Canadian Geographic
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Mapping tool

One of The Canadian Atlas Online’s best elements is its mapping tool. Powerfully interactive, it allows you to modify your mapping experience through various tools. This tutorial will run you through the mapping tool’s functions, giving you a solid foundation on how the tool works. If you have more questions, please see the mapping tool’s help section.
Click here to open the mapping tool tutorial.


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Since learning is at heart of The Canadian Atlas Online, you can explore different aspects of our nation, geography and people through a series of thematics. We have seven themes available in four categories. Using the categories displayed in the navigation sidebar – The Land, The Regions – you can explore the multi-faceted aspects of Canada’s environment, history, society and economy.

Each theme contains in-depth information as well as interactive and rich-media presentations to aid in understanding and encourage exploration.

You can navigate the themes via the blue bar at the top of each section. Hover your cursor over the navigation elements to see a drop-down menu. Click on a menu item to view that page.

Alternatively, you can use the forward and backward arrows at the upper right to move through the pages.

To select a new theme, use the left hand sidebar. Simply click on the item to see more options. For example, clicking The Regions shows the six natural regions you can explore.

You can also access all other areas of the site through the left hand sidebar: from games and quizzes to the CG store, everything is just a click away!

Learning centre

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The Canadian Atlas Online offers valuable assistance to teachers and educators across Canada. From the Learning Centre, you can download complete sets of lesson plans and supporting material for use in classrooms. These materials have been prepared by teacher-members of The Canadian Council for Geographic Education. The lesson plans are categorized by province reflecting differences in provincial curricula and by grade level.

To download a lesson plan, select the categories topic and grade level that interest you. You can then choose to focus your exploration on a specific province, or look at plans for all of Canada. Click on Results to see the available plans.

All lesson plans are offered in two downloadable formats: a Microsoft® Word document and an Adobe® PDF document.

Depending on your connection speed, downloading may take a few moments or several minutes.

Click on your choice to open the file in your browser window.

To save a document to your computer’s hard drive, right-click (Ctrl-click for Macintosh) on the download icon. A menu will appear with several options. Select Save Target As… then select a destination (e.g. Desktop) in the window that appears and click Save. Be sure to note the location where you are saving the file so you know where to find it later.

When the download is finished, locate the file on your hard drive, double-click on the file to open the lesson plan.

Format notes

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Microsoft® Word documents are created by Microsoft’s® word-processing program. The contents of Word documents can be modified with Microsoft® Word, part of the Microsoft® Office Suite of programs.

Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) is a publicly-available software used by standards bodies around the world for cross-platform, reliable electronic document distribution and exchange. They can be viewed and printed using the free Adobe® Acrobat Reader. PDF files cannot be modified unless you have the full suite of Adobe® Acrobat installed.

To view a Microsoft® Word document, you must either have Microsoft® Word or the Microsoft® Word Viewer. Download the Word Viewer here: (

For Adobe® PDF documents, you can download the Adobe® Acrobat Reader here: (

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. The maps aren’t loading / are loading slowly.

The Canadian Atlas Online uses a highly detailed map database, which stores over 70 gigabytes of data (or more than 100 CD-ROMs). Sometimes, it takes a little time to retrieve information from a database this size. If it does not load at all, try again at a later time.

If maps are loading slowly, it may indicate that your computer has insufficient processing power to run The Canadian Atlas Online efficiently. Please note our system requirements to see if your computer meets the minimum system requirements. It may also help to shut down other programs and any background tasks when using The Canadian Atlas Online.

Heavy internet traffic can cause web sites, and thus our maps, to load slower than usual.

2. I can’t find the place I’m looking for on your map.

Please make sure you have the correct spelling for the landmark you are looking for. If you are searching, try widening the field of search by not selecting a specific category.

Smaller items may not appear when the map is zoomed out. Try zooming in to see the region in greater detail.

3. Just how detailed are your maps?

The Canadian Atlas Online uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) map data that is accurate from a scale of 1:7.5 million to a scale of 1:250,000. By comparison, a map of South Central Ontario in the printed Canadian Atlas uses a scale of 1:800,000.

4. If I have a question/suggestion regarding The Canadian Atlas Online, where do I send it?

Send any comments or suggestions to:

New Media Department
39 McArthur Ave
Ottawa, ON
K1L 8L7

Or click on the Contact Us link on the Atlas main page. We’ll be happy to hear from you!