This image of an old abandoned farmhouse in Owen Sound is one of over 90,000 online images available from over 4,000 abandoned Ontario buildings. Ontario Abandoned Places  is a fascinating site well worth a visit. 

Land Records of Ontario

All land in Ontario was initially transferred from First Nations to the government and then to private individuals through the grant system.   In the early days of 1800,  immigrants acquired tracts of land through Crown grants or Canada Company acquisitions. 

The Canada Company was created in 1825, to aid the colonization of Upper Canada by providing emigrants with good ships, low fares, implements and tools and inexpensive land.

Scottish novelist, John Galt, was the company's first Canadian superintendent.

The government of Upper Canada sold the company 10,000 kmĀ² of land for 341 000 pounds. Slightly less than half of the land that was purchased comprised what would become the Huron Tract, located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron.

The remainder, located in other areas of Upper Canada, became Clergy reserves under the control of the Clergy Corporation.

Galt selected Guelph, Ontario as the company's headquarters.

The company surveyed and subdivided this massive area, built roads, mills, and schools and advertised it to buyers in Europe. The company then assisted in the migration of new settlers, bringing them to the area by means of a boat, which the company also owned, on Lake Ontario

The company's mismanagement and corruption, and its close alliance with the Tory elites, known as the Family Compact was an important contributing factor to the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837.

The company was dissolved on December 18, 1953. 

Location of Crown Land Grant and Registry Books

An individual was required to file a petition with the Crown that included certain conditions.

When the conditions were satisfied, the petition was approved and ownership was formally passed to the settler, often many years, even decades, after the initial filing.   

Transactions of this type differ from the regular buy and sell transactions of  private owners.

Crown land was not granted freely after 1826 (except to Loyalists). It land had to be purchased.

Ontario Land Property Records are searchable online at ONLAND.   SEARCH  

Crown Land  grants and Land registry records are maintained by Archives Ontario on microfilm. Access is free and the library inter-loan program applies.

Archives Ontario Ontario Land records Index Guide explains the look-up process

This research guide will help you find and use Crown Land Records on grants and patents from the eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century.  It provides short summaries and links to Crown land records that will be of particular interest if you are researching family history  

Also helpful is the research guide for researching land records  and the Ontario Land Records Index .

Library and Archives Canada  provincial land records  details information for all provinces, including online searchable databases and hard copy files.    

The Second Heir and Divisee Commission

The Second Heir and Devisee Commission (1805-1911) existed for the purpose of settling land claims filed by heirs of the now dead applicant who settled on crown land. 

The case files are on microfilm at Archives Ontario and available through library inter-loan system.  

The searchable database contains 5,184 case files an is searchable by name, township and/or year.


Western Land Grants 1870-1930 at LAC        SEARCH

After settling  initially in Ontario, thousands moved west to take advantage of available land grants.  This is especially true of second and third generation Ontarians.    

LAC database relates exclusively to Letters Patent issued by the Lands Patent Branch of the Department of the Interior.

The records refer to grants issued in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia, c. 1870-1930. 

Land patents contain the name of the grantee, the description of the land and the date when the land was granted.

They do not contain other personal information. Homestead applications and files, which are more detailed, are held at the relevantprovincial archives and may be requested for a fee. (Usually $12-$15 range).