario.ca or speak to our staff for more information.

  • Records you wish to view on Tuesday or Thursday evenings and on Saturdays must be ordered in advance.

  • Records will be kept for you for a week, after which time they will be re-filed if you have not visited or contacted us.

Ordering in advance

You can request retrievals in advance:

  • By e-mail (highly recommended), at reference@ontario.ca. We suggest that you send your request about a week in advance; please indicate the date of your visit in the subject line of the e-mail.

  • By phone at 416-327-1600 or 1-800-668-9933 (toll-free in Ontario) or by fax at 416-327-1999 (6 files or boxes or fewer), two days or more before the date of your visit (five days for photographs, audio or video records).

  • By mail (please give enough time for the request to be received and processed).

Please give us the following information for each container or item:

  • Title.

  • Reference code (RG xx-xx, F xxx, C xxx).

  • Container number or barcode. That information appears in the “How to order”, “Ordering information”, “Box” or “Container” field in the Archives Descriptive Database (ADD).

  • Accession or transfer number (if there is one provided with the container or box number).

A few ordering tips:

  • If the Archives Descriptive Database (ADD) mentions an inventory or file list that is not online, please contact us, as we may be able to send you inventories or lists in electronic or paper format.

  • If there are multiple entries with the same container number or barcode, you need to order that container only once.

  • If you plan to be at the Archives for a number of days, you can order the first records you’ll be reviewing in advance, then order the rest once you have arrived.

If you submit your order by e-mail, we will notify you once the records have arrived. If you order by phone, please let us know if you would like to be notified, and how to notify you.

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All records at the Archives of Ontario are covered by the Canadian Copyright Act. Customers who reproduce records are required to comply with the act. To find out more about the Copyright Act, different types of copyright and access restrictions on archival materials and the conditions that apply when copying archival materials held by the Archives of Ontario, please see the Archives of Ontario Public Policy on Copyright and Terms of Use for Archival Materials.



Accessibility


Our Building

The Archives of Ontario’s public facility is equipped with accessibility features and tools to make your visit easier. Our public facility is located a short distance from accessible parking and the York University subway station. Our entrances are wheelchair accessible with ramps and automatic door openers. All public services are located on the ground floor, including our accessible washrooms. We also welcome service animals. 

Our Services

Our Reading Room includes wheelchair accessible tables, and magnifying glasses upon request. The computer terminals have accessibility tools, including Microsoft Narrator and Magnifier, and our microfilm/microfiche viewers are equipped with various features to improve the quality and magnification of the images.

Due to the historic nature of records in our collections many items in our collections may not be accessible for people with disabilities. If a person with a disability needs an accessible format, or help to communicate with us, we will work with the person to provide the format or support that will best meet their needs — at no additional cost. If we are not able to meet the person’s particular requirement in a reasonable timeframe, we will inform them and will work with them to determine an alternate method or will provide a summary of the information.

We aim to make our online content accessible for all. If you require assistance visiting us in person or accessing our website, online tools and resources, please contact us.


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