This hidden room has more than 30k photos documenting early Toronto history

Toronto is known for having a lot of hidden gems but one that many may not know about is the PortsToronto archives which is home to over 30,000 images that document the city's rich history and the evolution of Toronto's waterfront.

Founded in 1975,  the collection is housed in a dedicated archival space at the Port of Toronto to ensure that these photographs, documents and records are preserved and accessible to future generations looking to understand the waterfront's historical context.

Previously called the Toronto Harbour Commission, they worked with photographer Arthur Beales to capture images of the organizations building and development initiatives from 1914 to 1951 with Beales often climbing cranes or towers to get the perfect photo.

PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Airport; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and Marine Terminal 52.

Needless to say, the organization has had, and continues to have, a huge influence on Toronto's growth as one of North America's largest cities.

History buffs or those curious to learn more about their city could find themselves lost in tens of thousands of photos and documents buried in these archives.

The archives is located at 60 Harbour St. and available for visits by appointment.

Lead photo by


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