Skip to main content
TPL Virtual Exhibits

About the project

This project evolved from a collaboration between Christopher Armstrong, author and Emeritus Professor, York University, and the Toronto Public Library. While researching a book on the history of the Toronto City Hall, Professor Armstrong proposed a partnership to make some of the thousands of images held in the library more widely available.

Librarian Katherine Vice entered a digitization proposal in the first Toronto Public Library Staff Innovation Program. It was chosen as one of the initiatives to go forward. This website is part of that project. 

Images on this website are held in the Humanities & Social Sciences Department and the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre at the Toronto Reference Library. Many additional images from the City Hall and Square Competition are available through the Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive.

Images on this site

On this site, you can click on any image for the individual record that describes it. Click again on the image in this record to see a larger version of the image. High-quality reproductions are available from the Toronto Public Library Photographic and Digital Reproduction Services.

Architectural drawings

The reproduction quality of individual architectural drawings depended both on the original format, paper and labelling of the drawings, as well as the microfilm process.  The original microfilm may be viewed in the Humanities & Social Sciences Department at the Toronto Reference Library.

Architectural models

Photographs of the architectural models are from three main sources:

  • Slides taken by Professor Eric Arthur (Chairman of the Competition Jury) and donated to the Toronto Public Library.
  • Photographs by Wallace Bonner, Toronto Public Library Staff Photographer.
  • Photographs taken by Panda Photography, a Toronto firm specializing in architectural photography.   Panda Photography (later Panda Associates) existed from 1946 to 1992, and the archive and copyright of its images are held by the Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary.  All Panda images on this site are held as prints in the Toronto Public Library, and are displayed by permission of the Canadian Architectural Archives.

Conditions of use

From: Toronto Public Library's Conditions of Use statement

Personal, educational, research and general publication

Images identified as "Public Domain" in the Digital Archive may be reproduced in print or electronic format for personal, educational, research and general publication. General publication use includes published materials such as books and journals.

If material from the Library's Digital Archive is published, a credit line, "Courtesy of Toronto Public Library" is appreciated.

Commercial merchandise and marketing use

Reproductions intended for commercial merchandise and marketing use are subject to a license fee. Enquiries regarding commercial applications may be referred to

More information on access and use of digital content

High-resolution images are available for purchase from the Toronto Public Library.

It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright, or other use restrictions (such as donor restrictions, privacy rights, publicity rights, licensing and trademarks) when using images made from our collections.

Omeka and Dublin Core

This exhibit is hosted using the open-source platform, part of the Omeka project for online publishing of cultural heritage materials.

Omeka uses the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative element set. Dublin Core is a simple, flexible element set that has been adopted by a wide variety of user groups. This standardized element set makes it possible for researchers to work across disciplines, and facilitates the interoperability of online collections.