Each parcel of land in BC has a unique legal description. The legal description is developed from a number of data sources including the type of survey system used to originally define the land, the land district which the parcel lies within and assigned plan number (if applicable).
The LTSA's historical records include land title and survey documents, plans, registers, indices, Crown grants, and other operational records that are of enduring value for legal, survey and conveyancing purposes.
In addition to their value for operational purposes, historic records have significant informational and evidential value to local and academic historians, First Nations researchers, genealogists, and other persons involved in historic land research.
Because they document patterns of provincial land settlement and ownership, from the time of the earliest European settlement to the present, the LTSA's historic records are of provincial historical significance.
Historic records are maintained in a number of different media, including paper, microform and electronic formats.
For more information about the LTSA’s historical records, see Historical Records Inventory.
To ensure their permanent retention, historic records are securely stored in records vaults in the three land title offices at Victoria, New Westminster and Kamloops, and in the records vault at the Office of the Surveyor General in Victoria.
Direct access to original hard copy land title and survey records is limited to LTSA employees and those with direct access privileges including land surveyors, historical researchers and registry agents.
Access to LTSA records typically incurs one or more LTSA fees. Qualifying non-commercial historical or academic research projects may be exempted from the LTSA Electronic Images Fee when obtaining LTSA records in person from one of the LTSA’s records vaults. Eligible historical research projects do not include research undertaken on behalf of a client being charged for the costs of such research.
For more information on the LTSA Historical Research Fee Exemption, please contact:
LTSA Corporate Records Officer
Historical records inquiries requiring access to original land title records should be directed to a registry agent or historical researcher who works in geographic proximity to the records being consulted – Victoria, New Westminster or Kamloops.
While land title office employees can retrieve specific identified land title records for a fee, they are not able to undertake general historical research of land title records due to the constant high volume of current land title transactions that require processing. The Surveyor General Division may assist with research within the Surveyor General records, for a fee.
All paper documents received by land title offices since 1994 have been scanned and stored in electronic format upon receipt. The examination and registration of the documents is now conducted in electronic form. For information about requesting copies of more recent titles, plans or documents from the land title register, go to Search Land Title Records.
Records dealing with surveys and dispositions of Crown land for the entire province reside in the Surveyor General's records vault in Victoria. To obtain a copy of Crown land survey plans, Crown grants or field books, you must first have the legal description of the property.
To obtain a copy of Crown land survey plans, Crown grants or field books, you must first have the legal description of the property.
Crown land survey plans may be obtained through the following methods once the legal description has been determined:
Most Official Plans of Crown land and Crown grant documents can be viewed online through the provincial government's Tantalis GATOR system at no cost. For further
information, please consult the Tantalis GATOR helpful hints.
- myLTSA Enterprise users may order electronic plans of Crown land (those beginning with EPC prefix) via the Order Documents and Plans page, subject to the Electronic Images fee, and the myLTSA service charges plus applicable taxes.
- You may retain the services of a BC land surveyor, registry agent or historian to obtain records on your behalf.
- View a sample Crown land survey plan.
You may also contact the Surveyor General Division's Records Distribution Services employees with your request. When you place your order, fees will apply and Records Distribution employees will inform you of the total amount due. Most orders to the Surveyor General Division are processed within three business days. You will be advised if an order may take longer due to its complexity.
There is no province-wide index to historic land title transactions.
The quality and condition of surviving nominal indices differs from office to office.
It is important to focus your inquiry to obtain an accurate price quote.
Most registry agents and historians charge a fee per hour for historical research, plus applicable taxes. Additionally, there may be disbursement costs that professionals must pay to the LTSA for obtaining and printing records.