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Map: Visualizing Canada's fresh water

Canada is home to one-fifth of the world's fresh water. Here's what that looks like

  • Sep 24, 2017
  • 259 words
  • 2 minutes
Freshwater map of Canada by Chris Brackley of Canadian Geographic Expand Image

“Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense.” So says Mark Angelo, the Canadian founder of World Rivers Day, a day to recognize the importance of, and celebrate, the planet’s waterways. World Rivers Day has been held annually on the last Sunday of September since 2005 as a way to encourage public stewardship of rivers.

That’s why today, in honour of those “arteries of our planet,” we at Canadian Geographic jumped at the opportunity to share this water map of Canada created by our cartographer Chris Brackley for The Story of Canada in 150 Objects, a special issue we published earlier this year in conjunction with The Walrus to celebrate the nation’s sesquicentennial. 

I’ve long wanted to create a map like this, which features no land cover, only the nation’s lakes and rivers (along with a blue “glow” along the coasts), as I was certain the result would be dramatic. Indeed, I very much think it is and illustrates well Angelo’s point as rivers as arteries, enlivening the very land we depend on to sustain us. The contrast of blue and white is also simply beautiful, making for a map that’s as artisitic as it is impactful in the story it tells. 

It leaves no question that Canada is a water nation, and that we all have a responsibility to safeguard the health of our most precious resource. Happy World Rivers Day.


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