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Only top-level descriptions British Columbia. Dept. of Lands
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BC Government lithographed regional maps

  • CM/CL1
  • Series
  • 1911-1991

In 1911, the British Columbia Department of Lands began publishing standardized series of lithographic maps of BC regions, as well as general maps of the entire province. Over the next five decades these provincial maps were used both to stimulate and to document settlement and economic development on a region-by-region basis. For many areas, the provincial regional maps served as the main published source of cartographic information until those areas were gradually covered by sheets from the National Topographic Series of maps. This summary guide and the accompanying series lists and graphic indices provide a basic overview of the provincial series maps available at the British Columbia Archives and Records Service (BC ARCHIVES). The series list (see finding aid) allows researchers to search for the call numbers of desired maps by using map series name, map sheet number or map title, while the graphic indices (CM/CL1 page G1) allow for a search by geographic area.

*For most of the time period under consideration, the major provincial map series were published by the Department of Lands Geographic Branch (1912 - 1970). Such series include the Geographic Series of general purpose maps; the Lands, Pre-emptors', and Degree series of land status maps; and the Topographic Series of physical features (and some land status) maps. The land status maps are of particular value to researchers since the lot numbers depicted on the maps serve as an entry point to many other types of records produced by the Department of Lands and its successors. Conversely, researchers who already know the legal description for a property can often use the maps to place the property in its geographic context. Researchers should note that mineral titles are usually not depicted on the land status maps. Such titles are shown in the published Mineral Reference Maps (see CM/CL1 page 18) and in a separate, unpublished series (CM/S1).

(1A - 1SW) Geographic Series, 1912 - 1981 This series consists of a diverse range of maps including general maps of the entire province, general maps of large regions, and provincial and regional maps overlaid with various government administrative boundaries. The Geographic Series was continued by the successor to the Geographic Branch, the Map Production Division (1971 - 1981), which also published such related series *Date ranges given are those for the sheets held by BC Archives as the Special Geographical Series Maps, 1967 - 1980 and the Regional (New Series) Maps, 1978.

*(2A - 2F) Land Series, 1913 - 1958 This series and the two following were designed primarily to show the status of land alienation. The Land Series sheets initially covered the settled southwestern area of the province and usually provided general geographic detail; fairly extensive cultural features such as transportation routes, parks, post offices, hospitals, telegraph lines, etc.; land district boundaries; limited topographic (landform) information in the form of spot heights, and depictions of the boundaries and numbers of surveyed lots pertaining to various forms of land title (crown grants, reserves, timber licences and leases), conveniently coded by colour. Later sheets in the series covered portions of the mainland coast, and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The series was published at the scale of four miles to one inch.

*(3A - 3Q) Pre-emptors' Series, 1911 - 1969 Originally intended as a quick means of depicting for settlers the Crown lands available for pre-emption in the north-central portion of the province, the first pre-emptors' maps were rough in form and were substantially redrawn each year. Since the early sheets were designed for short-term use, they provided only basic planimetric information (horizontal features such as rivers and lakes, but not landforms) along with depictions of the boundaries and numbers of surveyed lots, land recording district boundaries, government reserves, and of course, lands open for pre-emption or in some cases, public auction. Even the early sheets, however, often also provide relatively detailed information on the location of trails, roads, and railways, and the popularity of the series as well as the increasing availability of accurate survey information for the mapped areas soon prompted the Geographic Branch to improve the maps' appearance, accuracy and level of detail. Thus, while the scale, area covered, and numbering of the early sheets varied from year to year, the format of the series was standardized by 1915, with most sheets being published at a scale of three miles to one inch. Certain sheets eventually depicted topography by means of contours, and provided some of the types of more detailed cultural information present in the Lands and Degree Series.

*(4A - 4Q) Degree Series, 1912 - 1956 This series was designed to cover the relatively well-settled area of the BC interior between the CPR line and the 49th parallel using standardized sheets of one degree in latitude and one in longitude. The maps were published at the comparatively large scale of two miles to the inch since they were intended to provide prospectors and other residents with accurate, long-term information on physical features; the location of land recording, mining, and/or electoral districts; the boundaries and numbers of surveyed lots (including timber leases), and specific cultural details such as the location of schools, hospitals, post offices, transportation routes, power lines, and so on. Many of the sheets are contoured so as to depict topography in detail.

