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Surveyor General correspondence

  • C/AA/30.71K/1
  • Series
  • 1852-1866

The series is a correspondence record book originally kept by the Surveyor General of the Colony of Vancouver Island, J.D. Pemberton, from 1852 to 1864. The record book was then kept by Acting Surveyor General B.W. Pearse, from 1864 to 1868 both for the Colony of Vancouver Island and the United Colony of

The volume contains copies of correspondence from Hudson's Bay Company House in London to Colonial Surveyor J.D. Pemberton and Governor James Douglas, as well as individual letters from Douglas and other Colonial officials to Pemberton and Pearse bound into the book. There are also lists of reports issued by Pemberton and extracts from minutes of council regarding regulations for the sale of land, letters and papers regarding the Race Rocks lighthouse, and correspondence relating to the Union of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Vancouver Island (Colony). Office of the Surveyor General

Lands and Works Department letter book

  • C/AA/30.7J/4
  • Series
  • 1864-1866

The series is an indexed letter book kept by the Lands and Works Department from 1864 to 1868. The first part of the book is an alphabetical index which lists the correspondence by subject or name and the page number for that particular letter. From pages 25 to 588, there are letter book copies of correspondence outward from Acting Surveyor General B.W. Pearse to various colonial officials, along with follow up notes and memos and copies of some correspondence inward. The correspondence covers all matters to do with lands and public works.

Vancouver Island (Colony). Office of the Surveyor General

Report on the physical features, soil conditions and agricultural possibilities of the N.E. section of the Province of British Columbia...

  • C/D/30.9/C24
  • Series
  • 1913-1915

The series consists of a report collected by the Dept. of Agriculture in 1915. The report was written by Agricultural Surveyor W.H. Cartwright and contains information on the physical features, soil conditions and agricultural possibilities of an area just north of the Peace River Block, recorded between April 1913 and October 1914. The report is illustrated with 22 black and white photographs and is accompanied by meteorological readings and some correspondence between Cartwright and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

British Columbia. Dept. of Finance and Agriculture

Water rights maps : first series

  • CM/B1575
  • Series
  • 1911-1924

The series consists of maps prepared pursuant to the Water Act Amendment Act, 1913. They shows location of water rights and licenses and include tabulation sheets relating to decisions of the Board of Investigation. The maps also show property boundaries.

The maps are arranged by Water district volume and sheet number.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

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 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.

The map 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 (subseries CM/CL1.7) and in a separate, unpublished series (CM/S1).

CM/CL1 includes the following series of maps:

  1. Geographic Series (1A - 1SW) , 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.

  2. Land Series (2A - 2F), 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.

  3. Pre-emptors' Series (3A - 3Q), 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.

  4. Degree Series (4A - 4Q), 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.

  5. Topographic Series (5A - 5E), 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.

  6. Composite Series (6A), 1952

  7. Mineral Reference Maps (MRM1-MRM8), 1927-1935

  8. Mining Division Maps, 1914-1939
    Drawn by the Geographic Branch for the Department of Mines

  9. [Public Works Highway Maps] (PWD), 1930-1953

  10. Provincial Parks Maps (P.S.A.2. WCT2), 1966-1981

  11. Special Geographical Series Maps (SGS1-SGS2), 1967-1979

  12. Regional (New Series) Maps (1-2), 1978

  13. Outdoor Recreation Maps (1-16), 1981-1986

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands

Provincial electoral maps

  • CM/CL2
  • Series
  • 1884-1989

The series includes those maps in the holdings of the British Columbia Archives that were specifically published to depict provincial electoral districts or were annotated with information about such districts, as well as selected maps which include electoral districts as a minor depicted feature. Researchers should note that the dates provided in the map list refers to the publication date of the base maps. In some cases the same map has been used as a base on which to draw the electoral boundaries for different years. The dates of the district boundaries (when such dates are specified on the maps or have been determined) are provided in the notes portion of the description column.

Provincial Archives of British Columbia

Mineral titles reference maps

  • CM/S1
  • Series
  • [1942?]-1977

This cartographic record series consists of Mineral Titles Maps documenting the location of staked mineral claims and placer leases in British Columbia. In addition to the actual Mineral Titles Maps produced by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Resources’ Titles Division and its predecessors, the series includes Departmental Reference Maps (DRM) and Departmental Mineral Reference Maps (DMRM) which were originally created by the Department of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (and predecessor “Lands” Departments). The DRM and DMRM were used by the Titles Division both as guides to the location of parks, reserves, and surveyed mineral claims, and as base maps in the production of the Titles maps.

British Columbia. Dept. of Mines and Petroleum Resources

Water rights reference maps

  • CM/S3
  • Series
  • 1927-1978 (predominant 1952-1978)

The series consists of maps created by the Water Rights Branch between 1927 and 1978. The records provided the Water Rights Branch with a medium-to-large scale overview of its administrative areas, displaying both water rights information and detailed land status information produced by other natural resource agencies in government.

