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After winning the Manitoba provincial championship of the Geography Challenge three years in a row, Peter Brandt of Steinbach clinched the top spot at the national final in May. The 15-year-old grade-nine student beat out 34 other finalists from every Canadian province and territory in the online competition organized by the Canadian Council for Geographic Education.

To prepare for his winning performance, Brandt notes that he studied categories in which he didn’t do as well in previous years. “I looked at websites,” he says, “and punched in various geographical terms and read up on them.”

Two-time British Columbia champion Chris Chiavatti, 14, of Burnaby, took second place. Alexander Cohen, 13, of Ottawa won a tiebreaker for third.

Brandt and Chiavatti, along with Graham Tompkins of Dartmouth, N.S. (last year’s second-place national finalist), will represent Canada at the 2009 National Geographic World Championship to be held in Mexico City from July 11 to 16.

— Monique Roy-Sole

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Did you know that a 2005 National Survey determined that one-third of adult Canadians can be considered “geographically illiterate”?

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“Geography is the lens for the soul of the earth. With the knowledge of geography, one can examine the earth’s past, assess the present and predict future situations. You can literally be ‘lost’ without geography!”



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