Vancouver Island 1891 Census


In the 3rd decennial Census of Canada (1891), the province of British Columbia was divided into five districts. Two of the districts — District No. 3 (Vancouver) and District No. 4 (Victoria) — covered the geographical area of Vancouver Island and adjacent Gulf Islands. Our 1891 census of Vancouver Island is based on information recorded by enumerators in those two districts.

Even in the 1890s, the name of District No. 3 — Vancouver — caused some confusion. District No. 3 (Vancouver) embraced Vancouver Island north of Victoria, while the new (1886) city of Vancouver on the mainland of British Columbia was enumerated in District No. 2 (New Westminster). The enumeration divisions and sub-divisions for Vancouver Island are described in a separate page dealing with census districts.

The target date for the 1891 census was April 6th. That is, although the enumeration process took several months to complete, enumerators were instructed to record the population as it existed on 6 April 1891.

In the 1891 Dominion census, information was recorded on nine separate "schedules" relating to population, agricultural production, manufacturing, investments, natural resource industries (forestry, fisheries, and mining) and shipping. Of the nine schedules, only Schedule 1 (Nominal Return of the Living) has survived in manuscript form. For details on the information recorded on Schedule 1, see the Notes on Enumeration categories for 1891.