Authors and Sources


Population in the Canadas and the Maritimes to 1851 (Volume II, Plate 10; Concise, Plate 13)
BRIAN S. OSBORNE Department of Geography, Queen's University
JEAN-CLAUDE ROBERT Department Histoire, Université du Québec à Montréal
DAVID A. SUTHERLAND Department of History, Dalhousie University

The Canadian Population, 1871; 1891 (Volume II, Plate 29; Concise, Plate 14)
DON MEASNER Historical Atlas of Canada
CHRISTINE HAMPSON Department of Geography, Brock University


Population Distribution, ca 1825 (Map)
Population Distribution, ca 1851 (Map)

Dots are plotted in a random rather than a uniform manner, with greater concentration along lakes and rivers, based on historical evidence. Because aggregate values are used, the exact location of the settlers is unknown. It is not known whether or not there was a clustering around parish churches in Lower Canada, and even the location of most parish churches is unknown. Accordingly, the exact location of parish boundaries in Lower Canada has been assumed. A random location is more plausible than a clustering around assumed parish centroids.
The ca 1825 map reflects 1821 data for Upper Canada, 1824 data for New Brunswick, 1825 data for Lower Canada, and 1827 data for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  • Canada. Census. 1851. Vol 1, Census by Ages, pp 112-505
  • Lower Canada. Census. 1825.
  • NAC. RG 5/B26. Population of Upper Canada. 1821, 1831, 1851.
  • New Brunswick. Census. 1824,1851
  • Newfoundland. Census. 1857
  • Nova Scotia. Census. 1827, table 1; 1851
  • Prince Edward Island. Census. 1848
  • Growth of Cities, 1825-1891 (Graph)
    Growth of Provinces, 1825-1891 (Graph)

  • Canada. Census. Various census years.
  • Censuses of individual provinces. Various census years. Summarized in: Canada. Census. 1871. Vol 4
  • Simmons, J., and Geoff Dobilas. 'The Population of Urban Nodes.' HAC research report. 1980
  • Urquhart, M.C., and K.A.H, Buckley, eds. Historical Statistics of Canada. Series A 2-14, 'Population of Canada, by Province. Census dates, 1851 to 1976'
  • Population Distribution, 1871 (Map)
    Population Distribution, 1891 (Map)

    The rural population was based on census-subdivision areas. Reference was made to other dot-distribution maps, to county atlases, and to present-day medium-scale topographic maps to help ensure that the placement of dots within census subdivisions was as accurate as possible.
    For Québec the 1951 census-subdivision map boundaries were carried backward to 1871 in order to determine the census-subdivision boundaries for 1871 and 1891 : Because the 1871 census year was arranged geographically by both census division and subdivision, it was used as the base year. Subdivision-population remainders of less than 300 were added to an adjacent subdivision so no numbers were dropped in any one province. For incorporated areas urban-centre populations were drawn from the census, and for unincorporated areas from a research report on the population of urban nodes prepared for the HAC project. Incorporated areas with a population of fewer than 1 000 were considered rural and added to the rural population for the surrounding census subdivision. The populations of unincorporated urban nodes of more than 1 000 were subtracted from the population of the surrounding census subdivisions.
    Native people were under-enumerated in both the 1871 and the 1891 censuses, especially in the West. The distribution of native people may be seen in the printed atlas Vol. II, Plates 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36.
  • Canada. Census. 1871. Vol 1, table 1
  • Canada. Census. 1891. Vol 1, table 2
  • Newfoundland. Census. 1884
  • Population Pyramids, 1825-1851

    The population pyramids for eastern Canada are shown for the individual provinces and are broken down into major urban areas and other parts of each province. No consolidation of provincial data was feasible because the age groups for the data were generally different.
    Sources for the data used in constructing the population pyramids are the same as those used for the maps of population distribution, above.

    Population Pyramids, 1871-1891 (Graph)

    The population pyramids were constructed from census data that gave the population by sex and grouped ages. For comparability with population data at mid-century some age groups were consolidated. The male-female ratio is indicated for each age group on each pyramid. In each age group the larger population (male or female) was divided by the smaller population, multiplied by 100, and then rounded to the nearest whole number.
  • Canada. Census. 1871. Vol 1, table 1
  • Canada. Census. 1891. Vol 2, table 2
  • Newfoundland. Census. 1884.
  • Urban Populations, 1851-91 (Graph)

    Urban Centres, 1851-91 (Graph)

  • Canada. Census. Various census years. Urban populations.
  • Simmons, J., and Geoff Dobilas. 'The Population of Urban Nodes.' Unpublished HAC research report. 1980
  • Further Readings

  • Bouchette, Joseph. The British Dominions in North America ... London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman, 1832. Vol 2, ch 11
  • Campbell, Duncan. History of Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown: Bremner Brothers, 1875
  • Clark, Andrew Hill. Three Centuries and the Island: A Historical Geography of Settlement and Agriculture in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1959
  • McGregor, John. British America. Edinburgh: Blackwood / London: Cadell, 1832. Book 4
  • McGregor, John. Historical and Descriptive Sketches of the Maritime Colonies of British America. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1828. Chs 1-8
  • Martin, R. Montgomery. The British Colonies: Their History, Extent, Condition, and Resources. London and New York: London Printing and Publishing Co, 1851- . Vol i, book 4
  • Martin, R. Montgomery. History of the Colonies of the British Empire ... From the Official Records of the Colonial Office. London: Wm. H. Allen and George Routledge, 1843. Book 3
  • Martin, R. Montgomery. History of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, the Sable Islands, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Bermudas, Newfoundland, &c. &c. London: Whittaker, 1837. Ch 3
  • Meacham, J.H., and Co. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Province of Prince Edward Island. Philadelphia: Meacham, 1880. Repr Oshawa: Maracle Press, 1973
  • Stewart, John. An Account of Prince Edward Island, in the Gulph of St. Lawrence, North America ... London: Winchester and Son, 1806
  • Walling, H.F. Tackabury's Atlas of the Dominion of Canada. Montreal, Toronto, London: Tackabury, 1875