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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Volcanism of Canada
Recently erupted pahoehoe lava flow at the Blue River
has produced lava
flows, lava plateaus
, lava domes
, cinder cones
, shield volcanoes
, submarine volcanoes
, and maars
, along with examples of more less common volcanic forms such as tuyas
and subglacial mounds
. It has a very complex volcanological history spanning from the Precambrian
period at least 6,000years ago when this part of the North American continent began to form.
Although the country's volcanic activity dates back to the Precambrian period, volcanism continues to occur in Western and Northern Canada where it forms part of an encircling chain of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes around the Pacific Ocean called the Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanic activity has been responsible for many of Canada's geological and geographical features and mineralization, including the nucleus of North America called the Canadian Shield.
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Selected fauna -
The Canada Goose
) is a wild goose
belonging to the genus Branta
, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America
, having a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body. It is often called the Canadian Goose
, but that name is not the ornithological standard, or the most common name.
The black head and neck with white "chinstrap" distinguish the Canada Goose from all other goose species, with the exception of the Barnacle Goose, but the latter has a black breast, and also grey, rather than brownish, body plumage.
There are seven subspecies of this bird, of varying sizes and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada Geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the newly-separated Cackling Goose.
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Did you know? -
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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 species of maple
native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America
, from Nova Scotia
west to southern Ontario
, and south to Georgia
It is a deciduous tree normally reaching heights of 25–35 m (82–115 ft) tall, and exceptionally up to 45 m (150 feet). A 10-year-old tree is typically about 5 m (15 ft) tall. The leaves are deciduous, 8–15 cm long and equally wide with five palmate lobes. The basal lobes are relatively small, while the upper lobes are larger and deeply notched. In contrast with the angular notching of the Silver Maple, however, the notches tend to be rounded at their interior.
Geography of Canada category
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