Skip to Main Content  

Researching Hospital History at UHN: Are the Archives the Right Place for Me?

This guide will help you find out about our hospital's history and introduce you to resources for archival research.

Visiting the Archives

UHN's Corporate Archives have three separate locations and are open to both external and internal researchers by appointment only. Due to the nature of archival research, please plan ahead. Same-day service is not offered.

Search our Holdings

To search for material in UHN’s Corporate Archives, use the Archeion database.

Help: Using the Archeion database.

Our History

University Health Network has grown out of a series of mergers between our current hospitals. Each of our hospital sites also has their own unique history:

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. ― Marcus Garvey

Are the Archives the Right Place for Me?

The UHN Archives preserves the historical administrative records created by UHN's hospitals including Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Toronto Rehab. In addition to our current hospitals, records also document our nursing schools, Grace Hospital, Toronto Homeopathic Hospital, the Ontario Cancer Institute, and the work of noted cardiovascular surgeon W.G. Bigelow. 

The Archives have:

  • minutes of the Board of Directors and their sub-committees
  • reports and correspondence from various administrative offices
  • annual reports
  • financial statements
  • policy and procedure manuals that have been superseded
  • records and photographs from the Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing, the Atkinson School of Nursing of the Toronto Western Hospital, and the Grace Hospital Training School for Nurses
  • historical photographs of our hospitals and staff
  • administrative records.

The Archives DO NOT have:

  • patient or health records
  • birth information
  • museum pieces
  • recent or current hospital records

For requests for patient or health records, please contact Health Record Services.

For hospital publications such as recent annual reports, please see UHN's public website.

To make an access request for general records or for records of personal information held by UHN, please make a request through Freedom of Information.

What are Archives?

Archives house original, unpublished and often unique records created by a person or organization. The way these materials are organized preserves the relationship between the record and the activity that generated it. As a result, these records have meaning and context in how they bear witness to the creator's activities. These would be considered primary sources because they are original documents written or created during the time under study.

This is different from a library which manages published resources such as books and journals. Textbooks, histories and review articles would be considered secondary sources because they interpret or analyze primary sources and can be several steps removed from an event.