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Material relating to the current and historical development primarily of St. Catharines and generally of the rest of the Niagara Peninsula can be found in the Special Collections room. Resources (either originals or reproductions) exist in a variety of formats such as newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, microfilm, books, maps, reports and newsletters. The library endeavors to collect, preserve and provide access to all of these local treasures.

Visiting the Special Collections room

We gladly welcome class visits, students of all ages, serious researchers and anyone looking to find answers to their local history questions. Most of our resources are readily accessible and friendly staff is always available to help you with your research. Items may not be signed out of this room, but photocopying is usually permitted and reader/printers are available to view and print from microfilm.

Royal Canadian Henley Regatta Database

To celebrate 100 years of rowing in St. Catharines, the St. Catharines Public Library developed the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta Database. The database has three components: trophies, race results and historical programs.


The local history collection includes but is not limited to:

  • Newspapers on microfilm for the Niagara Region, including St. Catharines, dating back to 1793.
  • Newspaper clippings in scrapbooks and in vertical files.
    Vertical file headings cannot be found on the library’s catalogue so we have provided an alphabetical list of headings for you.
  • Photographs, postcards and slides
  • Yearbooks from St. Catharines High Schools
    We have provided a list of the yearbooks we own and our “Wanted Lists” of missing volumes.
  • Histories of many local communities, churches, schools, hospitals and other institutions, clubs and associations
  • Information on homes and other buildings in St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake and other areas of Niagara.
  • Historical Atlases and Maps
  • Local government publications
  • Regional Niagara Council minutes
  • Extensive index of local names (card file, and online Local Names Index)
  • Surname Binders
  • Local magazines and newsletters
  • Tweedsmuir histories
  • Significant holdings of: War of 1812, The Welland Canal, The Underground Railway, United Empire Loyalists.
  • Specialized Local Collections
  • Genealogy resources