Historical cartographic collections

These collections highlight historical cartographic materials. Also see Maps and GIS for other cartographic resources.


historical cartography
Early map of Vancouver Island, detail

Early BC maps from the National Archives of England

These maps primarily span the dates 1846-1876. They show the development of the territory from the two founding colonies until after the province joined confederation. The collection also includes a few earlier maps collected by the Colonial Office in response to the San Juan dispute.

See also: Colonial despatches


detail, HBC map of Victoria, BC
HBC map of Victoria BC, detail

Early BC maps from the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

The Hudson's Bay Company had the exclusive right to trade with First Nations in what is now British Columbia throughout most of the 19th century.

These 100 maps provide a graphic view of the development of the province from 1842 until the 1860s when the company’s trading in its two BC colonies declined. Most maps included are manuscripts which are hand drawn and coloured.


detail, Victoria fire insurance plan
Victoria fire insurance plan detail

Victoria fire insurance plans

The fire insurance plans (FIPs) from 1885 to 1916 were created by Charles E. Goad and Company to assist insurance underwriters in determining fire insurance risk. 

This digital collection, drawn from the BC Archives collection, contains all of the 1891 plans, the full set of 1903 plans (with revisions to 1909 indicated), and the surviving plans from 1911 (revised to 1913). The number of plans required expanded to cover the city grew from 31 in 1891 to over 170 in 1913.


Comiaken District detail
Comiaken District map detail

Victoria's early history: maps

Featured within the Victoria's Early History collection are a number of nineteenth century maps of historical significance.

Most of these were drawn or coordinated by Joseph D. Pemberton. One later highlight is the Province Pocket Road Map showing bicycle trails of the Victoria region.

See also: Victoria's early history