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Knight'sCanadianInfoCollection

PRESENTS

Geographic(Physical)Regions
ofCanada
IncludingtheCanadianEcozones

FromSeatoSea...toSea!
OccupyingthenorthernhalfoftheNorthAmericancontinent,Canadahasalandmassof9,970,610km,
makingitthesecondlargestcountryintheworldafterRussia.FromWesttoEast,Canadaencompasses
sixtimezones:Pacific,Mountain,Central,Eastern,AtlanticandNewfoundland(whichisonly1/2an
hourgreaterthanAtlantic).
Canada'smotto,"FromSeatoSea,"isgeographicallyinaccurate.Inadditiontoitscoastlinesonthe
AtlanticandPacific,CanadahasathirdseacoastontheArcticOcean,givingitthelongestcoastlineof
anycountryintheworld.
Tothesouth,Canadasharesa8,892kmboundarywiththeUnitedStatesofAmerica.Tothenorth,the
ArcticIslandscomewithin800kmoftheNorthPole.Canada'sneighbouracrosstheArcticOceanis
Russia.
ALongThinBand
Becauseoftheextremelyharshnorthernclimate,only12percentoftheCanadianlandmassissuitable
foragriculture.Thus,mostofthepopulationlivewithinafewhundredkilometresofthesouthernborder,
wheretheclimateismilder,inalongthinbandstretchingbetweentheAtlanticandthePacificoceans.
NumberlessLakesandGreatRivers
IfyouflyoverManitobaornorthernOntarioinsummer,youwillseemorewaterthanland:lakes,big
andsmall,somanythattheycouldnotpossiblybecounted.IthasbeenestimatedthatCanadahasone
seventhoftheworld'sfreshwater.InadditiontotheGreatLakes,whichitshareswiththeUnitedStates,
Canadahasmanylargeriversandlakes.
ParksandWildlife
ItismuchbettertoexplorefirsthandthegeographyofCanadathantoreadaboutit.Thecountry's
National,TerritorialandProvincialparksrepresenteverylandformandpreservethewildlifenativeto
thoseregions:fromthebirdwatchers'paradiseofPointPele,astoppingoffpointformigratorybirds

crossingLakeErie,totheglaciersandfiordsofAuyuittuq("thelandthatnevermelts")onBaffinIsland
intheArcticfromtherainforestofVancouverIslandtothestarkcliffsandhighlandsofGrosMornein
westernNewfoundland.
Whethertinyorenormous,Canadianparksarelivingmuseums,asdiverse,vastandfascinatingas
Canadaitself.

CANADA'SGEOGRAPHICREGIONS
CanadaisdividedintoVERYdistinctregions,eachwithaverydifferentlandscapeandclimate.These
regionsare:
TheWestThePrairiesCentralCanadaTheMaritimesTheNorth.
These5regionscanbefurtherbrokendownasfollows:

1.ThePacificCoastTheCordillera
Bathedbywarm,moistPacificaircurrents,theBritishColumbiacoast,indentedbydeepfiordsand
shieldedfromthePacificstormsbyVancouverIsland,hasthemostmoderateclimateofCanada's
regions.
VancouverIsland'swestcoastreceivesanexceptionalamountofrain,givingitatemperaterainforest
climate.Althoughitdoesnotcontainthediversityofspeciesofatropicalrainforest,theisland'swest
coastdoeshavetheoldestandtallesttreesinCanada:westernredcedars1,300yearsoldandDouglas
firsover90metreshigh.
FromBritishColumbiatojusteastoftheAlbertaborderthelandisyoung,withruggedmountainsand
highplateaus.SignsofgeologicallyrecentvolcanicactivitycanbeseeninGaribaldiProvincialParkin
southernBritishColumbiaandatMountEdzizainthenorth.

