house history toronto

How to research the history of your house in Toronto

Toronto has a fascinating history but just how difficult is it to do a little digging into the history of where you live?

The City of Toronto provides a guide to finding the history of your house. There may be maps, building permits, photographs and other information you can find if you're willing to spend the time searching their treasure trove of data.

You can start with online research but you'll eventually need to head over to the City of Toronto Archives at 255 Spadina Road. It's only open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. so plan your visit accordingly.

Once you get there, staff can help you get started and retrieve specific records including copies of building permits or photos.

The site archivehistory.ca recommends some of the following strategies.

  • Determine whether or not your street name or address changed at any point in the past
  • Consult fire insurance plans
  • Check the City's aerial photograph collection, which covers most of the city from 1947 to 1972
  • To determine former occupants, consult assessment rolls and city directories

If all of this sounds like too much work, third party companies like Toronto-based Caerwent Housestories will do all the work for you and offers a series of packages, depending on how nicely you want the research presented.

The basic package will set you back $550. It comes in chart-form and includes "detailed information about previous owners and occupants."

Pricier packages include things like photographs, newspaper citations, building permits and a narrative history of your house and neighbourhood.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture. With files from Derek Flack. Hat tip to activehistory.ca


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