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About the Canadian Geographical Names Database

You may access nearly 350 000 currently approved geographical names stored on the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB), Canada’s national bank of official geographical names. These names are authorized by the Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC), through its provincial, territorial and federal representatives.

In addition, you may query:

  • 37 000 formerly approved names of historical interest
  • 3 500 names of undersea features

There are many ways to query our names on the Internet. A user can access our GeoNames Query, Digital Data products, and Tools and Applications. Alternately, official geographical names can be accessed through commercial or open source GIS applications that link to our Web Services.

Below are the attributes published for each geographical name.

Names attributes

Up to 14 CGNDB fields can be displayed for each name obtained through our GeoNames Query or Tools and Applications:

  • Name of feature

    • Current: For most geographical names there is only one official form. However, certain geographical names require presentation in both official languages of Canada on federal maps. The following lists provide you with a quick reference for some categories of such names:
      • Pan-Canadian names : 87 large and well-known Canadian features and areas designated in Treasury Board Circular 1983-58 (e.g., Lake Winnipeg / Lac Winnipeg);
      • Dual names: (a) for Canadian federal lands (e.g. names of National Parks, Indian Reserves and Military Areas); (b) for some places approved in both languages within one province (e.g., Grand Falls / Grand-Sault, New Brunswick); (c) names of features shared by more than one province.
    • Historical: Some names have in the past been given official status, but are no longer the approved forms. These may have been replaced by other ("Current") names or may simply have been withdrawn from use.
    • Undersea: 3 500 official names of undersea features relevant to Canada are collected here. The type of feature, latitude and longitude and chart or map are provided here for each entry.
  • Status
    Indicates whether the name is Official, Replaced, Revoked, Alternate, Equivalent, an unofficial Variant, or a pan-Canadian name.
    Province or Territory
    Indicates the province or territory in which the feature is located. If a feature lies on many provinces and territories, there is an entry for each province and territory where the name is adopted.
  • Feature type
    Geographical names provided to you are grouped into categories listed below.

    The numbers following some generic terms are solely for the purpose of distinguishing the generic terms which may have one or more definitions. They do not indicate a duplication of the generic term.

