Land Registry offices closed in Owen Sound and across province

·2 min read

At one point, a mainstay of real estate transactions and haunt of family history buffs, the doors of Ontario’s registry offices have closed to the public forever.

People will be working inside, but the service counters are closing. Given the restrictions of these days, it’s a transition that may not be much noticed.

Frequent trips to the land registry office were once a way of life for many who have worked in legal offices and in surveying in days gone by.

In a July letter to the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, Ken Wilkinson, examiner of surveys, wrote to inform members that the last day of counter service at all 54 Ontario Land Registry Offices was to be Friday, Oct. 9 .

The registration and document processing system will continue digitally - a transition that is virtually already complete.

“Data shows that 99 per cent of documents are registered online, 87 per cent of searches are conducted online and 98 per cent of surveyors submit plans for pre-approval via email,” Mr. Wilkinson wrote.

When customers do need to submit paper copies of plans or documents, ServiceOntario will have some accesibilty, he said. The provincial website says that if people can complete their transaction on line or need a particular record type, in-person appointments can be booked through the local office.

Often registry offices, as important public buildings, were architectural features in their town and city. In Owen Sound, the original registry office was housed in a building designed by contrractor John Frost, who later became Mayor of Owen Sound, according to the city's historic walking tour.

The present office for Grey County is located in Owen Sound at 1555 16th St E Suites 1 and 2.

Access will continue to be available through the “Contact us” page on the OnLand.Ca website and phone lines at (888) 278-0021 or, in Thunder Bay, (844) 209-3741. The government is working with Teranet to increase the functions offered by OnLand.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald