The Geography of Canada Portal
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.
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Selected region -
, colloquially the North
, is the vast northernmost region
variously defined by geography
. Politically, the term refers to the three territories of Canada
, Northwest Territories
, and Nunavut
. Similarly, the Far North
(when contrasted to the North
) may refer to the Canadian Arctic
: the portion of Canada north of the Arctic Circle
These reckonings somewhat depend on the concept of nordicity, a measure of northernness that other Arctic territories share. Canada, a country in northern North America whose population is concentrated along its southern frontier with the United States, is frequently reckoned to not have a 'south.' While the largest part of the Arctic is composed of permanent ice and tundra north of the tree line, it encompasses geological regions of varying types: the Innuitian Mountains, associated with the Arctic Cordillera mountain system, is geologically distinct from the Arctic Region (which consists largely of lowlands).
Selected fauna -
The Snowy Owl
) is a large owl
of the typical owl family
Strigidae. The Snowy Owl was first classified in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus
, the Swedish naturalist who developed binomial nomenclature
to classify and organize plants and animals. The bird is also known in North America as the Arctic Owl
or the Great White Owl
Until recently, it was regarded as the sole member of a distinct genus, as Nyctea scandiaca, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data (Olsen et al. 2002) shows that it is very closely related to the horned owls in the genus Bubo. The Snowy Owl is the official bird of Quebec. This species of owl nests on the ground, building a scrape on top of a mound or boulder. A site with good visibility, ready access to hunting areas, and a lack of snow is chosen. Gravel bars and abandoned eagle nests may be used. Breeding occurs in May, and depending on the amount of prey available, clutch sizes range from 5 to 14 eggs, which are laid singly, approximately every other day over the course of several days.
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Did you know? -
Selected National Park -
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.
Selected flora -
is a deciduous
tree native to cooler areas of North America
. The species is referred to Quaking Aspen
, Trembling Aspen
, and Quakies
, names deriving from its leaves which flutter in the breeze. The tree-like plant has tall trunks, up to 25 metres, with smooth pale bark, scarred with black. The glossy green leaves, dull beneath, become golden to yellow, rarely red, in Autumn. A tall, fast growing tree, usually 20–25 metres (66–82 ft) at maturity, with a trunk 20–80 centimetres (7.9–31 in) in diameter; records are 36.5 meters (120 ft) in height and 1.37 metres (4.5 ft) in diameter. The bark is relatively smooth greenish-white to gray and is marked by thick black horizontal scars and prominent black knots.
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