Across the nation, Canadians are invited to join the great Canadian debate and weigh in on which is more important to our home and native land: history or geography. This new challenge stems from the launch of the newest addition to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s award-winning Canadian Atlas Online — “Now with history added.”

To help kick-off this debate and mark the launch of the website’s new addition of animated and interactive historical content, rivals History and Geography will take a cross-country journey, “discussing” the finer points of Canada’s people and places and battling it out over social networking sites. But don’t expect them to be civil about it. Geography thinks History would be absolutely nowhere without him, while History believes Geography would be just dirt, rocks and trees if he hadn’t come along.

But who’s right?

“Our hope is that this debate will capture the imagination of Canadians of all ages, and make them want to explore the Canadian Atlas Online,” says Louise Maffett, executive director of The Royal Canadian Geographic Society. “By adding more historical content, we are providing a fuller, more rewarding user experience and a greater depth of knowledge than ever before.”

Canadians can meet History and Geography, and follow their voyage through online social networks. They can check out Facebook for profiles and updates, follow their cross-country journey via Twitter and watch them duke it out in a series of entertaining YouTube videos. There is also a micro-site dedicated to the campaign.

“Geographic literacy is vital to understanding our shared history and culture, but sadly it is on the decline,” Maffett notes. “The Canadian Atlas Online is rich with resources like interactive maps and animated presentations that really make geography — and now history — come alive. Plus there is a learning centre and even games and quizzes. It’s just a great place for people to explore and learn about our country.”

The Canadian Atlas Online is a free resource published by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in support of its mission to “make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world.” The site allows users to explore by map or by five key themes: regions, natural resources, energy systems, people and building the nation.