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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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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Goose-flying.jpg
The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 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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View of the Great Lakes from space.

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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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Acer saccharum.jpg
Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) 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 and Texas.

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.

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View of the far side of Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

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