The series contains standard reference base maps (maps produced by the Department of Lands and successors in order to document the current status of Crown Lands title) upon which has been added a broad array of specific water rights administrative information. The base and added map information includes administrative boundaries: most notably, those of water districts and precincts, but also those of waterworks, recreation, and improvement districts, and of ecological, water, and other reserves. Depicted as well are flood areas (often with flooding contours), river improvement areas, and various forest, mine works, and other areas. In addition to the base cadastral information (such as surveyed lot boundaries and numbers) the maps also display conditional and final water licence numbers, correspondence file numbers, approval numbers, and numbers identifying gazette notices and orders-in-council.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water rights maps : second series

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

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, 1911-1924 (CM/B1575) and were themselves 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 newer maps are sometimes referred to as the "conversions." 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.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water rights plans

  • CM/S5-7
  • Series
  • 1892-1981

The series consists of records created by the Water Rights Branch, its predecessor, the Dept. of Lands and Works and its successor, the Water Management Branch. 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 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. The series also 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.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Clough family films

The series consists of four reels of amateur film footage taken between 1937 and 1944. They show scenes and people in Slocan City and vicinity, on the Clough Ranch, in the Slocan Valley and at Halcyon Hot Springs. They depict Clough and Cooper family activities and includes footage of a sports day at the Japanese internment camp of Bay Farm, just south of Slocan City.

Clough (family)

Commissioner M.W. Tyrwhitt Drake's papers from Commission to Investigate the Administration and Affairs of New Westminster Penitentiary, 1894

The series consists of the personal copies of Commissioner Justice M. W. Tyrwhitt Drake arising out of the Royal Commission to investigate affairs at the New Westminster Penitentiary in 1894. The records include Justice Drake's correspondence and receipts, notes of evidence, working papers and draft report.

Drake, Montague William Tyrwhitt, 1830-1908

Provincial poster collection

Series consists of posters created by various B.C. government ministries. Topics and events include, but are not limited to, centennial and bicentennial celebrations, travel within the province, Expo 86, venereal disease prevention, drinking-driving counterattacks, trades' skill profiles, birds, animals, and environmental protection.

Provincial Fisheries Department photographs

Series consists of black and white negatives and prints produced by the Provincial Fisheries Department from about 1906 to 1923. They depict fishways, fishing activities, and construction projects, mostly in the area of the Naas river. Other areas depicted are the Meziadin river, Bulkeley river, Bowser lake, Adams lake, and other locations. Records often depict the fishing activities of local First Nations.

Records have been arranged in the order they were found. In some cases the arrangement reflects the original order and in some cases it does not. In many instances negatives were filed with prints in the original developer's envelopes. In these cases the archivist assigned file numbers with a whole number for the negatives and a ".1" following the corresponding whole number for the prints. For example, file 11 contains the negatives and file 11.1 contains the prints that were originally housed with it. In many cases the prints and negatives appear to have been removed from their original container and mixed with other items.

British Columbia. Provincial Fisheries Dept.

Office of Protocol commemorative materials

Series consists of an assortment of textual records, pins, medals, and other materials, produced in recognition of significant symbolic events in the history of British Columbia. These include the 1958 Centennial, the 1966/7 Centennials, the 1971 Centennial, Expo 86, and events involving the Royal Family. They had been collected by the Office of Protocol to send to the Provincial Archives for preservation. Some items were selected out during the arrangement and description process due to duplication or poor condition. Given the small volume of materials, no formal arrangement has been applied.

This series contains the following items:
Go British Columbia ; complete orchestral score
For this is British Columbia - Summer Dream - by Greg and Rich ; 45 rpm single vinyl disc
B.C. 100 years of progress 1858-1958 ; novelty license plate
1871-1971 Centennial ; artistic textile map of British Columbia
1998 Royal Dedication at the Legislative Assembly ; textual record
125th Anniversary of British Columbia letter from Queen Elizabeth II ; textual record
1987 Draft Royal Proclamation regarding the coat of arms of British Columbia ; textual record
1986 World Fair Government of British Columbia Proposed Royal Visit Itinerary to the Government of Canada ; 1 vol.
1971 Centennial triangular arm patch ; 2 textiles
1971 Centennial circular arm patch ; 2 textiles
1971 Centennial circular arm patch with gold embroidery ; 2 textiles
1967 British Columbia pioneer medal ; 1 medal
1971 British Columbia pioneer medal ; 1 medal
1971 British Columbia pioneer medal with dogwood pin ; 1 medal
1977 Queen Elizabeth II medallion ; 1 medallion
1967 Centennial of Canadian Confederation medallion ; 2 medallions
1971 British Columbia centennial pin ; 1 pin
1971 British Columbia centennial pin with dogwood ; 1 pin
1967 Centennial of Canadian Confederation pin with original cardboard backing ; 1 pin
1971 British Columbia centennial medallion with cardboard backing ; 1 medallion
1966/7 British Columbia centennial medallion with cardboard backing ; 1 medallion

British Columbia. Office of Protocol

Papers relating to Chinese people in British Columbia

The series consists of (Volume 1) tickets for passage from Hong Kong to Victoria in 1865 via the barque "Maria", receipts, account books, medicine books; and (Volume 2) letters written by a son in China to his father in B.C. in the 1870s relating to crops, family news, and information regarding the investment of remittances (Volume 2).

