Before Confederation in 1867, Canada consisted of several British colonies: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canadas (present-day Quebec and Ontario).
British North America Act of 1867 established Crown Lands as a provincial responsibility. Only land petitions for Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) were retained by the Government of Canada.
With the acquisition of Rupert's Land in 1869, western lands came under federal control. In 1930, responsibility for Crown Lands was transferred to the provincial governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The federal government retained a copy of the original patents issued for these lands. The actual homestead applications and files relating to the grants were transferred to the provincial archives.
Provincial and Territorial Land Records
Many references to land records can be found in provincial and territorial archives and government offices.
For each province and territory, please visit the pages listed below.
Land Grants to Veterans
From the seventeenth century, the French and British governments encouraged former soldiers to settle in Canada.
Loyalists received land grants after the American Revolution, as did Canadian militiamen following the War of 1812. The Government of Canada followed the same tradition with grants to veterans.
The Soldier Settlement Act (1917, 1919) and the Veterans' Land Act (1942) allowed veterans of the First and Second World Wars to purchase land with the help of government loans, with additional funds for livestock and equipment.
North West Resistance (1885)
Land grants were available to veterans of the North West Resistance (1885). Search for references to correspondence and files relating to those individuals in the
Collection Search database, using keywords such as RG15, a surname and a year (1885, 1886 or 1887).
South African War (1899-1902)
References to land grant applications can be found in the
South African War, 1899-1902 – Service Files, Medals and Land Applications database.
First and Second World Wars
Records of the Soldier Settlement Board for First and Second World War veterans are in the custody of:
Access to Information and Privacy Office
Veterans Affairs Canada
PO Box 7700
Requests must be signed and must include proof that the person has been deceased over 20 years, such as a copy of a death record, a newspaper obituary or a photograph of the tombstone.
The settlement of Indigenous veterans of the First and Second World Wars was administered by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (RG 10). Records can be searched using the
Collection Search database using keywords such as RG10, "soldier settlement" and the surname of the person.