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Construction Science & Management

Building Products, Materials and Manufacturers

Most of these sites allow you to search or browse by both product category and CSI MasterFormat number.   Most sites feature suppliers and manufacturers from across North America.  Sites supply links to manufacturer's websites.  In the case of SWEETS, spec and data sheets are often available for download.

Green Building Materials

The following links highlight green building products in the North American market.  Sites allow for product searches and browsing by LEED or MasterFormat categories.

Green Building Projects in Toronto, Ontario and Canada

There are several good sites to help you locate green building projects in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada.

Retrofit Guide

The Toronto Atmospheric Fund offers a number of helpful links to walk you through a high-rise retrofit.
Retrofitting Existing Buildings to Improve Sustainability and Energy Performance from the National Institute of Building Science - suggests several energy-efficient and green retrofit options and links out to resource pages for each option.
Retrofit Guides from CMHC
Two-Storey Homes


Researching a Contemporary Building

Researching a Contemporary Building or Architect

Getting Started

  • The Great Buildings Collection, Dezeen and ArchDaily are good resources for the basics on buildings and architectural practices (e.g. architect/firm, location, year built). You can also check our online and print architectural atlas.  For buildings in Toronto try the TOBuilt website.  You will need this basic information on your building to start your research.

Articles and Books

Start with the GBC Library's journal and book collection.  The library has newspapers, magazines, and journals with information on Canadian and international buildings.  We also have an extensive book collection which may feature books on your architect/firm or your building.


Tip: These are especially helpful for finding information (including drawings) on contemporary buildings.

EXAMPLE:  Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (HEART) -  Steven Holl

Herning Art SHA 3815.jpg

Photo: Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (HEART) (2013) By Iwan Baan - - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Wikimedia Commons

Try searching on all aspects of the building, including:

  • The current and former name(s) of the building  (e.g. Herning Museum of Contemporary Art OR HEART museum)
  • Combine the architect and building name for more targeted searching: 
    • Steven Holl AND (Herning Museum of Contemporary Art OR HEART)
  • The location of the building (e.g., Herning AND Steven Holl)
  • The architect or firm that did restoration work on the building
  • The architect's/firm's name to research additional projects or biographical information (e.g. Steven Holl)

Library Learning Commons Homepage





El Croquis journal collection

Search the El Croquis Journal collection for a contemporary building or an architect/practice.  Each issue is dedicated to an architect or practice. The journal provides biographical information on the architect or practice, interviews with the architect(s), and profiles of major projects.  You can browse the collection or search for a specific building within the collection in the main database (see sample search below).

sample search in el croquis journal as source and heart museum and steven holl

  • Note the Issue number and page numbers before going to the publisher's site via the Get It (Full Text Finder) link.

sample article from El Croquis highlighting the Issue Number and page numbers and the Get It Full Text Finder link

Canadian Buildings

EXAMPLE:  Muskoka Boathouse - Shim Sutcliffe

Muskoka BoathouseMuskoka Boathouse

Images:  Muskoka Boathouse by Shim Sutcliffe.  Retrieved from LUNA;JSESSIONID=dc369097-3b55-4c5d-8920-e584cb0e3fd8?search=SUBMIT&cat=0&q=muskoka+boathouse&dateRangeStart=&dateRangeEnd=&QuickSearchA=QuickSearchA

For Canadian buildings, after you have searched in our main database (see above), be sure to also search our databases that have a Canadian focus using Canadian Sources +  to search the databases listed below.

  • CBCA Complete (Canadian Business and Current Affairs)
    • It contains Canadian history and architecture journals.
  • Canadian Major Dailies
    • Newspapers from across Canada
  • Use the same search strategy you used in the main database:
    • The current and former name(s) of the building  (e.g. Muskoka Boathouse OR Point William Boathouse)
    • Combine the architect and building name for more targeted searching: 
      • Shim Sutcliffe AND (Muskoka Boathouse OR Point William Boathouse)
    • The location of the building and the architect (e.g., Muskoka AND Shim Sutcliffe)
    • The architect's/firm's name to research additional projects or biographical information (e.g. Shim Sutcliffe)

Books and Videos: 

Tip: Books and videos can be especially helpful for older buildings where journal coverage in our collection may not be available.

