Archived – Information on reference maps

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The Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) is Statistics Canada's official classification for geographical areas in Canada.

Established in the early 1960s, the Standard Geographical Classification was released as a working manual for 1964, 1966 and 1972. In 1974, the manual became an official publication of Statistics Canada and it was subsequently issued for 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2001. This 2006 version is the eighth edition.

The classification consists of two volumes, each available separately. Volume I describes the classification and related standard areas and provides an alphabetical index of place names. It also explains the changes between the 2006 edition of the SGC and the 2001 edition that impact directly upon the SGC, such as changes in name, type, or code, and indicates how the new and old codes relate to one another. Volume II contains reference maps showing the locations and boundaries of the standard geographical areas in the classification. The maps are available for a fee in a paper version or can be downloaded for free in PDF format from our website.

The 2006 Standard Geographical Classification is published by Standards Division, under the guidance of Alice Born, Director. The publication was prepared by Richard Fortin and Guy Auger under the supervision of John Crysdale. Major contributors included Geography Division, which was responsible for the source data for the tables and definitions as well as for the preparation of the maps; and Dissemination Division, which was responsible for setting PDF table and text formats as well as printing.


Volume II of the 2006 Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) manual provides a series of reference maps that show the boundaries, names and SGC codes of all census divisions (CDs) and census subdivisions (CSDs) in Canada, in effect on January 1, 2006. It also provides the names, codes and areal extent of census metropolitan areas (CMAs), census agglomerations (CAs), and economic regions (ERs) as well as the classification of statistical areas by census subdivision. Definitions for these terms are found in Volume I (Final) of the 2006 Standard Geographical Classification, Catalogue no. 12-571-X.

The maps in this volume are introduced by a set of five national maps, at a scale which permits Canada to fit on a single sheet (i.e., 1:7 500 000, except the index map, which is at 1: 30 000 000). This set begins with an index map, which shows the areas covered by each map. It may be used as a quick reference to determine the correct map number(s) for the area(s) of interest. The second map, illustrating the country's 288 census divisions, presents a numerical and alphabetical list of the census divisions by province and territory. The third map shows the location (using dots) of the census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations of Canada. This map is designed to give a general idea of where CMAs and CAs are situated within a province or territory, large dots designating CMAs and small dots designating CAs. The fourth map, which is a new map in the 2006 edition, shows the Statistical Area Classification (SAC). This map is useful to better understand the spatial distribution of CSDs among CMAs, CAs, CMA- and CA-influenced zones, and territories. The fifth map shows the census division and economic region boundaries and codes within each province and territory. This is accompanied by a legend which lists the ER names in ER code order within which are listed (numerically) their component census division codes and names.

Following the five national maps are 23 maps for the provinces and territories, showing CD and CSD boundaries, names, and SGC codes. These maps include, where applicable, the boundaries and codes for CMAs and CAs, and on each map face, a list of the appropriate CD and CMA/CA names and codes (numerical and alphabetical order).

What's new?

  • Ranked water layers have been used to allow for display of reasonable amounts of water features given the scale of the map.
  • The symbology is consistent throughout the map series.
  • The paper sizes of the maps have been standardized. The maximum size of the maps is 36 inches by 44 inches (approximately 91 cm by 111 cm), which allows all maps to be printed on a 36 inch plotter.
  • Two additional maps have been included: a national-level map showing the Standard Area Classification and a map for north central Quebec (i.e., the Saguenay region).
  • The maps of Quebec and British Columbia have been redesigned to allow for better regional coverage.
  • The Ontario north and the British Columbia north maps have been replaced with provincial-level maps.

Statistics Canada's Geography Division has produced all the maps appearing in this volume.

The maps are designed with the objective of permitting users to identify the general location and boundaries of the geographical areas presented in Volume I of the 2006 SGC. They are not intended to serve as detailed legal or cadastral representations of the geographical areas shown.

The following are key technical points relating to the production of the maps.

The vector base map information (e.g., shorelines, rivers, and lakes) was taken from the National Geographic Database (NGD). United States political boundaries, state names and other international features were taken from the North American Atlas, which is available on the GEOGRATIS web site. The map projection for all the maps is Lambert Conformal Conic. The standard parallels, central meridians and latitudes of origin are specific to each province. The latitude/longitude graticule was generated using ArcGIS® Version 9.1 software.

In compiling the maps, the boundaries were created by aggregating the pre-census internal version of the 2006 census block digital boundary file. Initial text placement of attribute information was automated. Interactive editing was then performed to enhance placement of CSD names, types, and codes, and CMA/CA and CD codes. For the hydrography reference, ranked water layers were used, allowing for display of reasonable amounts of water features given the scale of the map. The Canada-level maps were produced using the mapping functionality of ArcGIS® Version 9.1. Post-census boundaries, aggregated from an internal 2006 census block digital boundary file, were overlaid on the National Geographic Database.

CSD names, types and codes and CMA/CA and CD names and codes were generated from the June 2006 Spatial Data Infrastructure - Attributes Database (SDI-A). This database contains attribute information for all standard geographical areas, including the relationships of linkages among these areas. Each province and territory is responsible for the names of its CSDs. River and lake names were taken from the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB). Names of geographical entities having "pan-Canadian" significance, established by the Geographic Names Board of Canada (GNBC) (i.e., names of provinces, territories, major islands and major bodies of water) are shown in both official languages.

For further details users are referred to National, Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions Reference Maps, Reference Guide, Catalogue no. 92-149-GIE, GWE. This guide is produced by Geography Division at Statistics Canada.

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