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Canadian Geographic Challenge

Geography hat trick

An avid traveller who has visited more than 30 countries, has lived in Berlin and has explored Canada, Alexander Cohen (right) won the national final of the Geography Challenge in April. The 15-year-old student at Ashbury College in Ottawa competed against 50 other finalists from across the country in the online competition organized by the Canadian Council for Geographic Education.

“Eventually, I would like to go to every country in the world,” says Cohen, whose extensive travels ignited his interest in geography and the Challenge. “Geography is great, because it relates to everything. It will be useful for whatever I choose to do in life.”

This was Cohen’s third consecutive year in the top three, having placed third in the past two years.

In the close competition, Spencer Zhao, 13, of Toronto, took second place and Aoife O’Leary, 15, of Surrey, B.C., claimed third.

Cohen and O’Leary, along with Alejandro Torres-Lopez of North Vancouver (last year’s national winner) will represent Canada at the National Geographic World Championship to be held in San Francisco in July.

— Stephanie Foden

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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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