This is way cool: the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online from Library and Archives Canada. It covers biographies from 1000 to 1930.
The advanced search page is great--I tried the Flash search, but HTML is also available if Flash gives you grief. You can search biographies by geography, "identification" (by profession or cultural group), time period and/or gender. Under "Identification", the category "Miscellaneous" appears to be the most interesting (e.g. exorcist, filibuster, free thinker, snake charmer). You can also do a free-text search of all entries.
The bios themselves appear to be quite lengthy with references to other more detailed sources. Each bio has a link at the bottom to the general bibliography for the entire project.
I am usually looking for biographical material for people still alive, so probably won't be referring to this very often; however, it is good to know about "just in case". Also it is an excellent example of a quick-to-search web-based database.