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Reference map

Part A - Short definition:

Not applicable

Part B - Detailed definition:

A reference map shows the location of the geographic areas for which census data are tabulated and disseminated. The maps display the boundaries, names and unique identifiers of standard geographic areas, as well as major cultural and physical features, such as roads, railroads, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

Census years:

2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961


The boundaries, names and unique identifiers of the standard geographic areas reflect those in effect on January 1, 2011 (the geographic reference date for the 2011 Census).

The geographic area boundaries, names, types and unique identifiers, and the relationships among the various geographic levels, are found on Statistics Canada's Spatial Data Infrastructure. The vector base map information (coastlines, rivers and lakes) is taken from the National Geographic Database. Water toponymy (river names, lake names, names of bays, oceans, gulfs, straits, seas and islands) is taken from the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base maintained by Natural Resources Canada.

Reference maps can assist users in relating published census data to actual locations on the ground, or in defining their own custom areas relative to the standard geographic areas.

Refer to related definitions of geographic reference date; Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and to the Reference Maps and Thematic Maps, Reference Guide (Catalogue no. 92-143-G).

Changes prior to the current census:

Not applicable

Date modified: