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.