Early B.C. Maps from the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

Plan of part of Victoria... F.W. Green, C.E., Victoria 1861Browse this collection

The Hudson's Bay Company had the exclusive right to trade with First Nations in what is now British Columbia throughout most of the Nineteenth Century. These 100 maps provide a graphic view of the development of the Province from 1842 until the 1860’s when the company’s trading in its two B.C. colonies declined. Most if not all of the maps included are manuscripts which are hand drawn and coloured. Also included are some published charts and plans for churches, bridges and a water wheel.

The maps show the opening up of the Vancouver Island colony from 1842 to 1866 and the exploration of the interior of the Island from 1856 to 1859. Many of these maps were created by the first Colonial Surveyor, Joseph Despard Pemberton, who surveyed the lower Island and looked after the sale of land between 1851 and 1859 for the H.B.C. colony. He was also responsible for many of the Nanaimo maps and the earliest maps of the Cowichan to Nitinat and Qualicum to Port Alberni. As an engineer he also designed the churches, bridges and mills.

There are also early maps from the interior of British Columbia and from the Queen Charlotte Islands (now Haida Gwaii). From a total of more than 1,000 early HBC maps of B.C. we have selected only 100 and most of these show the large physical areas of the lower Island as opposed to the section and lot surveys. Many of the maps are on multiple sheets and where possible we have stitched them together otherwise we have left them as separate sheets. Most of the scans were shot commercially but a few of them were contributed by Chris Petter after a research visit to the HBC Archives.

Viewers interested in the history and context of the maps and a more comprehensive list of them should read  A Country So Interesting: The Hudson's Bay Company and Two Centuries of Mapping, 1670-1870 by Richard I. Ruggles (1991). Access to the HBC cataloguing information can be found through their Keystone database: http://pam.minisisinc.com/pam/search.htm.

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Use Rights: These images are provided with the consent of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, and cannot be reproduced or copied without their permission. To purchase high resolution digital files of these maps, contact: hbca@gov.mb.ca Telephone 204-945-4949. Information on photographic reproduction services and terms of use of images are available on request.