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Description found in Archives

John Burrows fonds [graphic material, textual record]. 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

2 cm of textual records (94 p.) negative photostat.
34 watercolours 28 watercolour and pencil.
18 drawings pencil.
2 prints 1 lithograph, handcoloured.
1 photograph.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of a sketch book and diary kept by John Burrows, 1789-1848 in his capacity as surveyor and draughtsman for the Rideau Canal project. The book contains the records of two surveying trips: the first from Hog's Back to Kingston, 11 May 1827-15 May 1827, with the trip back on 16 May recorded in summary form, and the second from the government store near the Canal Valley to Kingston, 22 July 1827-2 July 1827, according to the diary, but apparently actually from 23 July 1827-2 August 1827. The fonds also contains artwork done by Burrows; the subjects include landscapes, rivers, islands, bridges, locks on the Rideau Canal, Bytown, and 2 map prints of plans for bridges over the Chaudiere Falls, n.d., [ca. 1828]-1932.

Graphic (art)
96: Restrictions vary
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Watercolours: No restrictions. Copyright expired. Crown copyright on reproductions. Credit: National Archives of Canada. of Canada.
Drawings, prints and photograph: No restrictions. Copyright expired. Credit: National Archives of Canada.

No finding aid

Biography / Administrative history

John Burrows Honey was born May 1. He was the son of Old Christmas Day Honey, J.P., of the parish of Buckland Monochorum near Plymouth, Devonshire, England, and of his wife Elizabeth Burrows. His radical politics made it necessary for him to leave Plymouth ca. 1815 and he settled in Nepean Township, Upper Canada. After a brief return to England, he came back to Canada in 1817 with the immigrants for the Perth Military Settlement and settled first in Nepean Township, Upper Canada, then in Hull Township, Lower Canada, where he became a district surveyor in 1820. In 1826 he obtained employment as a surveyor and draughtsman for the Rideau Canal project under Lieutenant-Colonel By.

It was probably either in 1820 or 1826 that government employment made it expedient for him to drop his unusual Honey surname with its radical political associations. He became successively Overseer of Works and Clerk of Works for the Rideau Canal project, and remained as superintendant upon its completion. Col. By left him in charge of his personal lands when he left Bytown. Honey was the first land holder in what is now the city of Ottawa, and the founder of Methodism in both Hull and Bytown.

He married first Ann Boden of Playmouth (d. 1831), then Maria Elizabeth Blake (ca. 1803-1896), widow of Thomas Hoskin of Cobourg, U.C. He had children by both marriages and his grandchildren included Thomas Arthur Burrows (1857-1929), Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, 1926-1929, and Elizabeth Armanella Burrows (1862-1925), wife of Sir Clifford Sifton. He died of a stroke on July 27, and was buried in the old Sandy Hill Cemetery. The attendance of some 300 of the students of the Union Sunday Schools, of which he was superintendant, made his funeral the largest so far seen in Bytown. His remains were transferred to the Beechwood Cemetery, New Edinburgh, in 1882.


Additional information

Textual records copied in 1953 through the coutesy of Dr. [H.Y.] Douglas, by permission of the Women's Historical Society, Ottawa, from originals in the possession of the Bytown Museum, Ottawa. Art work acquired from a variety of sources including gifts and purchases.

Related materials
Some of Burrows' family papers are included in a scrapbook of A.S. Woodburn, MG 29, D 106 and records relating to him may be found in various government series such as the land records, RG 1, L 1 and L 3 and the War Office records, MG 13, W.O. 44/23, ff.218-259, available on microfilm reel B-1297. The collection is on negative photostats. A copy of the Welch article is included for convenience.

Citation / reference note
A fairly complete transcript was published in Sights and Surveys: Two Diarists on the Rideau, by Edwin Welch (Ottawa, 1979).

Location of originals note
Originals with Bytown Museum, Ottawa, Ont.

Subject heading

1. John Burrows - Diaries, 1827 Rideau Canal (Ont.), 1827.
2. Surveyor - Upper Canada, 1827.
3. John Burrows - Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc., 1827.
4. Hogs Back (Upper Canada) - Surveying, 1827.
5. Kingston (Upper Canada) - Surveying, 1827.
6. Canal Valley (Ont.) - Surveying, 1827.


Other system control no.

Related control no.

1. 1936-040 PIC
2. 1936-058 PIC
3. 1936-059 PIC
4. 1936-060 PIC
5. 1936-061 PIC
6. 1936-062 PIC
7. 1954-161 PIC
8. 1979-012 PIC
9. 1982-082 PIC
10. 1990-498 DAP
11. 1992-573 X DAP
12. 1992-574 X DAP
13. 118-080192-X
14. 120-080222-5
15. 120-080223-3