On March 14, 2024, the UrbanSolutions team had the privilege of attending a Lunch N’ Learn hosted by Robert McLaren, a professional Ontario Land Surveyor with A.T. McLaren Ltd., at the UrbanSolutions office.

Throughout his presentation, Rob listed many of the different products Land Surveyors typically produce, such as Surveyor’s Real Property Reports (SRPRs), Reference Plans (R-Plans), Plans of Condominium or Subdivision, and Non-licences. The team got to learn about the history of land surveying and the difference between simple fee, free-hold land system (Parcels created through the uniform distribution of Lots and Concessions) and the feudal system (Parcels established through non-uniform, organic growth). Throughout the presentation, Rob explored various examples of Land Titles, their function, and how their form has changed over centuries from being stored in paper indexes sometimes hundreds of pages long called Abstract Books, to the much neater online database implemented in the 90’s and still enjoyed today referred to as the Parcel Register.

In the context of our responsibilities as Planners and Planning Technicians, Rob also highlighted important criteria to consider regarding the subdivision and severance of lands. Specifically, we discussed precedent situations in Hamilton where Rob’s team determined Consent to Sever was not required to split a registered parcel based on the status of lots previously established by original townships through Plans of Subdivision. As Plans of Subdivision and Consent to Sever applications are an important part of our day-to-day operations, it was great to refine our knowledge of the behind-the-scenes intricacies of land titles and their use in various planning mechanisms.

A big thank you goes out to Rob for taking time to share detailed and relevant insight with our team into the many responsibilities professional Land Surveyors take on in the world of land development and planning.