• One of the "Off the map" curiosities that gathers Canadian place names according to themes. (Map: Canadian Geographic)

When you’re a geography nut, you do some seemingly bizarre things. For instance: perusing the index of the Canadian Geographic Atlas of Canada.

Sure, it may seem like a strange activity at first blush, however, this list of place names from across the country is a treasure trove of intrigue — most notably because of the themes that emerge.

Gilles Gagnier, Canadian Geographic’s chief operating officer and publisher, often mentions an old department from the magazine’s past that used to create national maps on such themes (from celestial bodies to brand names to music).

This “Off the map” section ran in the magazine periodically in the late 1990s and into the year 2000, and ultimately created a group of fun maps itemizing interesting groupings of place names across the country — all of which were collected for the magazine’s web site and are available here.

So indulge your inner map geek, and explore the country’s insect, international and fashion-inspired place names (plus many more!). But don’t get carried away — you just might find yourself book worming through the atlas index to find even more curiosities.