Héritage preserves Victoria Census of 1891

Héritage, a project to digitize and provide access to vast troves of unpublished archival material, has preserved the 1891 civic census undertaken by the city of Victoria.


The commercial and political capitals of British Columbia engaged in a bitter feud over the summer of 1891, with Victoria alleging that federal clerks had favored Vancouver in their census returns earlier that year. Their booming and prosperous neighbour was a sore spot for the people of Victoria, particularly businessmen, as the mainland city had become the western terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886, supplanting Victoria's claim to being the commercial center of British Columbia.

While Victoria's Times and Colonist engaged in daily war of words with Vancouver newspapers over which city was “more prosperous, more prominent, and more racially pure,” Victoria City Council commissioned a separate civic census in September 1891. Unsurprisingly, this census increased the population for the city and displayed more “white,” and fewer Chinese, residents than shown on the federal census. Vancouver retaliated shortly thereafter by conducting its own civic census; the Dominion Census Office refused to recognize the censuses taken on by either city.

About the resource

Individuals are listed alphabetically, with notation of street address and occupation as well as the number of persons in the household. Names are given only for the heads of households. Ethnic origin is indicated only for those who were Chinese and Aboriginal. The crews of ships in harbour, and residents of the local orphanage and Indian Reserve are listed separately at the end of the volume.
Permanent link: http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_104263