Geographical features | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article


    Tundra, which comes from a Sami word meaning “barren land,” refers to a treeless arctic region characterized by permafrost. Canada’s tundra is known for its freezing temperatures, lack of trees, low-growing vegetation and abundant rock outcrops. The southern boundary of tundra in Canada extends from the Mackenzie River delta to the southern reaches of Hudson Bay and northeast to the Labrador Peninsula. The term “alpine tundra” is often used to describe any area above the treeline in mountainous areas. But “alpine tundra” and “arctic tundra” are not interchangeable. (While the two regions share some similarities, the differences are significant.)

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  • Article

    Ungava Peninsula

    The Ungava Peninsula is a large peninsula approximately 350 000 km2 in area and washed by the waters of Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay.

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  • Article

    Valdes Island

    Valdes Island is one of a range of islands on the outer edge of the Gulf Islands in the Str of Georgia, off the SE coast of Vancouver I, BC. The long, narrow island is heavily wooded and has a few farms. A reserve occupies a third of it and there are several Indigenous burial grounds.

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  • Article

    Vancouver Island

    With the Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island forms part of a partially submerged chain of the Western Cordillera and is a continuation of the US coastal mountains.

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  • Article

    Vegetation Regions

    Canada has seven primary vegetation regions, in addition to the marine flora found along the country’s coasts. Vegetation regions are geographical areas characterized by distinct plant communities. Community composition, determined primarily by climate (e.g., temperature, precipitation and sunlight), may be affected by factors such as geology, soil composition and erosion, water drainage patterns and human interference. Each vegetation region supports a characteristic animal community that may also affect its composition. This is a full-length entry about Vegetation Regions. For a plain-language summary, please see Vegetation Regions (Plain-Language Summary).

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  • Article

    Vegetation Regions (Plain-Language Summary)

    Canada has seven primary vegetation regions, in addition to the marine flora found along the country’s coasts. Each region is characterized by distinct plant communities. The plants in each region are mostly determined by climate. Other factors that determine which plants grow in which region include geology, soil composition and erosion, water drainage patterns and human interference. This article is a plain-language summary of Vegetation Regions. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Vegetation Regions.

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  • Article

    Vermilion Pass

    Vermilion Pass, elev 1651 m, is situated between Boom and Storm mountains on the BC-Alberta border, 42 km W of Banff. It takes its name from the mineral springs of iron oxide located along the VERMILION R, 9 km SW of the pass, where Indians gathered material for war paint and decoration.

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  • Article

    Vermilion River

    Vermilion River, 70 km (from its headstream to its confluence with the Kootenay R), rises in the Continental Ranges on the BC-Alberta border at the N end of KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK. Fed by Tokumm Cr, it drains in a southerly direction, eventually emptying into the Kootenay R.

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  • Article

    Victoria Island

    GeologyVictoria Island is largely composed of sedimentary rock. There is a belt of Precambrian rock on the west coast and another on the south coast, veined with copper formerly used by the COPPER INUIT.

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  • Article

    Waskahegan Trail

    Waskahegan Trail is a regional hiking trail of more than 300 km developed in and around EDMONTON, Alta. It began as a Canadian Centennial project (1967) to promote hiking opportunities in Alberta's capital region. Similar in

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  • Article

    Welland Canal

    A lifeline of trade and commerce into the heart of North America, the first Welland Canal opened in 1829, an achievement attributed primarily to a St Catharines businessman, William Hamilton MERRITT.

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  • Editorial

    The Evolution of the Welland Canal

    The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

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  • Article

    White Pass

    White Pass, elevation 888 m, sits on the Alaska-BC boundary, approximately 125 km south of Whitehorse, YT. In 1887 the federal government sent William Ogilvie to survey the 141st meridian national boundary where it crosses the Yukon River; members of his party found the pass.

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  • Article

    Williston Lake

    Williston Lake, 1761 km2, is the largest freshwater body in BC. Created in 1968 as the reservoir of the W.A.C.

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  • Article

    Winisk River

    Winisk River, 475 km long, rises in Wunnummin Lake in the Kenora District of northern Ontario.

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