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Canada. Canadian Hydrographic Service

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Canada. Canadian Hydrographic Service

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Georgian Bay Survey (1883-1904)
  • Hydrographic Survey of Canada (1904-1928)
  • Hydrographic and Map Service [ca. 1938-1945]

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

Aug. 13, 1883-present


The first form of the Canadian Hydrographic Service was created in 1883, when the Canadian government assumed responsibility for charting its inland waters by creating the Geor­gian Bay survey. This body was formed in response to a maritime tragedy that resulted in the loss of 150 lives. The primary focus in 1883 was to survey and chart the navigable waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron; this was eventually extended to include all of Canada's inland waterways. Coastal surveys remained the responsibility of the British Admiralty.

In 1904, the Admiralty requested that self-governing colonies assume respon­sibility for their coastal surveys. In response, the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) was established by Order-in-Council 461. The British Admiralty continued to maintain responsibility for the surveys of the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts until 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation.

Hydrographic charting was extended to the Pacific Coast by 1891, and in the waters of the St. Lawrence River below Quebec by 1905. The tidal and current metering program began in 1893, surveying and charting was extended to the Maritimes by 1905, and water level gauging of the Great Lakes began in 1912.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service has been subordinate to a number of different departments over the course of its history, including the Department of Mines and Resources, the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, and the Department of Marine. As of 2017, it is a part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.


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Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2017-02-10, SLW



Maintenance notes

7 other authorities for this agency amalgamated with this one and marked for deletion 2017-02-10, SLW.

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