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Description found in Archives

Parliament of Upper Canada [textual record]. 



Place of creation


2.775 m of textual records.

Scope and content

The surviving records of the Parliament for Upper Canada consist of a few bound copies of the Journals for the Legislative Council, with Appendices; some Resolutions, order papers and drafts of Bills for the Legislative Assembly; and a complete set of the Acts engrossed on parchment. To appreciate these records in the context of their creation, reference may be had to testimony regarding records accumulated by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and the Clerk of the Legislative Council given to the Select Committee inquiring into Judicial and Parliamentary records, the Report of which was printed as Appendix KK to the Journal for 1846.

Textual records
18: Restricted
The original documents are open for cons
ultation. Only photographic copying will be allowed for parchments, or where binding or stitching, size and other physical features pose risks to documents.
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Textual records The finding aid consists of shelf lists for the B 1, B 2, and B 3 series. MSS0818 90 (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

The Constitutional Act of 1791 provided for the establishment of a Parliament in the new province of Upper Canada. The members of the Legislative Council were appointed by the Lieutenant Governor while members of the House of Assembly were elected. The first elections were held in 1792. Throughout the period 1792-1840, candidates and voters were required to be twenty-one and British subjects by birth or naturalization. Clergymen and members of the Legislative Council were not eligible to vote. By the Act of Union of 1840, the Parliament of Upper Canada was replaced in 1841 by that of the new united Province of Canada.

The conduct of elections was the responsibility of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, whose records are found in RG 5, B 25. Few poll books are known to have survived there or elsewhere.

Many of the records created and accumulated by Parliament and its officers have perished in fires, most notably the petitions presented to the legislature. The preservation of manuscript and printed copies of Parliamentary records by officials elsewhere creates the illusion of dispersal and survival. Copies of Address, minutes, proceedings, resolutions and other documents were supplied routinely to the governor's office, where the Civil Secretary ensured that these texts were forwarded to London for the information of imperial authorities, and kept on file for future reference. He was also responsible for preparing the formal texts of the governor's speeches to Parliament, for presentation and for printing, and for keeping reference copies.

A variety of documents relating to the business of Parliament are found among the Civil Secretary's correspondence in the Upper Canada Sundries (RG 5, A 1). Some speeches of and Addresses to the Lieutenant Governor are found in RG 5, B 3. Oaths of allegiance sworn by members of both Houses are found in RG 1, E 11.

Additional information

Custodial history
Few records of the Parliament of Upper Canada have survived a disastrous series of fires in 1813, 1824, 1849 and 1854. Those described here were transferred to the Archives after the fire of 1916. Certain documents created by Parliament but preserved by the Civil Secretary came to the archives in 1906 as part of the S Series; some of these were incorporated into RG 14 on its creation in 1950. Two petitions of 1836 and 1840, found astray with records in the Archives of Ontario, were transferred in 1989 and placed in series B 2. A small file of Proceedings of the Assembly, found astray in RG 14, A 1, was transferred to series B 2 in January 1996, when the filing of documents in series B 1 and B 2 were reviewed and rationalized.

Related materials
None of these series has been microfilmed; however, copies of the Acts as forwarded to London are found in Colonial Office 44, volumes 39-61, (available on reels B-963 to B-966 and B-1017 to B-1020); and copies of Sessional Papers for 1810 are found in Colonial Office 45, volume 138 on reel C-13615. Both the statutes and the Journals were printed; microform copies of the Journals are available through libraries.

Arrangement note
The arrangement of the records according to Parliamentary Session facilitates access to them.

Subject heading

1. Upper Canada. Parliament - Acts, 1792-1840.
2. Upper Canada. Legislative Council - Journals, 1815-1816, 1825-1828, 1840.
3. Upper Canada. Legislative Assembly - Records, 1806-1839.
4. Upper Canada. Legislative Assembly - Resolutions, 1806-1839.
5. Upper Canada. Legislative Assembly - Bills, 1806-1839.
6. Upper Canada - Politics and government, 1792-1840.


Other system control no.