    Entity code Feature type Generics included
    PROV / PROV Province / Province Province
    TERR / TERR Territory / Territoire Territory, Territoire (2)
    Populated Places
    CITY / VIL1 City / Ville City, Cité, Ville (2)
    TOWN / VIL2 Town / Ville Town, Separated Town, Municipality, Municipalité de village
    VILG / VILG Village / Village Village (1), Community (1), Resort Municipality, Resort Village, Municipalité, Municipalité de village naskapi, Municipalité de village cri, Municipalité de village nordique, Municipalité de paroisse, Municipalité de cantons unis, Municipalité de canton, Urban Community (1), Northern Village, Summer Village
    HAM / HAM Hamlet / Hameau Hamlet (1), Organized Hamlet, Charter Community, Northern Settlement, Northern Hamlet
    MUN1 / AZM1 Other municipal / district area - major agglomeration /
    Autre zone municipale / de district - agglomération majeure
    Metropolitan Municipality, Specialized Municipality, Municipal District, Regional Municipality, County (1), County Municipality, Regional District, Region (1), Metropolitan Corporation, Région administrative, Municipal County, Municipalité régionale de comté, Communauté urbaine, Communauté régionale, Restructured County, District Municipality
    MUN2 / AZM2 Other municipal/district area - miscellaneous /
    Autre zone municipale /
    de district - divers
    Local Government District, Territoire non organisé, Township Municipalities, Special Area, Local Improvement District, Indian Government District; Land Unit, Rural Municipality, Local District Municipality, Rural District, District judiciaire, Township Municipality, Circonscription électorale provinciale, Circonscription électorale municipale, Improvement District
    UNP / LNO Unincorporated area /
    Lieu non organisé
    Hamlet (2), Village (2), Police Village, Rural Village, Settlement (1), Compact Rural Community, Locality, Lieu-dit, Railway Point, Station, Post Office, Landing (1), Fort, Community (2), Dispersed Rural Community, Hameau, Bureau de poste, Jonction, Indian Government District, Local Service District, Bureau de poste militaire, Centre de villégiature, Weather Station, Customs Point, Metis Settlement, Northern Community, Centre de ski, Vacated or Seasonal Settlement, Former Locality, Former Post Office, Village forestier, Station de chemin de fer, Établissement amérindien, Parc de maisons mobiles, Arrêt ferroviaire, Settlement Corporation, Station de recherche, Native Community, Village naskapi, Metropolitan Area, Neighbourhood (1), Indian Village, Cannery, Indian Settlement, Trading Post, Abandoned Locality, Resort, Village (3), Village cri, Gare de triage, Former Railway Point, Urban Community (2), Neighbourhood (2), Suburban Community, Industrial Park, Industrial Area, Secteur résidentiel, Subdivision, Parc industriel, Local Urban District, Quartier, Secteur
    IR / RI Indian Reserve /
    Réserve indienne
    Indian Reserve, Réserve indienne
    GEOG / GÉOG Geographical area /
    Zone géographique
    Arrière-fief, Division d'enregistrement, Seigneurie, Fief, Canton, Lot, Settlement (2), Territoire (1), Division de recensement, Region, Région, Region (2), Land District, Abouts, Geographic County, Royalty, Paroisse, County (2), Parish (1), Geographic Township, Geographic District
    PARK / PARC Conservation area /
    Zone de préservation
    Réserve de la biosphère, Zone d'exploitation contrôlée, Zone d'aménagement et de conservation, Réserve de pêche, Protected Area, Provincial Natural Park, Jardin zoologique, Ecological Reserve, Parc national, Provincial Historic Park, Réserve écologique, Regional Park, Parc international, International Park, Provincial Historic Village, Site du patrimoine mondial, World Heritage Site, Aire marine nationale de conservation, National Marine Conservation Area, Refuge faunique, Voie navigable, Waterway, Parc fédéral, Federal Park, Village historique provincial, Provincial Recreation Area, Réserve de parc national, National Park Reserve, Wilderness Area, Provincial Marine Park, Wildlife Management Unit, Recreation Site, Réserve faunique, Canal (4), Lieu historique provincial, Provincial Historic Site, Municipal Park, Provincial Game Sanctuary - Waterfowl, Provincial Forest, Provincial Game Sanctuary, Provincial Wayside Park, Provincial Heritage Property, Base de plein air, Game Preserve, Conservation Area, Provincial Park Reserve, Réserve de chasse et pêche, Parc public, Wildlife Management Area, Provincial Heritage Park, Picnic Area, Wildlife Refuge, Provincial Wildlife Management Area, Provincial Recreation Park, Site historique, Refuge, Parc de récréation, Parc de conservation, Provincial Park, National Park, Provincial Wilderness Park, National Historic Site, Lieu historique national, Territorial Park, Game Sanctuary
