Library and Archives Canada acquires 80,000 maps and documents from the Canada Lands Survey Records collection

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is now home to over 80,000 maps and related records from the historic Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR) collection, totalling 1.5 linear kilometres of archival holdings! This important acquisition serves to both augment and complement LAC’s existing collection of official survey plans of Indian reserves and Indian school lands across Canada and contributes greatly to preserving the documentary heritage of Canada.

The CSLR collection is made up of records such as plans, field notes, diaries and correspondence that were officially deposited and registered under unique survey numbers. Canada Lands include, but are not limited to, Territorial Lands, Offshore Lands, National Parks and most Indigenous lands.

The collection comprises the official survey records of Canada Lands and pre-Confederation survey records dating as early as the 1760s. The collection is notable in that it includes some of the first maps ever drawn for many regions of Canada.

The Surveyor General Branch of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) manages all surveys of Canada Lands and maintains all the original survey documents. NRCan has digitized and converted the legal survey documents in the collection into “authoritative” digital versions, which are available online to the public and will continue to support land administration underpinning economic and social development on Canada Lands. This has made possible the transfer of the physical collection to LAC to ensure its long-term storage and preservation for the benefit of present and future generations of Canadians. These records can now be found in Archives Search; work is continuing to fully describe these records and make them completely available to the public at the item level.

This acquisition by LAC could not happen at a better time as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday! It represents a valuable addition to LAC’s rich collection of cartographic materials that documents the evolution of Canada.

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Here are examples of documents LAC has acquired:

Extract from an 1897 Field Book (No. FB6192) containing the field notes of Dominion Land Surveyor William Ogilvie

Extract of a Survey Plan 8284 CLSR YT also by Ogilvie dated 1897

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