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Oil Sands

The Canadian oil sands (or tar sands) are a large area of petroleum extraction from bitumen, located primarily along the Athabasca River with its centre of activity close to Fort McMurray in Alberta, approximately 400 km northeast of the provincial capital, Edmonton. Increased global energy demand, high petroleum dependency and geopolitical conflict in key oil producing regions has driven the exploration of unconventional oil sources since the 1970s which, paired with advances in the field of petroleum engineering, has continued to make bitumen extraction economically profitable at a time of rising oil prices. Oil sands are called “unconventional” oil because the extraction process is more difficult than extracting from liquid (“conventional”) oil reserves, causing higher costs of production and increased environmental concerns.

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Fracking

​Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used in oil and natural gas production. It releases otherwise irrecoverable resources from certain geological formations by injecting water and additives at high pressure into the ground to create microfractures in the rock. Hydrocarbons can then flow through these fractures into a well. It has become controversial because of concerns that the technique, and well-drilling activity associated with its use, threatens groundwater, surface water, air quality, and other environmental values. Common in Alberta’s oil patch since the 1970s, the practice expanded greatly in this century, triggering gas rushes in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and resistance in several other provinces.

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Montréal Planetarium

​Montréal’s Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is part of the Space for Life complex, which includes Montréal’s Biodome, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens. Space for Life is the largest natural science museum complex in Canada.

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Dioxine

The term dioxin applies to any of 75 chlorinated derivatives of dibenzo-p-dioxin. The various types of dioxin are quite different from one another, the greatest difference being in their toxicity.

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The Lost Villages

The Lost Villages are nine Canadian communities that were destroyed through the unprecedented land expropriation and construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project in the 1950s.

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Avro Canada Jetliner

Avro Canada Jetliner (C-102), North America's first jet airliner, designed in Canada by James Floyd. It first flew on 10 August 1949, exceeding 800 km/h, the first flight of a jet transport in North America, second in the world.

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Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash

One of Canada’s most high-profile highway tragedies occurred on 6 April 2018, when a bus carrying 28 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a transport truck at a highway intersection near Tisdale, Saskatchewan. The crash killed 16 team members: 10 players and 6 staff. It also led to new truck-driver training and licensing regulations and increased awareness about the availability and use of seat belts among bus passengers.

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Navigation

Evidence suggests that the Phoenicians, Arabs and ancient Greeks were familiar with the use of nighttime positions of stars and constellations to aid in marine navigation, but this knowledge was lost to Europeans in the Dark Ages and only regained after about the year 1000 from the Arabs.

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Bush Flying in Canada

In Canada, bush flying refers to aviation in sparsely populated northern areas. Flight in the Arctic and the “bush” of the Canadian Shield developed between the world wars. Early bush pilots faced the challenges of cold weather and vast distances between communities. Given the rarity of airstrips, their planes were often equipped with skis or floats so that they could take off and land on water or snow. This type of aviation was key to developing services and industries in the North. While the romantic image of the bush pilot is associated with the past, bush flying continues to serve remote communities in Canada.

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De Havilland Beaver

De Havilland Beaver, DHC-2, successor to the Noorduyn Norseman, was the all-purpose bush plane of the Canadian North. The Beaver was sturdy, reliable and able to take off and land on short lengths of land, water and snow. It has been called the best bush plane ever built. While de Havilland produced it for only 20 years — from 1947 to 1967 — many Beaver planes still fly today. The Beaver helped connect communities in remote areas of Canada, in addition to serving across the globe.