The University of Western Ontario Archives | Contact Us | Site Map

Fire Insurance Plans
The University of Western Ontario Archives

Fire Insurance Plans
Historical Introduction
Instructions on Use
Listing of Plans
Reference Resources

Holdings at Western Archives


The University of Western Ontario Archives and the Map and Data Centre include maps of nearly 500 Ontario locations, represented by just over 1,000 volumes or editions. (Toronto is the largest single unit, containing 63 volumes dated between 1884 and 1973). It rivals in size and complements the collection at the National Map Collection, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, in the scope of its coverage for Ontario.

The holdings of the University of Western Ontario fire insurance plans began in 1972 with an acquisition from a private donor of ca. 1890-1930 plans. Further acquisitions followed between 1972 and 1990 from a variety of private and public sources. The largest addition, in 1975, was made by purchases from the Insurers' Advisory Organization.

The Reading Room at Western Archives

The Reading Room at Western Archives

Although there are relatively few entries dating before 1890, it is interesting to note that Western's collection includes two examples of Goad's earliest works (Ingersoll, 1876 revised to 1882; Hamilton 1878, a single sheet on the verso of Shannonville 1881) as well as the final edition produced by the Canadian Underwriters' Association, Toronto, volume 22, dated 1973 (released 1974). A significant number of Westerns' editions have thus far proved to be unique copies, notably the plan for London, 1881 revised 1888, a highlight of the collection and in almost daily use in its reproduction form. (Regrettably no trace has been found of the London editions for 1876 and 1892). The Canadian Underwriters' Association own listing for 1963 included about 500 Ontario places; a Goad listing in 1888 notes 222 places, and in 1894, 279 places.

It is due to the foresight and speculation of future uses of fire insurance plans by Edward Phelps, previous Head of Regional Collection, that The University of Western Ontario has one of the best collections in the province. We owe him a debt of gratitude for acquiring these urban plans for historians, geographers, architectural, environmental and heritage researchers.

Copyright © 2007 The University of Western Ontario Archives