Department of Railways and Canals, Canal Branch : correspondence, registers and indexes, 1838-1936

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Document Record

Canada. Dept. of Railways and Canals.
Department of Railways and Canals, Canal Branch : correspondence, registers and indexes, 1838-1936
RG 43 B I
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada. The department was created in 1879 by transferring several existing government operations, namely the Railway Branch of the Department of Public Works, and the operational responsibilities for canals which were administered by the government's Office of the Chief Engineer. These components were reorganized into the Railway Branch and the Canal Branch, respectively. The Railway Branch was responsible for administering to the federally owned railways, namely the Intercolonial Railway of Canada and the Prince Edward Island Railway (at the time of the department's creation). The branch also provided a program of financial assistance to encourage new railway construction in the country. The Canal Branch administered Canada's canal system and undertook new construction as required. One of the most powerful departments in early Canadian governments, it was amalgamated with the Department of Marine and the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of National Defence in 1936 to form the Department of Transport.
This collection consists of indexes to the registers of letters received until December 1892 and, commencing in January 1893, general indexes to correspondence received in the branch to about 1910. This collection also consists of eight indexes to correspondence received in the Canal Branch from superintendents and engineers in charge of canals or canal works, officials in the Department of Railways and Canals, other government departments and some individuals. Additionally, it consists of registers of letters received in the Canal Branch between January 1881 and December 1892. The subject, subject number, name of correspondent, date of correspondence, letter number and a synopsis for all correspondence received is recorded in the registers in chronological order. As well, this collection consists of journals which are registers of all Canal Branch correspondence received and sent between 1879 and 1906. All correspondence is numbered consecutively and arranged by a subject number.