Canadian Maps Claim the North Pole—Canada Doesn’t

canada-north-pole
Canada Political Divisions (English), 2006. Natural Resources Canada.

Most maps published by the Canadian government, including the poster-sized map I have on my wall, claim a vast tract of the Arctic Ocean, all the way up to the North Pole—basically everything east of 141 degrees west longitude—as Canadian territory. The National Post’s Tristin Hopper argues that this is a mistake. Canada doesn’t even officially claim that (briskly melting) expanse of ice.

The incorrect Canadian maps are all based on the old-fashioned “sector theory” of claiming the Arctic. Back when the Arctic Ocean was largely an inaccessible chunk of ice that swallowed explorers, polar nations were generally content with dividing it up like the slices of a pizza that had the North Pole at its centre. […]

Nevertheless, while various expansionist Canadian politicians have enthusiastically touted some version of the sector theory over the years, it has never been officially adopted as Canadian policy.

It’s a position that seems to exist only on the maps produced by Natural Resources Canada. [CAG]

(I seem to have a number of other Canada-related items in my queue. Let me get to them next.)

Author: Jonathan Crowe

I blog about maps at The Map Room, review books for AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, and edit a fanzine called Ecdysis.