Nature & Geography | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Asteroids Named After Places in Canada

    Asteroids were first discovered in 1801. Also known as minor planets, these rocky bodies are believed to have originated as planetesimals (small, solid celestial bodies) during the creation of the solar system, around 4.5 billion years ago. Asteroids orbit the Sun and can be as small as several metres or even as large as hundreds of kilometres in diameter. (See also Planet and Satellite.) There are estimated to be over 1.3 million asteroids in our solar system. Although most will never be seen by the naked eye, many asteroids are assigned names by the Working Group for Small Bodies Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union (see Astronomy). Several hundred asteroids have been named in connection to Canada. Some of these asteroids describe places, while others honour people or commemorate events. This list includes ten asteroids which are named after places in Canada.

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  • Article

    Atlantic Salmon

    Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar), probably the best-known member of the Salmonidae family, occurs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

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  • Article


    Alcidae is a family of highly specialized seabirds that contains auks (including the now extinct great auk), auklets, murres, murrelets, razorbills, dovekies, guillemots and puffins.

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  • Article

    Aulavik National Park

    Centred on the wide Thomsen River valley on Banks Island, Aulavik National Park (set aside 1992, 12 200 km2) has an Inuvialuktun name that means "where people travel." The name was suggested by one of the elders of Sachs Harbour, the only community on the island.

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  • Article

    Autumn Colours

    In spring and summer the most abundant substance in leaves is chlorophyll, which gives them their green colour. Chlorophyll is essential for photosynthesis, the process which converts the energy of sunlight into sugar. Sunlight is also necessary for the synthesis of chlorophyll itself.

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  • Article

    Auyuittuq National Park

    Located on the Cumberland Peninsula of Baffin Island, Nunavut, Auyuittuq National Park (established 2001, 19 089 km2) was Canada's first national park located north of the Arctic Circle. It was first set up as a national park reserve in 1976 and established as a national park through the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

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  • Article


    An avalanche is a rapid, downslope movement of snow, with varying proportions of ice, water, rock, soil and vegetation.

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  • Macleans

    Avalanche in Quebec

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on January 11, 1999. Partner content is not updated. It was just past 1:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, and most of the residents of the isolated northern Quebec community of Kangiqsualujjuaq were celebrating in a school gym. People exchanged hugs and warm wishes as they listened to the draw for a $1,000 door prize. Then disaster struck.

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  • Article


    The avocet (order Charadriiformes, family Recurvirostridae) is a large, long-legged shorebird about 50 cm long with striking white and black plumage.

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  • Article

    Back River

    Back River, 974 km long, rises in Contwoyto Lake, north of Great Slave Lake, NWT, and flows northeast across the Barren Lands of Nunavut to Chantrey Inlet, south of King William Island.

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  • Article


    The American badger (Taxidea taxus) is the only North American member of the weasel family specialized for burrowing and capturing prey underground.

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  • Article

    Banff National Park

    Banff National Park (established 1885, 6,641 km2) is Canada's first and most visited National Park.

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  • Article


    Barite (BaSO4) is a white, colourless, gray, brown, yellow, blue or red mineral found in sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is composed of 65.7% barium oxide (BaO) and 34.3% sulphur trioxide (SO3).

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  • Article


    Barley, common name for members of genus Hordeum of the grass family (Gramineae).

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  • Article


    Barnacle, common name for marine invertebrates of subclass Cirripedia, class Crustacea.

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