Ontario Wanderings: The Ontario Genealogical Society and North York Library (Updates)

The next day Tuesday September 16th I was going to the Ontario Genealogical Society holdings at the North York Branch of the Toronto Library system.

UPDATE: As of May 2, 2016 the holdings of the Ontario Genealogical Society are being moved to the Toronto Library branch.  They will not be accessible till summer 2016.  They have also moved their offices to buildings near the York University, so check their website for information 4/17/2016.

This was my experience in 2014. It has all changed now – I needed a Staples to print out more of my booklets, this time the McDonald booklet based on my blog The Man Who Lived Airplanes.

Heading east on Steeles I kept an eye out and spotted one just after Keele and before Tandem.  It was on the left side but at least Tandem had a light. It took me a good hour to print off six copies.  I can’t make them before because they take up too much room and are heavy.

Once I was done with my task I headed out and lo and behold I spotted at least two more Staples on my way to Yonge Street. There was even one just across the street from the North York Library. Why is that, you can’t find what you are looking for and then once you do you see it everywhere.

It was not to hard to find Park Home Avenue and turned right off of Yonge. They have a parking garage. Just as I entered this car was right on my tail.  I had trouble at the ticket machine….yeah again and didn’t get a ticket. Something about pushing the button.  I was now worried I would get another ticket on the rental car and I didn’t want that.

It turns out that it read my Visa and all I had to do was put it into the machine at the exit and it would charge it.  There was even a lost ticket box.  The funny thing was no one in the North York Library the receptionist nor the Security guard had any idea about the Parking garage and how it worked.  Another thing is that they may have a security speaker box on the parking floor and if you find that push the button and ask your questions.  I did that and it really helped.

The North York Library is on the main floor of the city center area.  The Novotel Hotel is also part of this shopping center. I had thought of staying there but it is not cheap.  The library is in the northeast corner.

North York Library

North York Library

To find the elevators to the 6th floor where the Canadiana Room is located this is what you do.  You go into the doors from the shopping area and walk down till you get across from the main doors, go to your left and inside the library and then turn to your right and you will find the elevators.  Do not go down the hall to the single elevator it will not let you up to the top floors.  The receptionist at the initial desk when you enter knew nothing.

The Reference desk area

The Reference desk area


Microfilm of Newspapers

Microfilm of Newspapers

Looking down at the library

Looking down at the library

The Canadiana Room is on the 6th floor and it is divided by the stairs with tables and computers on one side and the reference desk.  On the other side is the microfilm and readers.  There are some stacks but not everything and you may have to order from their closed stacks.

I was interested in Renfrew County, Horton Twp. cemetery records and Hastings County Cemetery records.  The reference librarian filled out some order forms for me and went to retrieve them.  I went over to their stacks (book shelves) and did some investigating.

It was about 10 minutes later and he returned with my order.  I spent the time studying the contents of the files.  I was not finding what I wanted in the Horton Twp files but then I wasn’t expecting it the dates I want are for people whose tombstones are probably long gone.

I wanted to take a look at the Stirling Cemetery Book and again I got irritated with the maps not matching the contents and just do not understand the format of this book.  I decided I would figure it out when I returned to that cemetery in Hastings County the next day.

My worry about my car and a ticket propelled me to leave probably earlier than I really wanted to.  If I had been able to figure out about the parking situation earlier I would have been able to stay longer.

I was a little disappointed that there were no volunteer OGS – Ontario Genealogical Society) members there and wonder if they even have them cover at the library?

The area for the Canadiana Room is very small and I had been looking forward to wandering a large amount of stacks.  It didn’t happen.  I am a member of OGS and plan to continue being a member.

In many ways I ran out of time planning this trip and in some ways the visit the to the Archives of Ontario and the North York Library reflect that lack of really digging in.  I did leave both a Boardman and Brown and The Man Who Lived Airplanes at the North York Library.  The Archives is no longer accepting family histories.

Once I was back on Yonge Street I just headed to Steeles and then headed to the Super 8.  It was too complicated to try to find a nice restaurant to have a nice dinner.

Yonge Street in Toronto

Yonge Street in Toronto


Looking back at Toronto

Looking back at Toronto

When I returned to the Super 8 I decide to try one of the three restaurants and chose the Japanese and was pleasantly surprised.  I got the special a shrimp stir fry on rice and it was good. It was a little early so I stopped at the McDonald’s for a hamburger for later.  I had a microwave so I could warm it.

I was done with Toronto and was looking forward to heading east to familiar territory and where I had been on my last trip in 2012.

Before I leave Toronto I do want to state that it has a lot of other archives to explore.

1.  The main Reference Library in the downtown area.  http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/  This goes to the genealogical area of their website:  http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/history-genealogy/

2.  They also have the Anglican Diocese of Toronto  http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/ or go to the archives page:  http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/about-the-diocese/departments/archives/

I emailed to them what I was looking for and they suggested the St. John’s Anglican records held at Trent University in Peterborough were the oldest they had in the Peterborough County area.  I was looking for a baptism for my great grandparent Richard Brown because he was not showing up in Hastings County.

3.  The UEL or United Empire Loyalist Association is located in Toronto. http://www.uelac.org/

The next two depend on where and whom you are researching.

4.  The York Region Branch of the OGS  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onyrbogs/

5. The Toronto Branch of the OGS – http://torontofamilyhistory.org/

I am sure there are more and one could spend a lot of time exploring.


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