Geography of Canada

Geography of Canada

Canada is the northernmost country in the Americas and the second largest country in the world.

It has borders with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north and the United States of America (USA) to the south. It extends over a total area that covers nearly ten million square kilometers (9984670 km ²). To illustrate this, Canada could contain 18 countries the size of France or 40 that of the United Kingdom and spans six time zones. Canada also has the longest coastline of any country.

Canada is a mosaic of regions ranging from the steep western mountains to the farming communities of the Prairies, the political and industrial center of Ontario, the modern French culture of Quebec, the picturesque fishing communities of the east coast going through everything else. Canada’s beauty and diversity are icons of what Canada has become.

Most of the country is made up of plains with mountains to the west and prairies to the southeast. Approximately 90 percent of the more than 31 million people living in Canada are located 160 km from the US border and about 75% of the total population lives in large cities.  There are more than 2 million lakes in Canada, which translates into 7.6% (755180 square kilometers) of fresh water.

Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories. The northernmost part of Canada extends into the Arctic Arctic Circle, while the most southerly regions extend below the American frontier. Canada and the United States share many common geographic features such as rocky mountains, four of the great lakes, the Appalachians and various rivers.

Canada has a boreal climate. Winters are cold with average temperatures varying between 2.5 ° C and 10 ° C and the summers are relatively hot compared with temperatures ranging from 16 ° C to 28 ° C in the southern regions. Temperatures in Canada have reached steep levels of 35 degrees Celsius in summer and have dropped to glacial levels of -25 degrees Celsius in winter.

British Columbia has the most temperate climate in Canada. It rarely rains in low areas and rocky mountains prevent the pacific air from moving to the grasslands.

The Canadian prairies extend eastward through the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes region. Agriculture is an important industry in this part of the country. Cold winters and hot, humid summers are common. Sufficient rainfall in the spring and mature autumn make meadows one of the best places in the world for cereal crops.

More than half of Canada’s population lives near the Great Lakes or along the St. Lawrence River. Winter is very snowy and the wind is cold, while the summers are damp and last longer than anywhere else in Canada. There is enough precipitation to support the agricultural industry, which is very important to the region.

This territory is very inclement and has the most capricious meteorological system of the whole country. In winter, temperatures can change suddenly when the Arctic blast is replaced by sea air produced by sudden, violent storms. Snowfall is relatively high and fog is often present in the spring and early summer. July is the hottest month of the year with average temperatures between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius.

North of the prairies and the St. Lawrence is a vast hyperborean forest. This area is snow covered most of the year and the summer season lasts about two months. Above the tops of the trees is the Arctic. Temperatures do not exceed the freezing threshold for only a few weeks a year and the soil is permanently frozen.

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