Library Blog

Happy Canada 150!

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During the Canada Day weekend, the Great Library hours of operation will be as follows:

  • Friday, June 30 --- 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Saturday, July 1 --- Closed
  • Sunday, July 2 --- Closed
  • Monday, July 3 --- Closed

Also, we change over to our Summer Hours on the Canada Day long weekend. Between July 1 to September 5, 2017, our hours of operations are as follows:

  • Monday to Thursday --- 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
  • Friday --- 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday --- Closed

Wishing you a safe and happy Canada Day weekend.

-- Great Library staff



Canada 150, Part 2

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LawNow is the website of The Centre of Public Legal Education of Alberta; the May/June issue of LawNow Magazine celebrates Canada’s official birthday with a highly readable series of articles on legal milestones that have shaped the country’s history since 1867.

Feature articles:

The Rule of Law: Two Notable Supreme Court Decisions to Celebrate! by Rob Normey.
Roncarelli v Duplessis (1959) and Mackeigan v Hickman (1989).

The Significance of the Charter in Canadian Legal History by Patricia Paradis and Tasneem Karbani.
2017 not only marks 150th anniversary of the British North America Act, 1867 but also marks the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Statute of Westminster: A Stepping Stone towards Canadian Independence by Marjun Parcasio.
“Although Canada celebrates its national holiday on the 1st of July, the start of Canadian Confederation, that day is not strictly speaking the country’s day of independence.” – Marjun Parcasio.

Temporary Taxation? No End in Sight! by Matthew Peddie.
Canada’s War Tax Upon Income, introduced in 1917, was supposed to be a temporary measure. What happened?

The Evolution of Law in Canada by Charles Davison.
Highlights of 150 years of legal change.

An Indigenous Perspective on Canada’s 150th Birthday by Troy Hunter.
A member of the Ktunaxa First Nation who also proudly traces ancestors in Quebec back to 1666, reflects on the intertwined history of aboriginal people and early settlers.

The Evolution of Five Legal Doctrines in the Supreme Court of Canada by Peter Bowal and Rebiah Syed.
Sometimes, the Supreme Court of Canada needs a do-over. Here are five examples.

Free of the Colonial Yoke? Not Quite! by John Edmond.
“Jeopardy clue: “The Constitution of this 150-year old country exists as “Schedule B” to an ordinary statute of another country.” Correct response: “What is Canada?” – John Edmond.

-- Jeanette Bosschart


New Books - Spring 2017

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Some of the Great Library’s newest acquisitions:





Doors Open Toronto 2017

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Join us at Osgoode Hall and the Great Library during the 2017 Doors Open Toronto. The event is an annual city-wide program that gives visitors access to architecturally or culturally significant buildings around Toronto. Each year, Law Society staff members and others volunteer to greet visitors and share historical information about the building. Nearly 10,000 visitors came to Osgoode Hall over the two-day event last year. We are one of Toronto's top attractions. Did you know that visitors to Osgoode Hall can get their photo taken in robes in the courtrooms?

Visitors have asked some great questions about the features of the Great Library over the years. One question asked what kind of flowers are represented in the ceiling and at the top of the columns of the Main Reading Room.

Photo: Stefan Jürgens

The ceiling of the Main Reading Room is decorated in a flower motif called rosettes, or roses. The term applies to very different designs and not specifically to the type of flower, but to the ornamental feature. That means that even if they represented water lilies, they would still be called rosettes. From our understanding, our rosettes don't necessarily represent real flowers, but are flower-like designs.

As for the top of the columns, the capitals, they are decorated not with a flower, but with spiky leaves of a plant characteristic of the Corinthian order, the acanthus.

This year’s Doors Open Toronto takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28. Come early to avoid the crowds.

-- Stefan Jürgens & Chris Kycinsky


Dear Student

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There is a series of videos on YouTube called Dear Kitten, in which an adult cat provides advice to the newbie kitten in the household. Think of this post as me, the long-time law librarian, giving some practical advice to you, the summer student or articling/LPP candidate, in your new position:

  • Use your summer/articling/LPP period to learn as much as possible about legal research and resources. Trust me, there is an overabundance of information today and it is overwhelming. Ask a law librarian for help. We won’t do your research for you, but we can help guide you to use better rather than inferior resources.
  • Always use professional courtesy. Introduce yourself as a summer/articling/LPP student; use your work email rather than your personal email; have a business signature on your work email. It’s much more professional because the recipient immediately knows who you are and your position, rather than some random inquirer.
  • Respect your surroundings and its rules. Your behaviour reflects on your employer.
  • The following statement is a myth: “everything is electronic/online/free”. Some titles are still only in print; some things are online, but you have to pay for a subscription to have access. Free online legal sources mainly consist of recent legislation and case law.
  • Confidentiality: Don’t save confidential documents to any computer that isn’t your own. If you do save documents elsewhere, delete them (including from the download folder), then empty the recycle bin.
  • Treat everyone with professional courtesy. Many co-workers have invaluable work experience and can be a gold mine of information.
  • Don’t assume. Run and find out by asking the right person: your principal, your firm’s librarian or research lawyer, or the Great Library staff. It may save you a lot of time going down the wrong path or from ending up with the wrong answer.

One last piece of advice: legal research is complicated, so don’t be afraid to ask for help – I still do.

Please note: the views expressed in this post are not intended to reflect those of the LSUC’s Great Library staff – they’re mine alone.

-- Chris Kycinsky

Library Tours 2017

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The Great Library’s orientation tours for summer, articling and LPP students begin in May and run until the end of September. 

Our tours familiarize students with the extensive free resources (online and print), research help and other services available through the library.


So, take a tour the Great Library, meet with a law librarian, and learn some useful legal research tips. And it's not all work - we also explore some of the history and architectural highlights of Osgoode Hall.

Tours last about 45 minutes. The maximum number of students per tour is 8.

To schedule a tour or obtain more information, please contact Karl Zahora at

(Photographs: Stefan Jürgens) 


Nature in the City

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No law or legal research this week. Instead, let's enjoy this post by the Great Library’s chief birder, Steve Wallace....  

Although its central downtown location might suggest otherwise, Osgoode Hall is one of the best places in Toronto to see birds. The common ones are on constant display, of course – starlings and robins, squadrons of the best-fed pigeons in the city, and flocks of sparrows, or, as birders like to call them, LBJs – “little brown jobs”. But the plentiful trees and shrubs on the sprawling grounds play host to an amazing variety of birds one would only expect to see in a quieter, more rural setting.

To begin with, woodpeckers. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, hairy and downy woodpeckers can be seen and heard regularly in the ash and maple trees, but best of all is the annual April thrill of seeing a shy yellow-shafted flicker poking about for ants on the east lawn, then scurrying back to the safety of a bush. Even more than robins, the flicker’s arrival is a sure sign of spring. Another is the flock of slate-coloured juncos which visit for a week or so every April before moving on.

The ample hedges provide cover for such skulkers as gray catbirds, brown thrashers, towhees, hermit thrushes and tiny winter wrens. Speaking of tiny, just yesterday I saw a brown creeper obsessively spiraling its way around the bark of a maple. Recently one of the gardeners asked me about a little bird she’d seen, describing it as greenish-gray and sporting a bright red cap with two black stripes along it. I told her it had to be a ruby-crowned kinglet, adding it to the list of birds they’ve told me about seeing. Two summers ago they reported spotting an indigo bunting – bright royal blue all over – on the west grounds. Having never seen one, this filled me with no small envy. Of course I went looking, but to no avail: the best way to see birds here is to have them drop in on you, rather than the other way around.