Browse Exhibits (19 total)

Canada’s Oldest Profession: Sex Work and Bawdy House Legislation

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"Discrimination on the basis of class, race, ethnic origin and sex," writes legal historian Constance Backhouse, has been "a hallmark of the Canadian legal response to prostitution." Long before the Canadian government's passage of Bill C-36 in 2014, numerous laws have attempted to end "the world's oldest profession" in Canada. Beyond stopping the exchange of money for sex, however, these laws have also frequently been used to police a range of communities based on hierarchies of race, class, gender and sexuality.


Moral reformer (right) harassing a sex worker (left) in a red light district

This digital exhibit complements and expands upon the exhibition, Canada's Oldest Profession: Sex Work and Bawdy House Legislation, on display in Robarts Library, 1st floor exhibition space, from March 8th to June 1st, 2016. It includes material featured in the exhibit and additional information related to the topic of the history of sex work and bawdy house legislation in Canada. The exhibit is sponsored by the University of Toronto Libraries, the Departments of History, and Sexual Diversity Studies. 

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Canadian Law and Canadian Identity

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This Exhibit explores the intersection between Canadian law and Canadian identity (understood broadly to include dimensions such as culture, language, geography, race, ethnicity, and religion).  We consider how Canadian law has shaped conceptions of what Canada is and what a Canadian looks like, thinks, and says.  We also consider how Canada's history, geography, culture, and demographics have shaped Canadian law.

As Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we offer you a tangled set of stories about how law has shaped a country and how a country and its people have shaped law. We are unable to say with any certainty or authority what it means to be "Canadian". Perhaps the most important pattern to note is a general willingness in this country to have difficult conversations and to leave room for disagreement, even disagreements about what it means to be Canadian. 

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Canadian music publishing and the war effort


The University of Toronto Music Library's Canadian Sheet Music Collection highlights the Toronto music publishers’ responses to the Great War. The sheet music included in this exhibit comes straight from our archival vault and was published between 1914 and 1918.  


The incredible cover art and inset photos of military personnel aside, the intense and frequently heartfelt lyric of these pieces speak to the ways in which everyday people on the home front responded to the war, whether through wholehearted support, or recognition of longing, loss and death. The outpouring of human emotion imbued in these texts provides a direct window into the mindset of people from 100 years ago, when considerable anxiety gripped the public at large as everyday people struggled with the personal costs brought about through the wholescale devastation and slaughter.


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Crime and Punishment at 150: Global Contexts




The year 2016 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky’s seminal novel, Crime and Punishment (1866). A revelation when it first appeared in Moscow on the pages of the journal Russian Messenger, it continues to provide readers unparalleled insight into the individual’s role and moral responsibility in society. Following the murderous aspirations of the novel’s protagonist, former student Raskolnikov, we are confronted with the struggle of reconciling rationalist action with the human conscience, and witness one of Russia’s greatest artists at the peak of his success.

To commemorate Crime and Punishment’s resounding triumph and influence, a two month exhibition was held at John P. Robarts Research Library, University of Toronto, from October 3-November 30, 2016. Through the theme of “Global Contexts” it sought to celebrate the novel’s international reception and propagation, highlighting the rich variety of the collection held by the University of Toronto Libraries and the relevance of the holdings to interdisciplinary research and teaching.

This online exhibition offers an interactive platform through which to engage with the materials showcased, and support the continuing study of the novel across the boundaries of nation, language, and media. Over twenty countries are represented, and each category of materials offers a different genre in which to appreciate the novel: translation; art and illustration; belles-lettres and popular fiction; film, stage, and music; and literary criticism. Each item symbolizes the interminable relevance of Dostoevsky’s work, and emphasizes key threads of his thought that hold special significance for the development of culture world-wide.

The Robarts Library exhibition formed part of a SSHRC funded outreach project, Crime and Punishment at 150. Sponsors include the Petro Jacyk Central & East European Resource Centre, and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. The original exhibition was curated by Professor Kate Holland and Ph.D. candidate Barnabas Kirk. This online platform was developed by Barnabas Kirk in conjunction with University of Toronto Libraries.


