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Article

National Parks of Canada

Canada’s national parks are protected areas established under federal legislation to preserve Canada’s natural heritage. They are administered by Parks Canada, a government agency that evolved from the world’s first national parks service, the Dominion Parks Branch, established in 1911. The National Parks System Plan, developed in 1970, divided Canada into 39 natural regions and set the goal of representing each region with at least one national park. Canada now has 48 national parks and national park reserves in 30 of these regions. In total, the parks cover more than 340,000 km2, which is over 3 per cent of Canada’s landmass. They protect important land and marine habitats, geographical features and sites of cultural significance. National parks also benefit local economies and the tourism industry in Canada.

(This is the full-length entry about National Parks of Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see National Parks of Canada (Plain-Language Summary).)

Article

Agriculture in Canada

Agriculture is the practice of growing crops and rearing animals mainly for food. Farmers also produce other items such as wool from sheep and CBD oil from hemp plants.

In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

This is the full-length entry about agriculture in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please Agriculture in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).

Article

Raccoon

The common raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a mid-size mammal distinguished by its black face mask and ringed tail. It is a member of the Procyonidae, a primarily tropical family of omnivores native to the Americas — and the only one of this family found in Canada. Raccoons are found in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador. A nocturnal species, it is highly adaptable and can survive in urban areas as well as wilderness habitats. Humans often consider raccoons pests due to their skill and persistence in raiding garbage bins, gardens and crops for food.

Article

Toad Species in Canada

Toad is a common name for frogs belonging to the family Bufonidae. The distinction is not firm, but the word toad is generally applied to frogs with relatively short legs and thick bodies, dry, often “warty” skin and reduced webbing between the toes. Five toad species are found in Canada, living in drier habitats than most other frogs. In Canada, other frogs commonly called toads are the Plains and Great Basin spadefoots (family Scaphiopodidae).

For more general information about frogs (including toads) see Frog Species in Canada.

Article

James Bay Project

In 1971, Hydro-Québec and the government of Quebec initiated the James Bay Project, a monumental hydroelectric-power development on the east coast of James Bay. ( See also Hydroelectricity in Canada.) Over the course of two phases, a total of eight generating stations were built, allowing for the pollution-free production of a significant portion of Quebec’s electricity. However, the project also profoundly disrupted the environment and the Indigenous communities living in the region, the effects of which are still being felt today.

Article

Dinosaurs and Canada

Dinosaurs were a group of animals that dominated the land environments of every continent. They lived from the late Triassic period to the end of the Cretaceous period (225 to 65 million years ago). However, birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs, meaning dinosaurs are still common today. Paleontologists have found at least 88 different species of dinosaurs in Canada (see also Dinosaurs Found in Canada). The primary site of these fossils is Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. Well-known dinosaurs first named from Canadian specimens include Albertosaurus, Centrosaurus, Corythosaurus, Dromaeosaurus,Gorgosaurus, Lambeosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Parasaurolophu sand Styracosaurus.

Article

Toronto Feature: Hurricane Hazel

This article is from our Toronto Feature series. Features from past programs are not updated.

Hurricane Hazel was one of the most devastating and unpredictable tropical storms of the 20th century. It was first identified on 5 October 1954, in the Caribbean, where it smashed into Haiti and then battered the Carolinas. The storm struck Toronto on 15 October with winds of 124 km/h and record rainfall.

Editorial

Not for Saps: Tree Planting in Alberta

Over a century’s worth of shifting environmental policy means that today, maintaining Canada’s forests is as important as cutting them down. Tree planting is an essential part of this maintenance, and each year thousands of young Canadians trek through rough conditions and remote areas to replant thousands of trees.

Article

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever is one of four remaining Canadian dog breeds (see also Dogs in Canada). Its history begins at the turn of the 16th century on the island of Newfoundland. Here, its ancestors were retrievers of fish and game. The breed was further developed in England in the 19th century to assist in hunting. With a friendly temperament, the Labrador retriever is popular not only as a working dog but also as a family dog. In Canada, the Labrador has been the most popular dog for more than 25 years.

Article

Frog Species in Canada

Frogs are amphibians belonging to the order Anura. Worldwide, frogs are the most numerous group of amphibians, with more than 5,000 living species. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. There are 24 species of frog currently found in Canada. In addition, one species, the Blanchard’s cricket frog, is extirpated. This means that, while it continues to live in other parts of its range, it is no longer found in Canada. Five of Canada’s frog species are toads, which are frogs belonging to the family Bufonidae.

While most frog species in Canada are found in the southern reaches of the country, a few, for example the boreal chorus frog, have ranges extending into Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and in the case of the wood frog, Nunavut.

Article

Arctic Exploration

Humans have been exploring the North American Arctic for centuries, beginning about 5,000 years ago when Palaeo-Inuit were looking for a homeland, followed by the Thule — ancestors of the Inuit. European exploration of the same region began with the Norse in the 10th century and, after a short pause, was continued by Englishmen during the Elizabethan era (1558–1603). Over the next several hundred years, explorers ventured to the Arctic in search of resources, scientific knowledge, national prestige, personal fame and a navigable Northwest Passage. The most successful of these explorers adapted to the harsh Arctic environment and adopted the tools and practices of northern Indigenous peoples.

Article

Timber Slide

A timber slide is a water-filled chute or runway built to carry “cribs” of timber around rapids and waterfalls. (See also Raft). Similar devices for individual pieces of wood were called “flumes.” Timber slides contributed to the growth of the timber industry in the 19th century (see Timber Trade Industry).

Article

Monarch Butterfly

The monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a species of butterfly best known for its migratory habits. Sometimes called the wanderer butterfly, its annual migration is unlike that of any other insect found in North America. During Canadian summers, the monarch butterfly is normally found in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador, and is abundant wherever its host plant milkweed grows. Due to a decline in milkweed among other factors, the monarch butterfly is an endangered species. Still, its large size, orange-and-black colouration, and slow, sailing flight make it a familiar across most of Canada.

Article

Bloody Falls

Bloody Falls are rapids located about 15 km above the mouth of the Coppermine River in the central Arctic.