EXAMPLE: Seagram Building - Mies van der Rohe

Seagram's Building in New York City was built in 1958

Seagram's Building in New York City was built in 1958. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016. Accessed 14 Sep 2022.

Use the library's main search box but keep your search more general.  Try:

  • architect's/architectural firm's name (e.g. Mies van der Rohe)
  • building name (e.g. Seagram Building)
  • type of architecture (e.g. skyscraper AND architecture)
  • location of the building (New York City AND architecture)
  • era of building (e.g. midcentury-modern architecture)
  • Limit your search to books or videos

Biographical Information for Architects

Beyond Our Collection - E-books and Journals

  • Search the architect's/firm's website.  Does the building have a website? Look for awards or references to articles and books.

Internet Archive LogoInternet Archive

Architecture Magazine Library (from

  •  Free access to USModernist's digital collection of major US 20th-century architecture magazines. (e.g. The Seagram Building from Architectural Record, July, 1958)

TPL: Toronto Public Library

  • All George Brown College students are eligible to apply for a Toronto Public Library Card.  This allows you to use the TPL databases and to check out books.  The main Reference Library at Yonge and Bloor has an excellent architecture collection.  They have a number of print journals that pre-date our print collection and a large architecture book collection.  They also offer access to a number of online journals through Flipster, Press Reader and Overdrive. The JSTOR  database may have journal articles for older buildings.

RIBA: Royal Institute of British Architects Library

  • Search the RIBA catalogue for references to your building that may not come up in your initial search. Some of these resources may be available in our collection.  Most of these books and journals can be found at the Toronto Public Library.

Google Books

Screen shot of a Google Book search on the Wesley Building Burke Toronto

  • Use Google Books to search through the full-text of books for references to your building.  The book may not be available for viewing so check the Search Everything to see if we have the book in our collection.  You can also search the Internet Archives for an e-book copy.  


Toronto Historic Buildings

The Toronto Heritage Register, the Architectural Index for Ontario and TOBuilt are good sources for basic information on historic buildings in Toronto.  These sources provide details, such as year built, architect, and building name(s), which you will need to find more detailed information about the building you are researching.  Digital Doors Open from the Ontario Heritage Trust features several historic buildings in Toronto.  You can also find information on Toronto Buildings by searching the Ontario Heritage Act Register ,  Ontario Heritage Trust - Places of Worship Inventory and the Directory of Federal Heritage Designations.


Toronto Heritage Register

The Toronto Heritage Register allows you to search for basic information on a number of historic buildings in Toronto.  This basic information is found in the Heritage Property Detail record which can be searched either via the Heritage Register Search map or by using the Heritage ProCity of Toronto's heritage property search showing search for 299 Queen Streetperty Search tool









screen shot of the Heritage Property Detail record highlighting bylaw, easement, names, year built and architecture firm

The Heritage Property Detail record provides basic information on heritage buildings including:

  • the architect
  • year built
  • current and former name(s)
  • Heritage designation bylaw number
  • Heritage Easement Agreement number  

All of this information will be useful when searching for information on


Architectural Index for Ontario

Toronto Reference Library's Architectural Index for Ontario is another good resource for basic information about historic buildings in  Toronto.  You can browse the index by designer/architect, building name, building type or street. The entry provides basic information on the building as well as an index to articles about the building.

screen shot from Architectural Index for Ontario showing the property details for 299 Queen St. W including building, date built and architect







Each listing also provides references to current and historical books and articles on the building.

The documents and reports created during the heritage designation process can contain valuable information on heritage buildings.  Many are available online at the City of Toronto website.

  • The Heritage Designation By-law outlines the architectural and cultural significance of the building in the   "Reasons for Designation" section.
  • The Intention to Designate document has background reports that contain detailed information on the heritage attributes of the property.

