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Browse Exhibits (46 total)

Canadian Public Figures on Tape


During the early 1970s, Dr. Richard Alway conducted a series of interviews on tape in affiliation with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The series, called "Canadian Public Figures on Tape", consists of ten interviews with prominent Canadian politicans, in which the interview subjects discuss their lives, their careers, and their personal views on Canadian national identity.

Richard Alway reflects on Canadian Public Figures on Tape fifty years later.


How it got started (1:22)

History class in 1960s ()

Interview process (7:02)

Personalities of subjects (7:45)

Hindsight (9:25) 

Two positions of Quebec identity (11:20)


“Canadian Public Figures on Tape” was designed to fill a perceived gap in the Canadian high school social studies curriculum identified during the late 1960s by OISE’s bestselling book What Culture? What Heritage? (A. B. Hodgetts, 1968). In a country-wide study coinciding with Canada’s centennial, Hodgetts uncovered that Canadian history and civics classes were constricted to what he described as “bench-bound” learning, where students memorized history textbooks at their desks, and that the Canadian history curriculum itself was inconsistent from province to province. Together with John Main, the head of OISE Press, Alway began the “Canadian Public Figures on Tape” project as a way for high school students across Canada to engage with the political issues of their time, and as a resource for future students to learn about the personalities, challenges, and triumphs of contemporary politicians.

The project began as a series of six interviews with Lester Pearson, John Diefenbaker, René Lévesque, Maurice Lamontagne, Tommy Douglas, Walter Gordon, and a recording of a public interview held by Joey Smallwood and Jack Pickersgill at the 1971 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Historical Association. Interviews with Judy LaMarsh, Paul Martin Sr., and an individual interview with Jack Pickersgill were later added to the series.


The interviews were originally recorded onto open reels that were condensed, edited, and sold as commercial tapes. The edited interview tape recording for each politician can be found on their corresponding page. Surviving recordings of the unedited interviews are also provided for each subject when available. All audio files are accompanied by downloadable PDF transcripts.

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Celebrating 125 Years of the Dentistry Library (1897-2022)


The Dentistry Library celebrates its 125th year in 2022.

This exhibit was created in 2017 to celebrate the 120th year and has been updated in 2022 to celebrate another milestone, the 125th anniversary. 

The Dentistry Library offers a unique look at the profession through its collections and history. In this space you will information on the growth of our collection over time, changes in our physical space and brief biographies of the faculty and librarians in charge of overseeing the library's collections from inception to present.  

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Changemakers: Women at the University of Toronto and the Struggle for Equity


Many members of the public and students attending the University of Toronto today are not aware of how much the University has changed in a short amount of time. Changemakers: Women at the University of Toronto and the Struggle for Equity is an online exhibit that explores and highlights the role women played on campus from the late 1950s to the early 2000s. For most of this time, women were a minority on campus, many felt they faced barriers that made it an unequal, exclusionary, and discriminatory place. Despite this, women challenged these barriers, achieved success, and made their voices heard. We hope that the online exhibition will make visitors reflect and be mindful of the barriers women faced and how their courage and persistence led to meaningful change that can be seen at the university today.

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Concept of Operations in the Event of Unlimited Nuclear War, 1957-1963

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In response to the growing threat of nuclear war, the Canadian government needed to prepare for a Soviet attack. Although the government already had a paper detailing the strategy for the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war, it required a blueprint for operations after this initial phase.

The Joint Planning Committee (JPC), a subcommittee of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CSC), wrote a persuasive paper addressing this concern, initially titled the “Concept of Operations Following the Initial Phase of Hostilities.” The paper (referred to in this briefing book as the “Concept document”) outlined the main threats faced by Canada in case of nuclear war and the roles each branch of the military would play should a nuclear war take place.

As the CSC considered and edited the paper, content was added, documents were merged, and contentious debates took place. One of these earlier debates concerned the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). While earlier drafts of the Concept document stated that ICBMs would “not be in use operationally by either side,” this position was reversed after additional information was passed along by the Defence Research Board (DRB) and further discussions took place on the topic within the CSC.

