I can’t quite put my finger when I first fell in love with maps. It may have been an excessive amount of creating, colouring and labelling maps in elementary school as part of the core curriculum that warp me as a young kid. It may have been a family road trip to Florida when I was 8 that kick started it and grabbing one too many handfuls of maps and tourist brochures at roadside stops along the I-75. Regardless I have found maps fascinating for as long as I can remember. The details they reveal about the history of a place, the lay of the land, the map maker themselves, and just the artistic nature of some maps.
Geography was always one of my favourite subjects in school, but for some reason I didn’t stick with it when I went to University. Instead I enrolled in a Engineering program and went on to fail out in the first year. While the details of how I came to fail out are more complicated than I want to get into in this post, suffice it to say that in the end I wasn’t as well suited to Engineering as I had been lead to believe. Oddly enough I did enrol in the Geography Department the next semester eventually getting a degree in Environmental Management.
I think in another life I must have been a cartographer. I have an old 1899 map of the City of Toronto hanging above my desk and its beautiful to look as much as its interesting in all the detail that it holds. It shows creeks and waterways long since paved over and redirected through storm sewers. Shorelines and roadways that have warped and shifted as the city developed. In that way the cartographer is a bit of a historian, documenting places in time as much as space.