    MIL / MIL Military area /
    Réserve militaire
    Canadian Forces Base, Base des Forces canadiennes, Canadian Forces Station, Station des Forces canadiennes, C.M.F.C., C.F.T.A., Réserve militaire, Base militaire
    Physical Features
    RIV / CDE River / Cours d'eau River, Brook, Creek (1), Outlet, Pup (1), Fleuve, Canal (1), Branch, Segment de rivière, Channel (1), Cours d'eau agricole, Gully (1), Millstream / Mill Stream, Ruisseau (1), Run (1), Runoff, Stream, Rivière, Branche, Burn, Dribble, Feeder, Fourche, Inlet (1), Ditch (1), Gulch (1), Channel (2), Guzzle (1), Runround, Snye, Fork (1), Coulée (1), Creeks, Runs (1), Gullies (1), Rivers, Brooks, Rivières, Coulee (1), Rigole, Gut (1)
    RIVF / EFLV River feature /
    Entité fluviale
    Bend (1), River Junction, Forks, Reach, Embouchure, Lieux de pêche, Lieu de pêche, Shallows, River Mouth, Courbe, Fork (2), Fosse à saumon, Crossing (2), Courant, Slough (1), Ford, Dump, Flumes, Bends, Pools (1), Deadwaters, Stillwaters, Basin (1), Horseshoe, Méandre, Coude, Méandres, Stretch, Confluence, Confluent, Turns, Turn, Padou, Pothole (1), Hole (1), Elbow, Crossing (1), Cove (1), Bogan, Stillwater, Deadwater, Pool (1), Oxbow
    FALL / CHUT Falls / Chute Falls, Waterfall, Chutes, Sault, Cascade, Cascades, Fall, Chute
    LAKE / LAC Lake / Lac Lake, Gully (2), Lac, Sloughs (1), Mare, Mal Bay, Pughole / Pug Hole, Pothole (2), Pool (2), Basin (2), Lough, Potholes, Gullies (2), Barachois, Étang, Lagune, Lacs, Tarn, Waters, Mares, Steadies, Steady, Étangs, Ponds (2), Holes (1), Partie de réservoir, Partie de lac, Pond (2), Aboiteau (1), Réservoir, Lacs artificiels, Lac artificiel, Tarns, Millpond / Mill Pond, Lochan, Loch, Hole (2), Flowage, Barasway, Lagoon, Slough (2), Pond (1), Ponds (1), Lakes, Reservoir
    SPRG / SRCE Spring / Source Spring, Hotsprings / Hot Springs, Source, Hotspring / Hot Spring, Fumarole, Springs
    SEA / MER Sea / Mer Ocean, Océan, Mer, Sea
    SEAF / EMAR Sea feature /
    Entité maritime
    Rip (2), Tidal Rapids, Tidal Flow, Rips (2), Tittle, Tickles
    SEAU / SMER Undersea feature /
    Entité sous-marine
    Abyssal Plain - Plaine, Canyon - Canyon, Continental Rise - Glacis continental, Escarpment - Talus, Cordillera - Cordillère, Reef - Récif, Plateau - Plateau, Pingo - Pingo, Peak - Pic, Pass - Col, Median Valley - Vallée axiale, Marginal Trough - Cuvette marginale, Lobe - Lobe, Seamount - Mont, Seamount Chain - Chaîne de monts, Saddle - Col, Rocks - Roches, Rock - Roche, Rise - Massif, Ridge - Dorsale, Reefs - Récifs, Slope - Pente, Sill - Seuil, Shoals - Hauts-fonds, Shoal - Haut-fond, Shoal - Basse, Shelf - Plate-forme, Shelf - Plate-forme continentale, Seamounts - Monts sous-marins, Bars - Barres, Valley - Vallée, Troughs - Cuvettes, Trough - Cuvette, Trench - Fossé, Terrace - Terrasse, Spur - Éperon, Spit - Flèche littorale, Ledges - Chaussées, Ledge - Chaussée, Knolls - Dômes, Knoll - Dôme, Guyot - Guyot, Gap - Passage, Fracture Zone - Zone de fractures, Pingos - Pingos, Fan - Cône, Continental Margin - Marge continentale, Borderland - Bordure continentale, Banks - Bancs, Bar - Barre, Basin - Bassin, Bank - Banc
    CHAN / CHEN Channel / Chenal Canal (2), Channel (3), Channels, Strait, Pass (1), Tickle, Gut (2), Opening, Creek (2), Run (3), Inlet (2), Hole (3), Guzzle (2), Gulch (2), Gap (1), Entrance, Dugway, Runs (3), Détroit, Chenal, Passe, Cut, Thoroughfare, Way, Sluice, Chenaux, Passes, Gully (3), Goulet (1), Bassin (1), Basin (6), Chokey, Passage, Sound (1), Narrows
    RAP / RAP Rapids / Rapide Whirlpool, Cataract, Rapide, Riffle, Eddy, Whirlpools, Runs (2), Run (2), Remous, Rattle, Rapids, Rip (1), Rapides, Rips (1), Rapid
    BAY / BAIE Bay / Baie Bay, Road (1), Arm, Fiord, Gulf, Gut (3), Backside, Bras morts, Bottom (1), Bassins, Baies, Anses, Gulches, Gulch (3), Basin (3), Gullies (3), Roads, Harbours, Soi, Port (1), Hole (4), Haven, Gully (4), Goulet (2), Harbour (1), Anchorage, Bays, Golfe, Estuaire, Bras mort, Bras, Bite, Mouillage, Bassin (2), Pool (3), Rade, Havre, Fjord, Baie, Anse, Ruisseau (2), Lead, Sound (2), Cove (2), Coves, Motion, Creek (3), Inlet (3), Bight, Crique (2)
