After 25 years of studying and working with the 1871 Canada Census, Elizabeth and Gerald Bloomfield of Guelph, Ontario have released the Canadian Census of Industrial Establishments.
They have digitized the industrial census from the 1871 Census of Canada - the only detailed industrial census returns to survive so completely from the nineteenth century. More than 45, 000 industrial establishments are put into databases on the website <http://www.canind71.uoguelph.ca>.
The website provides information for the four provinces - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario - covered in the 1871 Canadian Census.
I have checked the website and thre are the divisions which cover the businesses themselves, the people who were involved with the business, power (whether it be water, etc.), and the places where the businesses were located.
I discovered that a number of business in Shelburne and Kentville, Nova Scotia where my ancestors are from are mentioned, and I doubt that I would have ever taken the time to look them up on my own - now they are indexed by the Bloomfields!
There are barrel makers and shipbuilding companies that one would expect to find in a seaside town like Shelburne and businesses like agriculture in Kentville, a farming town in 1871. What this census does is that it presents a picture of the town that can help you place your relatives within the industrial mieu of the time.
And it can also provide material for the study of the technology, business and work organization of industrial activity, and the history of families, businesses and communities in 19th century Canada.
Well worth the visit, since it is the first time it has been done on such a large scale, and it does give a snapshot of industrial development in Canada in 1871.