Over two years after the first draft of the Concept document, the JPC set up a Working Group to revise the paper. The JPC and the working group resolved to rewrite the former paper as a CSC Directive, including new content such as “Emergency Defence and Survival.” Like its predecessor, the lengthy document raised issues for debate within the government. The working group and the JPC disagreed about the predictability of nuclear war—the JPC argued that predictions could be made about the nature of nuclear war, while the working group did not. This culminated in the group at one point ignoring JPC’s direction to revise a section on the unpredictability of war. Eventually, this tension was resolved and a final draft was reached after another round of edits.

The Concept document offers interesting insight into Canadian plans in the case of “unlimited nuclear war,” and the urgency with which Canadian officials grappled with this concept is shown in these documents. To prepare for the “panic, looting, rioting, apathy, and even anarchy” that would ensue in a nuclear war, officials wanted the Concept document to be completed in short order and kept up to date as the nuclear threat evolved.

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Conquering Lion Pictures


Celebrating the Conquering Lion Pictures fonds at the University of Toronto’s Media Commons Archives.

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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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Discrimination Not Allowed: Human Rights in Ontario

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Accessibility, equal rights, religious freedom, sexual harassment, an end to racial profiling and discrimination — discussion and advocacy for continued progress on these human rights issues continues in Ontario. This exhibit explores the history of human rights in this province, highlighting significant decisions made by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO - formerly named the Ontario Board of Inquiry from 1962-2002). The HRTO is an administrative tribunal created to hear cases brought forward under the Human Rights Code of Ontario. Passed on March 29, 1961 and having taken effect in 1962, the Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, disability, creed, age and other grounds. The decisions of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Board of Inquiry tell a story of evolving attitudes and laws related to sexual orientation, disability, creed, race and sex from a uniquely Ontarian perspective. On display are a selection of books, newspaper clippings and reports, drawn mainly from the University of Toronto Libraries’ collections, alongside a selection of the Board of Inquiry’s Decisions from 1962 through 2002. Most of the photographs on display are courtesy of the Toronto Star Photo Archives. Several libraries and institutions generously loaned materials featured in the exhibition, including:

  • Gerstein Science Information Centre
  • Bora Laskin Law Library
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Disjecta membra: Medieval Manuscript Fragments at Massey College

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This exhibit is an introduction to the collection of medieval manuscript fragments housed at the Robertson Davies Library at Massey College. Please use the menu at left to navigate through the exhibit.

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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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Draft History of US-UK-Canadian Atomic Energy Cooperation, 1953-1954

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In 1953, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill requested the creation of a historical record of Anglo-American cooperation in the field of atomic energy. Churchill's aim was to rectify what he perceived to be a lack of "awareness in Washington" of Britain's contribution to atomic energy. Canada's Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester B. Pearson, pressed for Canadian involvement in editing the history prior to its publication. The Canadians had a stake in securing recognition of their participation in the wartime Anglo-American atomic program and continued atomic cooperation. As Pearson states in his letter of 13 January 1954, it was "important to protect Canada’s continuing interest in the fostering of cooperation with the United States and United Kingdom in the development of atomic energy” by ensuring that Canada’s contributions were recognized.1 As a result, there was a clear push from the Department of External Affairs for Canadian sponsorship of the history, to which the United States and United Kingdom agreed.

Now a tripartite history, the Canadians were afforded acknowledgement of their prolonged commitment to and participation in the allied nuclear programme. However, it was never made clear during discussions in 1954 and 1955 if the history would be made public. The Canadians favoured publication but were not in a position to insist on its publication. There were extensive Canadian revisions to the draft history, consulting various departments and authorities in atomic energy and foreign relations in order to get the story straight. Rumours of atomic sharing eventually leaked to the media and the House of Commons, putting greater pressure on the Canadian government to consider the ramifications of its involvement in atomic cooperation on its image as a nation, the future of its defence planning, and its alliances going forward. It was evident that Canada was determined to have a singular voice and defend its own interests with respect to the draft history, especially in considering a fair and honest representation of its contributions. However, the Canadian government had to balance these interests with considerations of its power relative to that of the United Kingdom and United States. Ultimately, the draft history was never published and was quietly declassified by the United States in 1961.


1 Secretary of State for External Affairs to Minister of Defence, 13 Jan. 1954, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), RG 25, vol. 5957, file no. 50219-AF-40, part 1.

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