21, Nov 2023
Canada’s Geography: A Land of Physical and Human Diversity
Making Connections – Canada’s Geography
Geography is the study of different places on Earth. It involves studying the physical characteristics of those places and the ways people interact with them.
This month’s On the Map features our featured partner, Canadian Geographic Education. They are using ArcGIS to create educational resources for students in Canada.
Few countries are as disjointed physically as Canada. Its inhabited regions stretch out like beads on a string across the country’s many rivers and oceans.
As the second largest country in the world, Canada offers a tremendous diversity of natural scenery. The most distinctive feature is the rugged Canadian Shield, a region of pre-Cambrian rock that covers about half the country around Hudson Bay.
The Shield is covered in boreal forests while the northern parts are tundra. Beyond the Shield lie the Prairie provinces, a broad swath of flat land rich in petroleum and other mineral resources.
To the south is the Atlantic Ocean and the United States; to the west is the Pacific and Alaska. Canada also has maritime borders with Greenland and the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. The country is dotted with mountains, glaciers and lakes. In fact, there are more lakes in Canada than in any other country. In total, they cover more than 2 million square miles, representing 7 percent of the world’s fresh water.
Canada is an enormous country, with a huge geographic diversity. On the north side, the landscape is dominated by the Arctic tundra which is covered in moss and lichen. Further south, the landscape becomes forested as the Boreal Forest covers most of central and eastern Canada.
The southeastern provinces of Ontario and Quebec are characterized by low hills, fertile farmland, and large lakes like Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. These lakes contribute one-seventh of the world’s freshwater.
Canada borders the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. It also shares a maritime border with Greenland and with the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. It is home to 10 provinces and three territories. It is approximately the size of the United States and 18 times the size of France.