The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VIII

1 ib. sup.
pp. 94-97.

2 ib. sup.
pp. 300-301.

3 Census of
Canada, 1890-91,
Vol. I, p.82.

4i b. sup.
pp.112, 378.

1 Census of
Canada, 1901,
Vol. I, pp.98-99

2 ib. sup.
pp. 360-62.

3 ib. sup. p.130

1 ib. sup.

2 ib. sup. p.412.

3 ib. sup. p.142.

4 ib. sup. p.404.

5 Census of
Canada, 1911, Vol. I,

6 ib. sup. p.119.

1 Census of
Canada, 1921,
Vol. I, pp.281-82

2 ib. sup. p.442

p. 3732

“v. Eastern Rupert's Land,” and “w. Labrador.” The total return given for Eastern Rupert's Land is 4,349 ; that for Labrador 1,035.1
The table of census by origin gives a return of 4,016 Indians for “Eastern Rupert's Land,” and of 1,000 for “Labrador (Can'n. Interior).”2
In the introduction to the report of this census, the following observations were made with regard to the census of the aboriginal population :

“It has been almost impossible to make an enumeration, properly so-called, of the Indian population over a great extent of the unorganized territory of the Confederation ; consequently the rate of the aboriginal population of the sub-districts thus situated has been settled by estimate, these districts being :

                         *              *             *              *             

All the sub-districts of District 192 (Territories) with the exception of those included in the Indian Treaties Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, the enumeration of these being made according to the indemnity per head paid by the Department of the Interior ; and also with the exception of the principal portion of the Indian population of Eastern Rupert's Land, which has been regularly enumerated.
“The estimates of the Indian population of the sub-districts, not susceptible of enumeration, are the same as those published in the fourth volume of the Statistics and Census of 1871, whose approximate correctness is fully proved by a comparison of them with the portion regularly enumerated in 1881. In round numbers, of the total aboriginal population, amounting to 108,547 souls in the Census of 1881, the estimate just spoken of has been made in respect to 34,000.”

CENSUS OF 1890-91.

The census of this year includes detailed returns for census district No. 148, “Chicoutimi and Saguenay,” Province of Quebec. The returns for this district are identified with various sub-districts including as one of them “mm. Unorganized Territory” with a total population of 1,387.3 Census district No. 201, “The Unorganized Territories,” includes “Labrador,” but only the total return for the whole district, viz., 32,168, is given.4 There are no details to show what proportion of this enumeration belonged to “Labrador.”


Several changes of the territorial divisions of Canada respecting territory within the Labrador peninsula have now to be noticed.
By Order-in-Council (Dom.) of the 18th December, 1897, rescinding a previous Order-in-Council of the 2nd October, 1895, the unorganized portions of Canada were divided into provisional districts. One of these districts—

p. 3733

the district of Ungava—as described by the Order-in-Council and outlined on accompanying map, comprised all that part of the Labrador peninsula bounded on the south by the northern boundary of the Province of Quebec as subsequently fixed by chap. 3 of the Statutes of Canada, 1898, saving the coastline northward from Hamilton Inlet to Cape Chidley. By the statute just cited, the northern and northeastern boundaries of the Province of Quebec were conventionally defined. The boundary was drawn along the middle of the Eastmain river from its mouth to its source in Patamisk Lake and from the most northerly point thereof along a straight line approximately in latitude 52° 55' north to its intersection with the Ashuanipi branch of the Hamilton River, thence along the middle of that river to “the Bay du Rigolet or Hamilton Inlet” and thence easterly along the middle of the said bay or inlet “until it strikes the westerly boundary of the territory under the jurisdiction of Newfoundland,” and thence southerly along the said boundary to the point where it strikes the north shore of the Anse Sablon in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Contemporaneously, the boundary on the north of the county of Saguenay, which had theretofore been coterminous with “the limits of the Province” (vide, R. S. Q. 1888, Art. 64, No. 54) was changed and the county now became limited on the north “by the parallel of 52° 45' north latitude and by the line dividing the waters of the basin of the River St. Lawrence from those of the River Ashuanipi, Hamilton or des Esquimaux” (vide, 62 Vict. (Que.) c. 6, s. 8). The county, nevertheless, continued to be, and still is, bounded on the east by “the limits of the Province” (vide, 62 Vict. (Que.) c. 6. s. 8 ; R .S. Q. 1909, Art. 67, No. 60 ; 13 Geo. V. c. 13, s. 1). The lands within the Province, north of the county of Saguenay, were constituted a territory to be known and designated under the name of “Territory of Ashuanipi” (vide, 62 Vict. (Que.), c. 5, s. 2). As defined by this Act “the territory of Ashuanipi is bounded on the north, east and west by the limits of the Province ; and on the south and southwest by the county of Saguenay. The territory so bounded comprises the basin of the River Ashuanipi, Hamilton or Esquimaux, as well as all other parts of territory watered by water-courses flowing directly towards the Atlantic.”


