Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Reference map

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: February 9, 2022


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 selected cultural and physical features, such as roads, railroads, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

Reported in

2021, 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966 and 1961


The boundaries, names and unique identifiers of the standard geographic areas reflect those in effect on January 1, 2021 (the geographic reference date for the 2021 Census).

The geographic area boundaries, names, types and unique identifiers, as well as 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) and water toponymy (river names, lake names, names of bays, oceans, gulfs, straits, seas and islands) are taken from the CanVec Series – Hydrographic Features from 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

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