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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Canim Falls and lava flows
The Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field, also called the Clearwater Cone Group, is a potentially active monogenetic volcanic field in east-central British Columbia, Canada, located approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Kamloops. It is situated in the Cariboo Mountains of the Columbia Mountains and on the Quesnel and Shuswap Highlands. As a monogenetic volcanic field, it is a place with numerous small basaltic volcanoes and extensive lava flows.

Most of the Wells Gray-Clearwater volcanic field is encompassed within a large wilderness park called Wells Gray Provincial Park. This 5,400-square-kilometre (2,100 sq mi) park was established in 1939 because of the volcanic field's beauty. A single road enters the park, but from it, a number of the field's volcanic features can be viewed. Short hikes lead to several volcanic features but some areas are accessible only by aircraft.

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Old Town and N'Dilo.JPG
Northern Canada, colloquially the North, is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. Politically, the term refers to the three territories of Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Similarly, the Far North (when contrasted to the North) may refer to the Canadian Arctic: the portion of Canada north of the Arctic Circle.

These reckonings somewhat depend on the concept of nordicity, a measure of northernness that other Arctic territories share. Canada, a country in northern North America whose population is concentrated along its southern frontier with the United States, is frequently reckoned to not have a 'south.' While the largest part of the Arctic is composed of permanent ice and tundra north of the tree line, it encompasses geological regions of varying types: the Innuitian Mountains, associated with the Arctic Cordillera mountain system, is geologically distinct from the Arctic Region (which consists largely of lowlands).

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Snowy Owl Barrow Alaska.jpg
The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) 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.

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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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Campanula rotundifolia 9533.JPG
Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell) is a rhizomatous perennial flowering plant in the bellflower family native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

In Scotland, it is often known as the Bluebell, whereas elsewhere in Britain, "bluebell" refers to Hyacinthoides non-scripta. The species is very variable in form. It occurs as tetraploid or hexaploid populations in Britain and Ireland, but diploids occur widely in continental Europe. Harebells flower in late summer between July and October, sometimes into November, and are found on dry, nutrient-poor grassland and heaths in Britain, throughout Northern Europe and in North America. Once established, the plants compete with tall grass, but the minute seedlings need a clear space in which to establish. The plant often successfully colonises cracks in walls or cliff faces, but is also prominent in dunes.

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