The Great Regina Plain, Saskatchewan. The size of Canada's territory posed a tremendous task for the early surveyors. Following a system devised in 1871, consisting of townships 6 miles square, each containing 36 sections of 640 acres, the Dominion land surveyors began to lay out the huge prairie checker board. One third of the distance between the 49th and 60th parallels across the width of the prairies was completed by 1910. With only minor adjustments, these early survey lines remain today.