City Archives Holdings
Who we are?
The City of St. John’s Archives was formally established by a Resolution of Council on Jan. 11, 1989. It is official repository for the records of St. John’s City Hall and other records of enduring significance relating to St. John’s history.
Initially located in City Hall, the Archives was relocated to its present location at 495 Water Street in January, 2003. The former railway station was renovated to bring the archival storage areas up to professional standards which include separate climate controls for photographic material.
The Archives and Corporate Records Division is part of the Department of Corporate Services and City Clerk.
In addition to the archives, the division is responsible for the operation of a records management program for City departments, collection management of the City’s Fine Art Collection and the maintenance of the City’s Corporate and Operational Policy Manual.
These are predominately the administrative and operational records of the City of St. John’s. Most of this information is post 1892, but some pre Great Fire material has survived. Our holdings also include the records of former municipalities that were amalgamated with the City of St. John’s. They include the Town of Goulds, the Town of Wedgewood Park and development files from the St. John’s Metropolitan Area Board.
Some of the City records include Council Minutes, Assessment Rolls, municipal election material including Voter’s Lists, newspaper clippings of Council activities, information on individual properties and buildings, building permits, deeds relating to City land transactions, the taxi industry, expropriations, engineering and public works, fire department, rebuilding of the city after the 1892 Great Fire, parks and recreation, Bowring Park, Memorial Stadium and other general and operational records of City Departments.
As part of our collection mandate, the City of St. John's Archives also collects material relating to St. John's persons, businesses, community groups and general material on the history of St. John's. Some of our major holdings include records form the St. John's Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of St. John's Northwest, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Commission of Enquiry into the Municipal Parking Garage, St. John's Tourist Commission, Soiree 88, Fifty Plus Outreach Association, St. John's Heritage Foundation and other smaller collections donated by individuals and organizations.
To view a guide to our Government and Non-Government Records, please click on the following link to bring you to a pdf document: Guide to the Holdings.
The Archive’s collection of architectural plans for commercial buildings date predominately from the 1960’s forward. For residential properties, the holdings are not as extensive. To determine if a set of plans exist for your house or building, please contact the archives. For commercial properties please click on the following link to view our guide to architectural drawings: Architectural Drawings
The Archives has an extensive collection of photographic material dating from the 1860’s of St. John's buildings, streetscapes, people and events. Our holdings also include a small collection of historic sketches that date back to the 1830s.
Our general map collection dates from the 1830’s and includes a variety of maps of St. John's. this includes property descriptions and layouts, street re-alignments, property expropriations, Fort Pepperrell, Churchill Park, early military maps, infrastructure and subdivisions.
Access to certain material in the City of St. John's Archives is governed by Federal, Provincial and Municipal privacy laws. Contact the Archives for further information.
495 Water Street
(former Railway Station)
P.O. Box 908
St. John's, NL A1C 5M2
Reference Room hours:
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. pm Monday to Friday, except statutory holidays.