Canada Physical Geography
Political Features • 10 Provinces • 3 Territories • 2nd largest country in the world. • Population – Approximately 33 million • Mexico has 3x the population • USA has 9x • Shares over 3,000 miles of border with the USA. . . Makes trade easier between the 2 nations.
Land • Canada is located on the continent of North America in the northern & western hemispheres • Second largest continent (North America) in the world in land size • Wide variety of physical features
Land • Mountains: • Rocky Mountains • Extend 3000 miles in North America (U.S. & Canada) • Smaller mountain chains along both coasts • Coast Mtns – West • Notre Dame Mtns - East
Land • Prairie: • Interior Plains • Located east of the Rockies (western Canada) • Northern extension of Great Plains in US • Flat land used mostly for farming
Land • Other landforms: • Canadian Shield • Covers nearly ½ of Canada’s land area • Circles Hudson Bay in eastern Canada • Area of ancient rock - Very rugged • Rich in natural resources – trees, minerals & water • Mining is an important industry along the Canadian Shield (1.5 million people)
Water • Oceans • Canada is bordered by three oceans • Atlantic to the east • Pacific to the west • Arctic to the north • Other • Hudson Bay • Connected to both the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean • Niagara Falls • Border between Ontario and New York state • 2nd largest waterfall behind Victoria Falls in Africa
Niagara Falls American Falls (far left) Bridal Veil Falls (mid left) Canadian/Horseshoe Falls Length of brink: 1060 feet Height: 176 feet (due to rocks at the base actual fall is 70’) Volume of water: 150,000 U.S. gallons /second Length of brink: 2600 feet Height: 167 feet Volume of water: 600,000 U.S. gallons/second
Does Niagara Falls Freeze Over in Winter? • The tremendous volume of water never stops flowing. • However, the falling water and mist create ice formations along the banks of the falls and river. • This can result in mounds of ice as thick as fifty feet. • If the Winter is cold for long enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form what is known as the "ice bridge". • This ice bridge can extend for several miles down river. • Until 1912,visitors were allowed to actually walk out on the ice bridge and view the Falls from below.
HOWEVER.... • The flow of water was stopped completely over both falls on March 29, 1848 due to an ice jam in the upper river for several hours. • This is the only known time to have occurred. • The Falls did not actually freeze over, but the flow was stopped to the point where people actually walked out and recovered artifacts from the riverbed!
June to November 1969 • The American Falls were dewatered. • Most of the diverted water was either sent over the Horseshoe Falls or diverted to the Robert Moses generating plant's upriver intakes. • Purpose was to do on-the-spot inspections and aerial photographs of the river bed's rock formation. • Part of a plan to reduce erosion to the Falls.
Water • Lakes • Great Lakes • 5 freshwater lakes - largest in the world • Lake Superior • Lake Michigan • Lake Huron • Lake Erie • Lake Ontario • HOMES • “SuperMan Hates Eating Oreos” • 4 lakes that share a border with Canada • Formed by glaciers during the last Ice Age • 4 of 5 lakes shared by both US and Canada • Only Lake Michigan is entirely within the US • Important waterways for both countries
Water • Rivers • St. Lawrence River • “Mother of Canada” • Connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean
Water • St. Lawrence Seaway • One of North America’s most important transportation routes • Built by both the USA and Canada • Locks are used to allow ships to navigate through elevation changes (like Panama Canal)
Distance from the Atlantic Ocean to Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior = 2,038 nautical miles (2,342 statute miles) • 8.5 sailing days.
Climate • Because of its size, Canada has many climate zones • Most of Canada is very cold…why? • Areas along the coasts enjoy milder climates…why? • Inland areas have more extreme climates (very cold winters & very warm summers)…why? • Some areas of eastern Canada can exceed 100 inches of snowfall EACH year! . . . Any ideas why?
Vegetation • Because of its latitude, Canada only has several types of natural vegetation • Tundra • found in the far north • cold, dry, & contains permafrost • a layer of permanently frozen ground • Prairie • grasslands located in central Canada • Used for farmland • Forests • cover almost half of Canada • located east and west
Where do Canadians live? • About 80% of Canadians live in urban areas in southeast and central parts of Canada – roughly 100 miles from the USA-Canada border. • WHY??? • Available natural resources and climate • 20% live in small rural communities because natural resources are spread over ALL of Canada • Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River • Most densely populated area – provide trade routes inland • Fertile farm land, temperate climate and large cities (Montreal, Toronto) • Western Plains • People have settled here to harvest the rich farmlands • Canadian Shield • Large mining industry – mineral deposits
Let’s Talk About Trade . . . • Canada’s trade is impacted by location, climate and natural resources. • Location = major trading partners • Climate & Natural resources = what they trade • Major Trading partners . . . • 70% of manufactured goods are produced in the Great Lakes region • Lakes, rivers & St. Lawrence Seaway are used to transport goods to other countries.
