The project

The Historical Atlas of Canada was a three-volume collaborative research and publishing project, finished in 1993, which used maps text and other graphics to explore themes in the history of Canada. The Historical Atlas of Canada was published in English and French versions, the last volume in 1993. In 1998, the Concise Historical Atlas of Canada was published, a selection of plates from the original volumes, with new essays connecting them. The Atlas uses thematic mapping to describe events, issues or patterns in Canada's development.

The Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project is intended to make the maps and data generated for the Atlas available to a wider audience by re-designing them for the Internet. This is being accomplished by creating a web site which includes conventional text and image pages, but where the main focus is on interactive maps. By enabling users to zoom in and out on map displays, turn map layers on or off, and access the tables of data behind the maps, the map-viewing experience becomes active exploration of the data and themes presented.

In some cases, new data and maps have been compiled and created for the Online Learning Project, and in other cases, information from maps has been combined and consolidated in a new form. However, the Atlas was not a "complete" portrait of the history of the country; maps are, and have to be, selective in the information they display. This reality and the fact that no new research has been conducted to supplement the Online Learning Project mean that there are inevitable gaps in the coverage of regions, peoples and places. It is hoped that future research and support for the Project will allow a more comprehensive and inclusive picture of Canada's history to be developed.

An important addition to the Online version are a series of Maptours. These are guided explorations of selected Chapters in the Atlas, giving users some examples of how to navigate through the interactive maps and other information, and demonstrating some of the interesting pathways these tools may be used to discover.


The Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project owes its existence to the researchers, authors, editors, editorial boards, and publishers of the original Historical Atlas of Canada , and its funding agencies. These included federal government research agencies, provincial ministries and some private donors. The authors of each "Plate" of the original Atlases, which corresponds to a "Chapter" in the Online Learning Project, are acknowledged in the "Authors and Sources" page linked from each Chapter page. For more information on the original Historical Atlas of Canada , see our Background page.

The Online Learning Project is under development at the University of Toronto, Department of Geography, supported modestly by royalties from the earlier volumes, and by some generous sponsors. Please see our Sponsors page for information about them.

Online Learning Project Development Team

Project Directors:
Joseph Desloges, Former Chair, Virginia Maclaren, Current Chair, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
Byron Moldofsky, Manager, Cartography Office, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
Editorial Advisor:
Thomas McIlwraith, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
Content Development, Map and Site Design:
Byron Moldofsky, Mariange Beaudry, Chris Brackley, Mark Suarez
Web design: Dave Luxton
Web programming: Brendan Dellandrea
Maptours and Educators' Corner:
Thomas McIlwraith, Mark Lowry, Juli Mori

Contact information:

For Feedback on the Online Learning Project, please use our Feedback page.
For other needs, please contact:
Byron Moldofsky, Manager, The Cartography Office
Department of Geography, University of Toronto
100 St. George St., 5th Floor, Toronto, Canada M5S 3G3