Library Blog

Canada 150, Part I

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In honour of this year's 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, we are highlighting some of the interesting titles found in the Great Library’s collection of pre-Confederation and Confederation-era materials.

The first book purchase for what would become the Great Library happened in 1827, when Upper Canada’s Solicitor General Boulton “spent nearly £300 on books for the society” while in London (Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario’s Lawyers 1797-1997, p.68). Since then, the collection has grown through purchases and donations, such as the large donation from William Renwick Riddell. [For more about the Riddell Collection, see: The Riddell Collection: It’s not the Riddle Collection.]


From the shelves of our Riddell Rare Book Collection comes the Canadian Settlers’ Guide, 10th ed., dating from 1860. This book provides an introduction for settlers to their new home, the colony of Canada.

As noted in the preface to this edition, the first portion of the book was written by Mrs. Traill “after a residence of twenty-five years in the Colony, a considerable portion of which has been in those ‘Backwoods of Canada’”. Indeed, Catherine Parr Strickland (Traill) is recorded in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography as a settler, teacher, and naturalist, who lived nearly 70 years in Canada, having emigrated from England. She is noted as the author of The Backwoods of Canada: being letters from the wife of an emigrant officer, illustrative of the domestic economy of British America (London, 1836) and The Female Emigrant’s Guide, and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping, which would reappear as The Canadian Settler’s Guide (Toronto, 1855).

The second part of the book consists of official documents, while the third part includes letters shared “from one friend in Canada and to another in England”.

Very much a “how-to” guide, this book provides hints on Canadian housekeeping and living, ranging from “Christmas-day in the backwoods” and “Dress, advice about” to “Sugar making” and “Wild land, clearing of”. One of my favourite sections describes the “Months in Canada” and provides the following for our current month, March:

The rising of the sap is felt in the forest trees; frosty nights and sunny days call forth the activity of the settlers in the woods; sugar-making is now at hand, and all is bustle and life in the shanty. (p.52)

The full text of the book is available online from the Internet Archive

-- Stefan Jürgens & Chris Kycinsky

(Maple Sugar-Making in the Bush, Canadian Settlers' Guide, 10th ed., p.63.)


HeinOnline Update - Spring 2017

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It's time to contact us for the updated HeinOnline password. Free desktop access to a core collection of HeinOnline's electronic content is available to all Law Society members. E-mail the Great Library to receive your free user name and password.

This valuable research resource includes a broad collection of law journals, as well as U.S. legislative materials, treaties and selected historic legal texts. The Law Society of Upper Canada Member Subscription content includes:

  • Acts of the Parliament of Canada (Annual Statutes) 
  • American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
  • American Bar Association Journals 
  • Association of American Law Schools (AALS)
  • Canada Supreme Court Reports 
  • Code of Federal Regulations / Federal Register
  • Core U.S. Journals 
  • Criminal Justice Journals 
  • Early American Case Law 
  • English Reports 
  • European Centre for Minority Issues 
  • Federal Register Documents 
  • Federal Register Library / Code of Federal Regulations 
  • International & Non-U.S. Law Journals
  • Law Journal Library
  • Legal Classics 
  • Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) 
  • Most-Cited Law Journals
  • Pentagon Papers 
  • Revised Statutes of Canada
  • Statutes of the Realm
  • Trends in Law Library Management and Technology
  • U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection 
  • U.S. Code 
  • U.S. Federal Legislative History Library 
  • U.S. Presidential Library 
  • U.S. Statutes at Large
  • U.S. Supreme Court Library 
  • U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library

Please note that user names and passwords expire approximately every 6 months. E-mail the Great Library for updated access information.

-- Stefan Jürgens


Where to Find U.K. Cases

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Every day we receive document delivery requests for U.K. cases, from very old ones such as Stratton v Swanlond (1375) to decisions handed down this month. Here is a list of current sources where you might find the decision that you need:

BAILII (It’s free!)

- Decisions from courts in the UK, England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Ireland.

CommonLII (it’s free too!)

- Includes the English Reports (a reprint of most of the nominate reports published in England prior to 1865).

HeinOnline (the Great Library offers free remote access to Law Society of Upper Canada members)

- Another source for the English Reports.

ICLR Online (Great Library staff-only access)

- The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR)’s online service includes the semi-official The Law Reports (1865-present) and The Weekly Law Reports (1953-present).

- Please note as of January 1, 2017, ICLR removed all its law report content from LexisNexis Quicklaw and Westlaw. Law Reports and Weekly Law Reports cases on ICLR Online are available to Law Society members through our Document Delivery service.

LexisNexis Quicklaw and Westlaw UK (both available in the Great Library)

- The two major commercial sources contain large collections of UK case law, both current and historical. In Quicklaw, use the Source Directory to filter by Country – United Kingdom, then select Cases. In Westlaw, UK cases can be found by selecting the International tab, then United Kingdom and All United Kingdom Cases.

Certain English law reports have not been digitised and are simply not available electronically, so some cases still have to be scanned or copied from the print source. There is a good chance that the Great Library has the print law report that you’re after, so just fill in and submit the Document Delivery Request Form and we’ll see if we have what you need.

For further information about sources of UK case law, see our research guide on finding UK and Irish Law on the Web.

-- Chris Kycinsky



Lexis Advance

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With Lexis Advance, we are pleased to provide the newest platform of the core research tool Quicklaw at the Great Library.

Lexis Advance provides access to case law from all Canadian jurisdictions, administrative tribunal decisions and selected legislation. Secondary sources include Halsbury’s Law of Canada, texts, journals, quantums, indexes and citators. Also available are case law and selected journals from U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

Also, we continue to provide access to the classic Quicklaw platform. Should you require assistance using any of our digital resources, our staff is available to provide support.

Members of the Law Society of Upper Canada, articling/LPP candidates, and law firm summer students may access the Great Library subscription services free of charge. To access these databases, you must visit the library.

-- Stefan Jürgens