Canadian Geographical Names


The Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB) is the data bank of Canada's geographical names, maintained by the Geographical Names Section, part of the Centre for Topographic Information, Geomatics Canada, Natural Resources Canada. Its purpose is to store names and their attributes that have been approved by the Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC) and to make these authoritative records available for government and public use.

The subset of the CGNDB data which is served up in the GeoBase Portal for data extraction and visualization consists of current officially approved names, and is referred to as the Canadian Geographical Names (CGN) dataset. Additional attributes for this dataset as well as information on formerly approved names are available from the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB).

The geographic extent of this data is the Canadian landmass and water bodies. The temporal extent of the data is from 1897 to present. The purpose of the CGN data set is to provide official names for mapping and charting, gazetteer production, and World Wide Web reference, and other georeferenced digital systems.

GeoBase allows for batch extraction of geographical names for Canada. However, if you are trying to locate a specific name or place, we suggest that you visit the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base Web site.

Download the Canadian Geographical Name Fact Sheet [pdf 22.57 MB]


For more details on Canadian Geographical Names standards and specifications, see Canadian Geographical Names, Product Specifications [pdf 136 KB] and Canadian Geographical Names Service (CGNS) Data Model and Data Dictionary [pdf 70 KB].


For a complete description of collection metadata, see the Canadian Geographical Name, Collection Metadata.

Use and Restrictions

Use of the GeoBase data is subject to the Open Government Licence – Canada.

Data Format

Geographical Names datafiles are available in GML (Geography Markup Language), ESRI Shapefile and KML (Keyhole Markup Language) formats as well as Text files.

Free Data Viewer

As a service to GeoBase users we are providing links to some free viewers. However, GeoBase does not endorse and does not provide any kind of support for any of these viewers.