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A Regional Geography of Canada A Regional Geography of Canada Study Canada 2012 David Rossiter Department of Environmental Studies, WWU F H Johnston: Fire.

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Presentation on theme: "A Regional Geography of Canada A Regional Geography of Canada Study Canada 2012 David Rossiter Department of Environmental Studies, WWU F H Johnston: Fire."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Regional Geography of Canada A Regional Geography of Canada Study Canada 2012 David Rossiter Department of Environmental Studies, WWU F H Johnston: Fire Swept – Algoma, 1920

2 If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography. – PM W.L. Mackenzie King,1936 Whistler, BC backcountry. Photo: D. Rossiter, 2012

3 Oh, to brag… Second largest country Canadas total area: 9,984,670 sq.km – 9,093,507 sq.km land – 891,163 sq.km freshwater. Coastline: 243,042 km – Longest in world Resource rich Sparse yet diverse population Source: Statistics Canada

4 BC ALTA SASK MTBA ONT QUE NB NS PEI NFLD and LAB YK NWT NVT Pop Quiz Pop Quiz

5 Victoria Edmonton Regina Winnipeg Toronto Quebec Fredericton Halifax Charlottetown St. Johns Whitehorse Yellowknife Iqaluit Vancouver Calgary Saskatoon OttawaMontreal St. John

6 How to make sense of it all? Physical base Human geography – current patterns Historical geography and political economy Oil Canada: regions, environment, and economy

7 The Physical Base Geology Topography Soils Vegetation Climate Fundamental to understanding Canadas human geography and historical development

8 The Late Wisconsin Ice Age Maximum extent 18,000 years ago Started to recede 15,000 years ago Last remnants in Rockies 7,000 years ago Glacial till and erratic – NS Drumlin – AlbertaGlacial valley - Alberta

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11 Appalachian Uplands N. Appalachian Mountains Rounded uplands; narrow river valleys Rocky, shallow soils Mixed forest Cool, maritime climate – short summer, wet winter NFLD Coast

12 Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Lowlands Sedimentary rock and glacial deposits Flat, rolling topography Good soil Moderate climate, good growing season – humid and hot summer / cold winter Oak Ridges Moraine – S. Ontario

13 Canadian Shield Geol. core of N.A. Precambrian rocks – > 3 billion yrs old Widespread glaciation – shallow soils, exposed granite Mixed and Boreal forest Northern continental climate – hot, short summer / cold, long winter North Shore, Quebec

14 Interior Plains Sedimentary rock Shaped by glacial and hydrological processes – river valleys Drain east to Hudson Bay Decent soils in south Oil and gas deposits Continental climate – moderate precip. – hot summer / cold winter Wheat fields outside Winnipeg, MB South Saskatchewan River

15 Cordillera Formed million years ago – colliding NA and Pac. plates Glaciers in high alpine Fertile river valleys and deltas Mostly coniferous forest Micro-climates – warmer, wetter on coast – colder, drier in interior Alberta Rockies The Barrier – Coast Mountains

16 Hudson Bay Lowlands Youngest phyiso. reg. in Canada Muskeg – w/ low ridges of sand and gravel Poorly drained – low elev., level surface Northern climate – maritime influence – short summer / long winter Muskeg James Bay delta

17 Arctic Lands ~25% of Canadas territory Coastal lowlands & plateaux and mtns. (Innutian) Mainly sedimentary rock w/ permafrost Glaciers still active Areas of polar desert Baffin Island - Nunavut

18 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

19 Population density, 2006 Map source: Atlas of Canada Total population, ,476,690 Source: Statistics Canada Less than Greater than Legend Density by Census Div. (persons / sq.km) < > 150.0

20 Major Cities and Productive Agricultural Lands

21 Where are all the people? Longer answer: All over – Heartland (cities) draws on resources of hinterland – north dominated by resource towns and regional service centres

22 Resource Reliant Communities, 2001 Map source: Atlas of Canada Map source: Atlas of Canada Legend % of income from:AgricultureEnergyFisheryForestryMining

23 Financial Specialization, 1996 Financial Specialization, 1996 Map source: Atlas of Canada Map source: Atlas of Canada Legend Degree of specializationLowto High

24 An historical-geography of Canadas political economy in 10 minutes…

25 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

26 Storehouse of Raw Materials? Hewers of wood and drawers of water Early Euro interests more commercial than colonial – fish, fur, timber Settlement through extraction and export – Trade with mother countries Resources still major economic sector

27 Regional Run-down New France (later Quebec / Lower Canada) – From 17 th C: habitant agriculture, fur trade, forestry Maritimes (NFLD, Acadia; later NB, NS, PEI) – From 17 th C: fisheries, lim. ag.; 19 th C: forestry NB Upper Canada; later Ontario – From 18 th C: freehold agriculture; 19 th C: manufacturing in south, mining & forestry in north West (the NW, the prairies, the cordillera) – From 18 th C: fur trade; 19 th C: mining & forestry in BC, agriculture in prairies

28 Source: Changing Economic Geographies: From East to West (and back again) in the late- 19 th C…

29 …to North and South (and all over) in the 20 th C. GM plant – Oshawa, ON

30 Oil Canada

31 Source:

32 Map source: nicholas.duke.edu

33 Northern Gateway Map source: pacifcwild.org

34 References Many maps and images were obtained at: – – Other resources: – A good atlas of Canada – Historical Atlas of Canada, vols. 1-3, University of Toronto Press – Heartland and Hinterland, McCann and Gunn – Regional Geography of Canada, Bone


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