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Fire Insurance Plans
The University of Western Ontario Archives

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

Instructions on Use of the Fire Insurance Plans

Port Dalhousie Fire Insurance Plan Pastover - 1887

Port Dalhousie Fire Insurance Map Pasteover

User Policy Regarding the Fire Insurance Plans

Plans for London, Sarnia, St. Thomas, Woodstock and Peterborough (1968) are located in the Western Archives Reading Room for immediate access. All other plans must be requested in advance with at least 1/2 day notice. For copying of material, please consult Western Libraries Copyright Policy or the staff on duty.

Email: Western Archives
Call Western Archives: 519-661-4046

Fire Insurance Plans available on microfiche or microfilm are listed in "Guide to Ontario Fire Insurance Plans at The University of Western Ontario." Microfiche are shelved at F126 and microfilm are listed separately in the Western Libraries Shared Catalogue.

Refer to Visiting the Archives for more information.


Port Dalhousie Fire Insurance Map - 1887

Port Dalhousie Fire Insurance Map - 1887

What Are Fire Insurance Plans?

Fire insurance plans are maps that were compiled for the use of the fire insurance agencies to help in determining the amount of insurance permitted for building in urban areas. These are a valuable source of detailed information as every building within the surveyed area is included, no matter how humble the construction. The use of different colours, numbers, letters and symbols (see Key Plan) represent different building or construction characteristics. By using these plans one can reconstruct a building now gone or establish changes made to existing ones. The only drawback with these plans is that they were not issued regularly.

For example: the earliest known London plan dates from 1881 (at a time when the city was considerably smaller) and was revised in 1888.

London 1888 (1881) 30 Charles E. Goad
[1907] (1892) 78 Charles E. Goad Co.
1915 (1912) 63 Charles E. Goad Co.
1929 (1912) 73 Underwriters' Survey Bureau
[1935] (1912) 88 Mss. J. Nelson/ Underwriters' Survey Bureau
1940 (1912) 81 Underwriters' Survey Bureau
[1948-1950] 79 C. N. Lloyd
1958 v.2, 101 Underwriters' Survey Bureau
1970(1958) v.1, 131 Canadian Underwriters' Association
1970(1958) v.1, 151 Canadian Underwriters' Association


ort Dalhousie Fire Insurance Key Plan - 1887

Port Dalhousie Fire Insurance Key Plan


Format of the Fire Insurance Plans

The plans include both printed and manuscript (hand drawn) versions, with the printed being the most prevalent. The plans were mainly printed in two sizes. The early editions to approximatel 1950 were 21 x 25 inches. The more current editions from 1950 to 1970 were 12 x 13 inches.

General Format

The Fire Insurance plans in the Listing of Plans section are organized alphabetically by community within Ontario. Where there is more than one plan for a community, they are listed chronologically. The special industrial surveys are included and listed with a bullet in the "Place" column.

Place Name

Plans are listed by the name of the community at the time the plan was made. If the plan has been revised, the name is taken from the revision slip. The spelling of place names is based on the official gazetteer for Ontario. No effort has been made to keep track of the name changes for communities. The assumption is that the researcher will know of the various name changes for a community before using the Fire Insurance Plans.


The date found on the title page (mostly the key plan) is the one used in this listing. If the plan has been revised, the date of revision is stated first and then the date of originial issue is given in parentheses. In cases where the date has been researched or is unknown, it is given in square brackets. Where the date cannot be established, the abbreviation n.d. is given.

Physical Format

The two indications of physicial format used in this list are the Volume number and the number of sheets, or both if applicable. The number of sheets includes the key plan sheet and index sheets. The scale and the size of sheets have not been included in this list.


The term "author" is used to refer to the organization or individual responsible for the plans' information content. In the case of a revision to a plan, the author is the organization responsible for the revision, when the author has been established through research it is given in square brackets. When a plan is found to a manuscript edition, the abbreaviation "Mss." is used if the author of a manuscript edication is known it is included as well. If the author cannot be determined, the word "Unknown" is used in the Author column.

Aylmer Key  Plan, 1952

Aylmer Key Plan, 1952

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