News & Events


March 25, 2024

Western researchers launch new web mapping portal to explore how neighbourhoods change

Explorer User InterfaceResearchers from Western University’s Network for Economic and Social Trends (NEST) have created an online map portal, the UNI-CEN Canadian Neighbourhood Change Explorer, 1951-2021, that enables Canadians to visually explore historical data from the 15 censuses taken over the seven decades spanning 1951 and 2021. People can access the portal at

Users can explore a wide variety of neighbourhood characteristics. They can map social variables, including concentrations of ethnic origin, Indigenous identity, language, religious groups, and immigration status. They can also look at how people live and move through the city: housing types, owning versus renting, commuting behaviour, and population density. And finally, they can look at work and the economy, including income, educational attainment, and what types of jobs neighbourhood residents have had. Most importantly, they can not only map single census years, but use graphs to visualize change over time in specific neighbourhoods.

The project is led by Professor Zack Taylor, who worked closely with Mitacs postdoctoral fellow Christopher Hewitt and developers at the Canadian higher education division of Esri Inc., a world leader in geographical analysis software. Aspects of the project were funded by Western’s Faculty of Social Science, Mitacs, the City of Toronto, and SSHRC.


From time to time, the Canadian Communities Policy Observatory project holds workshops and events. For more information, please contact

Virtual Workshop: Disseminating Census Data: Learning from Experience 

February 16, 2022

The workshop’s focus is on challenges associated with the dissemination of contemporary and historical census data to academic researchers and the public. By bringing together experts from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, we seek to understand how creators and stewards of Census data, inside and outside of government, approach dilemmas associated with its dissemination to stakeholders, and also to create an international community of practice regarding these matters.

Hosted by NEST, the Workshop is organized by the Canadian Census Data Discovery Partnership, an ongoing research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The Partnership’s goal is to construct a detailed searchable inventory of all Canadian historical census information sources with the longer-term goal of creating a portal to facilitate access to historical census data by a wide range of potential users.

Presenter packages (last updated 20 Jan. 2022):

Final reports:

  • Taylor, Zack, Susan Mowers, Julien Doris, Shannon Leitch, and Leanne Trimble. 2022. Disseminating Census Data: Learning from Experience. Canadian Census Data Discovery Partnership Consultation Report No. 2.
  • Taylor, Zack, Susan Mowers, Julien Doris, Shannon Leitch, et Leanne Trimble. 2022. Diffuser les données du recensement : L’apprentissage par l’expérience. Rapport de consultation du Le Partenariat de découverte des données du recensement du Canada no 2.