Land Boards of Upper Canada, 1765-1804

Burning Fallen Trees in A Girdled Clearing.


The Treaty of Paris ratified on April 17, 1783 officially recognized American independence. Americans who had remained loyal to the British Crown were persecuted and forced out of their homes. The British government came to the aid of these Loyalists and arranged for transportation for those who wished to leave. Many chose to settle in Nova Scotia (which then included New Brunswick) and in Quebec (which then included Ontario).

The Land Boards were established in 1789 to oversee land matters, settle the four districts (Hesse, Nassau, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg) and to grant land to the settlers. These districts became Upper Canada in 1791. Many settlers were given free land, rations, farm stock and farm implements. Lands were also granted to the sons and daughters of Loyalists. The Land Boards were abolished in 1794 when the land granting process was centralized through the Executive Council.

View a map of the districts.

The Records

Most of the documents are dated between 1789 and 1794, with some as late as 1804. However, there are some earlier documents relating to French Canadians in the area before the arrival of the Loyalists.

The records include:

  • minutes
  • reports
  • correspondence
  • instructions or regulations for the operation of the Land Boards
  • schedules of locations and of lands granted
  • oaths of allegiance

Some reports, copies of minutes and other records submitted by the Land Boards to the Executive Council are to be found in other series of archival documents:

The Database

This database provides access to more than 16,400 references to individuals in the Minutes and records of the Land Boards accumulated by the Executive Council Office (RG 1 L4).

Names in the records have been indexed. For names that appear frequently, such as a member of the Land Board, only the volume number is given, not specific pages. Some entries were also made under subjects, such as:

  • Hesse, District of
  • Indian Lands
  • Land Board
  • Land Granting

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by:

  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • District

Note that present-day Ontario was part of Quebec before 1791. Petitions submitted by people living in Ontario before 1791 can be found in the Lower Canada Land Petitions, 1764-1841.

Also, present-day Quebec and Ontario were part of the United Province of Canada from 1841 to 1867. Petitions submitted after 1841 by people living in Quebec can be found in the Upper Canada Land Petitions, 1763-1865.

For the district, a drop down menu allows you to narrow your search to a specific district or search all of the districts.

When you have entered your search terms, slick on 'Submit'. The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the search screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.

Search Results Page

The search results page displays the following fields:

  • Item Number
  • Surname
  • Given name(s)
  • District
  • Year

Click on the underlined Item Number of a record to access the Item page, which contains additional information specific to that record.

Item Page

The item page contains the following fields:

  • Given Name(s)
  • Surname
  • District
  • Year
  • Description
  • Volume
  • Page(s)
  • Microfilm Reel Number
  • Reference
  • Item Number

If no page number is indicated, there are multiple references to the individual in that volume because he was a member of the board.

To suggest a correction, click on the Suggest a Correction link to access an electronic form.

To return to the Search Results page, click on the Back button of your browser in the upper left corner of your screen.

How to Obtain Copies

How to Access Library and Archives Canada Records

Other Resources

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