The Land Title and Survey Authority of BC cares for a significant collection of BC’s historic land title records and survey plans that date back to the early 1800s. Through the preservation of these historical records in our archives we can better understand how land use has evolved over the decades.
LTSA’s historic records contain many document types including plans, maps, Absolute Fee and Charge books that were used to record titles and charges, and indefeasible title books that were used prior to the conversion of titles to electronic versions. These records exist in a range of formats such as original paper form, microfilm copies, and electronic records and document BC’s history of land use by settlers. LTSA is continuing a multi-year project to improve record accessibility by digitizing paper records, and ensuring processes are in place to enable paper records requested by customers are made available in digital format in a timely manner.
Recognizing the value of the records for First Nations, LTSA established a Historic Records Advisory Committee in 2019 to provide advice to LTSA regarding the preservation and accessibility of the records in LTSA’s care. The Historic Records Advisory Committee includes members from First Nations organizations. LTSA’s goal is to improve access to historic records and records conservation practices in response to feedback from HRAC and other users.
To build ongoing education and awareness of historic land documents, LTSA completed a Research Guide to Dominion Land Records, primarily used by researchers with direct access to LTSA’s vaults. To date, 9,165 Dominion Township Plans have been indexed and digitized. Recently, LTSA continued collaborating with other entities on records of interest to First Nations and initiated the development of a comprehensive guide to records of Indigenous interest in collaboration with the University of Victoria (UVIC), Royal BC Museum, Hudson Bay Archive and First Nations. In addition, LTSA partnered with University of Victoria to make some of the earliest Indian Reserve Commission Maps available through the UVIC library online collection free of charge.
Other notable achievements in the digitization project include the digitization of microfilm records from The Kamloops and Nelson Land Title District , now accessible through all LTSA offices. Since 2005, approximately 9,000 survey plans have been digitized and conserved.
LTSA completed the move of paper-based Kamloops and Nelson Land Title District historical records to LTSA’s purpose-built facility in Victoria, BC featuring a secure, climate-controlled environment with custom fire-suppression.
Since 2005, LTSA has invested over $18 million in various technology, facilities and personnel dedicated to historic records conservation and digitization. Conservation is essential to maintaining the integrity of LTSA historic records and will ensure that ready access to these records can continue into the future.