Historic Cartography

Historical Maps of Nova ScotiaMaps convey geographic information about places and help us to better understand topography,  environment, culture and more.

Cartography is the art and science of making maps is an old profession that has been practiced since ancient Babylonia times. Back them, most maps were created for navigation purposes and to help depict territorial regions.

Canada is a relative young country (when compared to others) and thus experienced many years of European exploration that resulted in the creation of many maps that tried to show part of the world that had not been mapped before.

The “Historic Cartography” section of our site was created to explore the many great sources of vintage cartography in Canada. From detailed hand drawn maps by early explorers whom created and documented some of the earliest spatial representations of Canada to maps that focus on nature, the north, and our people.


W. H. Pugsley Collection of Early Canadian Maps (1556 to 1857)

In 1971-72 Dr. William Howard Pugsley, donated his collection of early Canadian maps that he had collected during the late 1930s and World War II. Download digital scans of these 50 early Canadian historical maps published between 1556 to 1857 that help explain the discovery and exploration of early North America.

Historical Maps of Manitoba

If you are looking for Manitoba Historical Maps then you will want to check out the 1000+ maps of Winnipeg, Brandon and other regions of Manitoba that are now scanned and available online.

Historical Maps of Toronto

Historical Maps of Toronto - Bird’s Eye View Chromolithograph
Explore Toronto’s past through Historical Maps

Historical maps of Toronto - Map of York 1812Historical Maps can be a great resource to help people learn more about certain geography at a particular point in time, help locate where our ancestors lived, or help us understand how a neighborhood or surrounding area changed over time. Because older maps were created by hand, they tend to be more artistic and visually appealing and thus can be attention grabbers.

Historical Maps have existed in libraries & various personal collections for years but thanks to advancement in digital technology and the internet, we have started to see more old maps being shared in the geospatial community.

The Historical Maps of Toronto blog created by historical maps enthusiast Nathan Ng provides simple and free access to a large selection of notable historical maps of the Toronto area that have been scanned from collections at the Toronto Library and the Toronto archives.  He started the site as a way to generate more curiosity for geography, and as a way to provide an easy entry point for people to discovery and further investigate historical cartography.

Maps on the site generally have public domain status (except where otherwise noted) and can be downloaded, printed and shared.

Some of the maps in the collection include:

Plus many more, click here for a full list of Historical Maps of Toronto maps available

Online Toronto Historic Maps comparison tool

Are you a resident of the Greater Toronto area and want to know what your community looked like 50 years ago?

Well Nathan Ng has also taken his blog a step further by teaming up with Esri to create the Online Toronto Historic Maps comparison toolThis free web application provides people with the ability to compare different places in Toronto through time from 2013 back to 1818.

Historical  paper maps from the Toronto Library and the Toronto archives were scanned, georeferenced, mosaiked and then combined so that people could compare them with one another using a simple easy to use interface that anyone could use.

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Historical Orthophotos of Alberta

Alberta Historical Orthophotos - Old Man River Dam in 1949-51 (left) and 2013 (right)

Old Man River Dam in 1949-51 (left) and 2013 (right)

Alberta Historical Orthophotos

Historical Orthophotos of Alberta contains georeferenced orthophoto maps consisting of aerial photography mainly from 1949 to 1951 with coverage for the whole province. It also contains various maps created with photos from 1961 to 1963. Each of the original maps covers a 1:50,000 NTS sheet at a scale of 1:63,360.

To download the georeferenced orthophoto maps you will need to use FTP software such as FileZilla (available free online). Metadata Download: http://www.abmi.ca/home/publications/351-400/376.html

Ftp server: ftp.public.abmi.ca
user name: web|anonymous
password: anonymous
path: /GISProduct/HistoricalOrthophotos

[Source: ABMI.ca]

 


Bird’s-eye view of Victoria, BC

Bird's-eye view of Victoria

 

Bird’s-eye view of Victoria

Today we wanted to share an image that has been posted all over the internet lately, it is a bird’s-eye perspective view image of Victoria, British Columbia illustrated by E. S. Glover, A.L. Bancroft and Co., and published by M.W. Waitt & Co. in 1878.  In 1871, British Columbia joined Canada and the population of Victoria was around 7900 but dropped to less then 6000 around the time the image was published economic decline. These days the population of Victoria is over 78,000.

Post Update: Had a few people send us a link to the image below, same Bird’s-eye view of Victoria lithograph image but the scan is much better.

[Images sources: above: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division and the version below: Toronto Public Library]

Bird's-eye view of Victoria

City of Saint John Maps, Plans and Historical Data

The Saint John Historical Maps collection includes an interactive atlas from 1875, compiled from official hand drawn plans and surveys. You will also find an interactive map of Historic Coastline and Fortifications and scanned copies of Murdoch-Lingley Survey Plans from 1920. Find out how you can download and use maps and images from the Saint John Historical Maps collection …

Historic Bird’s Eye Views of several Canadian Cities

historic aerial image  of Halifax

Canada is certainly not an old country when compared to many others like France or the UK but it has been around long enough to have some very interesting history.

Here are some historic aerial images of major cities in Canada. It is interesting when you compare some of these with modern maps and aerial images, as then you can get a real appreciation on what urban sprawl looks like and how cities develop and spread over time.

The Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA) provide a service where you can obtain your own colour printed reproduction of any of the listed images below [note: the images that the links below point to are actually only thumbnails of the actual images that they repoduce]. Maps ordered are printed on acid free 70 lb paper with a size of about 55 X 70 cm. For more information about how to order historic map prints go to the ACMLA site

historic aerial image  of Ottawa 1893

 

Calgary, Alberta [1910] Dawson City [1903] Halifax, Nova Scotia [1879] Hamilton, Ontario [1894] London, Ontario [1872] Montréal, Québec [1889] Ottawa, Ontario [1876] Ottawa, Ontario [1893] Québec City, Québec [1905] St. John’s, Newfoundland [1879] Toronto, Ontario [1876] Vancouver, British Columbia [1898] Waterloo, Ontario [189?] Winnipeg, Manitoba [1881]

Also remember to check back to the new Historic Cartography section as more content is added weekly.

 

[image source: acmla.org]

Thompson’s 1826 Map of Northwestern North America

I recently returned from giving a presentation at Carto2013; an annual Canadian cartographic themed conference that was held at the University of Alberta co-hosted by the Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA) & the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA).

One of the key themes evident at the conference was related to history of cartography and history through maps”, a topic that many of the presentations were related to and several of these talks were about 1826 maps of Northwestern North America created by David Thompson. I myself have never really had much interest in history however these presentations provided me with a much different perspective on history and maybe I have found myself a new (or old??) to explore. Yesterday while searching for some Canadian maps with my daughter I stumbled across yet some more historic themed cartography, so I thought perhaps we should start a new section on CanadianGIS.com related to Historic Cartography since it is pretty evident that this is becoming topic of interest to many in the Canadian Geomatics community.

Find out more about Canadian Geographic Maps & Thompson’s 1826 Map of Northwestern North America …

1917 Vancouver Mission Route Map

Today we have a scan of a Vancouver Mission (British Columbia) Route Map taken from The Automobile Blue Book published in 1917.