Call Me Canada A Lesson in Geography
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, only Russia is larger, and can proudly boast of the world’s longest shoreline. Its length measures a staggering 151,000 miles and includes 54255 islands. It would take the average walker at least 33 years, walking daily, to complete, and that does not include a contingency plan of meeting with inclement weather, accessibility, and wildlife. Proper footwear is highly recommended.
Canadians are proud of the serene beauty of their waterways and lakes. In summer and winter, they enjoy water sports, ice sports and simply peering out their windows at the beauty surrounding them. At last count, but then again who can count that high, Canada has two million lakes, more than all other countries in the world combined. A familiar name (besides the 5 Great Lakes) is Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Recognizable it for its stunning yet isolating beauty from the extreme survivalist show, ‘Alone.’ It is harsh, remote, and massive; it also holds the record for being the deepest lake in North America.
Although access to most of those lakes is limited, as Canada is such a massive country and most of those lakes are remote, those water bodies are worth their weight in gold. Someday, soon, potable water will be the new currency, and Canada has access to the largest freshwater share.
In 2001, a geologist made this new, but very ancient discovery. On the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay in the northern part of Quebec (our French-speaking province), he unearthed the planet’s oldest rock, at 4.28 billion years of age, exposed in the bedrock.
For those on a low-salt diet, Little Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan is not for them. At 180,000 mg per liter of mineral salts, this lake, fed by underground streams, is a buoyant as the famous Dead Sea.
Regina, the capital of the province of Saskatchewan, is the dead center of the North American continent. Named for the Latin word, queen, in honor of Queen Victoria, it shares its name with several other renowned phenomena. In 1912, a cyclone named Regina destroyed much of the town. Our country music legend Shania Twain shares the name Regina on her birth certificate. Regina also has a reputation for weather and has recorded record highs of 111F in 1937 and record lows of -58F in January of 1885 (don’t be fooled when someone says, ‘but it’s a dry cold).
Out of Canada’s 37 million inhabitants, many choose to live in the following six cities with more than a million residents. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa. According to Statistics Canada, the country has a low population density of 3.9 people per square kilometer (.386 sq mile).
Canada has a diverse landscape. Parts of the country are postcard famous for their beauty, like Banff, or Peggy’s Cove; others are an exercise in starkness. Others still are so remote that no human has set foot on the soil. With only 20% of the country inhabited, most along the US/Canada border, there is much to explore, only it is incredibly difficult due to climate and geographical constraints.
Size is a factor. Canada spans across six time zones, and its shores touch the waters of the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic Sea. The terrain is abundant with forests, plains, hills, swamps, mountains, and water bodies. The Canadian Shield is the backbone of its topography.
In the west, British Columbia, Yukon, and Alberta share the long spine of mountains: the Rockies, and the Coastal Range Mountains that sweep down from Alaska. Heading east, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba contain vast plains of fertile land. It is our grain belt.
The Atlantic region is densely populated, and a mix of forest, rocky shorelines, and fjords enhances the scenic beauty of this cluster of smaller provinces. Ontario and Quebec are the largest in land mass and population.
In the real north, Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories, the land is often unforgiving and mostly uninhabited. Long cold winters, dry, barren land, and heavy snow freeze the ground. In the snowy tundra even farther north, polar bears, seals, and narwhals live in extreme conditions, not suitable for humans. Frozen glaciers, permanently frozen subsoil and colossal mountain ranges shape this rugged and surreal landscape.
Did you know that Canada means village or settlement? And that there is a place called Canada in England, in Antarctica, in Kansas, in Israel and the Westbank, in Minnesota, and in the Czech Republic. Above all, Canada is beautiful, clean, friendly, and polite and looks forward to welcoming you when you visit.
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