SAMPLE SEARCH:  The Broadview Hotel - 704 Queen Street East

Heritage Designation Bylaw

Bylaws 1998-Present:  For Heritage Designation bylaws passed from 1998 to the present, use the

City of Toronto Bylaw Search Page to access the full-text of the by-law. 

Screen shot of the Heritage Property Detail Record for 704 Queen St. East highlighting bylaw number


(The by-law number is found in the Heritage Property Detail Record).




Once you have the bylaw number:City of Toronto bylaw search page screen shot highlighting bylaw search for 704 Queen St. East

SAMPLE:   CITY OF TORONTO BY-LAW No. 605-2015 To designate the property at 704 Queen Street East (Dingman's Hall) as being of cultural heritage value or interest.

screen shot of bylaw registry search page highlighting bylaw number search

Pre-1998 Bylaws: The By-law Registry search page allows you to search for heritage designation bylaws passed before 1998 and may provide a link to the full-text of the bylaw.  Where full-text is not available you will be directed to contact the City Clerk to request the full-text.  You can also visit the Toronto Archive for the full-text of bylaws passed before 1998.




Intention to Designate Document

This document has a Background Information section that can contain report(s) with detailed information on a historic building including the architectural and cultural significance, the history of the building and the area, pictures and architectural drawings. screen shot of TIMMIS search for 704 Queen Street East

Search TMMIS  using the building address for reports from 2006-present.

(The Toronto Archives  provides access to pre-2006 Ontario Heritage Act Designation files  - Series 822).

screen shot from TIMMIS showing intention to designate for 704 Queen St. East


  • Choose the link for the full-text of the Intention to Designate Document.

Intention to Designate under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act - 704 Queen Street East (Entrance Address 106 Broadview Avenue)


  • Scroll down to the Background Information section for the background file report.
Background Information (Community Council)
(May 16, 2014) Report from the Director, Urban Design, City Planning Division - Intention to Designate under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act - 704 Queen Street East (Entrance Address 106 Broadview Avenue)


Information on materials and methods can often be found in historical articles written at the time the historic building was constructed or in books featuring the building. The Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, the Architectural Index for Ontario and TOBuilt are excellent sources to help you find articles and books that feature your building. 

The Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800 - 1950  is an excellent source to help you find references to articles or books on a historic building. You can browse or search by architect or building name.  

Each page has a brief biography of the architect and entries for each building he or she designed. (Hint:  Use CTRL-F to find your building on the page).

The entries have abbreviations for each source.  The most commonly used abbreviations are listed below.  If you have any questions about a source, contact your liaison librarian, Andrea Hall.

Sample Entry for 299 Queen St. West:

METHODIST BOOK & PUBLISHING CO., Queen Street West at John Street, 1914-15 (Toronto b.p. 9731, 21 March 1914; C.R., xxix, 17 Feb. 1915, 200-02, illus. & descrip.; Const., ix, Jan. 1916, 8-14, illus. & descrip.; Horwood Coll. 1147-49, 1153-57, 1182-83, 1222; Carr, 152, illus.)

Toronto b.p. 9731, 21 March 1914 = Toronto building permit #9731 issued March 21, 1914.
Horwood Coll. =  Drawings and/or records for the building are available in the Horwood Collection  at the Archives of Ontario.

Abbreviations for a select list of digitized sources (full list of abbreviations):

Finding Articles from older journals: Once you have a list of the journal articles that feature your building, you can search several sources for the full-text digitized article. See below for frequently cited journals.

b.p. - building permit
C.A.B. - Canadian Architect & Builder  [Toronto], pub. 1888-1908 digital full-text available at McGill)
C.R. - Contract Record  (available through Internet Archives), and its variant titles, including :

Const. - Construction: A Journal for the Architectural, Engineering and Contracting Interests of Canada  [Toronto], pub. 1907-1934 (digital full-text available through the Internet Archives)
demol.. - demolished
OA - Archives of Ontario (at York University)

R.A.I.C. - Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.  (digitized at Dalhousie)


Books:  You can search the GBC Library Catalogue for recent books that feature your building.  The Toronto Reference Library is another good source for books.  The Internet Archive and Google Books may provide the digitized full text for books and articles.

