Toronto Reference Library

The Toronto Reference Library is located at 789 Yonge Street, one block north of Bloor Street, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Formerly the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library, the name was changed in 1998 when it was incorporated into the Toronto Public Library system.[1] The library operated separately before the amalgamation of the City of Toronto and surrounding boroughs in 1998. It is one of the three largest libraries in the city along with the Robarts Library at the University of Toronto and Scott Library at York University.

Toronto Reference Library
The library entrance.
General information
TypePublic Library
Location789 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M4W 2G8
Coordinates43°40′17″N 79°23′25″W / 43.6712814°N 79.3903244°W
Opening2 November 1977
Toronto Reference Library
Toronto reference library 2nd floor view
Toronto Reference Library as viewed from the 2nd floor, September 2005.
Study space on the second floor.


The 38,691 m² (416,035 sq. ft.) [1] five-storey building, designed by architect Raymond Moriyama, opened in 1977 and is the biggest public reference library in Canada.

A curving atrium in the middle of the large library creates sight lines across floors, provides natural ventilation and introduces natural light from its sophisticated skylights.

The design of this library was influenced by the hanging garden of Babylon and therefore plants were located around the edge of each floor facing the atrium. However, due to financial constraints, the plants were later removed.

The brick façade of the building creates harmony with the surrounding buildings as well as providing thermal benefits.


The library's collection is mostly non-circulating,[1] although some materials can be borrowed.

The library had 1,653,665 catalogued items in 2010,[1] including:

  • 1.5 Million volumes (monographs and bound periodicals)
  • 2.5 Million other materials (films, tapes, microforms, maps, fine art items, ephemera, etc.)
  • 475 (linear) metres of manuscript materials

The TD Gallery is the library's exhibit gallery, and features exhibits of art, books, documents, manuscripts and other items from the collections.


Announcing Royal Fanfare Toronto Library
Poster announcing an event featuring items from European royalty at the Library.

Like all libraries in the Toronto Public Library system, the reference library offers free wireless Internet, as well as computers that can be used free of charge. Many of these public computers are located on the main floor, but they are also available on all floors including the basement. The Digital Innovation Hub, provides access to more advanced software and staff assistance for a small fee.

  • Information and reference services
  • Access to full text databases
  • Community information
  • Art exhibit space
  • Newcomer Information services
  • Piano practice room
  • Reader's advisory services
  • Programs for children, youth and adults
  • Delivery to homebound individuals
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Book discussion groups
  • Free downloadable audiobooks
  • 3D printing

The library's hours of operation are weekdays 9:00am – 8:30pm, Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm, Sunday 1:30pm – 5:00pm.

Special Collections

Among the special collections at the Toronto Reference Library are:

  • The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, devoted to the life and works of the creator of Sherlock Holmes, is housed in a room built to look like Holmes's study at 221B Baker St.
  • The Baldwin Room, a collection of books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts, broadsides and printed ephemera, maps, newspapers and historical pictures relating to Upper Canada (now Ontario) and to early Toronto. This collection is named for Robert Baldwin, a leading political reformer in Upper Canada and pre-Confederation Premier. However it also includes a Canadian historical picture collection illustrating the history of Canada, originally donated to the library in 1910 by John Ross Robertson (1841–1918), founder and publisher of the Toronto Telegram and a major philanthropist of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, which now contains thousands of historical paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and postcards.
  • The Genealogy and Local History Collection, whose strength is Canadian content but which also includes numerous resources for Great Britain, Ireland and the United States (particularly the northeastern states).
  • The Map Collection of current and historical maps, atlases, gazetteers and cartography resources is international in scope. Some of the resources it includes are: maps of Toronto from 1788 to the present, Toronto fire insurance plans and Goad maps and atlases, as well as current and retrospective topographic and photo maps of the Toronto area.
  • The Art Room containing rare books, photographs, posters and manuscripts, including important costume design and sheet music collections.

The library also has an extensive performing arts collection, including papers and information on many Canadian artists, such as Al Waxman and The Dumbells.[2] Some of the materials in this collection are available online.

The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon

The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library is an event space located on the second floor of the Library. It opened to the public on September 23, 2009. The Salon hosts free literary and cultural programming organized by the library.

