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The Geography of Canada Portal
This is a sister portal of the Canada Portal

Introduction

Geography by province and territory

The geography of Canada is vast and diverse. Occupying most of the northern portion of North America (41% of the continent), Canada is the world's second largest country in total area after Russia. Canada spans an immense territory between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Arctic Ocean to the north (hence the country's motto "From sea to sea"), with the United States to the south (contiguous United States) and northwest (Alaska), and the Arctic Ocean to the north; Greenland is to the northeast. Off the southern coast of Newfoundland lies Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, an overseas collectivity of France. Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60°W and 141°W longitude to the North Pole; however, this claim is contested. Canada's abundance of natural resources is reflected in their continued importance in the economy of Canada. Major resource-based industries are fisheries, forestry, agriculture, petroleum products and mining.

The flora of Canada is quite diverse, due to the wide range of ecoregions and environmental conditions present in Canada. From the warm, temperate broadleaf forests of southern Ontario to the frigid Arctic plains of the Northern Canada, from the wet temperate rainforests of the west coast to the arid deserts, badlands and tundra plains, the biodiversity of Canada's plants is extensive. About 4,100 species of vascular plants are native to Canada, and about 1,200 additional non-native species are recorded as established outside cultivation there.

The fauna of Canada is considered to be diverse across Canada, ranging from lush forests of British Columbia, to the prairies of Western Canada, to the tundra of the Northern Canada. With a large land mass, and small population density, the wildlands of Canada provide important habitat for many animals, both endangered and not. Canada is home to approximately 70 000 known species of plants and animals - and perhaps many more that have yet to be discovered.

Canada flag map.svg More about...Canadian geography, its flora and fauna

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Recently erupted pahoehoe lava flow at the Blue River
Volcanism of Canada has produced lava flows, lava plateaus, lava domes, cinder cones, stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, submarine volcanoes, calderas, diatremes, and maars, along with examples of more less common volcanic forms such as tuyas and subglacial mounds. It has a very complex volcanological history spanning from the Precambrian period at least 6,000years ago when this part of the North American continent began to form.

Although the country's volcanic activity dates back to the Precambrian period, volcanism continues to occur in Western and Northern Canada where it forms part of an encircling chain of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes around the Pacific Ocean called the Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanic activity has been responsible for many of Canada's geological and geographical features and mineralization, including the nucleus of North America called the Canadian Shield.

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Rain forest along Olympic Coast.jpg
The Pacific temperate rain forests coregion of North America is the largest temperate rain forest ecoregion on the planet as defined by the World Wildlife Fund (other definitions exist). The Pacific temperate rain forests lie along the western side of the Pacific Coast Ranges along the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America from the Prince William Sound in Alaska through the British Columbia Coast to Northern California, and are part of the Nearctic ecozone, as also defined by the World Wildlife Fund. The Pacific temperate rain forests are characterized by a high amount of rainfall, in some areas more than 300 cm (120 inches) per year and moderate temperatures in both the summer and winter months (between 10-24°C).

The forests in the north contain predominantly Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock, while those in the coastal forests are home as well to Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Western Redcedar and Shore Pine. Notably, the three tallest species of trees are found here. Dense growths of epiphytes and mosses cover the trees, and lush vegetation is present everywhere.

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Blanchon-idlm2006.jpg
The Harp Seal or Saddleback seal is a species of earless seal native to the northernmost Atlantic Ocean and adjacent parts of the Arctic Ocean. Officially Pagophilus groenlandicus, which means ice-lover from Greenland, it has a synonym Phoca groenlandica or Greenland seal. It can also be found in Canada It is also known as the Greenland seal.

Females mature sexually at age 5–6. Annually thereafter they bear one pup, usually in late February. The fertilized egg grows into a spherical embryo that implants in the uterus only after 3 or so months, to allow birth to take place while sufficient pack ice is available. Newborn pups weight around 11 kilograms (24 lb) and are 80–85 centimetres (31–33 in) long. After birth, the mother only feeds that pup. During the 12-day nursing period, the mother does not eat, losing up to 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) per day. All three populations are hunted commercially, mainly by Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland.

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NLW BonneBay4 tango7174.jpg
Rocky Harbour, Bonne Bay, Western Newfoundland, Canada.

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NLC TerraNova2 tango7174.jpg
Terra Nova National Park is located on the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, along several inlets of Bonavista Bay. The park takes its name from the latin name for Newfoundland.

Terra Nova's landscape is typical of the northeast coast of Newfoundland, with remnants of the Appalachian Mountains contributing to widely varied and rugged topography throughout the region. The park's seacoast consists of several rocky "fingers" jutting into Bonavista Bay along an area stretching from just north of Port Blandford to the vicinity of Glovertown. The coastline varies from cliffs and exposed headlands to sheltered inlets and coves, contributing to Newfoundland's prime recreational boating area.

Inland areas consist of rolling forested hills, exposed rock faces, and bogs, ponds and wetlands. Wildlife protected by the park range from small to large land mammals, migratory birds, and various marine life. Terra Nova also protects an area containing remnants of the Beothuk Nation, as well as many of the early pioneer European settlements in the region.

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Nelumbo lutea blossom.jpeg
Nelumbo lutea is a species of flowering plant of the order Proteales that is native to North America. - American Lotus, Yellow Lotus, and Water-chinquapin.

Like the Asian species Nelumbo nucifera, the Lotus is an emergent aquatic plant. It grows in lakes and swamps, as well as areas subject to flooding. The roots are anchored in the mud, but the leaves and flowers emerge above the water's surface. The petioles of the leaves may extend as much as 2 m (6.6 ft) and end in a round leaf blade 33–43 cm (13–17 in) in diameter. Mature plants range in height from 0.8 to 1.5 m (2.6 to 4.9 ft).

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Geography of Canada category

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Pangnirtung panorama.jpg
View of the far side of Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

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2 news items

TheChronicleHerald.ca

TheChronicleHerald.ca
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:15:00 -0700

ANTIGONISH — John Kennedy can remember one summer as dry as this one. It was 1979 and the Lanark, Antigonish County, dairy farmer had to order hay from Prince Edward Island to feed his cows. “This year is darn near as bad as that one,” said the ...
 
The Missoulian
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:52:51 -0700

Established in 1959 by the Massey Foundation, the Massey Medal is awarded annually by the society to recognize outstanding career achievement in the exploration, development or description of the geography of Canada. After his university retirement, ...
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