*(5A - 5E) Topographic Series, 1917 - 1952 This series was begun with the goal of depicting the results of exploratory topographic surveys (by Frank Cyril Swannell) in northern BC. The first sheets, therefore, provide planimetric information as well as topography in the form of hachures or contours, but depict few cultural details and are drawn at the relatively small scale of five miles to one inch. Later sheets, however, covered parts of southern BC and include not only detailed topography, but also many of the same cultural features, presented at the same scales, as in the Lands and Degree Series. Interestingly, certain maps in the above series were produced as special "economic geography" editions containing numerous annotations regarding natural resources as well as extensive textual information on the verso (back) of the sheets. Such sheets, as well as those which simply contain extensive natural resource annotations, are identified in the accompanying lists by the entry "Economic Geography" after the map title. In addition to the series described above, a number of smaller or more specialized series are identified in the series lists.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Water rights maps : second series

  • CM/S4
  • Series
  • [ca. 1920-1978]

Scope and Content: This series of large scale maps was created by the Water Rights Branch pursuant to successive versions of the Water Act and the Water Act Amendment Act. The primary function of the sheets was to document the location of water rights licences. They therefore serve as a geographic index for the licencing function and also provide useful links to other maps and plans produced or used by the Branch. The sheets in this series replaced those in the first series of Water Rights Maps, 1911- 24 (see CM/B1575) and have themselves been replaced at the Water Management Branch by a third series of larger- scale mylar maps. (Accordingly, the sheets are often annotated with a "D" for "deletion," while the new maps are sometimes referred to as the "coversions.") This series was received by BC ARCHIVES in 1981. Additional second series sheets remain at the Water Management Branch. The maps depict the basic planimetry (creeks, rivers and lakes) within the boundaries of the various water districts and precincts, and record the location and numbers of conditional and final licences, as well as the numbers of both correspondence files pertaining to licences and of approvals of works. (Other types of boundaries are also sometimes depicted such as those of local waterworks or improvement districts). Some of the sheets also contain tables which specify creek names, intake codes, and various file, map, or licence numbers identifying the location and nature of water diversions. Finally, the individual sheets frequently provide the numbers of registered plans, large- scale reference maps, and water rights maps or plans containing related information. Related series held by BC ARCHIVES include the Water Rights Reference Maps (CM/S3) and the Water Rights Plans (CM/S5- S7). Arrangement: The maps are arranged in the accompanying list in water rights map number order. These numbers are grouped by the district and precincts identified at the beginning of the list and an attempt has been made to specify the "book" numbers of the volumes in which the sheets were orginally bound. Since the Water Rights Branch often renumbered maps when district or precinct boundaries were changed, a conversion list linking old and new numbers is provided at the end of the main list. The maps are now physically arranged and retrieved by the BC ARCHIVES registration number cited in the attached item descriptions.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Water rights plans

  • CM/S5-7
  • Series
  • 1892-1981

Introduction: Throughout its existence, the Water Rights Branch (WRB) acquired and created a large central set of plans, maps, and engineering drawings which was assigned a single set of sequential water rights plan numbers. Over time, the original plan series was divided into separate sub- series for the use of particular operational units. The topics documented in the series and in each sub- series are discussed in the scope and contents notes below. The plans are listed in plan number and water rights district order in the series list which follows this overview. The structure and contents of this list are explained in the arrangement section below. Scope and Content: The water rights plans series documents a broad range of WRB activities. It includes: plans and engineering drawings submitted to the WRB by individuals, corporations, and municipalities as part of their applications for water licences or for approval of works; survey plans and maps prepared by WRB field engineers and regional engineers in support of licensing activities, irrigation studies, water power investigations and dam inspections; general reference maps used by WRB staff; and a variety of charts, graphs, and other items used for WRB functions such as stream measurement and precipitation monitoring. Taken as a whole, this series constitutes a wealth of often highly detailed cartographic information on regions and communities throughout British Columbia- - information which in many cases is not available elsewhere. Of particular interest are early large- scale maps and plans which provide extensive topographic information and vegetation notes for many areas of B.C. well before those areas were covered by standard topographic maps, including areas which were later flooded due to dam construction. As well, some of the early plans of towns and of agricultural, commercial, and industrial sites include such detailed cultural and cadastral information as the location and identity of buildings and the names of property owners affected by proposed water projects. And of course, the series contains invaluable documentation of specific major hydro- electric, irrigation, and waterworks projects in the form of site plans and engineering (structural) drawings. The series' value is enhanced by the fact that many of the items contain numbers which can be used to link the items with related records such as water records, conditional and final licences; correspondence files, water rights and reference maps, field notes, and a variety of reports. The water rights plans received by BC ARCHIVES consist of three main sub- series that have been separated from the plans held at the Water Management Branch. To a large extent the topics and document types described above are found in all of the sub- series but each sub- series does exhibit certain characteristics which reflect its provenance. Arrangement: Although the Water Rights Plans consist of three distinct sub- series, a single comprehensive list of the items has been compiled for the convenience of researchers. In part one of this series list, the item descriptions are arranged sequentially according to the water rights plan numbers. In part two, the list is sorted geographically, according to the water rights districts in existence at the time the various items were filed. Researchers should note that the BC ARCHIVES series list is based primarily on the original Water Rights Branch plan registers (see BC ARCHIVES reel B1949 for a microfilm copy) rather than on the items themselves. The dates given in the list are the dates of filing and the descriptions presented are close (but not exact) transcriptions of the descriptions in the registers. The registers also often contain information not transcribed into in the BC ARCHIVES list such as the plan origins, creator names, material types, and numbers identifying related records. The creator names, in particular, can sometimes be used to link the plans with other records produced by the same creator such as the early regional engineers' reports published in the annual reports of the WRB. Since the water rights plan numbers were assigned sequentially, part one of the BC ARCHIVES series list is in chronological order. However, a single plan number often covers numerous individual items and the date of the items themselves sometimes does not match the date of filing. Similarly, the descriptions usually refer to the items originally filed under a given plan number. In some cases not all of the items pertaining to a number were transferred to BC ARCHIVES and in a few cases it appears that the original items filed under a given number were replaced by later plans pertaining to the same general topic. Therefore, while the list usually provides researchers with a strong indication of the types of items found under a plan number, it is necessary to consult the items themselves, using the call numbers provided in the list, in order to determine the precise nature of their contents. The items are physically arranged in call number order within each of the sub- series. Separate lists of each sub- series can be made available, but the sub- series origin of any particular item in the main list can be readily determined by consulting the item's call number against the chart at the beginning of the list.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

