Advance Ordering of Records from Offsite Storage and the Cold Vault

Many records are stored at the Archives’ offsite storage facility, including both government records and private sector records. These records require several days to retrieve. Clients may order a limited number of records in advance of their visit to the Archives.

Please note that some private sector records, some government records and all records of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives are stored onsite and cannot be ordered in advance. The only exception is records stored in the cold vault which require several days to acclimatize before viewing and can be requested in advance.

Determine whether records are stored offsite:

  • Consult the Keystone database and finding aids in the Archives Research Room to find location codes for required records.
  • The descriptive record in the Keystone database will indicate that some or all of the records are stored offsite in the How to Proceed note.
  • The location code for a record looks different for offsite records. Offsite locations are alpha-numeric combinations:
    • An individual letter of the alphabet followed by three numbers: P-10-2-3, L-3-8-22
    • A “Q” followed by numbers: Q 12345, Q 527
  • The following are examples of codes that are not offsite: P1234/1, G 1234, C62/1, and codes beginning with two letters such as ZZ-1-2-3-4. These cannot be ordered in advance.
  • Records stored in the cold vault have codes that begin with CV, e.g. CV 165-3. These records can also be requested in advance.

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Order records:

Use the Retrieval Slip form (PDF) to order offsite records. Orders must be submitted at least 5 business days but no more than 10 business days in advance of a client’s visit.

Information necessary to complete the form can be retrieved from the Keystone database and in finding aids in the Archives Research Room. Note that if records are restricted, permission to view the record must be in place before the record is ordered.

Complete the form:

  • All fields need to be completed.
  • Use one form for every item requested.
  • Include the full information provided in the Item Description field in Keystone, including the file title and file number if both are provided.
  • Request a maximum of 5 items, per day.
  • Write complete box in the item description field, when requesting an entire box.
  • Note that court records (e.g. estate files and criminal files) are listed at the box level, with a file number range, in Keystone. If you are requesting a specific file, please note the file number and title in the item description field on the retrieval request slip, rather than the file number range of the box.
  • See this example of a completed form (PDF).
  • Note that requests with missing or incorrect information will be returned and not filled.
  • Once an order has been submitted and processed, client will receive an email from the Archives Retrieval Clerk. Client must respond to this email in order for records to be retrieved in advance.
  • Records will be kept onsite for 5 business days and then returned to offsite storage.

This form is for ordering offsite Government and Private Sector records only. It cannot be used for any records stored onsite, including all records from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.

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