What Can Canadian Directories Do for You?

Canadian directories have long been a valuable resource at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and can be used for a variety of purposes. Before telephone books came into use, Canadian directories (sometimes simply referred to as city directories), were used as a tool for advertising and marketing within a community and were intended to facilitate communication between buyer and seller.

Our collection includes national, provincial/territorial, county and city directories from across Canada, primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries. Genealogists are frequent users of the directories as they provide opportunities to track a person within a given time period and place. An individual’s address, occupation and the names of other household members are only a few of the gems that lie ready to be discovered within their pages.

Canadian directories are a popular tool for genealogists but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this resource! These directories have many other excellent uses.

Canadian Directories can…

  • help determine the urban development of an area
  • be used to determine the history of a building
  • showcase advertisements from a certain time period that can be a valuable source of information about the services, products and entertainments available to Canadian society
  • provide information on the companies that were active during that time period
  • furnish a list of city officials
  • supply researchers with population statistics for that time period
  • offer the names and locations of important community institutions such as schools, churches, etc.

Useful Resources

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

6 thoughts on “What Can Canadian Directories Do for You?

  1. I have 2 frame tinted photos 1893-1900s..thinking HenryG Peabody…
    bow valley+Mt Rundel
    They are signed in pencil and in an old frame. I want to make sure about them and anything of value
    I would like to forward some pictures and need an e.mail?

  2. Pingback: Census Search Tips and Tricks « Library and Archives Canada Blog

  3. Pingback: Validating your ancestor’s arrival in Canada before 1865 | Library and Archives Canada Blog

  4. I am researching Canadian ancestors in the 1800s. For the 1861 and 1871 Ontario Census, is there a way I can determine an actual address of where they lived based upon where they are in the census?

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