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Map of New Westminster District

February 27, 2014

These maps of New Westminster District show the evolution from the first Block and Range survey of Joseph Trutch in 1859 – which survey covered Brownsville – to the township plans of the Colony of British Columbia to the later over-riding township system in the Railway Belt of the Dominion of Canada.

The first two included here are from 1876 and 1886 and are linked to high-resolution versions at the Vancouver Archives. The rest link to pages on this blog to enable opening  large file size versions.

The Coast Meridian

The Coast Meridian is the line running due north from where the International boundary with the United States meets the shore of Semiahmoo Bay. Sections to the east are designated East of the Coast Meridian, ECM, and those to the west known as West of the Coast Meridian, WCM.

Sections were laid out by Trutch in Blocks and Ranges based on the system used in Washington Territory.  As will be seen by examining different maps,   when the Township system is adopted, the numbering of the sections does not remain consistent with older versions.

Map of New Westminster District BC 1876

The first complete township map. Printed by Britton, Reye & Company of San Francisco, 2,500 copies,  and included in the Sessional Papers for 1877.  Each copy we have seen of this map has included hand-coloured details, and on each copy different features were so illustrated, so that every one is unique as to its intended use – for instance Indian Reserves might be coloured on one map, but not another. The one linked to below has coloured areas at Point Grey that we have not seen on other versions.

The dense grid sections at the border, at Brownsville and on Lulu Island and Sea Island, are the old grid of Trutch under the Block and Range system of survey.

Intended to aid settlers in selecting land, the map is excellent for locating a property on the grid, but lacks information about topographical features, such as prairie, heavily forested or meadowland, upland or bottom land, that were of critical interest to prospective settlers.  Locals  sometimes “discovered” areas of naturally clear land that had been hidden away behind dense tracts to timber forest.

Clicking the map opens a link to a high-resolution version at the Vancouver Archives.

1876 Map of New Westminster District BC

Map of New Westminster District BC, 1886

Similar to the 1876 map,  this 1886 map shows municipal boundaries. Published by Rand Bros., a real estate company. Clicking map opens a high-resolution version at Vancouver Archives.

1886 Map of New Westminster District BC-

Map of the New Westminster District, British Columbia, 1887

The first version of the Railway Belt map, published by the Department of the Interior, showing the Dominion system of township surveys overlaid on  the previous systems. Brownsville area, in the old Trutch survey of Blocks and Ranges, is now  included in Township 38.

This map shows a section of the Telegraph Trail near Scott Road not seen on previous maps.

Clicking the map will open a page on this blog to render a full-size version.

1887 Map of New Westminster District BC -

Map of the New Westminster District, 1889

This is the railway belt map of 1887, Department of the Interior, revised to October 1, 1889. Clicking the map will link to a high-resolution display copy  at the University of Victoria’s “Early British Columbia Maps.”1889 Map of New Westminster District BC -

Plan of Township 38, West of the Coast Meridian

Each township was surveyed under the new system and each was mapped in detail. This is the township map which covers Brownsville and adjacent area to the Coast Meridian and north. Each section is numbered and if patented, has a “C.G.” marked on it for Crown Grant.

1905 Plan of Township 38 West of Coast Meridian -

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