About the Challenge

Canadian Geographic Education launched the Canadian Geographic Challenge, formerly the Great Canadian Geography Challenge, in 1995 as a way to get students interested in geography. Since then, the challenge has grown from 20 participating schools to more than 500, and has reached more than two million students across Canada.

Now in its 25th year, the competition is continuously evolving, melding traditional learning styles with geographic literacy skills and new technology. The support of Trebek Family Foundation has meant the competition can continue to be accessible, relevant and engaging for all students.

The challenge is comprised of three levels to reach a wide age range.

Level 1 is open to students in grades 4-6. It focuses on developing fundamental geographic facts and skills and igniting passion in students’ early academic careers.

Students participate at the classroom and school level, finishing the competition by naming one School Champion. All School Champions receive a certificate, medal and one-year subscription to Canadian Geographic.

Level 2 encourages students in grades 7-10 to push the limits of their geographic knowledge and apply geographic thinking skills.

The competition begins in the classroom and progresses to name a School Champion. The School Champion is then invited to compete at the provincial/territorial level. 

Of the territorial/provincial winners, a total of 20 of Canada's best geography students will be invited to participate in the National Final in May 2020. More information about the National Final will be released later this year.

Level 2 School Champions receive a certificate, a medal and a one-year subscription to Canadian Geographic magazine. Provincial and territorial champions receive a prize package.

Level 3 is open to all students ages 16-19 before June 2020 who reside in Canada. The competition is split into two phases.

PHASE 1: The first phase is an online test consisting of 100 multiple-choice and true-or-false questions. This phase is divided into two parts, each containing 50 questions. Students may complete the two parts at different times if they wish. The scores of the two parts will be weighed equally and added together for a total mark out of 100. Scores will not be shared with participants under any circumstances.

PHASE 2: The second phase of the competition will be a written fieldwork project. The twenty (20) students who score the highest on the online test will be contacted with additional information about the second phase of the competition, which will focus on field work.

The second phase of the competition will be submitted online and marked by a team of Can Geo Education teachers based on a rubric that will be made available to all participating students.

PHASE 3: The top six (6) students from phase 2 will move onto third phase of the competition, an interview conducted by the Team Canada leaders who will be accompanying the team and getting them ready for the International Geography Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, August 11-17, 2020. The goal of the interview is to determine the student's commitment level and how they would fit in the team dynamic. 

The four students with the top scores in the third phase will be asked to join Team Canada. Members of Team Canada will attend the International Geography Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, August 11-17, 2020. All required expenses for the international competition (including travel, accommodation, uniform, food, etc.) will be covered by the RCGS.

Although the Canadian competition is available in both English and French, the International GeoOlympiad is only administered in English. Therefore, students selected for Team Canada must be proficient and comfortable testing in English.