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Searching the Architectural Index for Ontario

About the Architectural Index for Ontario - Archindont

Archindont is a database of architectural information and citations to periodical articles and books about buildings in Toronto. It is an electronic version of the card index that has been in existence since 1975.


Archindont began in 1975 as a LIP (Local Initiative Project) initiative of the Toronto Region Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. Volunteer members compiled information from important Canadian architectural periodicals dating back to the 1850s. It has been available at the Metro Toronto Reference Library since the late 1970s, and continues to be maintained and updated by architecture librarians.

Scope and Purpose

The scope of the index has varied over the years and has expanded to include information about Ontario buildings appearing in selected books, non-Canadian periodicals and local (Toronto) newspapers.

Archindont is a unique resource that is used by students, architects, renovators, planners, scholars, architectural historians and members of the public. Archindont has been selected as a pilot project for the automating many of the unique indexes of the Metro Toronto Reference Library which are currently only available as manual cardfiles. An important feature of the automated index is its ability to link users to other special collecions throughout the library: historic pictorial resources from the Baldwin Room and, eventually, scanned images.

The Pilot Project

The initial phase of the project involves the automating of approximately 1000 citations about buildings in the City of Toronto that have appeared since 1982, which is when about 17,000 previous citations were microfilmed. (There are also about 23,000 citations available in paper format for the remainder of Ontario). The material in the database does include some citations earlier than 1982, the result of indexing done retrospectively.

Sources of Information


Names of streets as well as street addresses of buildings have been known to vary between sources, and the main publications that have been relied upon for establishing locations are: Patricia McHugh's 'Toronto Architecture: A City Guide' (1989), as well as the 'Canada's Postal Code Directory'.

Building terms

The terms for 'building types' and 'building groups' are based on a modified version of the the Getty Art Museum's 'Art and ArchitectureThesaurus'. The pilot database, however, functions best with two hierarchical levels rather than three or four, therefore most of the relationships between terms have been modified. The authority terms that have been selected have been taken from the 'Single Built Works' as well as the 'Built Complexes' section of the AAT. In some cases, it has been necessary to utilize 'guide terms' as bona fide index terms, whereas they are not valid in AAT. The AAT's American spellings of some words (i.e. Centers, Theaters, etc.) have been converted to British spellings, since the majority of the users of Archindont are Canadian.

Searching Archindont

You can search Archindont by the following search types:

To search Archindont, you will see the following search form. This is just an example. When you are ready to perform a search, go back to the Archindont search page.

Type of search: First letter:

Search Results

You may find the following information on buildings, but not all information is available for all buildings:

The results for a search on the building name Annette Branch Library look like this:

Information on Building Name: Annette Branch Library
Address: 145 Annette Street
Type of Building: Libraries
Name of Building: Annette Branch Library
Architects: Ellis & Connery (firm)
Sillaste & Nakashima (firm)
Journal or book Year Month Page Vol. No.
Best gift : a record of the Carnegie libraries... 1984 n/a var.    
Review of Architecture and Landscape Architecture 1980 x ?   3

Building information looks like this:

Information about Building: 145 Annette Street,
Name of building: Annette
Architects: Ellis & Connery (firm)
Sillaste & Nakashima (firm)

Building Completed: 1909
Altered: 1980

Pictures in Special Collections of the
Toronto Reference Library

Collection Picture ID
Historical Picture Collection S 1-1135
Canadian Postcard Collection -
Toronto Postcard Collection PC 1469

Citation Information looks like this:

Article about Building: 145 Annette Street, Toronto

Journal (or book)
Review of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Author ISSN/ISBN or Bib-Id Call Number Location
  0705-1913 M Periodicals

Notes : Toronto [s.n.]

No Title Available

Journal or book Year Month Page Vol. No.
Review of Architecture and Landscape Architecture 1980 x ?   3

Illustrations in the article
Floor Plan: 2
Exterior Elevation: 1
Interior Photo: 3

Other Information

If you want more information on Toronto buildings, you may want to visit the Toronto Reference Library. The Main Reference Centre maintains a large Picture Collection that includes photographs of Toronto and other buildings. The Special Collections Centre holds some historical building resources.

As this Archindont database includes only Toronto buildings so far, you may want to see the print index that includes building information for Ontario as a whole.

For more infromation about any of these resources, please contact Ask a Librarian.