Fire Insurance Plans & Atlases

Fire Insurance Plans and Fire Insurance Atlases 

At the University of Toronto Map and Data Library & Fisher Rare Book Library

(for other sources of Fire Insurance Plans & Atlases, see our guide to the Fire Insurance Plans and Atlases at Library and Archives Canada)

Table of Contents

1. Background

2. Indexes

3. Bibliographies and Catalogues

4. Web Links

5. Holdings by City (perl script)

6. Digital Holdings

7. Library and Archives Canada Fire Insurance Maps Information

8. A Primer on Fire Insurance Plans and Atlases (Thanks to Mark Fram)

9. Download out of copyright Fire Insurance Plans of Toronto

10. Download out of copyright Fire Insurance Atlas plates of Toronto


Fire Insurance plans and atlases are large-scale (high resolution) urban maps which grew out of the need of fire insurance underwriters to understand the physical characteristics of a structure to be insured.  These maps show with detail colour drawings and symbols, the character of the outside and inside construction of buildings, passages, probable fire cut-offs, fire walls, openings in walls, height and occupancy or use of individual buildings or groups of buildings. Street widths, street addresses, property lines, water pipes or mains, fire hydrants and fire alarm boxes are also located on the maps. (See the bibliography below for items with more extensive descriptions of Fire Insurance Plans and Atlases).

Example of a 1910 Toronto Fire Insurance Plan:


Geographic Indexes to our collection of Fire Insurance Atlases and Plans can be found in the Data, Map, and Government Information Services in the Robarts Library on the 5th floor.

Canadian Cities and Towns
mfe 3524 T 61 G475 (1) – 1 1904 – 1952 Volumes 1 – 13

mfe 3401 G475 1875-1959

mfe 3524 T 6 G 475 1 (1952-1973) Volumes 1, 4-7, 9-21

mfe 3401 G475 1878-1959

Bibliographies and Catalogues

Z 6026 .I7 C3 MAPL
Catalogue of fire insurance plans of the Dominion of Canada, 1885-1973 (London: Distributed by Phelps Publishing , [1976?]

Fire insurance maps in the Library of Congress : plans of North American cities and towns produced by the Sanborn Map Company : a checklist
Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Reference and Bibliography Section, 1981

Z 6026 .I7 D83 2002 DATAMAPGOV (Ready Reference Shelf)
Dubreuil, Lorraine
Catalogue of Canadian fire insurance plans, 1875-1975. (Ottawa: Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives, 2002)

Z 6026 .I7 F67 1995 MAPL (Ready Reference shelf)
Fortin, Marcel
Canadian fire insurance plans in Ontario collections (Ottawa: Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives, 1995)

G 3401 .G475 1878-1959 MAPL
Goad, Charles E.
[Fire insurance plans of Canadian cities] ([Toronto?] Chas E. Goad; Underwriters' Survey Bureau, 1878-1959). From copies in the National Archives of Canada. Plans are filed by NMC fiche numbers - see Finding Aid (index to numbers) at Reference Desk.

Z 6026 .I7 H39 MAPL (+ copy on Ready Reference shelf)
Hayward, Robert J.
Fire Insurance Plans in the National Map Collection (Ottawa: Public Archives, 1977)

Z 6026/I7H39 MAPL (+ copy on Ready Ref. shelf)
Hayward, Robert J.
Fire Insurance Plans in the National Map Collection (Ottawa: Public Archives, 1977)
also see Z 6026/I7H39/1978/suppl. 1-3 MAPL .... 3 Supplements(1978-1985)

Web Links

Toronto Public Library Online Maps and Fire Insurance Atlases

Digital Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

National Archives of Canada online collection of Maps

American Memory - Library of Congress of the United States