Ship Registration is a title system for the ownership of vessels. It was implemented in the late XVIIIth Century to ensure that ships used for the transportation of goods inside the British Empire were built and managed by British citizens, including those from colonies. This system remains in place at present, but with different objectives.
The Ship Registration Index Database (SRI) contains more than 78,000 entries of ships registered in ports of Canada between 1787 and 1966. Through this research tool, you can obtain information about a ship such as its name, its type, its official number, the year and port of registration, where it was built, its date of construction and, in some cases, what happened to it. The database also allows you to find references for the physical registers or microfilm reels.
Vessel Registration Query System - Transport Canada [http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/4/vrqs-srib/default.htm]