Souvenir of Toronto: Announcing the Robert MacIntosh Collection on the History of Toronto

Ryerson University Library and Archives is pleased to announce the donation of the Robert MacIntosh Collection on the History of Toronto to the Special Collections department.

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A few of the souvenir booklets in the collection, featuring photographs of the major sites to see in the city.  These early keepsakes often included views of Casa Loma, the Canada Life Assurance Company building, the CNE, and Sunnyside pool.

The collection of 141 books was carefully curated by collector, author, and longtime Toronto resident, Robert M. MacIntosh. Ranging in date from 1807 – 1988, topics include historical accounts, biographies of notable Torontonians (including John Toronto himself, Bishop Strachan), tourist keepsakes through the years, maps, centennial publications, and TTC brochures.  

An economist by trade, MacIntosh authored “Different Drummers, Banking and Politics in Canada” in 1992 before focusing his research on the early history and formation of the City of Toronto and publishing “Earliest Toronto” in 2006.

Browse all books in the collection.

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Books from the MacIntosh collection focused on significant individuals in Toronto history. Bishop John Strachan (often called “John Toronto”), was a staunch Tory, the city’s first Anglican bishop in 1839, and superintendent of schools.  An ideological rival to many of Strachan’s views, Jesse Ketchum was a representative in the 10th Parliament of the then Upper Canada. A writer and artist, Elizabeth Simcoe was the wife of Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe and her diary is an important account of life in early York (Toronto).

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Some of the volumes that detail the history of specific streets in the City of Toronto.  Yonge Street, the major artery through Toronto and once the longest street in the world, began construction in 1793 to link the new capitol of Upper Canada to Lake Simcoe.  Jarvis street, now home to the only reversible lane in Toronto, was once one of the most affluent areas of the city.  Taking it’s name from the original 1818 manor belonging to Dr. William Baldwin, Spadina now houses Toronto’s Chinatown, one of the largest in North America.

To view this or any of our other collections, give us a call and make an appointment: 416-979-5000 ext. 4996. Or email us at specialcollections@ryerson.ca.

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Some examples of celebratory publications and reports in the MacIntosh Collection.

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