Guide to Maps, Atlases, and Fire Insurance Plans


There are hundreds of maps in our collections. Copies of many of the maps are readily available elsewhere. Nevertheless, some of our map holdings are rare, including maps of North America and the polar region dating from the mid-sixteenth century to the nineteenth century which comprise part of the Robert Hunter fonds (87-001 and 99-004). Included are a number of maps of Canada and and the fonds especially emphasize historical maps of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.  

Our holdings also include a copy of the Sir Sandford Fleming 1846 Plan of the Town of Peterborough and, through the generosity of the Peterborough Centennial Museum and Archives, a copy of Romaine's Map of the Town of Peterborough and Village of Ashburnham, 1875. 

Various maps of Peterborough, the region, and other areas are included in our Miscellaneous map collection  and Miscellaneous folded map collection. You can also browse other maps and atlases in the Archives Database.

We have many rare and beautiful maps in the collection donated by Robert Hunter. One of the earliest is ca. 1556. It was drawn by Giacomo Gastaldi and is of Eastern Canada. Another Gastaldi map from 1565 shows America. Gastaldi also drew a map of Montreal dated 1565. It is entitled "Village of Hochelaga" but also uses the term "Monte Real" for the first time. One of the most attractive maps in the collection is by Frederick De Wit and shows the Arctic regions from a polar perspective. It was drawn in 1680. A reproduction of this map is available here


An assortment of Canadian and Ontario historical atlases are located in the Archives Reading Room. 

Fire Insurance Plans

Fire insurance plans were produced by Chas. E. Goad & Co. between 1875 and 1923 but they have been updated from that time until 1974. They are an invaluable resource for homeowners, environmental assessors, city planners and architectural historians. Copyright regulation of all Fire Insurance Plans is stringent. Any duplication or publication in any form is the responsibility of the researcher and must be cleared through CGI Environmental Services in Markham, Ontario. Fire Insurance Plans show:
streets, lots, and buildings

  • size, shape, construction materials, location on lot, height, and street addresses of buildings
  • location of out-buildings, factory smoke stacks, piles of lumber and other industrial materials

NOTE: In addition to the Peterborough and area plans listed below, there is another group which dates from 1910-1972 and covers most of British Columbia and Ontario, and parts of Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland and the Yukon.

Peterborough and Area Plans

See also

The Maps, Data & Government Information Centre, also in the Bata Library, has many maps and atlases in their collections.