Series MS-2259 - Corporation of Land Surveyors records

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Corporation of Land Surveyors records

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  • microform

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  • 1890-1986 (Creation)
    Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia

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Physical description

Originals, 4 m, microfilm (neg.), 1905-1945, 35 mm [A01501(4)]

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Administrative history

The original name of the Corporation of Land Surveyors was the Association of Provincial Land Surveyors. The name was changed in 1905.

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Professional land surveyors have played a key role in the development of British Columbia. Their work of delineating and describing lands within the province was essential for both orderly settlement and the administration of the province's natural resources. Their work was essential in laying out town sites, surveying roads, railways, and telegraph routes, and in determining international and inter-provincial boundaries. Their concomitant role as explorers, geographers, and naturalists was also important to the province's history. The surveying profession was not strictly regulated in British Columbia until 1891. Before that date, however, the provincial government had recognized a cadre of professional surveyors, many of whom had been involved with such major projects as the 49th Parallel Boundary survey (1857-1862), the Collins Overland Telegraph survey (1864-1867), the CPR surveys (1871-1885) and the Canadian Geological Survey (1871-1908). These surveyors, of considerable experience and proven ability, were entitled to append the initials LS [Land Surveyor] after their names. In April 1891, the Legislative Assembly passed the Provincial Surveyors' Act [54 Vic., c. 17]. Framed by W.S. Gore, the Provincial Surveyor-General, the act was introduced to regulate practitioners. The act established a Board of Examiners, made up of the Surveyor-General and five other surveyors, and set down policies for articling pupils. Thereafter, only surveyors who were approved by the Board were allowed to practice in the province. Authorized surveyors were styled "Provincial Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia", they received a numbered commission and seal and were entitled to append the initials PLS after their names. The act also incorporated a governing body, the Association of Provincial Land Surveyors, for the profession. The PLS group of surveyors eventually numbered eighty-five members. However, the Association was relatively weak and in 1905 it was replaced by the Corporation of Lands Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. The corporation was established under new legislation, the Provincial Land Surveyors' Act, 1905 [5 Ed.7, c.7] which strengthened the management of the profession. A new Board of Examiners was formed and, as before, only surveyors who were recognized by the Board were entitled to practice in the province. Those so recognized were designated by the initials BCLS. Although the Provincial Surveyors' Act has since been amended, the Corporation of Lands Surveyors continues to be the governing body of the profession. Includes records of the Association of Provincial Land Surveyors (1890-1905) and its successor, the Corporation of Land Surveyors (1905-1983). Records include Board of Examiners and Board of Management minutes, oaths of office and allegiance, letterbooks and financial reports. Also included are the biographical files of almost two hundred deceased BCLS members. The files contain summaries of the surveyors' careers and, in many cases, a considerable amount of genealogical information.

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Donated by the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia in 1986.


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Related records held by the BC Archives include records of individual surveyors, various government records, such as British Columbia, Department of Lands and Canada, Department of the Interior files. Researchers might also wish to consult the Corporation's published Annual Reports (1914- ) and G.S. Andrews' Professional Land Surveyors of British Columbia: Cumulative Nominal Roll (4th edition, 1978).

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Accession number(s): MS-2259; 86-173

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Physical storage

  • Box: A01501(4)