Maps & Atlases
Our comprehensive Map & Atlas Collection provides general and thematic maps for most countries and regions of the world. Thematic map sheets are also acquired for parts of the world with the main concentration on Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the United States and Europe. Typical subjects include geology, climate, soils, water, population, land use, economics, elections, transportation, urban affairs, history. The book collection includes gazetteers, bibliographies of maps, and material on cartography and the history of cartography.
Searching for Maps & Atlases
- The University of Toronto Library Catalogue (Advanced Search). Our atlas collection, and the bulk of our print map collection, are included here. Here is a guide that explains how to search this catalogue and locate maps in our collection.
- The Map & Data Library Inventory. The MDL Inventory contains all of our digitized, out-of-copyright, downloadable maps. In addition, we have begun cataloguing print maps in the MDL Inventory instead of the UTL Catalogue, so some printed maps can also be searched here (but not downloaded). To search all maps, select "Scanned & Paper Maps" from the drop-down menu.
Locating Maps & Atlases
The Map & Data Library map and atlas collections are located on the 5th Floor of Robarts. Here is a guide to map and atlas call numbers. We have made a floor plan of the Map & Data Library available to help you find your way around, as well as a more detailed diagram of our map cabinet layout.
There are also many maps in storage which can be requested during MDL reference hours. We encourage you to come in for assistance with finding or requesting the maps you need.
The Map & Atlas collection is open to all University of Toronto faculty, students, staff and members of the public, during regular Robarts Library hours of operation. Map materials do not circulate except in very rare cases.
More Detail about the Map & Atlas Collection
The Map & Atlas Collection has several important sub-collections, including:
- Topographic Maps. The collection includes topographic maps of countries around the world, at varying scales. For Canada, we have National Topographic Maps at 1:25 000, 1:50 000, 1:250 000, and smaller scales (current sheets held in the map library, superseded items in storage), Ontario Base Map 1:10 000-1:20 000, Ontario 1:100 000, and series maps from other provinces. For other countries, please consult the complete listing of topographic map holdings.
- Fire Insurance Plans & Atlases. Fire Insurance plans and atlases are large-scale (high resolution) urban maps which grew out of the need of fire insurance underwriters to understand the physical characteristics of a structure to be insured. These maps show the character of the outside and inside construction of buildings, occupancy or use of individual buildings or groups of buildings, street widths, street addresses, property lines, water pipes or mains, fire hydrants and other information are included. Please consult our guide to the Fire Insurance Plans & Atlases for additional information. To access out of copyright Toronto Fire Insurance plans, please see our index: https://mdl.library.utoronto.ca/toronto-fire-insurance-plans.
- Air Photos. Coverage is primarily for the Toronto region and includes: Metro Toronto at 1:5000 for alternate years from 1972 to the present; sets for the City of Toronto at 1:500 from 1967-8 to the present; recent colour aerial photos and digital colour orthophotos for the Greater Toronto Area. Please consult our inventory for details on air photo coverage outside the Toronto region.
- Geological Maps & Atlases. The Map Library has an extensive world-wide collection of maps and atlases on geology and related topics. Sheets cover surficial and bedrock geology, as well as tectonics, metamorphism, magnetism, gravity, geochemistry and geohydrology, mines and minerals and other current topics such as oil and gas, and energy resources. Please consult our guide to the geological map and atlas collection for additional information.
- Rare Maps. While the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library holds most of the rare map collection at the University of Toronto, the Map & Data Library has a modest but important collection of rare maps of Toronto and Ontario.
- Maps on Microfiche. The University of Toronto Map & Data Library has a very large collection of maps on microfiche. Here is a search engine for part of this collection (Canadian maps held at Library and Archives Canada).
- Genealogy Sources. Many resources in the Map & Atlas Collection are of interest to genealogists. We have created a Genealogy Resources page.
Other Map Collections
For More Information