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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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Canim Falls and lava flows
The Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field, also called the Clearwater Cone Group, is a potentially active monogenetic volcanic field in east-central British Columbia, Canada, located approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Kamloops. It is situated in the Cariboo Mountains of the Columbia Mountains and on the Quesnel and Shuswap Highlands. As a monogenetic volcanic field, it is a place with numerous small basaltic volcanoes and extensive lava flows.

Most of the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field is encompassed within a large wilderness park called Wells Gray Provincial Park. This 5,400-square-kilometre (2,100 sq mi) park was established in 1939 because of the volcanic field's beauty. A single road enters the park, but from it, a number of the field's volcanic features can be viewed. Short hikes lead to several volcanic features but some areas are accessible only by aircraft.

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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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Goose-flying.jpg
The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a wild goose belonging to the genus Branta, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, having a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body. It is often called the Canadian Goose, but that name is not the ornithological standard, or the most common name.

The black head and neck with white "chinstrap" distinguish the Canada Goose from all other goose species, with the exception of the Barnacle Goose, but the latter has a black breast, and also grey, rather than brownish, body plumage.

There are seven subspecies of this bird, of varying sizes and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada Geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the newly-separated Cackling Goose.

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Great Lakes from space.jpg
View of the Great Lakes from space.

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Banff National Park /ˈbæmf/ is Canada's oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains. The park, located 110-180 kilometres (70-110 mi) west of Calgary in the province of Alberta, encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, while Kootenay National Park is located to the south and Kananaskis Country to the southeast. The main commercial centre of the park is the town of Banff, in the Bow River valley.

The Canadian Pacific Railway was instrumental in Banff's early years, building the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise, and attracting tourists through extensive advertising. In the early 20th century, roads were built in Banff, at times by war internees, and through Great Depression-era public works projects. Since the 1960s, park accommodations have been open all year, with annual tourism visits to Banff increasing to over 5 million in the 1990s. Millions more pass through the park on the Trans-Canada Highway. As Banff is one of the world's most visited national parks, the health of its ecosystem has been threatened. In the mid-1990s, Parks Canada responded by initiating a two-year study, which resulted in management recommendations, and new policies that aim to preserve ecological integrity.

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Maianthemum racemosum 0972.JPG
Maianthemum racemosum (Treacleberry, False Solomon's Seal, Solomon's plume or False Spikenard; syn. Smilacina racemosa) is a species of flowering plant in the family Ruscaceae, native to North America.

It is a woodland herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50-90 cm tall, with alternate, oblong-lanceolate leaves 7-15 cm long and 3-6 cm broad. The flowers are produced on a 10-15 cm panicle, each flower with six white tepals 3-6 mm long blooming in late spring. The plants produce green fruits that are round and turn red in late summer. It grows in bicoastal habitats in North America up to elevations of 7,000 feet. The most robust and profuse occurrences of this plant are typically found in partial shade and deep, moist, soft soils.

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1 news items

TheChronicleHerald.ca

TheChronicleHerald.ca
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:00:13 -0700

Cape Breton's supply of volunteer firefighters is depleting as the number of people working out west continues to rise, say local fire chiefs. Mark Voutier, chief of the Frenchvale Volunteer Fire Department, near North Sydney, said of his 18 casual and ...
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