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The Geist Atlas of Canada: Meat Maps and Other Strange Cartographies

by Melissa Edwards

From the clever minds who brought you “Haiku Night in Canada” comes The Geist Atlas of Canada, a collection of 50 of Geist magazine’s comprehensive maps of nutty Canadian place names, each one tied together – some more tightly than others – by a theme.

Like game shows, wasabi, and Mark Kingwell, The Geist Atlas is best taken in small doses, which is why it makes for perfect potty reading. Each two-page spread contains a full-page map full of theme-related place names – Keg River, the Belcher Islands, and Drunken Dick are part of the beer map; Downer, Confusion Bay, and Anger Island are part of the angst map – along with interesting historical factoids about a few of the places listed.

Some of the maps on offer are wicked good, such as the doughnut map – containing Turnover Island and Maple Ridge, of course – and the nicknames map, which parses “Camel Lips,” “Speedy Creek,” “The Hat,” and “The Shwa” into Kamloops, Swift Current, Medicine Hat, and Oshawa. Other maps are well researched, if uninspiring.

Heck, there’s even a literary map, which might infringe on Noah Richler’s territory, but even CanLit-lovers have
to go to the loo once in a while.