Friday, October 9, 2020

Remembering the Farm - The Dominion Land Survey System


When you grow up on a western Canadian farm, as soon as you leave the blacktop, the Metric System falls by the way and it is miles and acres because that is embedded in our land system and in our DNA. I promised a blog post on Correction Lines. To do that requires an understanding of our land survey system. I am too tired to reinvent the wheel and this PowerPoint presentation (saved as a pdf) explains it far better and clearer than I ever could. It is cear, simple and well illustrated and takes no longer to read than if I wrote a full explanation.

If you want more details, I suggest the following: - history and  detail more history and detail

And for a fascinating story of how the incredible survey from the Red to the Rockies was accomplished, often in the words of the men who did it, I suggest begging, borrowing or stealing this book. Beginning in 1871, with primitive equipment, facing an empty land and untold hardships, these men managed with a remarkable degree of accuracy to divide 310,000 square miles into small squares suitable for settlement and agriculture.

Vision of an Ordered Land: The Story of the Dominion Land Survey
by James Grierson Macgregor

It is out of print but available from ABEBooks


  1. I will look for the book - looks interesting.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  2. I have always been amazed at how the wild place called Canada has been divided up into lots and divisions and provinces in such a short time. This land must have been covered with trees and bush and prairie grasses and lakes and rivers and swamps, and now it's a proper country!

  3. Ol'Buzzard, I hope you find it. An incredible story.

    Shammickite, Europeans started clearing and dividing the land 400 years ago when the French came to Quebec and the Maritimes. Western Canada was settled by Europeans and put under the plough beginning about 150 years ago. All at the expense of the First Nations, of course.

  4. I want to travel canada from west to east..and then usa from east to west.

  5. Correction lines: The only thing that keep you awake when you're driving north/south on the prairies... ;-)

  6. Jackiesue, that would be awesome. Make sure you endup on Cape Breton Island in October. The leaves are incredibly lovely and there are Gaelic music festivals all month.
    Diane, Some truth to that though you can get killed at a crossroads because no one expects there to be any traffic or going over a hill in the centre of the road for the same reason.


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