The Rarest Books in Canada

Finally made it inside. It’s been on my list every year during ‘Doors Open Toronto’, and 4 years later, tada!

It’s the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, inside the University of Toronto.

6 floors housing 700,000 books and 3,000 metres of manuscripts. It’s the largest collection of rare books and manuscripts in Canada.

Some of their best books:

  • Darwin’s proof copy of ‘On the Origin of Spiecies’
  • Egyptian manuscript fragments
  • An original copy of Shakespeare’s ‘First Folio‘ (one book containing all his plays)

How it works:

You tell them what you’d like to read, and they retrieve it for you (only librarians go into the shelves, the “stacks”).

You’ll meet up in the ‘Reading Room’, and be under constant supervision.

I asked them: do I wear gloves when handling the books?

Nope, and I quote, “We are a library, not a museum”. I like that.

I worked in a library for years. I had the dewey decimal system memorized to 5 places. 

I have a Books category here on KeriBlog.

Here’s the best part: people like us, normal public non-university people, can come and read the books.

Website: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Twitter: @Fisher_Library
Address: 120 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A5
Hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

Here’s their catalogue.



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