Background

In 1970 a group of geographers and historians met in Toronto to explore the idea of publishing a major Canadian historical atlas focused on social and economic themes. Years of far-ranging discussions, draft proposals, and consultation culminated in 1979 with the award of a major research and publication grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This was to support the production, in separate English and French editions, of a three-volume Historical Atlas of Canada.

The research was undertaken by individuals, or teams of authors, who were invited to participate because they were at the forefront of research in their respective fields. Most authors were aided substantially by research assistants. Literally hundreds of authors and assistants from thirty universities across Canada, from departments of the federal and provincial public services, from private organizations, and from universities in the United States and Europe, contributed their specialized knowledge and talents.

In October 1998 the University of Toronto Press published The Concise Historical Atlas of Canada, a distillation of 67 of the best and most important plates from the original three volumes. Revised essays were written to describe and elucidate this new volume.

Bibliographic reference
Note: Ordering information may be found on the
U of T Press web site


Historical Atlas of Canada . Volume I: From the Beginning to 1800. Edited by R.Cole Harris. Cartographic editor: Geoffrey Matthews. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1987.
Historical Atlas of Canada . Volume II: The Land Transformed, 1800-1900. Edited by R. Louis Gentilcore; Assistant editors Don Measner, Ron Walder; Cartographic editor: Geoffrey Matthews. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1993.
Historical Atlas of Canada . Volume III: Addressing the Twentieth Century.
Edited by Donald Kerr and Deryck Holdsworth; Assistant editors: Susan Laskin, Murdo Macpherson; Cartographic editor: Geoffrey Matthews. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1987.
Concise Historical Atlas of Canada. Edited by William Dean, Conrad Heidenreich, Thomas McIlwraith and John Warkentin. Cartographic editors: Geoffrey Matthews and Byron Moldofsky. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1998.

French editions:
Atlas historique du Canada. Volume I: Des origines à 1800. Louise Dechêne, directrice de l'édition française. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1987.
Atlas historique du Canada. Volume II: La transformation du territoire, 1800-1891. Jean-Claude Robert, directeur de l'édition française. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1993.
Atlas historique du Canada. Volume III: Jusqu'au cur du XXe siècle. Paul-André Linteau, directeur de l'édition française. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1987.

Awards for the Historical Atlas of Canada

Special Citation, 1990, Association of American Geographers
"For erudite and elegant exposition of the results of original research in geography and related disciplines in a three-volume work of exceptional scope and depth. Canadian geographers and cartographers have set a new standard of scholarly excellence by conceiving, producing, and publishing the Historical Atlas of Canada."

Gold Medals, Royal Canadian Geographical Society
"For outstanding achievement in the field of geography"

Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, Canadian Historical Association
for best book on Early Canada, 1987, (Volume I)

George Perkins Marsh Award in Environmental History
from the University of Utah, 1987, Volume I

The Centenary Medal, Royal Society of Canada, 1994
Awarded collectively to those who contributed to the production and publication of the Historical Atlas of Canada, English and French language editions. One of only four such medals awarded since their inception in 1982, "to honour individuals and organizations who make outstanding contributions to the object of the Society through exceptional achievements in scholarship and research."

Special Certificate of Merit, Canadian Historical Association, 1994
"To the Historical Atlas of Canada, in recognition of its contribution to Canadian history and the art of cartography."

Award of Distinction, Canadian Cartographic Association, 1994
"For exceptional contributions... professional and scholarly, to cartography..."

High Commendation, International Cartographic Association, 1995