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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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Canadian Rockies.png
The Canadian Rockies comprise the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains range. They are the eastern part of the Canadian Cordillera, extending from the Interior Plains of Alberta to the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. The southern end borders Idaho and Montana of the USA. The northern end is at the Liard River in northern British Columbia.

The Canadian Rockies are the easternmost part of the Canadian Cordillera, the collective name for the mountains of Western Canada. They form part of the American Cordillera, an essentially continuous sequence of mountain ranges that runs all the way from Alaska to the very tip of South America. The Cordillera in turn are the eastern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire that runs all the way around the Pacific Ocean.

The Canadian Rockies are bounded on the east by the Canadian Prairies, on the west by the Rocky Mountain Trench , and on the north by the Liard River. Contrary to popular misconception, the Rockies do not extend north into Yukon or Alaska, or west into central British Columbia. North of the Liard River, the Mackenzie Mountains, which are a distinct mountain range, form a portion of the border between the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The mountain ranges to the west of the Rocky Mountain Trench in southern British Columbia are called the Columbia Mountains, and are not considered to be part of the Rockies by Canadian geologists.

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Caribou from Wagon Trails.jpg
Barren-ground Caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) is a subspecies of the caribou that is found mainly in the Canadian territories Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and western Greenland. On the mainland of Canada, the animals may travel in herds of several thousand but on the islands, they move in smaller groups (no more than 50).

It sometimes includes the similar porcupine caribou, in which case the barren-ground caribou also is found in Alaska. It is a medium sized caribou with the females weighing around 90 kilograms (200 lb) and the males around 150 kilograms (330 lb).

Like the Peary Caribou, both the males and females have antlers. In general, during the summer, the coat of the caribou is brown, and much lighter in the winter. The neck and rump tends towards a creamy-white colour. However, the general colouration may differ depending on the region.

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Black Brook Waterfall Cabot Trail.JPG
Waterfall in "Black Brook" on Cabot Trail, Cape Breton.

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NLW GrosMorne4 tango7174.jpg
Gros Morne National Park is a world heritage site located on the west coast of Newfoundland. At 1,805 km2 (697 sq mi), it is the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada (surpassed by Torngat Mountains National Park at 9,600 km2 or 3,700 sq mi).

The park takes its name from Newfoundland's second-highest mountain peak (at 2,644 ft/806 m) located within the park. Its French meaning is "large mountain standing alone," or more literally "great sombre." Gros Morne is a member of the Long Range Mountains, an outlying range of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching the length of the island's west coast. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. "The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth's mantle lie exposed."

The Gros Morne National Park Reserve was established in 1973. It wasn't until October 1, 2005 that the National Parks Act was applied to the reserve, thereby making it a Canadian National Park.

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Campanula rotundifolia 9533.JPG
Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell) is a rhizomatous perennial flowering plant in the bellflower family native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

In Scotland, it is often known as the Bluebell, whereas elsewhere in Britain, "bluebell" refers to Hyacinthoides non-scripta. The species is very variable in form. It occurs as tetraploid or hexaploid populations in Britain and Ireland, but diploids occur widely in continental Europe. Harebells flower in late summer between July and October, sometimes into November, and are found on dry, nutrient-poor grassland and heaths in Britain, throughout Northern Europe and in North America. Once established, the plants compete with tall grass, but the minute seedlings need a clear space in which to establish. The plant often successfully colonises cracks in walls or cliff faces, but is also prominent in dunes.

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