This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.


Throwback Thursday: Mapping place names by theme

  • Jun 23, 2016
  • 195 words
  • 1 minutes
Expand Image

When you’re a geography nut, you do some seemingly bizarre things. For instance: perusing the index of the Canadian Geographic Atlas of Canada.

Sure, it may seem like a strange activity at first blush, however, this list of place names from across the country is a treasure trove of intrigue — most notably because of the themes that emerge.

Gilles Gagnier, Canadian Geographic’s chief operating officer and publisher, often mentions an old department from the magazine’s past that used to create national maps on such themes (from celestial bodies to brand names to music).

This “Off the map” section ran in the magazine periodically in the late 1990s and into the year 2000, and ultimately created a group of fun maps itemizing interesting groupings of place names across the country — all of which were collected for the magazine’s web site and are available here.

So indulge your inner map geek, and explore the country’s insect, international and fashion-inspired place names (plus many more!). But don’t get carried away — you just might find yourself book worming through the atlas index to find even more curiosities.


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content


Mapping traditional place names in Canada’s North

The staff of the Inuit Heritage Trust is racing across Canada’s North to document traditional Inuit place names before much of that knowledge passes on with the elders who hold it. Canadian Geographic sits down with lead researcher Lynn Peplinski.

  • 1890 words
  • 8 minutes
An LDD moth pictured on a green leaf


What’s in a name? Problematic names in the world of wildlife

Wildlife names that could use a rebrand

  • 1615 words
  • 7 minutes
Dundas street sign with stop light and stop sign

People & Culture

Renaming places: how Canada is reexamining the map

The history behind the Dundas name change and how Canadians are reckoning with place name changes across the country — from streets to provinces

  • 4574 words
  • 19 minutes
Map: Canadian Geographic Archives


Throwback Thursday: Canadian airmen on the map

“In those days [the 1920s and 1930s], maps of the North were usually incomplete or inaccurate, so bush pilots made additions and corrections as they flew. When those crude…

  • 353 words
  • 2 minutes