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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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The epicenters were south and a bit west of the center of British Columbia.
The epicenters were south and a bit west of the center of British Columbia.
Location of the 2007–2008 Nazko swarm
The 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes were a series of small earthquakes measuring less than 4.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. They took place in the sparsely populated Nazko area of the Central Interior of British Columbia starting on Tuesday, October 9, 2007. Their epicenters were near the upper Baezaeko River, 30 km (19 mi) west of Nazko Cone, a small tree-covered cinder cone that last erupted about 7,200 years ago. The swarm of earthquakes is unique in that it constitutes the only recorded seismicity in the Canadian Cordillera away from the British Columbia Coast.

No damages or casualties resulted from the Nazko earthquakes, which were too small to be felt by people, but local seismographs recorded them. The earthquake swarm occurred at the eastern end of a known volcanic zone called the Anahim Volcanic Belt. This is an east-west trending 600 km (370 mi) long line of volcanoes that extends from just north of Vancouver Island to near the small city of Quesnel.

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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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Snowy Owl Barrow Alaska.jpg
The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) 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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Black Brook Waterfall Cabot Trail.JPG
Waterfall in "Black Brook" on Cabot Trail, Cape Breton.

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Pingos in Pingo National Landmark
Pingo National Landmark is a natural area protecting eight pingos near Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. It is in a coastal region of the Arctic Ocean which contains approximately 1,350 Arctic ice dome hills—approximately one quarter of the world's pingos.

The Landmark comprises an area roughly 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi), just 5 km (3.1 mi) west of Tuktoyaktuk, and includes Ibyuk pingo, Canada's highest (and the world's second-highest), at 49 m (161 ft). The Landmark is managed by Parks Canada under the National Parks Act. Although a nationwide Landmarks program was envisioned at its creation, Pingo remains the country's only National Landmark.

In a region near the Beaufort Sea which is quite flat, pingos dominate the skyline, rising from 5 to 36 m (16 to 118 ft), in various stages of growth and collapse. Ibyuk pingo, the highest, continues to grow about 2 cm (0.79 in) per year, and is estimated to be at least 1,000 years old. Unique to areas of permafrost, pingos have formed here thanks to numerous lakes in the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula.

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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 (registration)
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:55:33 -0700

TORONTO — In a country the size of Canada, there is no shortage of places to visit, ranging from don't bother to don't miss. But which ones are the best? Aaron Kylie, editor of Canadian Geographic magazine, takes a stab at answering that question with ...
 
TheChronicleHerald.ca
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:46:25 -0700

SYDNEY — Cape Breton Regional Municipality will join three other counties to create a regional enterprise network for the island. Councillors considered an inter-municipal agreement behind closed doors Tuesday in Sydney and then voted to join the ...
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