TheRockyMountains,theCoastMountainsandotherranges,runningnorthtosouth,posedmajor
engineeringproblemsforthebuildersofthetranscontinentalrailwaysandhighways.Canada'shighest
peaks,however,arenotintheRockies,butintheSt.EliasMountains,anextensionoftheCordillera
stretchingnorthintotheYukonandAlaska.ThehighestpointinCanada,mountLogan(6050m),rises
amidahugeicefieldinthesouthwestcornerofYukon,thelargesticecapsouthoftheArcticCircle.
TheBritishColumbiainteriorvariesfromalpinesnowfieldstodeepvalleyswheredesertlikeconditions
prevail.Ontheleewardsideofthemountains,forexample,arainshadoweffectiscreated,forcing
OkanaganValleyfarmerstoirrigatetheirorchardsandvineyards.
2.TheInteriorPlainsThePrairies
TodriveacrossthePrairiesistoseeendlessfieldsofwheatandcanolaripeningunderaskythatseemsto
goonforever.TheplainsofAlberta,SaskatchewanandManitobaareamongtherichestgrainproducing
regionsintheworld.
Yetevenherearesurprises.IfyouleavetheroadatBrooks,Alberta,anddrivenorth,youdescendinto
theRedDeerRivervalley.Here,indesertlikeconditions,waterandwindhavecreatedstrangeshapesin
thesandstonecalled"hoodoos."Thesameforcesoferosionhaveuncoveredsomeofthelargest
concentrationsofdinosaurfossilsintheworld.
AlbertaisCanada'sleadingproducerofpetroleum.ThesedimentaryrocksunderlyingthePrairieshave
importantdepositsofoil,naturalgasandpotash.
3.TheCanadianShield
AhugeinlandseacalledHudsonBayextendsintotheheartofCanada,andwrappedaroundthisbayisa
rockyregioncalledtheCanadianShield.Canada'slargestgeographicalfeature,itstretcheseastto
Labrador,southtoKingstononLakeOntarioandnorthwestasfarastheArcticOcean.
TheShieldisconsideredtobethenucleusoftheNorthAmericancontinentandismadeupofrootsof
ancientmountains.Itsgneissandgraniterocksare3.5billionyearsold,threequarterstheageofthe
Earth.Scrapedbytheadvanceandretreatofglaciers,theShieldhasonlyathinlayerofsoilthatsupports
aborealforestofspruce,fir,tamarackandpine.
Theregionisastorehouseofminerals,includinggold,silver,zinc,copperanduranium,andCanada's
greatminingtownsarelocatedthere:SudburyandTimminsinOntario,Vald'OrinQuebec,andFlin
FlonandThompsoninManitoba.
4.St.LawrenceLowlandsTheGreatLakes
SouthernQuebecandOntario,theindustrialheartlandofCanada,containCanada'stwolargestcities,
MontrealandToronto.Inthissmallregion,50percentofCanadiansliveand70percentofCanada's
manufacturedgoodsareproduced.
Theregionalsohasprimeagriculturalland,forexampletheNiagaraPeninsula.Thelargeexpansesof
lakesErieandOntarioextendthenumberoffrostfreedays,permittingthecultivationofgrapes,
peaches,pearsandotherfruits.
TheGreatLakesandSt.Lawrenceregionissugarmaplecountry.Intheautumn,thetree'sleaves,
Canada'snationalsymbol,areablazeinred,orangeandgold.Thesapiscollectedinspringand
evaporatedtomakemaplesyrupandsugar,aculinarydelicacyfirstpreparedandusedbytheAboriginal
NorthAmericanpeoples.
5.AppalachianRegionTheAtlanticProvinces
NewBrunswick,NovaScotia,PrinceEdwardIslandandNewfoundlandarethesmallestCanadian
provinces,andwerethefirsttobesettledbyEuropeans.EvidenceofcontactasfarbackasAD1000has
beenfoundataNorsesettlementatl'AnseauxMeadows,inNewfoundland.
TheGrandBankshavebeencalledthe"wheatfields"ofNewfoundland.Thishallowcontinentalshelf
extends400kmofftheeastcoast,wherethemixingofoceancurrentshascreatedoneoftherichest

fishinggroundsintheworld.Oncethoughttocontainavirtuallyinexhaustiblesupplyoffish,theBanks
arenowconsideredavulnerableresourcethatmustbewiselymanaged.
TheAtlanticprovincesareanextensionoftheAppalachians,anancientmountainrange.Muchofthe
regionhaslow,ruggedhillsandplateaus,andadeeplyindentedcoastline.Agricultureflourishesinthe
fertilevalleys,suchastheSaintJohnRiverValley,NewBrunswick,andtheAnnapolisValley,Nova
Scotia.
PrinceEdwardIslandintheGulfofSt.Lawrencehasagentlyrollinglandscapewitharich,redsoil.This
fertileislandisCanada'ssmallestprovince,makingupamere0.1percentofCanada'slandmass.
6.TheArcticLowlandsInnuitianRegion
Northofthetreelineisalandofharshbeauty.Duringtheshortsummer,whendaylightisnearly
continuousandaprofusionofflowersbloomsonthetundra,thetemperaturecanreach30C.Yetthe
wintersarelong,bitterlycold,darkandunforgiving.
TheArcticisnolongeraninaccessiblefrontier.inuvik,intheMackenziedelta,canbereachedbyroad,
andeverycommunityisservedbyair.Mosthaveelectricity,storesandhealthservices.
Northofthemainlandisamazeofislandsseparatedbyconvolutedstraitsandsounds,themostfamous
ofwhichlinktogethertoformthefabledNorthwestPassage,theroutetotheOrientsoughtbysomany
earlyexplorers.
Reflectingagrowingautonomy,theInuit(formerlyknownasEskimos)aregraduallychangingplace
namesintotheirlanguage,Inuktitut.Forexample,thepeopleofFrobisherBayonBaffinIsland,
Nunavut,decidedtorenametheircommunityIqualuit,whichmeans"placeoffish."

CANADA'SECOZONES

TomanyCanadians,ecozonesshouldconjureupdistinctimagesofthecountryforexamplethe
Prairies,Boreal,Taiga,ArcticandCordilleranecozonesbringtomindparticularfeaturessuchas
mountains,plains,treedandtreelessregions,distinctfromoneanotherinoneormoreoftheir
characteristicfeatures.
Canadaiscomprisedof20ecozones.FifteenecozonesmakeupterrestrialCanadaandfivemakeupthe
marinewatersborderingCanada.Themarineecozonesaredisplayedtothe200nauticalmile(372km)
economiclimit.
EcozonesareusefulforgeneralnationalreportingandforplacingCanada'secosystemdiversityina
NorthAmericanorGlobalcontext.
Source:BothMapsandtextaboutCanada'sEcozonefromNaturalResourcesCanadawebsite:http://geogratis.cgdi.gc.ca/
AdditionaltextabouttheCanada'sGeographicRegionswasprovidedbyCommunicationsCanada.Additionaltextwas
addedfordetailandclarification.

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