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.
Selected article -
The Niagara Falls
are voluminous waterfalls
on the Niagara River
, straddling the international border
between the Canadian province
and the U.S. state
of New York
. The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York
and 75 miles (120 km) south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario
, between the twin cities
of Niagara Falls, Ontario
, and Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls is composed of two major sections separated by Goat Island: Horseshoe Falls, the majority of which lies on the Canadian side of the border, and American Falls on the American side. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the main falls by Luna Island.
The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 1800s.
Selected region -
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
. 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.
Selected fauna -
The Snowy Owl
) 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.
Selected picture -
Did you know? -
Selected National Park -
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.
Selected flora -
, False Solomon's Seal
, Solomon's plume
or False Spikenard
; syn. Smilacina racemosa
) is a species of flowering plant
in the family Ruscaceae
, native to North America
It is a woodland herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50-90 cm tall, with alternate, oblong-lanceolate leaves 7-15 cm long and 3-6 cm broad. The flowers are produced on a 10-15 cm panicle, each flower with six white tepals 3-6 mm long blooming in late spring. The plants produce green fruits that are round and turn red in late summer. It grows in bicoastal habitats in North America up to elevations of 7,000 feet. The most robust and profuse occurrences of this plant are typically found in partial shade and deep, moist, soft soils.
Geography of Canada category
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