When not in use for library programs, the Salon is available to be rented for private functions.


Renovated library entrance.

The Toronto Reference Library's renovation project was completed in 2012 at a cost of $34 million.[3]

The project included:

  • Glass Entrance Cube, Yonge Street Façade Expansion and a Revitalized Exhibition Gallery Space
  • Special Collections Rotunda
  • Enhanced Research and Study Areas
  • New and innovative technology[3]
  • Basement sponsored by the Toronto Star containing a collection of recent editions of various newspapers from across Canada and around the world
  • Balzac's Café by the main entrance
  • Page and Panel - The Toronto Comic Arts Festival Store on the ground floor, originally a pop-up store in 2014, later became permanent as of 2015

Page and Panel not only sells merchandise pertaining to comic books, but also merchandise pertaining to manga, anime, and Japanese video games, primarily from Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Legend of Zelda, Kirby, and Pokémon as well.


In 2017, the Toronto Reference Library was used as the filming location for The Weeknd's music video for his song "Secrets."[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Toronto Reference Library, from the Toronto Public Library website. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  2. ^ Original scripts from the Dumbells [sic] Collection at the Reference Library Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Toronto Reference Library Revitalization : Hours & Locations".
  4. ^ "The Weeknd Drops Sensual Visuals For "Secrets"".

External links

Coordinates: 43°40′18″N 79°23′12″W / 43.671752°N 79.386697°W

Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute

Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute (ACCI) is a Toronto public high school in the district of Scarborough. The school is named after former Scarborough politician and mayor Albert McTaggart Campbell The school was built in 1976 by Japanese Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, who built Ontario buildings such as the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto Reference Library and the North York Central Library. Renovations were completed in the late 1980s and additions added in the early 1990s. When others schools were being built, Albert Campbell served as a temporary school for other regions.

Anthony Cristiano

Anthony Cristiano is an Italian-born Canadian film director, educator, and writer.

As a film director, Cristiano's style is chiefly characterized by a poetic tone via the use of raw film texture, counterpointed use of music, and psychologically meandering situations and characters. This style is manifested in his DVD titled "A Self-Conscious Mise-en-scene", which is released in 2008 and consists of 10 short films he made between the years 1998–2008. The DVD collection was later presented and screened by Cristiano in a special lecture at the Frank Iacobucci Centre in University of Toronto.Cristiano is also a film scholar. For several years, he has been a workshop instructor at various film co-operatives across Canada. In 2006, Cristiano gave a lecture and led workshops on experimental films for Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) at the National Film Board of Canada in Halifax. In 2007, he instructed the first session of a Masterclass Workshop Series led by Island Media Arts Cooperative in Prince Edward Island. In 2010, he was a workshop instructor for the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT). From the springs of 2013 to 2015, Cristiano has hosted an Italian Film Series of public screening as part of the Culture, Arts, and Entertainment

programs of the Toronto Reference Library. On 27 March 2014 Cristiano gave a public lecture titled "The Incidence of Screens: an Extension of Human Abilities or a Historic Distraction?" as part of the Laurier Milton Lecture Series V at the Milton Public Library, in which he discussed the relevance of McLuhan laws of media and axioms and argued that there is evidence of harm, especially among young users, caused by the addiction to personal devices. Cristiano also gave a public talk on Canadian practices, "Digital Technologies & Surveillance Practices: Do they protect or harm us?" at the Brantford Public Library on May 13, 2015. On May 26, 2015, Cristiano also gave a talk on the dangers associated with digitization and new media trends given to University of Copernicus (Toruǹ, Poland) students.

Bloor Street Culture Corridor

The Bloor Street Culture Corridor is a cluster of arts and cultural organizations in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located on Bloor St. W, between Bathurst and Bay Streets.

The Bloor Street Culture Corridor has a wide variety of art genres, from museum experiences to films, art exhibitions to music concerts. The area also is culturally diverse, including Aboriginal, French, Jewish, Italian, Japanese, Estonian, African and Caribbean arts and culture.

