Search for "New France"

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Physiographic Regions

Canada may be divided into seven physiographic regions: Arctic Lands, Cordillera, Interior Plains, Hudson Bay Lowland, Canadian Shield Forest Lands, St Lawrence Lowlands and Appalachia.

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Coast

The character of any coastline depends on a combination of factors, including topography, geology, availability of sediment, the prevailing processes of wind, wave, sea ice and tidal conditions, and longer term factors such as GLACIATION and changes in relative sea level.

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Forest Regions

A forest region is a major geographic belt or zone characterized by a broad uniformity both in physiography and in the composition of the dominant tree species. Canada can be divided into eight forest regions.

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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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Lake Erie

The lake drainage basin measures 58 800 km2 in area, and is home to over 15 million people in Canada and the US, making it the most densely populated of all the Great Lakes basins.

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Lake St. Clair

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.

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Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage is a sea corridor through Canada's Arctic archipelago and along the northern coast of North America. European explorers searched in vain for the passage for 300 years, intent on finding a commercially viable western sea route between Europe and Asia.

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South Saskatchewan River

​The South Saskatchewan River (1,392 km long) is a heavily utilized water source in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and is a major tributary to the Saskatchewan River, ultimately discharging to Hudson Bay. Mean flow is 280 m3/s, but varies throughout the year, largely controlled by several dams and reservoirs along the river system. The South Saskatchewan River flows through an agriculturally productive region and is prone to periodic droughts and floods.

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Tundra

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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Ocean

The interplay of these ocean waters with freshwater runoff from land creates the conditions that support large biological production on Canada's continental shelves and embayments (see COASTAL LANDFORM; DRAINAGE BASIN).

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Rocky Mountain Trench

The Rocky Mountain Trench is a long and deep valley extending approximately 1,500 km from the Bitterroot Valley in northwest Montana through British Columbia to the Liard Plain just south of the Yukon Territory. Its predominantly flat floor is 3–20 km wide and ranges in elevation between 600 m and 1,000 m above sea level. With walls made of sedimentary, volcanic and igneous rock, the Trench is sometimes referred to as the “Valley of a Thousand Peaks” because of the towering mountain ranges on either side: the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Columbia, Omineca and Cassiar mountains to the west. Humans have relied on the rich resources provided by this distinctive landscape from pre-colonial times to the present.

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Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site

Grosse Île is an island in the St. Lawrence Estuary, 46 km downstream from Quebec City. It is 2.9 km long and 1 km wide and consists of a wooded Appalachian ridge surrounded by a coastline of coves and capes. It is one of the 21 islands composing the Isle-aux-Grues archipelago. It has also been known as Île de Grâce and Quarantine Island. From 1832 to 1937, it was used as a quarantine station for the port of Quebec City. Over this century of activity, more than 4 million immigrants passed through this station, including nearly 90,000 during the “black year” of 1847. Closely tied to memories of Irish immigration to Canada, Grosse Île is a Canadian national historic site, administered by Parks Canada and open to the public.

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Bow River

​The Bow River runs through the most populated region of Alberta, intersecting cities such as Banff, Canmore, Cochrane and Calgary.

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Baffin Island

Baffin Island, Nunavut, 507,451 km2, 1,500 km long and 200–700 km wide, is the largest island in Canada and the fifth-largest island in the world.

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Lake Nipissing

Located in Northern Ontario, between the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay, Lake Nipissing is the third largest lake located entirely within the boundaries of Ontario. The lake spans 65 km in an east–west direction and drains into Georgian Bay via the French River. Its name derives from an Ojibwa word meaning "little water," likely a comparison to the nearby Great Lakes, which were important trade routes for the Nbisiing (Nipissing), the First Nation indigenous to this region. Fishing is a popular activity on the lake both commercially and recreationally. Unfortunately, walleye, the lake’s dominant fish species, has declined drastically since the 1980s as a result of overfishing and ecosystem changes.