Letters to Mrs. A. Mason

The file consists of photocopies of letters to Mrs. A. Mason of Epsom, Surrey, England from her son Percy. Percy Mason emigrated from England to Salmon Arm in 1913, enlisted in 1914, and was killed in 1916. The file also includes letters of sympathy on the death of her son.


The series consists of scrapbooks made by Naval Officer Alfred Charles Wurtele, containing clippings and memorabilia of the 1951 provincial by-election in Esquimalt and his career as Reeve.

James Beattie correspondence

The file consists of correspondence inward to James Walker Beattie, guide and outfitter, 1912-1916. Contains correspondence and monthly game reports of the Hudson Hope detachment of B.C. Provincial Police.

Diary of Alfred Crandall Lewis

The series consists of a copy of a diary kept by Alfred Crandall Lewis, from March to July 1937. It describes Lewis' journey 200 miles up the South Nahanni by aeroplane from Edmonton, and the return trip made down the river by raft with his partner after their trapping venture had failed.

John Green's records relating to Sasquatch sightings

The records consist of photocopies of card index files created by John Green from 1970 to 1999 regarding Sasquatch sightings in Canada and the United States. The files cover information about sightings going back to 1900. Green collected the information from a variety of sources, including old newspapers and publications and from interviews and letters. Each card listed the name of the informant, the place and date of the sighting, as well as a brief description of the event. Many of the cards are marked with an "S" for sighting or a "T" for tracks. Green also marked a date on each card that seems to be the date of the creation of the card. The original cards were presumably arranged by location and date and the photocopies are in date groupings with some overlap. The series also includes a photocopy of a chronological listings of sightings compiled by Paul Johnson and Joan Jeffers in "The Pennsylvania Bigfoot".

Green, John Willison

Logbook of Bernard Magee

The series consists of a microfilm copy of a logbook kept by Bernard Magee titled "...the most necessary remarks and observations in a voyage made on board ship Jefferson, Josiah Roberts Commander from Boston, North America to the North West Coast of the Same and round the globe".

Day book

The item consists of a microfilm copy of a day book, kept by John Lyne, a blacksmith at 150 Mile House, Clinton, and Quesnel, between 1906 and 1914.

Clipping books

The series consists of microfilmed copies of newspaper clipping books compiled by Paul Weiler, Chairman, British Columbia Labour Relations Board, Vancouver. The books contain reports on Bill 146, the Collective Bargaining Continuation Act (Oct - Dec 1975), the British Columbia Hospitals strike (Apr - May 1976), the Alcan strike (Jun 1976 - Aug 1977), the Hotel Vancouver strike (Jun - Jul 1977), and the British Columbia Ferry Corporation strike (Oct - Nov 1977).

Nelson Seymour Lougheed records

The series consists of records created by or relating to Nelson Seymour Lougheed. Included in this series are a scrapbook of news clippings (MS-2594.1), a certificate appointing Lougheed to Minister of Lands in October 1930, and two photographs. One photograph is a portrait signed by Lougheed and dated 1924. The second photograph is a group photograph in front of the Legislature buildings, and is assumed to be of Lougheed as Minister with his staff.

Nelson Seymour Lougheed (April 16, 1882 – June 6, 1944) was a Conservative politician in British Columbia and served as an MLA from 1928-1933.

Essays and accounts

The series consists of microfilmed transcripts of short essays on various subjects, including the transport and mining industries in B.C., the history of B.C., descriptions of Victoria and other B.C. cities by Cariboo grocer Leonard A. Coton. Also includes accounts of car trips taken by L.A. Coton to the Okanagan, the Cariboo and on Vancouver Island in the 1950s.

Letters written to Hugh Booth Lee

The series consists of photocopies of letters written from British Columbia to Hugh Booth Lee of Whitchurch, Shropshire, England, 1913-1914. Most of the letters were written by Hugh's mother, Mrs. Agnes Nash, during a visit she made to her children, Nessie (Mrs. Norman Lee), of Hanceville, Tom, of Alexis Creek, and Alfred, of Nicola and Alberni. The collection also contains letters from Tom and Nessie Hugh. Mrs. Nash was in the Chilcotin from March to May 1913, at Nicola from July to September, and in Victoria, where she lived with Nessie and Norman Lee, from October 1913 to June 1914. Mrs. Nash was very sociable and the letters are full of news of people met in B.C. and of the family in England.

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