Giant map of Canada aims to hook students on democracy

Jan 6, 2018

Source: CTV News

In a bid to get students devoted to democracy, Canadian Geographic and CPAC have teamed up to create a giant floor map of Canada that shows every federal riding in the country.

"Any time we can get some type of hook to look at a new topic or a new idea is always a good way to get some inspiration for students,” Matt Wilson, a history department teacher at Georgina, Ont.’s Sutton District High School, told CTV News.

The map, which is so big that it can cover a gymnasium’s floor, offers students a new perspective on the vastness of the nation while allowing them to learn about all 338 federal electoral districts.

Each riding is so big that students can actually stand on them, and with a website tied to the map, it is frequently used as a tool to learn about politics across the country.

The map, which is known as Route 338, was designed by The Royal Canadian Geographic Society in partnership with CPAC, The Cable Public Affairs Channel.

“(It’s) something very unique,” CPAC president and general manager Catherine Cano told CTV News. “It identifies every community of five people and more.”

Cano says that CPAC wanted a novel way to get young people interested in democracy instead of using a map on a tablet or computer.

Canada’s voter turnout, after all, is comparatively low to that of other advanced economies.

While high for Canada, voter turnout in the 2015 federal election was just 68 per cent, meaning that millions of eligible voters failed to cast ballots.

In 2017, the Netherlands and South Korea, by contrast, had turnouts of 82 and 77 per cent in their respective national elections.

"The teachers just actually order it,” Cano said. “It’s free and then they use it for two, three weeks and then the map goes on to another school.”

© CTV News