Due to Canada’s location north of the USA, the U.S. is Canada’s major trading partner • Imports and Exports • Both countries are interdependent on each other • They need each other to be successful economically • NAFTA was established (North American Free Trade Agreement) • Since 1994, US, Canada and Mexico have free trade between their countries • 80% of exports go to the USA • Including . . . Hydroelectric power, oil, natural gas, fish, agricultural products and timber.
Natural Resources • Farmland: • 12% of Canada’s land is used for farming • Most farmland located in the interior plains • Most important agricultural product produced is wheat • Minerals/Energy Resources: • Nickel, copper, gold, silver, zinc and uranium – found in the Canadian Shield • Oil and natural resources – western plains • Fishing: • Mostly along the Pacific coast • also along the Atlantic coast • Timber: • One of the world’s leading producers of timber products, such as lumber, paper, plywood, and maple syrup
In which province would you find the most oil? • What is the main product found along the eastern and western coasts? • What does the “F” symbol represent? • What is the only province that produces cheese? • Near which body of water is fur found? • In what geographic region can wheat and cattle be found? • Which province/territory only has one product or resource labeled? • What product is found furthest north? • What four resources and products are found in Manitoba?
Answers to Natural Resources Map • In which province would you find the most oil? Alberta • What is the main product found along the eastern and western coasts? Fish • What does the “F” symbol represent? Furs • What is the only province that produces cheese? Quebec • Near which body of water is fur found? Hudson Bay • In what geographic region can wheat and cattle be found? West/Southwest • Which province/territory only has one product or resource labeled? Yukon Territory • What product is found furthest north? Silver • What four resources and products are found in Manitoba? Furs, Forest Products, Copper, Wheat
Environmental Concerns • Overfishing: • Too many fish being caught has led to a reduction in fish populations off both Atlantic & Pacific coasts • Canada’s government has banned fishing in some areas to allow the fish to repopulate
Environmental Concerns • Canadian Shield • Major natural resources – minerals, water & forests • Extraction and use of these natural resources can cause pollution • Canada is trying to balance the economic growth from these resources as well as the environmental and conservation concerns. • Minerals • Valuable exports and help fuel the country’s industries • Concerns: • Toxic waste can seep in ground water and water sources • Habitat loss • Emissions can cause acid rain (sulfur dioxide)
Rivers • Produce hydroelectricity – largest producer in the world • Concerns: • Creation of dams, reservoirs and change in river flow • Habitat loss • Shoreline erosion and change in aquatic food chain • Flooding of farmland
Timber Industry • Harvested to make lumber and paper products • Concerns: • Clear-cutting – cutting down an entire group of trees at one time • Flooding, erosion & loss of habitats • Eutrophication – nutrient-rich soil from clear-cut forests moves into rivers, leading to excessive plant growth and less oxygen for fish
Environmental Concerns • Acid rain: • Caused by air pollution from burning coal or oil • Sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides • Acid levels can become similar to acid levels in vinegar • Primarily a result from power plant emissions, factories that process minerals & vehicles • Great Lakes region in eastern Canada & the USA • How does the pollution from the USA impact Canada? • Wind patterns move the pollution from the USA to Canada . . . 50-75% • Major Problem in Quebec and Ontario • Bedrock prevents the water and soil from neutralizing the acid • Seeps into the ground water – poisioning lakes, forests and soil
Environmental Concerns • Effects of Acid Rain • Polluted farmland and dying trees in eastern Canada • Dead plants and fish in thousands of lakes – including the Great Lakes • Damage to buildings • Especially those made of granite, marble and limestone • Lower profits in vital industries such as fishing, forestry and agriculture • Solutions: • Regulating industries and car manufactureres • Replace coal-fired power plants with gas-powered power plants • Adding lime to lakes, rivers and soil to neutralize acid • Encourage citizens to walk, ride bikes or carpool
Great Lakes – Pollution • Major source of water and transportation for commerce • Pollution from . . . • Waste from industries • Sewage treatment plants • Runoff containing pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease and salt from highways • The Great Lakes have been utilized as an inexpensive dumping ground for waste (industrial and human). • Solution: • Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement • Signed by Canada and the USA in 1971 and renewed in 2002 • Goal is to restore the lakes’ environment and prevent future damage.