Canada's Ocean, Freshwater & US

A note from the cartographer

Chris Brackley

Ocean, Freshwater, and Us. The title of this map is perfectly descriptive of its content. It is a map that highlights the foundational connections between ourselves and the water that surrounds and sustains us. The massive freshwater flow arrows highlight the reality that while few Canadians live close to the ocean, we are all connected to it via our local and ever-flowing lakes, rivers, and wetlands. And this connection is more than conceptual. What we put into our freshwater systems invariably flows to the ocean, affecting the delicate marine ecosystems sometimes thousands of kilometres from our homes.

Of course, human impact on the ocean is often more direct, and this map also highlights our efforts to protect the ocean through a growing network of protected areas. There are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions to protecting ocean environments, and the different protected areas on this map reflect that reality; some remove certain fishing pressures, some limit ship traffic and anchoring, some limit or prohibit resource development, and some do all of the above.

The human impact on water is, of course, determined by us. The “us” shown on this map includes a selection of towns and cities throughout the country, and also shows the ubiquitous presence of Indigenous Peoples throughout the entirety of what we now call Canada. All First Nation reserves and communities, Inuit communities, and Métis Settlement Lands are shown on this map.

Hopefully, looking at the ocean, freshwater, and us through this rich and interconnected cartographic lens will meaningfully inform and inspire Indigenous and non-Indigenous people as we work together to better protect the water around us.