The curators would like to thank the following individuals at the University of Toronto Libraries for their cooperation: Ksenya Kiebuzinski for coordinating the planning, installation, and publicity for the exhibition; Jack Leong and members of the International and Community Outreach Coordinating Group for logistical support; Maureen Morin for creating the exhibition poster; Fabiano Rocha, Hana Kim, Miguel Torrens, Jihae Chun, Helen Tang, and Alex Averbuch for acquiring and/or describing several items on display; Wasyl Sydorenko for editorial and design assistance; Leslie Barnes for her technical assistance with the virtual display; and Megan Campbell and Milena Djokic for organizing the opening reception. Particular thanks is also owed to Dostoevsky scholars from across the globe for their valuable guidance, including Stefano Aloe (University of Verona, Italy), Sharon Lubkemann Allen (State University of New York, USA), and Bruno Barreto Gomide (University of São Paulo, Brazil)

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Dentistry Library 120th Anniversary


The Dentistry Library celebrates its 120th year in 2017.

From rare books, to e-books, to dental artifacts, the Dentistry Library offers a unique look at the profession, past and present. Explore our collections and history here. In this space you will find a brief description of what the library collection was like in 1897 and what it is today. In addition, on the left hand side there are brief biographies of the faculty members in charge of overseeing the library's collections prior to the hiring of the first dental librarian, Ms. Phyllis Smith, in 1954. 

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Dr. Tony Pawson Tribute


Dr. Tony Pawson (1952-2013) revolutionized our understanding of the way our cells work in health and in disease. His discoveries contribute to every aspect of medical research and have relevance for the understanding and treatment of a host of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and disorders of the immune system. In the 25 years he spent studying how cells grow and communicate with each other, he became a world leader and one of the top 25 cited scientists in his field.

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Fashion Plates from the Collections of the Library & Archives, Royal Ontario Museum

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A descriptive finding aid of historical fashion plates included in the collections of the Library & Archives, Royal Ontario Museum

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Global Summitry Archive: A Searchable Memory of Global Governance


The Global Summitry Archive, created by the Global Summitry Project (GSP) at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, aims to collect and preserve publicly accessible information and websites related to global summits, including leader and other officials’ meetings and conferences.

Governments and international institutions are increasingly using websites as their primary means for disseminating information about meetings, conferences, and summits. On the other hand, there is a lack of a centralized effort to capture and preserve content that has been published online.

The Global Summitry Archive has been created to serve as an unofficial secretariat for all digital content related to global governance with a two-pronged focus on preservation and accessibility. In terms of preservation, the Archive aims to collect – as completely as possible – all online information related to global governance. In terms of accessibility, the Archive will remain publicly accessible and is designed to accommodate keyword searches to allow users to quickly find the information they are looking for.

Using Archive-It, a web-archiving service provided by The Internet Archive, the Global Summitry Project has successfully preserved 125 websites containing over 3 million documents. The collection will continue to grow as more websites and content is published online.

The Global Summitry Project welcomes feedback and suggestions. If there is a website we haven’t captured that you think we should – let us know.

Click here to access the Global Summitry Archive.

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In All Of Us Command: Story of an Anthem


Intended to instill a sense of communal national pride, “O Canada” occupies a significant place in the Canadian public’s imagination. Played in schools and sung at sporting events nationwide, many Canadians know the melody and lyrics by heart. However, few are aware of the national anthem’s colourful history.



In the following exhibit, you will discover the compositional context of “O Canada” and examine different versions of the piece from our library’s extensive Canadian Sheet Music Collection. A historical narrative of the anthem will be traced, delving into the nineteenth century French Canadian origins of the piece and the struggle for English lyrical uniformity. The exhibit concludes by scrutinizing the issues facing us as twenty-first century Canadians, as we strive to establish a version of our national anthem that better reflects the rich diversity of our country, its people, and environment.


Please stop by the University of Toronto Faculty of Music to see the physical exhibit, which begins in the lobby and continues downstairs in the displays outside the library.


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Making History: contributions of faculty members in science and medicine


This exhibit is comprised of 30 photographs drawn from the University of Toronto Archives, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, the Hospital for Sick Children Archives and the grandson of John Gerald FitzGerald.  

Since the fall of 2014 they have hung in the Gerstein Reading Room at 9 King's College Circle on the St. George campus of the University of Toronto.  The photographs represent the varied and significant contributions of faculty members of the University of Toronto in the fields of science and medicine.  It is hoped that these photographs both honour those represented and inspire those who see them.


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