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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

Geographic Series (1A - 1SW)

Geographic Series (1A - 1SW)

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.

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