Territorial Evolution from 1867 to 2017

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1867 (Confederation) Legend
In 1867 the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick united in a federal state. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick retain their established boundaries, and Canada is divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

About this map

This map (with animation) presents the history of the political boundaries in Canada, from Confederation in 1867 to 2017.

Canada's boundaries are dynamic political structures that reflect the changing political, economic, and cultural conditions of the country through time. Canada's long and diversified settlement history is reflected in the two distinct patterns of boundaries that differentiate eastern and western Canada. In the east, the Atlantic provinces' boundaries are the outcome of 200 years of colonial competition for both land and resources. Similarly, Quebec and Ontario grew from frontier settlements to industrialized economies between 1760 and the early 1900s. As well, in the boundaries of eastern Canada closely conform to natural features such as drainage basins.

In contrast, the boundaries of western and northern Canada reflect the administrative organization of these lands by, first, the Hudson's Bay Company and, later, the Government of Canada. Here, geometric lines radiate northward from the 49th parallel, creating boundaries that often divide communities and regions into two different provincial jurisdictions. Each of the western provinces has a unique history and rationale for their boundaries. Manitoba evolved from the first Riel Rebellion as a postage-stamp province, and only later achieved its present-day boundaries. Alberta and Saskatchewan earned provincial status with an eye to creating equal land areas. On the Pacific coast, the British colonies had to act quickly in response to the explosive gold mining frontier to organize and solidify their territorial claims to present-day British Columbia, and later to help establish the Yukon Territory in response to American encroachment.

In the North, the boundaries of the existing territories were redrawn in 1999 to create Nunavut. The boundaries of the most recent territory respect the traditional Aboriginal concept of territoriality.

About Maps for HTML

This online interactive map relies on the emerging "MapML" standard co-developed by Natural Resources Canada. The objective of this evolving standard is to make it simple for beginners and experts alike to create maps in Web pages that use open data and map services. For further information, please refer to Maps for HTML. For more re-useable maps available as MapML services, please see Map Markup Language (MapML) Services.

Get the HTML code for a simplified version of this map
  <!DOCTYPE html>
      <title>Web Map Template - default style</title>
      <meta charset="utf-8" />
      <script type="module" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/client/web-map/mapml-viewer.js" crossorigin></script>
        [is=web-map] {
          width: 100%;
          height: 750px;
          max-width: 100%;
          min-width: 100%;
        <h3>Territorial Evolution of Canada from 1867 to 2017</h3>
        <mapml-viewer is="web-map" projection="CBMTILE" zoom="3" lat="61.209125" lon="-90.850837" width="875px" height="750px" controls>
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1867" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1867/" checked></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1870" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1870/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1871" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1871/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1873" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1873/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1874" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1874/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1876" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1876/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1880" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1880/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1881" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1881/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1882" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1882/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1886" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1886/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1889" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1889/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1895" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1895/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1897" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1897/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1898" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1898/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1901" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1901/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1905" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1905/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1912" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1912/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1920" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1920/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1927" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1927/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1949" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1949/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 1999" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te1999/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 2001" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te2001/"></layer->
          <layer- class="layer" label="Territorial Evolution 2003" src="https://geogratis.gc.ca/mapml/en/cbmtile/te2003/"></layer->

Selected thematic maps

For a series of The Atlas of Canada historical maps that present the history of the political boundaries in Canada, please refer to Selected Thematic Maps - History: Territorial Evolution

More information

For more information, to report data errors, or to suggest improvements to this application, please contact us at NRCan.Geoinfo.RNCan@Canada.ca.