Ontario County Maps Geospatial Project

Photo: Toronto Public Library Special Collections

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Nineteenth Century County Maps of Canada are considered an invaluable source of settlement history for eastern Canada. These large wall maps usually covered one, but sometimes two or three counties, and included such features as the survey grid, roads, railroads, towns, buildings, and most importantly the names of the rural residents. They also contained agricultural, cultural, and natural features and information.

Fifty-four counties are known to have been mapped between 1856 and 1888, although 45 of these were produced between 1859 and 1869. Thirty-two are of Ontario and the rest were spread throughout eastern Canada. Five Ontario county maps were revised to produce second editions.

Of the few original maps still in existence, most are held in libraries and archives across the country. Many of these maps are in poor condition. In this project we shall compile and create the Geographic Information Systems datasets of all land ownership, cultural information, and environmental change held on these maps. The GIS and attribute data, along with the raster versions of these maps will then be made available through a searchable web mapping application. Crucial to the intent of the project is to make available these important 19th Century land ownership maps and the information they contain which demonstrate the cultural historical record of rural Canada.


The project leaders would like to thank the following people and institutions for their contributions to the project

  • Sabrina Crawford
  • Abdu Farisila
  • Steve Zuppa
  • Sarah Simpkin
  • Laurel Christie
  • National Library and Archives of Canada
  • Ontario Genealogical Society

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