Crown lands records

  • GR-0039
  • Series
  • 1874-1944

The series consists of records relating to the pre-emption, sale, and registration of land in New Westminster, Sayward, and Coast (Range 1-5) Land Districts, created by the Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works and District Land Commissioners, pursuant to the Land Act.

The records include pre-emption applications, 1887-1911 (11 vols.); certificates of pre-emption, 1884-1938 (57 vols.); certificates of purchase, 1874-1944 (95 vols.); registers of sales of unsurveyed lands, 1884-1911 (4 vols.); lot register, City of Vancouver, 1886-1892 (3 vols.) and a register of lot owners, Town of Granville, 1874-1884.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Licenses to prospect for coal and petroleum

  • GR-0177
  • Series
  • 1904-1927

The series consists of records created by the Dept. of Lands between 1904 and 1927. It consists of East Kootenay licenses to prospect for coal and petroleum re lot 4593. Volumes contain stubs retained by the department.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Lands correspondence

  • GR-0360
  • Series
  • 1896-1936

This series consists of selected correspondence files from the several branches of the Department of Lands and works, and its successor the Department of Lands: Lands, Surveys, Water Rights, and Forests. Records include requests for information concerning the availability of land in British Columbia, Water Rights Branch correspondence concerning various power projects and irrigation, forest fire reports, and files on Forest Branch launches. Note: "WRB" refers to Water Rights Branch.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

Records of the Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works, Similkameen Division

  • GR-0825
  • Series
  • 1905-1920

This series consists of records of the Assistant Commissioner of Lands, Similkameen Division, Yale District, 1905-1920. Records include two volumes of declarations for Certificates of Improvement, nos. 1-182 and 183-561. The declarations give a description of improvements made on preempted lands. Some certificates are from Osoyoos Division, Yale District. There is an index at the back of each volume.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Committee of Investigation on Garibaldi Park records

  • GR-0891
  • Series
  • 1932-1934

This series consists of the report of the Committee of Investigation on Garibaldi Park and contiguous area for the Honourable the Minister of Lands (79 pp.), appendix (24 pp.), maps and photographs, 1932-1934.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Department of Lands correspondence inward

  • GR-0897
  • Series
  • 1901-1910

This series consists of Semi-official correspondence inward received by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works (1901-1908) and the Chief Commissioner of Lands (1908-1910). Arranged alphabetically.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

Correspondence

  • GR-1003
  • Series
  • 1917-1918

This series contains correspondence containing mainly requests for information and maps. From file 27900 (1912 Series).

