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 Niagara Falls are voluminous waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario 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.

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The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are much covered by prairie.

The word prairie usually refers to a type of grassland, and true prairies occur only in the southern reaches of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Contrasted to this are other biomes such as the boreal forest taking up the majority of the Prairie Provinces, or the aspen parkland. However "the prairie" may also refer to all of the Interior Plains region within Canada, in contrast with the Rocky Mountains and Canadian Shield, and is a continuation of the Great Plains region of the United States.

In a more restricted sense, the term may also refer to the areas of those provinces covered by prairie. Prairie also covers portions of northeastern British Columbia, though that province is typically not included in the region in a political sense.

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The Harp Seal or Saddleback seal is a species of earless seal native to the northernmost Atlantic Ocean and adjacent parts of the Arctic Ocean. Officially Pagophilus groenlandicus, which means ice-lover from Greenland, it has a synonym Phoca groenlandica or Greenland seal. It can also be found in Canada It is also known as the Greenland seal.

Females mature sexually at age 5–6. Annually thereafter they bear one pup, usually in late February. The fertilized egg grows into a spherical embryo that implants in the uterus only after 3 or so months, to allow birth to take place while sufficient pack ice is available. Newborn pups weight around 11 kilograms (24 lb) and are 80–85 centimetres (31–33 in) long. After birth, the mother only feeds that pup. During the 12-day nursing period, the mother does not eat, losing up to 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) per day. All three populations are hunted commercially, mainly by Canada, Norway, Russia and Greenland.

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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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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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