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Spanish Flu Epidemic

Photograph of men wearing masks during the Spanish Influenza epidemic, 1918

This guide consists of specific archival references relating to the Spanish influenza epidemic in Canada, 1918-1919.

The Spanish flu killed 21 million people worldwide in 1918-1919, including some 50,000 Canadians. It was brought back to Canada by returning troops and made its way into the remotest communities. A number of villages in Quebec and Labrador were almost totally exterminated by the disease.

This guide was revised in September 2000.

Government Records

Records of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RG 18)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police kept records on how the Spanish Flu epidemic affected their operations.

Government offices; closing at four o'clock on account of influenza epidemic, 1918
(RG 18 A1, vol. 565, file 507)
Leave of absence to temporary clerks suffering from influenza, 1918
(RG 18 A1, vol. 565, file 527)
Influenza epidemic of mines at Lethbridge, 1918
(RG 18 A1, vol. 565, file 548)
Influenza epidemic: leave of absence to employees to assist in relief
(RG 18 A1, vol. 565, file 550)
Members of the RNWMP who died from the Spanish influenza epidemic, 1918
(RG 18 A1, vol. 565, file 545)
Request by the Hudson's Bay Company for assistance from the RNWMP in the treatment of the influenza epidemic in Mackenzie District, 1918
(RG 18 A1, vol. 565, file 560)
Influenza among the Eskimos; official correspondence, Comptroller's Office, 1918-1919
(RG 18 A1, vol. 567, file 6)
Influenza, Indians (Saskatchewan and Alberta), 1919
(RG 18 A1, vol. 568, file 15-1919)
Spanish influenza epidemic among the Indians of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1918-1919
(RG 18 A4, vol. 1003, pt. 3, file marked "Spanish influenza 1919")

Records of the Department of National Defence (RG 24)

The Department of National Defence kept records about the outbreak of the Spanish Flu.

Outbreak of Spanish flu, 1918-1920
(RG 24, vol. 4270, file 15-2-73, pts. 1 and 2)
Civilian nurses employed during the Spanish influenza epidemic, 1918-1919
(RG 24, vol. 4271, file 15-5-6)

Records of the Department of National Health and Welfare (RG 29)

The Department of National Health and Welfare kept many records about the impact of the Spanish Flu on the health of Canadians.

Epidemiology; miscellaneous; influenza in Canada, 1919-1943
(RG 29, vol. 186, file 310-10-1)
Quarantine and immigration; quarantine regulations; general, 1902-1919
(RG 29, vol. 296, file 410-2-1)
Quarantine and immigration; Spanish influenza; general, 1918
(RG 29, vol. 300, file 416-2-12)
Quarantine; administration; quarantine and immigration laboratories, 1910-1947
(RG 29, vol. 765, file 410-1-4)
Influenza; epidemics, 1919-1955
(RG 29, vol. 1192, file 311-J2-2, pt. 1)

Yukon Territorial Records (RG 91)

Yukon territorial records kept information about the impact of the Spanish Flu in the Yukon.

Influenza epidemic, Dawson and Yukon Territories, 1918-1919
(RG 91, subject files, vol. 67, file 5)
Welfare, generally, Yukon Territory, 1918-1936
(RG 91, subject files, vol. 72, file 36)

Selected Private Records

Dominion Council of Health Papers, 1919
(MG 28 I63, reels C-9814 to C-9817)
National Council of Women; "Health and Welfare, 1895-1918" and "Public Health: National Council of Women Committee, 1917-1918"
(MG 28 I25, vol. 67)

Thematic Guides