Vancouver Island 1881 Census


The 1881 census of Vancouver Island is based on information recorded by enumerators during the 2nd decennial Census of Canada. The Dominion census of 1881 was the first national census to include the province of British Columbia.

The province was divided into five census districts, which corresponded broadly with federal electoral districts. Two of the five census districts -- District No. 190 (Victoria) and District No. 191 (Vancouver) -- cover the geographical area of Vancouver Island and the principal Gulf Islands of British Columbia. The northern end of Vancouver Island, which corresponded with the Kwawkewlth (Indian) Agency, was included in District No. 187 (New Westminster).

The target date for the 1881 census was April 4th. That is, although the enumeration process took several months to complete, enumerators were instructed to record the population as it existed on 4 April 1881.

Information was recorded on eight separate "schedules" pertaining to the condition of the people and to the nation's economic activities. Of the eight schedules, only Schedule 1 (Nominal Return of the Living) survived in manuscript form. For details on the information recorded on Schedule 1, refer to the Notes on Enumeration Categories.