University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services

  • University of Toronto Archives


120 St. George St.
M5S 1A5


+1 4169785344


+1 4169465343


The University of Toronto Archives was established in 1965 as a unit within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Its antecedents, however, date back much further to the Art Room in what is now the Science and Medicine Library. It has been located on the fourth floor of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library since 1972. Along with the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, it forms part of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto Libraries.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The University of Toronto Archives is responsible for the appraisal, acquisition, preservation and use of University records of permanent value and the private records of individuals and organizations associated with the University. The University Archives works co-operatively with other permanent campus archives programmes devoted to preserving their sponsors' documentary heritage. As well as providing a research service, the University Archives provides an administrative service through the development and implementation of the University's records management programme. The Presidential Regulations for the Management of Archives and Records confirm the role of the University Archives as the repository for all records of archival value generated by and relating to the history of the University of Toronto.

Please note: The University of Toronto Archives' mandate does not include the records of the federated universities of St. Michael's, Trinity and Victoria or of the theological colleges, Knox, Wycliffe, and Emmanuel.

Records Management and Collecting Policies

The University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services’ (UTARMS) Records Management Program seeks to promote systematic control of University records in accordance with legal statutes and University policy. It provides guidance to administrative and academic units on management of their records.

Archival and Other Holdings

UTARMS' collection includes more than 9,500 metres of paper records; more than 200,000 photographs and negatives; over 100 oral histories recording the personal memories of senior administrative staff, faculty, and students; thousands of architectural plans and drawings of university buildings; the original University Charter from 1827; Masters theses from 1897-1989 and Doctoral theses from 1900-1985; and the papers of influential members of the university, including Harold Innis, Ursula Franklin, C.B. MacPherson, C.P. Stacey, Helen Hogg, Harry Cassidy, James Loudon, J. Tuzo Wilson, George Wrong, Samuel Hollander and Donald Coxeter

More than 60% of UTARMS' holdings consist of the university’s administrative records. This material documents the day-to-day operations of the University of Toronto, the founding of the university and its development since 1827, and the work of administrators, staff and students in the various academic divisions of the university. This material is used for historical research, but also supports university administration and promotes accountability.

The Archives has the private papers of more than 1000 individuals and groups affiliated with the U of T, including faculty, alumni and student organizations. These papers document teaching, research, learning and extracurricular activities of the university’s prominent members and groups.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

UTARMS has digitised over 57,000 pages of print material, including yearbooks, president’s reports and other university publications, which are available at

Moreover, the Discover Archives site can be used to explore descriptions and finding aids of holdings from UTARMS' collection.

Opening Times

Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The reading room is open to the public. Visitors do not need an appointment to visit. The Archives, like most University departments, are closed during the Christmas break. They also close for 2 weeks in late summer to prepare for the upcoming academic year.


Records are non-circulating and must be consulted in our reading room. An attendant is always on duty to assist you in finding sources and requesting materials. Retrievals are on demand and the last retrieval is at 4:15 p.m. Some records are stored off-site and may take 1-2 days to retrieve. Listening to sound recordings or viewing film or video requires specialized equipment. An appointment may be needed to consult these records.

Conditions of Access

Reading Room Registration Process

Researchers using the Reading Room are required to complete a registration form. Personal identification, preferably with a photograph, will be necessary for registration. A reader's card will then be issued. This card will be valid for a year and is required on the daily sign-in sheet and to request records.

Care of records

Because archival records are unique and irreplaceable, they must be handled with care. Gloves are provided for using photographs, drawings, and other fragile records. Only pencils are used for note taking. These are made readily available at the reference desk. For obvious reasons, food and drinks are not permitted in the Reading Room.

Access conditions to specific types of records

University Records

Most University records (‘A’ Accessions) are subject to review under the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The access statement in the records accession record will state “subject to review under the Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act”. For further information about these restricted records, please contact the University Archivist, Loryl MacDonald (

The Act does not apply to all records at the University Archives. FIPPA does not apply to published information such as reports, newsletters, handbooks, and calendars. Also, unpublished theses, most photographs, moving image records, architectural drawings, and works of art are also open.

Private Records

Access is open to most private records (‘B’ Accessions). However, there may be restrictions according to the wishes of the donor. Further, personal health information (i.e. patient files) in medical practitioners’ B accessions are now subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Details of these restrictions will be provided by the Reading Room staff at 416-978-5344 or by email.

Special Media Archives

Most special media records (ie. photographs, slides, architectural drawings and sound recordings) are open but some may be restricted for conservation reasons. Access to film and video is by appointment only. Please contact Special Media Archivist, Marnee Gamble (

Research Services

An archivist is always available to discuss your research and help you locate and make suggestions on sources. It is good to know as much about your topic from secondary sources before coming to the Archives. If you have references such as footnoted sources, be sure to bring them along to help in your search.

If you cannot visit us in person, we are happy to assist you with your inquiry by whatever means you prefer to contact us. While we can undertake limited research for specific information, we encourage you to plan a visit if your inquiry requires lengthy research. There are no fees for the research we do on your behalf.

Reproduction Services

We offer a variety of copying services including photocopying, digital scanning, digital photography, as well as sound, film and video transfers.

All copying is done by staff or a designated service provider except for copies from microfilm and microfiche which researchers can produce on our self-serve reader printer. Personal scanning of records is not generally permitted.

On occasion, the physical condition of a record and/or terms set out by a donor will not allow a record to be copied. As well, records subject to access restrictions will have copying restrictions.

Fees for copying: Payment for copying is on receipt (for orders over $25.00 a valid credit card must be presented).

Photocopying Payment for standard copying is on receipt (for orders over $25.00 a valid credit card must be presented). Legal / letter - $0.25 per page Ledger - $0.43 per page Mapsize - $1.08 per page

Digital Reproductions Custom scans - $25.00 per image + $5.00 shipping (Pre-payment needed) High quality digital files - $25.00 per image + $5.00 shipping (Pre-payment needed)

Sound, Film and Video Transfers Quote available upon request

The University of Toronto Libraries no longer accepts cash transactions. All payment must be made using debit or credit cards.

Copyright and Permission to Publish

Copies are provided for research purposes only and all records in the Archives are subject to copyright legislation. The University Archives is not always the copyright holder of its records and researchers are responsible for observing copyright law and securing clearances for use when required.

Where not prohibited by copyright or donor restrictions, the University Archives will usually give permission to publish from records in its custody. For photographs, please contact the Special Media Archivist at For all other records, please contact the University Archivist at

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