Western Libraries

Local Historic Buildings

Fire Insurance Plans

Fire Insurance Plans (FIPs) are urban city maps initially created for insurance companies to provide them with information about building composition and to assess fire risk and assist in assigning insurance rates. These plans provide details on building construction and usage and help give a static impression of streetscapes, neighborhoods and business/ commercial regions. There is a key and color-coding on the plans to help identify the type of materials that make up a structure; also the description usually indicates usage of the building for business or commercial purposes. FIPs are excellent resources to help you track major changes a building would have undergone over its lifetime, including renovations, additions or demolitions. Due to the amount of research and data gathering required, plans were only updated after major changes in a community.

Please see our Fire Insurance Plan Holdings page for more information. 

Topographic Maps


The first topographic maps of London, which show building footprints, are available in print and digital format in the Serge A. Sauer Map Collection:

Geodetic 1926 Survey of London

Geodetic 1957 Survey of London



Throughout Southern Ontario, the earliest topographic maps (dated 1906-1977) show building locations. Accompanying legends provide more details for these map series.