Clearinghouses and Portals

ArcGIS – Esri Data & Maps
“Get the latest updates to Data & Maps right now by downloading a collection of layer packages through the Data and Maps for ArcGIS Group on ArcGIS Online.”  Includes North American and a few Canadian maps.

Atlas of Canada (NRCan)
Free data, including boundaries, transportation networks, hydrography and populated Places.

Free base layers, including:

  • Administrative boundaries
  • Digital Elevation Data
  • Geodetic Network
  • Geographic Names
  • Land Cover
  • National Hydro Network
  • National Road Network
  • Satellite Imagery

Discovery portal for Canada data (links to other sources)

Geography Network Canada (ESRI Canada, DMTI Spatial, WWF Canada)
Thematic data and imagery

Free thematic data distributed by NRCan

North American Atlas (Canada/USA/Mexico)
Bathymetry, glaciers, hydrography, political boundaries, populated places, railroads, roads, sea ice

Open Data Pilot Project
Search for Government of Canada data, including GIS Data, through their new search tool.

By Province/Territory


GIS and CAD data for Alberta through a non-profit organization’s clearinghouse.  Includes cadastral, base mapping and terrain information.  Some GIS base map datasets are free.
The City of Calgary’s open data portal

Edmonton Open Data Catalogue
The City of Edmonton’s open data portal


Manitoba Land Initiative
Provincial data in GIS and CAD formats – requires registration


Land Information Ontario
Spatial data warehouse with a wide variety of datasets.  An account and data licence are required to order data.

Ottawa Open Data
The City of Ottawa’s open data portal

Toronto Open Data
The City of Toronto’s open data portal


Montréal Portail Données Ouvertes
Open data portal for the city of Montreal.

Ville de Québec Données Ouvertes
The open data catalogue for Quebec City.


Link to the pre-packaged data gallery part of the website that includes boundaries, townships, sections, roads and more

Open Government – City of Regina
City data sets are available through this data portal.


Yukon Spatial Data
Yukon’s Department of Highways and Public Works provides spatial data through their website.


By Subject

UBC indicates that access to the resource is limited to UBC students, faculty and staff

Census Data

Census Data and GIS
See this UBC Library web page for information on how to download and format Canadian census data to be joined to census boundary shapefiles.


Climate – Government of Canada
Historical hourly, daily or monthly climate data for all of Canada.


CanMatrix (NRCan)
Download topographic maps (geoPDF or geoTIFF) from GeoGratis.  Enter the NTS grid coordinates as the location, use “CanMatrix” as the keyword, and select “Map” as the product type.

CanVec (NRCan)
National dataset that includes 20-meter contour geodatabase (<province>_FO.gdb) within the data package.  Search for CanVec products in GeoGratis.

GeoBase Digital Elevation Data
Canadian digital elevation data at a variety of resolutions (in ASCII format)

National Topographic System (NTS) Grid Index
Download the NTS grid index in vector or raster format from GeoGratis.


Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Base maps, terrestrial ecosystems, marine ecosystems, pollution and waste, human influence, and climate data in shapefile or GRID format.  Covers Canada, USA and Mexico.

Publicly available animal, ecology and plant data available for free download


Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement GIS Data

Property/Parcel (Cadastral)

Canada Lands Survey System (NRCan)
Canada Lands Digital Cadastral Data

Remote Sensing/Satellite Imagery

CCRS Earth Observation Catalogue (Canada Centre for Remote Sensing)
CEOCat 3 – find and download imagery

GeoBase Satellite Imagery
SPOT, Landsat and RADARSAT images for Canada

Global Visualization Viewer (USGS)
View and download worldwide satellite imagery (requires free account setup)
Download landsat data (only some images are free)

National Earth Observation Data Framework Catalogue
View thumbnails, footprints and metadata for millions of air photos.  Orders can be placed online (there is a fee for images).

Reverb/ECHO (NASA)
New “metadata and service discovery tool” to find remote sensing and earth science data


National Soil DataBase (CanSIS)
Soils data for Canada


UBC Census of Canada Road Network File, 2011 [in Abacus] (requires UBC login)
Comprehensive road network for all of Canada.  Includes freeways, highways, major and minor roads with road names and address ranges.