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Pre-emption records

  • GR-1014
  • Series
  • 1885-1929

This series consists of pre-emption records for Vancouver Island, including Alberni, Barclay, Clayoquot, Nootka, and Rupert Districts. Consists of Certificate of Pre-emption Books (20 vols.), arranged numerically with nominal indexes. Includes name of pre-emptors date and location of pre-emption, disposition and further transactions, with some sketches.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Auction sale records

  • GR-1043
  • Series
  • 1914

Series contains two booklets relating to a Government Auction Sale of property at Prince George, Fort George, and South Fort George to be held at Vancouver, Dominion Hall, May 19, 20, and 21, 1914, Victoria, Connaught Hall, May 26 and 27, 1914, and Prince George, June 9, 10, and 11, 1914. Lists of lots with handwritten notes of purchaser and price.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Correspondence relating to cancellation of pre-emption applications

  • GR-1050
  • Series
  • 1919-1920

Correspondence relating to cancellation of pre-emption applications. Includes file 1, cancellation of H. Kroeger's application at Fort Fraser, file 2, pre-emption cancellation in Kootenay District; file 3, pre-emptions on timber licences in Similkameen District.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to miners' certificates and permits

  • GR-1057
  • Series
  • 1895-1918

Records relating to miners' certificates and permits issued by the Dept. of Lands and Works and the Dept. of Lands at Victoria. Includes Free Miner's Certificates, 1897-1912; Special Miner's Certificates, 1899-1906; Leave of Absence permits, 1895-1906; mining receipts, 1897-1903; Crown Grant fee receipts pursuant to the Mineral Act, 1911-1918.

Records relating to miners' certificates and permits

Source: GR Finding Aids

Finding aid: box list.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Similkameen District land records

  • GR-1067
  • Series
  • 1900-1912

This series contains records relating to pre-emptions, subdivisions, Crown Grants, and town sites in Similkameen District. Consists of five registers, including Register of Town Lots, Tulameen, B.C.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Sales book

  • GR-1082
  • Series
  • 1904-1954

Series contains a sales book, lands in Kootenay District. Arranged by lot number. Includes owner, acreage, improvements, and assessed values in 1911-1912.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to the Vancouver Island Settlers' Rights Acts, 1903 and 1904

  • GR-1090
  • Series
  • 1882-1918

Contains land records file relating to the Vancouver Island Settlers' Rights Acts, 1903 and 1904. Includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, legal briefs and sketches pertaining to land disputes between settlers and the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company. File 145321/12, 1912 Series.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Report

  • GR-1125
  • Series
  • 1910

Report on forest fire fighting in the Province of British Columbia, in 1910 season. Submitted by W.C. Gladwin, Chief Provincial Fire Warden to the Honourable W.R. Ross, Chief Commissioner of Lands.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Record book of land examinations and miscellaneous applications

  • GR-1128
  • Series
  • 1919-1925

This series contains a record book of land examinations and miscellaneous applications, Cariboo district. Includes pre-emption cancellations (1922-1924), pre-emption examinations and inspections (1922-1925), record of application for certificates of improvement (1921-1924), applications to lease pending examination (1919-1924), applications to purchase pending examination (1919-1924), and lease cancellations (1922).

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Registers relating to Crown Grants

  • GR-1129
  • Series
  • 1900-1924

This series includes registers relating to Crown Grants, Similkameen Division and Osoyoos Division, Yale District (2 vols.) Volume 1 is a register of Crown Grant applications forwarded to Victoria and includes date and disposition of application, name and address of applicant, legal description of land, Crown Grant number. Volume 2 is a register of Crown Grants and includes date of notice, number of grant, legal description of land, payment schedule, disposition and Grown Grant number. The registers are arranged chronologically.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

List of lands resumed by the Crown under B.C. Soldiers' Homestead Act, 1916

  • GR-1133
  • Series
  • 1916-1919

This series contains a list of lands resumed by the Crown under B.C. Soldiers' Homestead Act, 1916. Includes legal description and file references. Also contains an undated letter of John William McIntosh, Member of the Legislative Assembly, to the Deputy Minister of Lands regarding moneys owed on land by a wounded veteran.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to surveys and surveyors field books

  • GR-1148
  • Series
  • 1913-1920

Records relating to surveys and surveyors field books. Consists of a register of surveyors' field books on Vancouver Island, especially Victoria district; an alphabetical street index to surveyors' field books for the City of Victoria, and miscellaneous correspondence pertaining to surveys. Includes record of surveys done since 1858.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Records relating to the University Endowment Lands

  • GR-1161
  • Series
  • 1925-1953

This series contains the Lands Service records relating to the University Endowment Lands [UEL] adjacent to the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. They contain ledgers of lot sales which show purchase payment, improvement tax schedules, and interest charges. Boxes have nominal indexes. Box 5 is oversized. For related records, see GR-1068.

British Columbia. Lands Service

Mining licences

  • GR-1176
  • Series
  • 1912-1915

This series consists of mining licences for the purposes of prospecting for coal and petroleum pursuant to the Coal and Petroleum Act, 1911 and amendments. These licences were for the Queen Charlotte District (file 1) and Cassiar District (file 2). Prior 1911, the Act was known as the Coal Mines Act.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

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