Officially launched in April 2014, the collective shares a website, social media and a mobile app to promote exhibitions at its member institutions. In 2016, the Corridor was successful in working with the City of Toronto government to have the section of Bloor St. West designated an official City of Toronto cultural corridor. Each year more than three million persons visit the Corridor's arts and culture destinations, and attend exhibitions, performances, and events. Together, the Bloor St. Culture Corridor organizations employ more than 5,500 culture workers and generate more than $629,500,000 in economic impact each year.

Bushra Junaid

Bushra Junaid is a Canadian artist, curator and arts administrator based in Toronto. She is best known for exploring history, memory and cultural identity through mixed media collage, drawing and painting. Born in Montreal to Jamaican and Nigerian parents and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland, Junaid's work frequently engages themes of Blackness, the African Diaspora and the history of Atlantic Canada.In addition to exhibiting her work across Canada, in provincial galleries and artist-run centres, Junaid illustrated Nana's Cold Days (Groundwood Books) and has exhibited at Painted City Gallery, Galerie Céline Allard, Spence Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto Reference Library, the NFB, and Sandra Brewster's Open House.

City of Toronto Archives

The City of Toronto Archives is the municipal archives for the City of Toronto. It holds records created by the City of Toronto government and its predecessor municipalities from 1792 to the present day, as well as non-government records created by private groups and individuals. There are also over one million photographs of Toronto within its collection, with over 50,000 available to view on its website.

Gail Bowen

Gail Dianne Bowen (née Bartholomew; born 22 September 1942) is a Canadian playwright and writer of mystery novels.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bowen was educated at the University of Toronto, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964.She then studied at the University of Waterloo, where she received a master's degree in 1975, and the University of Saskatchewan. She subsequently taught English in Saskatchewan, and was associate professor of English at First Nations University of Canada before retiring from teaching. She currently lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.Bowen's mystery novels feature Joanne Kilbourn, a widowed mother, political analyst and university professor who finds herself occasionally involved in criminal investigations in various parts of Saskatchewan. Many have been adapted as Canadian television movies by Shaftesbury Films.

Several of her plays have been produced, including Dancing in Poppies, an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, The Tree and an adaptation of Peter Pan, all premiering at the Globe Theatre in Regina. Her radio play Dr. Dolittle was broadcast on CBC Radio in 2006. She wrote The World According to Charlie D., a radio play focusing on the radio talk show host from her Joanne Kilbourn mysteries, broadcast on CBC Radio in 2007. A follow-up episode about Charlie D. aired in August 2008 as part of the WorldPlay series, airing on public radio networks in six English-speaking countries. In 2010, the first of a series of mystery novellas about Charlie D. was published.

Bowen was selected as the writer-in-residence for the Regina Public Library from September 2013 to May 2014. She has previously served as writer in residence at the Toronto Reference Library (2009) and Calgary's Memorial Park Library (2010).

Koffler Student Centre

The Koffler Student Centre is the main student centre at the University of Toronto, located at 214 College Street. The centre houses a number of different student services, including the main campus bookstore, career centre, and health clinic. The ornate building is located at the northwest corner of St. George and College Street streets in a building that was formerly the home of the Toronto Reference Library.

List of Toronto Public Library branches

The Toronto Public Library operates a total of 100 branch libraries across Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

List of filming locations in Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada has a significant film and television production industry, which has earned it the nickname "Hollywood North", alongside Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to features that take place in Toronto, it often serves as a substitute location for other cities and areas including Chicago and New York City.

North York Central Library

North York Central Library is a Toronto Public Library branch located in North York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is one of the two libraries in Toronto considered to be "Research and Reference Libraries", the other being the Toronto Reference Library downtown. In contrast to the Toronto Reference Library, however, most of the items in the North York Central Library can be signed out.

The library is located on the west side of Yonge Street beside Mel Lastman Square in the mall of the North York Civic Centre, which until 1998 was North York's City Hall. It is served by the North York Centre subway station, which is adjacent to City Centre North York, the mall containing the library.

Since 2016, the library has been undergoing a major renovation.

Rabindranath Maharaj

Rabindranath Maharaj (born April 1955, in Trinidad), not to be confused with Rabindranath R. Maharaj, is a Trinidadian-Canadian novelist, short story writer, and a founding editor of the Canadian literary journal Lichen. His novel The Amazing Absorbing Boy won the 2010 Trillium Book Award and the 2011 Toronto Book Award, and several of his books have been shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada and Caribbean Region), and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award.

