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Portal:Geography of Canada

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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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Qijuttaaqanngittuq Valley 1 1997-08-07.jpg
The Arctic Cordillera is a vast, deeply dissected chain of mountain ranges extending along the northeastern flank of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from Ellesmere Island to the northeasternmost part of the Labrador Peninsula in northern Labrador and northern Quebec, Canada. It spans most of the eastern coast of Nunavut with high glaciated peaks rising through icefields and some of Canada's largest ice caps, including the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island. It is bounded to the east by Baffin Bay, Davis Strait and the Labrador Sea while its northern portion is bounded by the Arctic Ocean.

The range is mostly located in Nunavut but extends southeast into the northernmost tip of Labrador and northeastern Quebec. The system is divided into a series of ranges, with mountains reaching heights more than 2,000 m (6,562 ft). The highest of the group is Barbeau Peak on Ellesmere Island at 2,616 m (8,583 ft), which is the highest point in eastern North America. The system is also one of Canada's three mountain systems, the others being the Western Cordillera of Western Canada and the Canadian extension of the Appalachian Mountains into the Gaspe Peninsula and Atlantic Provinces.

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Beaver Yearling Grooming Alhambra Creek 2008.jpg
The North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) is the only species of beaver in the Americas, native to North America and introduced to South America. Its other vernacular names, including American beaver and Canadian beaver, distinguish this species from the one other extant beaver, Castor fiber, native to Eurasia. ("Canadian beaver" also refers to the subspecies Castor canadensis canadensis).

This beaver is the largest rodent in North America and the third largest rodent in the world, after the South American capybara and the Eurasian beaver.

Adults usually weigh 15 to 35 kg (33–77 lbs), with 20 kg (44 lbs) a typical mass, and measure around 1 m (3.3 ft) in total body length. Very old individuals can weigh as much as 45 kg (100 lbs).

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NS CapeBretonHighlands2 tango7174.jpg
Cape Breton Highlands National Park (Parc national des Hautes-Terres-du-Cap-Breton) is located on northern Cape Breton Island in the province of Nova Scotia. One-third of the Cabot Trail passes through the park featuring spectacular ocean and mountain views. The park was the first National Park in the Atlantic provinces of Canada and covers an area of 950 km². It is one of 42 in Canada's system of national parks - areas that are protected on behalf of all Canadians, for all time.

At the western entrance of the park is the Acadian village of Chéticamp on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and a park information centre. On the eastern side of the park are the beaches at Ingonish on the Atlantic Ocean. In between are mountains, valleys, forests, waterfalls, rocky coastlines and a tundra-like plateau known as the Cape Breton Highlands.

Park wildlife includes moose, black bears, coyotes, and bald eagles. Whales and Northern Gannets can often be seen from the park's coastal hiking trails, e.g. the Skyline Trail. The park's forests provide habitat for the uncommon Bicknell's Thrush. The Gaspé Shrew, the local name for a smallish variety of the Long-tailed Shrew, Sorex dispar, can be found on rocky slopes in the park.

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QuakiesSEP2005.JPG
Populus tremuloides 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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