    CAPE / CAP Cape / Cap Cape, Head (1), Isthmus, Peninsula, Point, Promontory, Headland, Foreland, Côtes (1), Arches, Langue de terre, Pointes, Hummocks, Heads, Capes, Promontoire, Tête, Seaside, Sand Point, Nose, Neck, Hummock (1), End, Côte (1), Segment de côte, Arch, Delta, Péninsule, Caps, Cap (1), Presqu'île, Pointe, Bill, Spit, Points, Heights, Land
    BCH / PLAG Beach / Plage Beach, Sand Bar, Dune (1), Flats (1), Plage, Shore, Flèche, Battures, Barres, Beaches, Éperon, Barre, Sandspit, Grève, Strand, Estran, Flat (1), Batture, Breakers, Bar (1), Breaker
    SHL / H-FD Shoal / Haut-fond Bank (2), Bancs de pêche, Hummock (2), Bar (2), Rocks (1), Lump, Basin (4), Rise, Peak (1), Patch, Knoll (1), Grounds, Ground, Chuckle, Bosse, Trough, Back (1), Bank (3), Récif, Banc de sable, Banc de pêche, Récifs, Roche (1), Haut-fond, Patches, Sunkers, Channel (4), Sand Banks / Sandbanks, Ledges, Bars, Deeps, Bantam, Plate-forme insulaire, Fosse, Écueil, Banc, Bancs de sable, Cordon litteral, Bancs, Hauts-fonds, Brisants, Canyon (1), Bottom (2), Sand Bank / Sandbank, Sunker, Spot, Rock (1), Ridge (1), Reef, Reefs, Shoals, Ledge (1), Shoal, Banks (1)
    ISL / ÎLE Island / Île Island, Cap (2), Islets, Îlot / Ilot, Îles / Iles, Île / Ile, Mound (1), Îlette / Ilette, Thrumcap / Thrum Cap, Thrum, Nubble, Îlots / Ilots, Rochers, Thrums, Crab, Roches, Rock Pile, Rocher, Archipel, Group (1), Brandies, Cay, Islands, Isles, Archipelago, Islet, Isle
    CLF / ESC Cliff / Escarpement Bank (1), Bluffs (1), Crag, Côte (2), Ramparts, Cliffs (2), Cliff (2), Escarpment, Blow-Me-Down / Blow Me Down, Berge, Falaises, Cliffs (1), Falaise, Bluff (1), Cliff (1), Abrubts, Pont naturel, Escarpement, Buffalo Jump, Coteau, Wall, Coteaux, Corniches, Crags, Corniche, Scarp
    MTN / MNT Mountain / Mont Range (2), Mountain, Mountains, Peak (2), Esker, Dune (2), Butte, Point (2), Highland, Tower (1), Spire, Dome, Roche (2), Group (2), Foothills, Rock (2), Rim, Monts, Domes, Summits, Knob, Moraine, Sand Hills, Sommet, Piémont, Monument, Crêtes, Chaîne de montagnes, Pic, Paroi, Eskers, Cairns, Slide, Rocks (2), Lookouts, Head (2), Sommets, Versant, Belvédère, Abrupt, Knolls, Towers, Spires, Chaîne, Tolt, Massif, Dunes, Montagnes, Bank (4), Arête, Slope, Crête, Cone, Buse, Brow, Back (2), Rock (3), Montagne, Colline, Knoll (2), Pinnacles, Pinnacle, Highlands, Buttes, Ridges, Pingo, Bluffs (2), Pointu, Lookout, Spur, Collines, Mount, Mont, Lookoff, Ledge (2), Ranges, Summit, Bluff (2), Ridge (2), Peaks, Hill, Hills
    VALL / VALL Valley / Vallée Ravine, Coulée (2), Valley (1), Gulch (4), Canyon (2), Gorge, Gully (5), Gorges, Pup (2), Glen, Hollow (1), Pass (2), Vault, Notch, Basin (5), Depression, Gap (2), Trench, Saddle, Ravin, Vallée, Niche, Col, Vale, Kettle, Drook, Vallon, Coulee (2), Cirques, Hollow (2), Cirque, Crevasse, Draw, Défilé
    PLN / PLNE Plain / Plaine Plateau, Plains (1), Flats (2), Terrace, Plaine, Plaines, Terrasse, Crossing Place, Lowland, Bench, Uplands, Flat (2), Plain (2)
    CAVE / CAV Cave / Caverne Cave, Grotte, Caves, Caverne
    CRAT / CRAT Crater / Cratère Crater (2), Crater (1), Cratère météorique, Volcanoes
    GLAC / GLAC Glacier / Glacier Glacier, Icefield, Ice Cap / Icecap, Névé, Ice Shelf, Glaciers, Snowfield
    FOR / FOR Forest / Forêt Forest, Bluff (3), Wooded Area, Woods, Grove, Forêt expérimentale, Bosquet, Bois, Forêt, Pépinière, Cédrière, Verger
    VEGL / VÉGB Low vegetation /
    Végétation basse
    Meadow (1), Meadows, Barren, Barrens (1), Haymarsh, Hay Meadow, Pré, Savannah, Prairie, Marsh, Marshes, Swamp, Bog, Fen, Flat (3), Flats (3), Glade, Heath, Intervale, Slough (3), Swale, Meadow (2), Barrens (2), Mocauque, Plain (3), Marais, Tourbière, Fondrière, Marécage, Savane, Muskeg, Plains (2), Swales, Bogs, Glades, Hole (6), Platin, Savanes, Champ, Bleuetière, Champs, Marécages, Bottom (3), Sloughs (2)
    MISC / DIV Miscellaneous /
