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Canada: A Regional Geography David Rossiter, Western Washington University A Northern Silver Mine – F. Carmichael.

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Presentation on theme: "Canada: A Regional Geography David Rossiter, Western Washington University A Northern Silver Mine – F. Carmichael."— Presentation transcript:

1 Canada: A Regional Geography David Rossiter, Western Washington University
A Northern Silver Mine – F. Carmichael

2 Five Themes Location Place Human-Environment interactions Movement
relative / absolute Place human / physical Human-Environment interactions adaptation, modification, dependence Movement Regions


4 Whitehorse Iqaluit Yellowknife St. John’s Edmonton Vancouver Saskatoon Charlottetown Victoria Calgary Winnipeg Fredericton Regina Quebec St. John Halifax Ottawa Montreal Toronto

5 The Physical Base Geology Topography Soils Vegetation Climate
Fundamental to understanding Canada’s Human Geography

6 The Late Wisconsin Ice Age
Last ice age in the territory of Canada Southern limit: Wisconsin Covered vast majority of Canada’s territory Reached maximum extent 18,000 years ago Started to recede 15,000 years ago Last remnants in Rockies 7,000 years ago


8 Till and erratic – Peggy’s Cove, N.S.

9 Drumlin - Alberta

10 Esker - Manitoba

11 Glacial Lake – Jasper, AB


13 Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Lowlands
Q W - Quebec City to Windsor - Smallest physiographic region: < 2% of Canada’s landmass

14 Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Lowlands
Geology: sedimentary rock (strata) and glacial deposits Flat, rolling topography Good soil Moderate climate, good growing season humid and hot summer / cold winter Proximity to USA HEARTLAND


16 Appalachian Uplands

17 Appalachian Uplands Northern section of Appalachian Mountians
~2% of Canada’s land mass Rounded uplands and narrow river valleys Rocky, shallow soils Mixed forest Cool, maritime climate short summer, wet winter

18 NFLD – North Coast

19 Canadian Shield

20 Canadian Shield Largest region – ~50% of Canada
Geological core of North America Underlies other physiographic regions Precambrian rocks > 3 billion yrs old Widespread evidence of glaciation Shallow soils, exposed granite Mixed and Boreal forest Northern continental climate hot, short summer / cold, long winter

21 Quebec – North Shore

22 Hudson Bay Lowlands

23 Hudson Bay Lowlands ~3.5% of the area of Canada
Youngest phyisographic region in Canada Made up of muskeg (wet peatland) Interrupted by low ridges of sand and gravel Poorly drained due to level surface Northern climate – maritime influence short, warm summer / long, cold winter

24 Muskeg – Hudson Bay Lowlands

25 Delta – James Bay Coast

26 Interior Plains

27 Interior Plains ~20% of Canada’s landmass
Geologic base of sedimentary rock Land shaped by glacial and hydrological processes – river valleys Slope east to west – Hudson Bay Wtshd Rich soils in south Oil and gas deposits Continental climate – moderate precip. hot summer / cold winter

28 Wheat field outside Winnipeg

29 Near Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta

30 South Saskatchewan River

31 Arctic Lands

32 Arctic Lands cont’d… ~25% of Canada’s territory
Coastal plains (Lowlands) Plateaux and mountains (Innuitian) Mainly sedimentary rock Ground permanently frozen - permafrost Glaciers still active – ‘calved’ into icebergs Main geomorphic process – frost action Coooold, areas of polar desert

33 Mountains – Baffin Island

34 Cordillera

35 Cordillera ~16% of Canada’s territory Formed 40-80 million years ago
collision between NA and Pacific plates Rockies: up-thrust sedimentary rocks Coast mountains: volcanic activity Coast an active fault zone earthquakes, volcanoes part of Pacific Rim of Fire

36 Cordillera cont’d… Glaciers remain in high alpine areas
Fertile river valleys and deltas (particularly SW corner of BC) Largely coniferous forest cover Multiple micro-climates warmer, wetter on coast colder, drier in interior

37 Sedimentary rocks at Lake Louise

38 The Barrier – Coast Mountains, BC

39 Where are all the people?
Short answer: In cities, near the USA ~80% of Canadians live in cities (100,000+) ~80% of Canadians live within 100km of USA

40 Pop. Density: 2001 Current Pop: 32mil


42 Where are all the people?
Longer answer: All over cities draw on resources of hinterland north dominated by resource towns and regional service centres

43 Three Popular Explanations
Staples Development Canada developed by resource extraction Heartland-hinterland patterns International, national, regional scales Physical disunity (or, unity despite geography) Human settlement in patches, difference from USA

44 Storehouse of Raw Materials
“Hewers of wood and drawers of water” Earliest European interests were more commercial than colonial – fish, fur Colonial settlement shaped by staples extraction and export Trade with “mother countries” (Britain, France), then USA Resources still major economic sector

45 Forestry Communities: 1996

46 Mining Communities: 1996

47 Oil and Gas Communities: 1996

48 Metropolitan Heartlands
A urban nation against stereotype diverse Old(ish) Quebec City (1608) Young Vancouver (1886) Draw on hinterland’s resources insurance, finance, manufacturing

49 Financial Services

50 Canada’s Regional Character
Socio-economic regions: Shaped by: topography political boundaries language historical patterns Heartland-hinterland relations Regional identities powerful Political considerations


52 This place wasn’t always Canada
1000s of years of Native presence European contact over centuries late-15th C in east, mid-18th C in west Resettlement by Europeans through: force treaty depopulation (disease) Historical geographies matter: socially, politically, ecologically

53 Current “Geographical” Issues
Native land claims BC particularly, but not exclusively Environmental “crises” forestry, climate, energy Federal “balance” fiscal, other arrangements Cities’ growth planning, opportunity for newcomers

54 References Maps and images were obtained at: Other resources:
Other resources: A good atlas of Canada Historical Atlas of Canada, vols. 1-3, University of Toronto Press The Fur Trade in Canada, Harold Innis Heartland and Hinterland, McCann and Gunn

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