Canadian Oxford World Atlas. 5th ed.


224 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-19-541898-0
DDC 912




Edited by Quentin H. Stanford
Reviewed by J.H. Galloway

J.H. Galloway is a professor of geography at the University of Toronto.


Now in its fifth edition, the Canadian Oxford World Atlas is clearly a
handsome and successful publication. Given that any small errors and
omissions that may have occurred in the early editions have long since
been corrected, another review might seem superfluous. Indeed, I find
little to criticize, except to point out that an introductory editorial
statement outlining the revisions incorporated into this edition would
have been appropriate. I assume that these revisions for the most part
involved updating the statistics on population, trade, and so forth, so
the focus of this review will be on the strong points of the atlas
before making a few comments that the editors might keep in mind when
preparing the sixth edition.

The standard of cartography is extremely high, the lettering clear, the
colours attractive. The editors have given a good deal of attention to
the layout of each page. Insets contain keys to symbols, and
enlargements of regions of particular interest, such as “Israel and
Lebanon” (which also includes the West Bank and parts of Syria and
Jordan), are welcome. The satellite image of Hurricane Floyd over
Florida is very effective. Approximately one-third of the atlas is
devoted to mapping worldwide climate, vegetation, population,
environmental issues, human migration, economic development, and quality
of life. The atlas concludes with some pages of interesting statistical

I do have a few quibbles about the few maps on tourism: the
distribution of “coastal tourist areas and resorts” seems rather
odd. There is apparently only one in northern Europe (the English
Riviera); none along the coast of Normandy, Belgium, Holland, or the
Baltic; many on several Mediterranean islands; but none on Sicily or
Sardinia. I would like to know the definition of “cultural/historical
centres.” Lьbeck and Vilnius are so designated, but not Riga or
Moscow. Verona is one, but not Milan. The Navajo and Apache Lands are
recognized, but no other indigenous site in North America. To say, as
the editors do, that these are “selected tourist sites” is not good
enough. They should revisit these interesting maps.


“Canadian Oxford World Atlas. 5th ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,