The report of this census contains detailed returns for census district No. 149, “Chicoutimi and Saguenay,” Province of Quebec. These returns are identified with fifty-five sub-districts embracing all the localities along the north shore of the St. Lawrence and all the unoccupied and unorganized territory in the district.1 The table of census by origin for this district shows that the total return includes 1,990 Indians, most of them included in the sub-districts along the north shore of the St. Lawrence.2 For the unorganized districts of the Province of Quebec, viz., Abittibi, Mistassini and Ashuanipi, the census gives a return of 2,405.3 Of this total 1,270 are, by the table of origin, classified as Indians, 49 as half-breeds, and 925

p. 3734

unspecified.1 The whole number, 2,405, are, by the table of nationalities, shown as Canadian.2
Census district No. 206, “Unorganized Territories,” includes a return for the district of Ungava of 5,113,3 of which 560 are shown in the table of origin as Indians, 50 as half-breeds, and 4,500 unspecified.4


The report of this census gives detailed returns for census district No. 154, “Chicoutimi and Saguenay,” Province of Quebec, in much the same manner as the census report of 1901, except that the details are given for 69 sub-districts.5 The total return for the unorganized parts of the Province is 2,066.6 The published returns of this census did not include the returns for the district of Ungava as the details had not been received at the time the volumes went to press. An addition of 1,285 was, however, made on this account to the general total. The pertinent details of the enumeration which was made are as follows :

Rigolet       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .  301
Northwest River   . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .  225
Wickham Bay      . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .      8
Hope's Advance Bay     . .       . .       . .       . .       . .     10
Chimo on Koksoak River        . .       . .       . .       . .   710
Wolstenholme      . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .    31


Mr. P. G. Smith took the census of Northwest River, which included the population of Goose Bay and Mud Lake on the Hamilton River. Mr. William E. Swaffield took the census returns for Rigolet.


By chap. 45 of the Statutes of Canada, 1912, the boundaries of the Province of Quebec were extended so as to embody in that Province the whole of the Peninsula exclusive only of the area of the coastline over which the Colony of Newfoundland exercised lawful jurisdiction. The territory so annexed to the Province of Quebec was constituted a new territory under the name of " New
Quebec " (Statutes of Quebec, 1912, chap. 13).


The census returns for all that part of the Province of Quebec east of the Bersimis River were included under the census district of Saguenay. These returns gave details not only for all the localities along the north shore

p. 3735

of the St. Lawrence, but also for Ungava,1 under which the enumeration included:—
Rigolet    . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .     155
Northwest River          . .       . .       . .       . .       . .     317
Port Burwell      . .       . .       . .       . .       . .       . .     155


The total return for Saguenay included, according to the table of origin, 2,368 Indians, of which 1,068 were shown as in Ungava, and 1,292 on Indian reserves ; 1,557 were of unspecified racial origin.2
It may be added that the census of Ungava was carried out through the agency of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Hudson's Bay Company's factors, and Roman Catholic and Church of England missionaries. With regard to the Lake Melville district, the method of the census may be illustrated by the following report of the officer in charge, Mr. John S. Black-hall, Post Manager of the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Rigolet :

“I have divided the names into two sections : (1) those who reside in this vicinity (Rigolet) all the year, and (2) those who only come within my jurisdiction during the summer months-July to September. The remaining months they trek inland, say, one hundred miles west and then come within the station at Northwest River, named by you North West Arm.

“These will be found at the end pages of the book.

“This district comprises an area of, say, forty miles, West and North, and twenty miles East and South. The natives and settlers being scattered along the inlet and rivers in various creeks and coves.

“I have not included the coast dwellers, that is, those who remain on the coastline all the year, as admittedly they belong to Newfoundland.” A second officer in this district, Mr. E. F. Ewing, reported as follows :

“I have now completed the census of Northwest River and the following outlying settlements, Grand River, Kenemish, Traverspine, Sabasquashew, and North West Islands.”

Dominion Statistician.
Dominion Bureau of Statistics,
March 16, 1926.


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