At exactly 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 7th, the 1881 Census was released online!
The people who first got the news were the attendees at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) who were at the Library and Archives Canada attending a conference on Genealogy and Local History. I was one of the attendees.
On the database, researchers can access the name, age, country or province of birth, nationality, religion, and occupation of Canada's residents at the time of the 1881 census. It also has the actual census return itself, which you can also access.
The press release said that "It is the first regularly scheduled collection of national statistics in Canada. Information was collected for Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, and the North-West Territories".
I checked the census Thursday evening for the BARCLAY (my direct line) family in Nova Scotia and I found them, but I found the children in one grouping and the mother and father in another grouping. Funny - but that is how it was.
Also, their surname was spelled as BARCKLAY - which was also unusual.
Sylvie Temblay, the Chief Project Head at the Canadian Genealogy Centre, expects 750,000 searches per week on the 1881 census.
The index was created by familysearch.org, and access to the digital images of the original census was work done by the Library and Archives of Canada.
The database is available at <www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/census-1881>.