St. Peter Secondary School student Jake Douglas to represent Canada at International Geography Olympiad

image of male student

May 17, 2019

BY Angela O’Grady, Special to the Peterborough Examiner


A St. Peter Catholic Secondary School student is heading to the International Geography Olympiad in Hong Kong after placing in the top four of the top level of the Canadian Geographic Challenge.

Jake Douglas, 16,  has participated in four Canadian Geography challenges, but this is the first year he has been eligible to compete for a position on Team Canada.

Douglas qualified in the top 20 position after completing an online Canadian Geographic test. The second part of the competition, field work, is what earned him a spot in the top four.

His field work was a study on The Parkway Trail and how Peterborough residents use and enjoy the trail.

“The field work was something I did on my own terms,” Douglas said. “The Parkway was such a big issue in Peterborough and I really enjoyed doing it.”

The Parkway trail is a ribbon of green space across the city that has been set aside for a road extension for 70 years — yet the road has never been built.

Although the last city council voted in 2014 to build the road, the decision was controversial: 88 citizen appeals were filed and the province then ordered the city to do a new environmental assessment before it could build any part of the road.

When he gets to Hong Kong at the end of July, Douglas and three other Canadian contestants; two from Ontario and one from B.C., will have to work together to conduct a study on Smart Cities.

Contestants will use their field work to study ways that cities can use technology to improve citizens quality of life; economically, socially or environmentally.

“I’m really excited to see what people from the other countries come up with,” Douglas said.

The 2019 International Geography Olympiad competition begins July 30 and ends Aug. 5.