He was raised in George Village, Tableland in South Trinidad and Tobago. After receiving a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English and History, and Diploma of Education from the University of the West Indies, Saint Augustine, he worked as a teacher and, briefly, as a columnist for the Trinidad Guardian.In the early 1990s, Maharaj immigrated to Canada, and in 1993, he completed a second M.A. (this one in Creative Writing) at the University of New Brunswick. In 1994 he moved to the town of Ajax, Ontario, where he taught high school for a number of years. In 1998, Maharaj, along with three other Durham Region writers - Ruth E. Walker, Gwynn Scheltema, and Lucy Brennan - founded and co-edited Lichen Literary Journal, which was launched in May 1999. He remained on the editorial board for another three years.

Since then he has, among other posts, been a Writer in Residence at the Toronto Reference Library, the University of the West Indies. The University of New Brunswick, a mentor for young writers with Diaspora Dialogues, a faculty member at the Banff Writing Studio, and an instructor with the Humber College School for Writers, and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. Apart from his novels and collections of short stories, he has published work in various literary journals and anthologies; written book reviews and articles for The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and others; written a play for CBC Radio; and written two screenplays.

His newest novel, Fatboy Fall Down, is slated for publication in 2019.He continues to reside in Ajax, Ontario.

Raymond Moriyama

Raymond Moriyama (born October 11, 1929) is a Canadian architect.

Of Japanese descent, Moriyama with his family was forced out of Vancouver and confined to an internment camp during the Second World War. He has said that these years have particularly informed his later career.

Ryerson Image Centre

The Ryerson Image Centre, (formerly known as the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre), is a renovated and remodelled former warehouse building at Gould and Bond Streets on the campus of Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The centre includes gallery, collections, teaching, research and exhibition spaces and shares the building with the School of Image Arts.

Secrets (The Weeknd song)

"Secrets" is a song by Canadian singer The Weeknd from his third studio album, Starboy (2016). The song samples two new wave songs: "Pale Shelter", a song by the English band Tears for Fears as well as "Talking in Your Sleep" by the American band The Romantics. The song was written by Abel Tesfaye, Martin McKinney, Henry Walter, Dylan Wiggins, Roland Orzabal, Coz Canler, Jimmy Marinos, Wally Palamarchuk, Mike Skill, and Peter Solley, and produced by Doc McKinney, Tesfaye and Cirkut. It was released to radio in Italy on November 10, 2017, as the album's final international single.

The Bootmakers of Toronto

The Bootmakers of Toronto are a literary society devoted to Sherlock Holmes and located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is a comic book festival held annually in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 2003, TCAF is organized by the comic book store The Beguiling in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, which has hosted the festival since 2009.

Toronto Public Library

Toronto Public Library (TPL) (French: Bibliothèque publique de Toronto) is a public library system in Toronto, Ontario. It is the largest public library system in Canada and in 2008, had averaged a higher circulation per capita than any other public library system internationally, making it the largest neighbourhood-based library system in the world. Within North America, it also had the highest circulation and visitors when compared to other large urban systems. Established as the library of the Mechanics' Institute in 1830, the Toronto Public Library now consists of 100 branch libraries and has over 12 million items in its collection.

Yorkville Town Hall

Yorkville Town Hall was the municipal building for the Town of Yorkville before annexation into Toronto. Built in 1859-1860 by architect William Hay and his apprentice Henry Langley, the three-storey building served as an omnibus stop. The hall was located north of Bloor on Yonge Street on the west side.

The hall served as town hall until 1883 when Yorkville was annexed into Toronto. The hall became known as St. Paul's Hall and had a public library, along with various clubs and community uses. The hall survived until 1941 when it was destroyed by fire and was demolished. The town hall site is now home to a condo (and across the street from the Toronto Reference Library).

The town hall's coat of arms survives today on the front face of the Toronto Fire Services Station 312 (old TFD Station 10). The fire hall is located at 34 Yorkville Avenue and has been historically protected by the City of Toronto, after being designated as a heritage property on the City of Toronto Heritage Property Inventory on June 20, 1973.

Public institutions and infrastructure in Toronto
Libraries and archives
University and Colleges

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.