I'm totally new to QGIS, and trying to view a Canadian Topo map as published on an iMac - I don't want to change it.


  1. the directory contains a lot of files - can all be loaded in one go so I get the whole map, not just pieces of it?
  2. the CanVec attributes (colour, symbol etc.) aren't retrieved when loading a shape file with vector load, so that doesn't work to see it the way the map maker intended.

I suspect these problems are related, in that there's a file somewhere that lets QGIS tie everything together, but I can't figure out what it is or how to tell QGIS how to use it.


2 Answers 2

  1. The shapefiles could all be loaded in one operation, but will you need all of them for your project?

  2. As the name suggests, shapefiles contain shapes; points, lines or polygons. It's up to you, the map maker, to decide what "style" you wish to apply to the shapes. The manual will tell you how to do this.

The meaning of the shapefile names in your dataset is shown in this Excel file.

If you are an absolute beginner it would be a good idea to work through the example project shown in the manual.

Good luck.


I've now heard from the Canada Centre for Topographic Information - there is no 'context' file for the CanVec maps other than one for the version of ArcGIS used internally at CCTIC. If I'm to use the CanVec data, I will indeed have to render it myself and just imitate the published maps as best I can.

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