Manitoba. Lands Branch (1930-1970) Help Share Link

History and Function


Lands Branch

Dates of Existence 



The Lands Branch was responsible for administering the sale, granting, leasing, acquisition, and use management of Crown lands in Manitoba.

Administrative History 

The Lands Branch of the Department of Mines and Natural Resources was created in 1930 when control of Manitoba's natural resources, including Crown lands, was transferred from the federal Department of the Interior. The Lands Branch became responsible for lands in Manitoba previously managed by the federal government in addition to lands already under the control of the Province. The Branch was responsible for administering land sales and haying, grazing, farm, and special use leases. The Branch also assumed responsibility for administering land grants, including homestead entries and grants to soldiers, that had not been completed or cancelled at the time of transfer of responsibility to the Province in 1930.

Although the Province discontinued the practice of offering homestead and soldier grants, during the Second World War the Lands Branch reserved land in expectation that returning veterans would require farm land. All Crown land suitable for agriculture, and all school lands, were withheld from sale in anticipation of the post-War need. Previously undeveloped areas were assessed and developments such as the construction of roads, ditches, and the clearing and breaking of land were recommended.

The Branch maintained a permanent record of the location and disposition of all Crown lands in addition to administering sales and leases. The Branch cooperated with both the federal and provincial Departments of Agriculture to classify land and carry out soil surveys. The Branch also developed and utilized Crown lands remaining under Provincial ownership by managing the harvesting of wild rice and by initiating such programmes as the Grassland Development Project. Under the terms of the Agricultural and Rural Development Agreement (ARDA), a federal-provincial cost sharing agreement, the Branch acquired further Crown lands.

In 1971, the functions of the Lands Branch were transferred to the Surveys, Mapping and Lands Branch of the Department of Mines, Resources and Environmental Management as part of a departmental reorganization based on function rather than resource type.

Legislative Authority 

The Provincial Lands Act (1930)

The Crown Lands Act (1934)


Controlling Department


1930-1970 Manitoba. Department of Mines and Natural Resources


Controlling Entities

Lands Branch reported directly to the following entities:

1930-1970 Manitoba. Department of Mines and Natural Resources


Entities that preceded and/or succeeded this entity

Successor Entities 

Manitoba. Surveys, Mapping and Lands Branch


Archival Record Series Created by this Entity


Quarter-section land files


Crop share, grazing and miscellaneous land lease ledgers


Settlement project expenditure records


Homestead inspection records


Director of Lands office files


Duplicates of transfer or grant issued to purchasers of Crown land


Parish land files


Settlement and recreational subdivision land files


Lands Branch files organized by type of land use and Department of the Interior mixed land use and subject files


Correspondence regarding land use policy and programs


Land registers containing lists of land ownership, sale, grant, or transfer


Lands Branch photographs (Natural Resources Series I)



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