Atlas of Canada and the World. 3rd ed.


256 pages
Contains Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55263-038-2
DDC 912





Reviewed by John D. Blackwell

John D. Blackwell is the reference librarian and collections coordinator
of the Goldfarb Library at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.


Canada is a nation defined by immense and magnificent geography. One
cannot begin to understand the history, economy, or culture of this
country without first comprehending its varied landscape. The third
edition of the Key Porter Atlas of Canada and the World provides a
useful, but somewhat elementary, topographical reference work for home,
school, and library.

Although the maps in this atlas were prepared by the respected British
cartographic firm of George Philip Limited, it is readily apparent that
the volume was cobbled together for the Canadian market. The publisher
merely bound a 20-page “atlas” of Canada, with separate pagination
and index, onto a basic world atlas.

The volume has a helpful key to world map pages, country index, and
table of recent national statistics (area, population, capital, and
annual income). Unfortunately, the book lacks an introduction, so it is
unclear whose needs the atlas is intended to serve. The style of the
Canadian and world atlases is fairly consistent; however, the index to
the former also gives the longitude and latitude for each place and
feature. Due to the brevity of the Canadian atlas, the scale of the maps
(1:2 200 000) cannot provide adequate detail of more densely populated

There is evidence, alas, that not much editorial attention went into
the book’s production. For instance, the Ontario ferry crossing
between the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island is represented by a
broken blue line (something not explained in the table of map symbols),
while the all-important ferry crossings in Atlantic Canada are not shown
at all. Sometimes, the Canadian atlas is simply inaccurate. Several
four-lane sections of the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia are not shown as freeway. As well, the map of New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, and Prince Edward Island is mistakenly entitled the “Atlantic
Provinces” instead of the “Maritime Provinces.”

For more in-depth reference sources on Canadian topography, one should
consult such works as Canada and the World (2nd ed., 1995), the
Historical Atlas of Canada (3 vols., 1987–1993), or the Concise
Historical Atlas of Canada (1998).


“Atlas of Canada and the World. 3rd ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,