The 1895 Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada was the first atlas published by the Canadian government to show federal electoral boundaries. Prior to 1895 a cartographic description of the electoral districts was thought unnecessary because the electoral districts usually followed county boundaries and the counties were well known by constituents.
Initially, the task of setting electoral boundaries was left to Parliament, and not unexpectedly, the party in office often found it difficult to avoid gerrymandering the boundaries (deliberately redrawing the boundaries for their own benefit). The electoral redistributions of 1872 and 1882 are well known for their obvious attempts to affect the outcome of federal elections. The redistributions left the boundaries of some ridings in southwestern Ontario unrecognizable.
Although maps were used in the Parliamentary debates concerning the early redistributions, most of these early maps were issued in manuscript format (that is, they were one of a kind), and do not appear to have survived. It was not until the redistribution of 1892 that the federal government responded to the demand for maps showing the electoral districts. The result is the atlas presented here.
The Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (published in 1895) did not include electoral maps of Yukon Territory or the North-West Territories (which comprised the Districts of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca, Franklin, Keewatin, Mackenzie, and Ungava). Detailed electoral maps of Yukon Territory and the organized districts of the North-West Territories (i.e., the Districts of Athabasca, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Assiniboia) were, however, published in subsequent editions of the atlas, the first of which appeared in 1906.
Population statistics based on 1891 census.
Most of the electoral districts described in this 1895 atlas are identical to the 1901 census districts.