Ontario Land Registry Offices are Moving io All Online Access to Land Records

All 54 Land Registry Offices (LRO) in Ontario are closing their in-person counter services to the public effective Tuesday, October 13th, right after the (Canadian) Thanksgiving long weekend. The last day you can visit a Land Registry Office in person is October 9th.

Normally, you might think the closure of the offices would be bad news. However, in this case, there is a silver lining: Traveling to one of the offices and looking up records on microfilm is being replaced by online images of the same microfilms. You can now search for and find the same records and even print them out, all without leaving home.

Yes, all those historical records that were stored on microfilm, are already available online.

According to an article by Shirley Dolan in the Ontario Landowners Association website:

“…for those who use a computer, and that’s most of us today, it has never been easier to look up the provenance of your property from the Crown Grant to the present. According to the Ontario government, 99 percent of all land registration records have been digitized and are available through Ontario’s OnLand system.

“We have genealogy associations such as APOLROD (Association for the Preservation of Ontario Land Registry Office Documents) to thank for their advocacy ‘to preserve land records over the past twenty years. APOLROD was the organization created to preserve the original Land Abstract books from destruction at the beginning of this century’.”

You can find Shirley Dolan’s article explaining the changes at https://ontariolandowners.ca/news/land-registry-offices-closing-to-the-public-by-shirley-dolan/.

The Ontario government’s web site provides step-by-step instructions to “Search land ownership documents, including deeds, mortgages and plans of survey for title. This is Ontario’s official record of land property (or land registration system)’.” Those instructions may be found at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/search-land-property-records#!%2F.


The website does yield results but it is rather complicated to use. Access to copies of actual documents/deeds/wills (as opposed to land abstracts) usually costs money. Of the most concern to us here in Ontario is the question, “What happens to all of the microfilms and/or documents currently housed in those Land Registry Offices?” Will they just suddenly ‘disappear’ as did the documents themselves when digitization was done?


ONLAND website is massive and complicated. Purchasing actual documents can also be expensive. However, of the most concern to us in Ontario is the question, “What happens to the microfilms and documents/deeds/wills currently stored in the Land Registry Offices?” Will they just ‘disappear’ as did the documents when digitization was completed?


Sounds good in theory – not as good in practise.
– the photographed pages are often illegible
-the logic/arrangement of the books can be very confusing
-with no access to the original documents, there is no access to the little maps etc. that explained the piece of property described “as therein”
-without access to original documents there is a loss of detail (e.g. $$)
-the books often have missing pages
-what will happen to all those original pieces of history?


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