Maps & Geography
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CanaTREK Mapping Activity

Exploration ... it begins in the mind.

When it comes to exploration, it all begins with a thought ... a "wonderment" if you will. All exploration that has ever taken place, from small adventures, to personal journeys, to the largest scientific expeditions, all began with a tiny wee kernel of a thought in someone's mind. They all started with a person giving voice to that thought: "I wonder". I wonder what's over there. I wonder what's beyond that. I wonder if anyone has ever been there. I wonder if anyone lives there. If so, I wonder who they are and what they do. If you think about it, we probably wouldn't even have a single map today if it weren't for countless curious people taking a moment (or two or three) to do that one simple little act of ... wondering.

CanaTREK's "Where In The World"
An Exploration List and Wonderment & Mapping Activity

In the spirit of wondering, let's kickstart this section (and all of the exercises on "The World of Mapping" page) with a simple and fun activity designed to get everyone into the frame of mind of an explorer. We call this our "Where In The World" exercise. And it's not just for kids; everyone will enjoy this one. Basically, all you need to do is ask yourself a simple question:

"Where in the world would I like to go?"

If and when you ever get the opportunity to travel somewhere, where would you like to go? What would you like to see? What amazing places would you like to visit? This planet, our world, the ONLY one of its kind that we know about ... it's a mighty big place. As such, there's a LOT to see and do.

How The Mapping Activity Works

CanaTREK's Where In The World Exploration List
CanaTREK "Where In The World" Exploration List
PDF File
6 pages, 270KB

Map of Canada's
National Parks 2007
Map of Canada's Coastline, Boundaries & Provinces
Map of the World
PDF File
PDF File
PDF File
1 page, 2.2 MB
1 page, 1.1 MB
1 page, 2.7 MB

For maps of other countries around the world, you can also open & print these PDF's:

Maps courtesy of Natural Resources Canada

Step 1 - Open and Print the PDF file for the CanaTREK "Where In The World" Exploration List. Also open and print 2 of the maps above (1 of Canada, 1 of the World).
Step 2 - Wonder - yup, just sit and wonder. Take your time and open your mind to the possibilities. There are so many! This time, for this exercise, you're actually encouraged to daydream and let your mind wander. For really real!
Step 3 - Mark on the Map places that you would like to visit someday.
Note: at first we thought about asking each of you to mark down 5 - 10 places. But then we thought: No ... no, there should be no minimum or maximum number of places that each person should choose. There should be no limitations on the process of wondering and imagining. So go ahead and mark down as few, or as many places as you want!
How to Mark Spots: you can use coloured pins, thumb tacks (if placing the map printouts on a bulletion board or the wall), or pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, highlighters, markers, or tape. You can even glue coloured macaroni (un-cooked) to the map ... whatever you have that works for you. Circle each place, "X-marks-the-spot" a place, number a place, or highlight or shade it in ... whatever you like.

What to Mark: pick 2 (or more) of the maps above: one of Canada, and one (or more) of the World.

Start with the Canadian map and then move on to the world. For the Canadian map, you can mark cities or you can colour and shade in whole provinces and territories (or portions of a province or territory). Which places would you like to visit in Canada? For the world, you can keep it general and put markers on whole countries that you'd like to visit, or you can also pinpoint specific cities, natural attractions or places of interest.

Wondering what's out there and what there is to see?

  • Ask your teacher or your parents.
  • Ask friends or other family members where they've been.
  • Read a travel magazine or a Canadian or National Geographic magazine.
  • You can look and search online. (Note: seeing it online or on TV is not the same as actually visiting a place in person. Not even close!)
  • Find a big atlas and spend an hour looking through the pages.
  • Talk to a travel agent; gather some brochures.
  • Go to the library and check out books on places around the world.

Whatever method you use, take some time to search and find geographic or architectural places of interest that you'd like to see such as:

In Canada

  • Long Beach, the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii (Gwaii Haanas) in British Columbia
  • Lake Louise, Dinosaur Provincial Park and the Head-Smashed-In (or estipah-skikikini-kots in Blackfoot) Buffalo Jump in Alberta
  • The Historic District of Old Québec
  • Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba
  • The Chilkoot Pass in the Yukon
  • Niagra Falls and the Rideau Canal in Ontario
  • The Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, or Sable Island off the Coast of Nova Scotia
  • Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories
  • ... and so much more!

The World

  • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • The Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA
  • Mt. Everest or the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal
  • The Serengeti Plains or Victoria Falls in Africa
  • The Blue Hole off the coast of Belize
  • The Pyramids in Egypt or Mexico
  • The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
  • The Taj Mahal in India
  • The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in Peru
  • The Acropolis in Greece
  • ... and so much more!

Or perhaps you may even want to check out an "event" of some sort (nature, sports, entertainment, cultural) that usually takes place somewhere in the world (perhaps to see an annual migration of your favourite animals, watch an Olympic event, a concert or even a regional or international festival). Whatever interests you the most. Remember - it's "your" choice!

Step 4 - Make a List: once you've got your places marked down on the map, make a list of them on a piece of paper, or save them to a file on your computer. Mark down and start your list with the TOP 3 (or TOP 10 depending on how many you have) favourite places that you'd really like to see first.

Open and print the ...

            CanaTREK's Where In The World Exploration List
            CanaTREK "Where In The World" Exploration List
            (PDF file, 6 pages, 270 KB)
Later: make some notes of what you would like to see when you get to each place. Also, when you have some free time, you can look for pictures online (or from magazines, brochurse, etc.) of each of the places you've chosen. You can print (or clip) these out and then add them with your CanaTREK "Where In The World" Maps & Exploration List.

Step 5 - Finally, Sign and Date Your Maps. And also put the date beside each item (place on the map) to record when it was that you added new places to your list.

In the future, it will be fun and interesting to look back and see how many places you've actually been to that were on your original list!