Southridge student to vie for geography title

Grade 10 student Keith Christofferson in Ottawa for national event

A Southridge student with an eye for maps will be in the nation’s capital this weekend competing at the Canadian Geographic Challenge.

Grade 10 student Keith Christofferson is one of two B.C. students competing at the three-day event, which runs May 25-27 in Ottawa. Burnaby North Secondary Grade 9 student Joshua Mah is the other.

The event, which is now in its 24th year, is one of Canada’s biggest student competitions, according to a news release issued this week. More than 22,000 students from 650 schools nationwide participated in the early rounds of the contest. Students went through classroom testing, and then each school champion faced off at the provincial/territorial level, with the top 20 from across the country advancing to the finals.

Christofferson’s fascination with maps started at a young age, he told event organizers.

“I like to find the natural beauty in the world and how geography contributes to it,” he said.

In Ottawa, finalists will undergo two “intense” days of written testing and fieldwork, which according to the release, “has been designed to assess their geographic prowess.”

At the end, five finalists from the 20 will advance to the last round. That round will see the final five answer fast-paced geography-related trivia questions.

The event will be set up like a game show and will be hosted by world-renowned underwater explorer Jill Heinerth, who is the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s inaugural explorer-in-residence. The finals will take place at the Alex Trebek Theatre in Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration, at 50 Sussex Dr.

The final round will be streamed live on Facebook, at 8 a.m. (Pacific time) on May 27 (Monday), at

Though only one student will be named the national champion, each of the five finalists will receive a berth on a 10-day Fins and Fiddlers Adventure Cruise – a voyage that will explore Canada’s east coast and include a Zodiac ride to Sable Island to see its famous wild horses. The top three will also receive prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

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