Government of Ontario     |    

Ministry of
Government and Consumer Services

Advanced Search - Files and Items

Use this search option to search descriptions of individual paper files and other items that make up the Archives' collection. Please note that only a small portion of all of the files and items in the collection are described in the database at this time. New information is added on a regular basis.

Files and items may include:

  • paper files
  • bound volumes, such as minute books or accounting ledgers
  • photographs
  • maps and plans
  • architectural records
  • sound, film or video recordings
  • documentary art

All files and items form part of larger groups of archival records. See How Archival Records Are Organized for more information.

Included in the description of a file or item is information on how to order the file such as its reference code and container number as well as information about possible restrictions.  See Requesting and Viewing Archival Records for more information.

Search Tips

You may enter a value or values in one or more of the search fields.


You may enter any number of keywords. A keyword search will undertake a full text search of all fields within the database.

All or any of these keywords and exact phrase searching:

  • Use All of these keywords to get hits that contain all of the keywords that you have chosen.

    Example: entering the keywords “milk” and “cheese” will return descriptions that include both of these words.

  • Use Any of these keywords to get hits that contain any of the keywords chosen.

    Example: entering the keywords milk and cheese will return descriptions that include either or both of these words.

  • Use Exact Phrase to get hits that contain your keywords in the order you have entered them.

    Example: entering the keywords “water quality” will return descriptions including that exact phrase.

General Keyword Search Tips:

  • You can truncate your search using * . This will locate words that have a common stem.
    Example: Entering farm* will match farm, farming, farmer, farmers etc.
  • Common words will be ignored. These include: the, a, an, in, of, and, these.
Choose a format:

Use the checkboxes to limit your search to a particular format or formats (e.g. photographs, architectural drawings or maps). For example checking “Maps” and “Sound Recordings” will limit your search to material in those formats.

Archival Reference Code:

You may limit your search to a particular group of records if you know the archival reference code for that group.  Each file and item forms part of a larger group of records and may be searched by that code.

File/Item Reference Code:

Some files or items have been given a specific reference code, for example “C 2-4-0-0-5”. If you know the reference code for a particular file or item, enter it here.

Creator Code:

Some files or items have a code that was assigned by the person or group that created it. For example, a government office may have applied codes to files as part of a file classification system. If you know the code for a file, enter it here.


If you are searching for the contents of a particular container and know its barcode number, you may enter it here. For example B220348.