    Generating Station, Mine, Carrière, Camp forestier, Pit, Centrale hydroélectrique, Station forestière, Carrières, Dépôt forestier, Digue, Dyke (2), Camp sportif, Fossé, Barrage, Camp saisonnier, Dyke (1), Drain (2), Ponceau, Well, Landmark, Pont-tunnel, Route (1), Camp minier, Mining Camp, Unclassified, Generic Pending, Gate, Site, Pier, Path, Railway Yard, Landing (2), Causeway, Canal de dérivation, Barrages, Terrain de jeu, Station de ski, Domaine, Commune, Colonie de vacances, Centre d'interprétation de la nature, Floodway, Camp de plein air, Camps saisonniers, Terrain de camping, Camp de vacance, Ferme, Sanctuaire, Control Structure, Diversion, Ditch (2), Cairn (2), Dam, Camp, Amusement Park, Historical Route, Phare, Sentier, Hydrobase, Wharf, Aéroport, Quai, Écluses, Écluse, Port (2), Canal (3), Breakwater, Tunnel, Ponts, Pont couvert, Côte (3), Piste, Chemin, Deepwater Terminal, Portages, Airfield, Débarcadère, Pont, Bassin portuaire, Aérodrome, Steamer Landing, Highway, Port de plaisance, Airport, Harbour (2), Portage, Road (2), Trail, Ferry, Bridge
  • Generic
    Indicates the generic portion of the name, obscure or not, describing the feature. There are more than 1200 Generic Terms defined by the GNBC. The definitions for all generic codes are available in the service section.
  • Location
    Geographic unit (or administrative unit for Quebec records) in which the feature or place lies. Each province or territory has its own distinct units.
  • Latitude/Longitude
    Coordinates are provided in degrees, minutes and seconds at the centre of a feature, except for flowing-water features where coordinates are at the mouth. The seconds are displayed if the accuracy of the coordinates is within 30 metres. Otherwise, the accuracy is 2 km and only the minutes are displayed. The coordinates are also provided in decimal degrees to facilitate copying and pasting into applications.
  • Coordinate Accuracy
    Only two values are given here, either 30 m or 2000 m. Thus, the accuracy of the centroid or the mouth of a geographic entity is known within 30 metres or 2 km. See also the preceding item no 7.
  • NTS Map/Chart
    In most cases, these are the National Topographic System (NTS) maps, at the 1:50 000 scale on which the feature lies. Where this is not applicable, a 1:250 000 NTS map (e.g., 031G00) or a Canadian Hydrographic Service Chart (e.g., C.4803) is shown.
  • Relevance at Scale
    Helps to indicate whether or not it is relevant to display a name on a map depending on the scale of the map. Provided is the lowest map scale known to have published the entity, the values provided are 43M, 42M, 15M, 7.5M, 6M, 3M, 1M, 250K, 50K or 25K.
  • Datum
    All coordinates are given relative to the North American datum of 1983 (NAD83), and currently to the nearest arc seconds at best.
  • CGNDB Unique Identifier
    A five letter code assigned to each record in the CGNDB database. Please quote it if you are requesting any follow-up information.
  • Feature Id
    A 32 alphanumeric code which allows to link together (1) the various digital representations of a geographical feature (whatever their scales, versions, editions, sources, map projections, etc.) and (2) the various names such a feature may obtain with time. The Feature Id is a national standard approved by provincial, territorial and federal mapping and toponymic agencies, and is described in the "Feature ID Assigning Procedure" document.
  • Decision Date
    The date of the most recent official approval or change affecting a name. The Decision Date is the date when a feature/place name is approved, altered, changed in form, changed to another name, confirmed, rescinded, deleted, proposed, or not approved. This can be by decision, legislation, gazetteer status change, first appearance in a specified gazetteer, or some other recognition by the jurisdiction involved.
  • Effective Date
    For names approved by legislation, the effective date of the legislation, e.g. a change made through the municipal act or provincial parks legislation of a province - the order would list a date on which the change is to take effect. This could also be the same as the decision date.
  • Approval Date
    The date of the original approval or legislation for a particular record. The First Approval Date can be by decision, legislation, gazetteer status change, first appearance in a specified gazetteer, or some other recognition by the jurisdiction involved. This could also be the same as the decision date.
  • Data Provider
    An hyperlink to the web site of a provincial, territorial or federal agencies which is a member of the GNBC, and which has approved the toponym and which has provided the toponym and its information for the website.

Where to obtain more information

For further information about the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB) please contact the GNBC Secretariat at

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