Attawapiskat River, 748 km long, formed by the confluence of the Pineimuta, Trading and Otoskwin rivers at Attawapiskat Lake, in northeastern Ontario, flows east, jogs north and runs east to the flatland by James Bay. Its drainage area is 50 200 km2 and its mean discharge 626 m3/s.
Churchill River, Labrador, 856 km long (to head of Ashuanipi River), issues from Ashuanipi Lake, drops 75 m over Churchill Falls, broadens into Winokapau Lake and runs east through a deep glacial gorge past Happy Valley-Goose Bay into Lake Melville, Hamilton Inlet, entering the Atlantic near Rigolet (pop 317).
The Athabasca River is the longest river in Alberta (1,538 km). The first 168 km (located in Jasper National Park) are designated as a Canadian Heritage River. As a tributary to the Mackenzie River, water flowing on the Athabasca River eventually drains into the Arctic Ocean. River flow is highest during the summer and lowest during winter, and it is ice-covered from mid-November to mid-April.
In the heart of the Gaspé Peninsula, 196 km east of Rimouski, is Parc national de la Gaspésie (established 1981, 802 km2). First established in 1937 by means of special legislation, the park has in the past bowed to mining and forestry pressures. It is now completely protected through the park's Act.
The Canadian Shield refers to the exposed portion of the continental crust underlying the majority of North America. The crust, also known as the North American Craton, extends from northern Mexico to Greenland and consists of hard rocks at least 1 billion years old. With the exception of the Canadian Shield, the rocks of the North American Craton are buried deep within the continent and covered by soil and other material. At 5 million km2, the Shield makes up roughly 50 per cent of Canada’s land mass. Shaped like a horseshoe — or the shields carried during hand-to-hand combat — the Canadian Shield extends from Labrador in the east to include nearly all of Québec, much of Ontario and Manitoba, the northern portion of Saskatchewan, the northeast corner of Alberta, much of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and into the Arctic Archipelago. (It also reaches into parts of the United States, in New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota.) While at times a barrier to settlement, the Shield has also yielded great resources, including minerals, coniferous forests and the capacity for hydroelectric developments.2
Lake St. Clair, 1,114 km, elevation 175 m, average depth 3.7 m, is bordered by the province of Ontario to the east and the state of Michigan to the west. Almost circular in shape, it has a length of 42 km and a maximum width of 39 km. It is connected to Lake Huron to the north by the St. Clair River and drains into Lake Erie to the south via the Detroit River. Lake St. Clair is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a significant transportation route stretching from Lake Superior through the Great Lakes to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The cities of Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan, are located at the southwest end of the lake, making it a popular site for recreational fishing and boating.