Before Confederation in 1867, Canada consisted of several British colonies: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canadas (present-day Quebec and Ontario).
The British North America Act of 1867 established Crown Lands as a provincial responsibility. Only land petitions for Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) were retained by the Government of Canada.
With the acquisition of Rupert's Land in 1869, western lands came under federal control. In 1930, responsibility for Crown Lands was transferred to the provincial governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The federal government retained a copy of the original patents issued for these lands, which are indexed in the Western Land Grants database. The actual homestead applications and files relating to the grants were transferred to the provincial archives.
Our Databases contain many references to land records.