Survey Monuments

Because the survey grid created by the original surveyors is not actually drawn on the land, physical markings had to be established. These markings are called survey monuments and they are usually placed at intersections of the section grid. Monuments are an integral part of land ownership in Saskatchewan.

In order to avoid land disputes and to keep land measurements accurate, thousands, and perhaps millions of monuments have been planted in the ground to mark survey boundaries. But, if a land title dispute or discrepancy arises, a surveyor needs to go out into the field - to the physical location of the monuments - and perform an inspection.

When a monument is destroyed due to deterioration or by accident, surveyors are sent into the field to re-establish the monument(s). Having to do this constantly would be quite expensive, so there is legislation to preserve the survey system, specifically the monuments; it is an offence to move or to destroy a survey monument.

History of Survey Monuments

When the first Dominion Land surveyors surveyed the land in the late 19th century, they used survey monuments to establish the boundaries of quarter sections that now make up the surveyed portion of the province of Saskatchewan. Even today, where some monuments are over 100 years old, they are still unique enough to be found.

Throughout the years, monuments used have changed. During the building of the railroad and during World War I, there was competition for iron, and consequently it was in short supply. Survey crews were innovative. If they ran short of resources, they gathered local materials and used them to mark boundaries. In Field Books, surveyors kept very detailed and careful notes of where they were, what they were made of and how they were configured. Monuments varied in type, but regardless of materials, they have by and large stood the test of time.

Find out more about the types of monuments here.