Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1994


Published in Great Plains Research 4:1 (February 1994). Copyright © 1994 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The lands in Canada's western provinces and northern territories have undergone a tortuous history from the advent of the Confederation to the transferral of Crown land to the prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1930. Numerous parliamentary statutes, and orders in Council promulgated by the Governor in Council, created and defined various land use regulations and amended them frequently. Kirk Lambrecht, a practicing Edmonton lawyer who has spent many years studying the history of land law in western Canada, has presented in this volume a significant collection of materials for the history of the land law from 1870-1930.

The work begins with a useful survey of the main developments in federal land use policies (pp. 1-57). This includes clear and substantive discussions of the land transfers from the Hudson's Bay Company; the property provisions of the Metis settlements and the First Nations treaties; the Torrens land registration system; the school lands; land grants to the Canadian Pacific and other railroad companies including the British Columbian Railway belt and the Peace River Block; the lease of Crown lands for timber licenses and the establishment of forest reserves; mining leases and rights; land grants for homesteading, pre-emption, colonization companies, militia and North-West Mounted Police bounties, and war veterans; open and closed leases, and stock reserves for ranching; and national park reserves.