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News Release

What's New

Terra Nostra: The Stories Behind Canada's Maps, 1550-1950
A New Library and Archives Canada Publication

(OTTAWA - June 21, 2006) From the publication of Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia in the 2nd century to the GPS on the dashboard of your car, maps have always been a universal means of guidance and communication. These documents are appreciated and understood by travellers, explorers and tourists, and transcend the boundaries of language and culture. Maps can also be perceived as "snapshots" of how our country evolves over time.

Library and Archives Canada is proud to announce the release of Terra Nostra: The Stories Behind Canada's Maps, 1550-1950, published this year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Canada's first national atlas. The Terra Nostra book launch took place yesterday at a reception held during the 2006 GeoTec conference, in Ottawa.

Co-published by les éditions du Septentrion and Library and Archives Canada, this book is the first history of Canadian cartography to come out in the last 30 years. Researched and written by Senior Archivist Jeffrey S. Murray, Terra Nostra draws on the world's largest and most important collection of early maps relating to Canada-the cartographic holdings of Library and Archives Canada.

"When I proposed the possibility of a book of this nature, I was pleased to see the enthusiasm and willingness with which Jeffrey Murray approached the project," stated Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. " I extend a special thanks to Jeffrey and all who were involved in its production, for their tremendous efforts in bringing this beautiful and informative volume to fruition."

With more than 1.7 million maps, plans and charts, the cartographic collection spans the full gamut of mapmaking-from extensive documentation on early cartography and hydrography, to current electronic mapping. It is a national resource, carefully preserved for the future, but increasingly known and accessible today.

Terra Nostra highlights this resource and reveals the stories behind 400 years of mapmaking in Canada. It unlocks the secrets of some of our most valued cartographic pieces and tells of the people who created these artifacts, why they were made and how they influenced the lives of Canadians.

Senior Archivist at Library and Archives Canada, Jeffrey S. Murray has helped acquire significant records on Canada's cartographic heritage for over twenty years. His lifelong interest in Canadian history has resulted in numerous specialized guides, public exhibitions and magazine articles. This is Mr. Murray's first book.

"The idea to create this book originated largely with Ian E. Wilson, who recognized in this publication the chance to realize one of his far-reaching goals, that of disseminating Canada's remarkable collection to as large an audience as possible," added Jeffrey S. Murray.

Terra Nostra is now available in book stores as well as through the Friends of Library and Archives Canada.

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Pauline M. Portelance
Media Relations Officer
Library and Archives Canada

For historical information visit: Archived What's New