The Heritage Designation Bylaw and Easement Agreement can also contain information on materials and methods used in heritage buildings.



Blueprints and specifications for many historic buildings in Toronto are often housed at one of the following locations:

If the original blueprints are not available, one can often find copies of the drawings in historical articles written at the time the building was built.

Toronto Archives (255 Spadina Rd - just down the street from the Casa Loma campus):

Key Tips:

  • Bring photo ID on your first visit to sign up for a free Toronto Archive Researcher card.
  • It can take several hours to bring up records from storage so give yourself lots of time.
  • The archives are open on the weekend but you have to pre-order records on a weekday.
  • You can take non-flash photos of the blueprints and specification sheets

To search for blueprints, start at the Toronto Archives Advanced Search Page.

Toronto archives search screen with 299 Queen in keywords and series 410 in Forms Part of field

  • Start in series 410 in the Forms Part of field
  • Enter the building address, or name, or architect in the Keyword field
  • If there are no results, try taking out 410 and searching on building name, address or architect.



Records page for 299 Queen from Toronto Archives


If blueprints are available, you must create a Record Request Form to request the blueprints for the building.  If you need assistance, contact your librarian Andrea Hall or call the City of Toronto Archives at 416-397-0778.







blueprints from 299 Queen St. West


You can take non-flash pictures of blueprints and other records found at the archives.






Archives of Ontario (at York University subway stop - now only 35 minutes from Casa Loma!)

**Note: If you wish to view blueprints or records at the archives, they may need to be ordered 24-48 hours in advance. Speak to Archives reference desk staff for assistance (416-327-1600)**


Search the Archives of Ontario for drawings of many historic buildings in Toronto and Ontario.  Collections from several architects who worked in Toronto and Ontario are housed at the Ontario Archives including:

  • J.C.B. and E.C. Horwood collection (32,738 architectural drawings from Horwood and those compiled by J.E.B. Horwood from a number of architectural firms in Toronto)
  • E. J. Lennox (1860-1937)
  • Langley and Howland (1862-1908)
  • Jack Ryrie

    sample simple search of Archives of Ontario database


  • Start with a simple keyword search.
  • If you do not find any records, try the Advanced Search option


  • The Reference Desk staff at the Archives of Ontario can also help. Call 416-327-1600 for assistance.



Sample Record page from Ontario Archive database







Use the Related Material section to find related series numbers to search.

Information about Toronto's historic buildings can also be found in current articles and books.  You will use a specific search to find articles on a building and a general search to find books that feature a building.

Articles:  Try searching on all aspects of the building, including:

  • The current and former name(s) of the building
  • The architect or firm that designed the building
  • The architect or firm that did restoration work on the building

Start with our databases that have a Canadian focus using Canadian Sources +.


Next, search the main search box below. This will allow you to simultaneously search a number of databases including  Art and Architecture Complete and CPI.Q.




Books:  Use the library's main search box (above) but keep your search more general.  Try:

  • architect's name (e.g. Edmund Burke)
  • building name (e.g. Union Station)
  • type of architecture (e.g.Toronto and church and architecture)
  • Toronto and architecture

Screen shot of a Google Book search on the Wesley Building Burke Toronto


Google Books is another excellent way to find references to your building within books.  Try the name of your building and architect in the Google Search.   If the book is not available full-text, check the GBC Library catalogue or the Toronto Public Library catalogue for the book.


Accessible Design and Standards

Citing your sources using APA

Always Cite Your Sources - APA Citation Style

One of the most important aspects of any research project is making sure you are properly citing the sources your information came from. Most courses at George Brown College require students to use APA citation style, but please check with your instructor to ensure you are using the correct citation style.

The George Brown Library has a number of guides and handouts that will help you make sure you are using the APA style correctly. The Library also has an extensive list of examples and how-to instructions for a variety of source types.

And, remember, if you are unsure of how to cite something or need help finding something on the library website, just ask go ask a library at the reference desk or get in touch with the library for help.

This online tutorial from shows you how to use Word to cite your sources.