Canada lies to the north of the 48 US states along the longest
undefended border in the world. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia.
The landforms of the US continue northward into Canada giving each country
a similar topographic regime.
Canada is divided into 10 Provinces and 3 Territories -- the government is a federal
system similar to that of the United States.
The majority of Canadians are of British hertitage -- a minority of French heritage
seek to preserve their culture and traditions in Quebec.
The mildest region of the country is along the Pacific coast -- the remainder of Canada
is cold and snowy with generally cool summers.
Temperatures may drop to -80 in the far north and summers are short and cool except
along the extreme south. Most of Canada is covered by forest -- the northern coast and islands is too cold for trees
-- it is tundra. The Great Plains grasslands extend across the southern parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
The Laurentian Upland consists of ancient crystalline rock containing a vast amount
of mineral wealth. Cold climate and lack of good transportation are obstacles to development. Yet, many ore bodies
have been discovered and developed.
Most Canadians live near the border of the US -- climate
is warmer, economic activity is greater, minerals and other resources are available, and the transportation system of the
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are among the reasons. Another population center is on the Pacific coast near the
port of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Canadian agriculture is limited to the southern parts of the country.
Land is used for dairy cattle and pasture crops in the St. Lawrence Valley and most
of the plain of Ontario. Similar agricultural activities take place in the Martime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the southern part of Quebec. Quebec and Ontario also produce tobacco, grains, and
Orchard lands are in western Nova Scotia and the Lakes Peninsula between Lake Huron,
Erie, and Ontario -- grapes are a major crop here. Being close to large bodies of water modifies the climate -- cool
winds prevent too early of a bloom in spring, and warmer breezes in the fall extend the harvest time.
In the Praire Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta wheat is the major crop
-- an extention northward of the wheat lands of the United States. Hardier crops such as barley and potatoes are grown
to the north of the wheat belt. Long hours of sunlight in summer allow some crops to be grown near the Arctic Circle.
Minerals and forests are important to Canada's economy in addition to agriculture.
Sudbury, Ontario is a major site for the mining of nickel, copper, and platinum. The area northwest of Sudbury
is believed to be the site of an impact by an asteroid in Precambrians times which led to the implacement of the ore bodies.
High grade iron ore deposits are near Lake Superior and in the Quebec/Labrador border region.
Most of the metal ore minerals are contained within the Laurentian Upland -- also called
the Canadian Shield. Outside that zone coal and oil are found in Saskatchewan and Alberta -- coal is also found in Nova
Scotia. A huge oil field lies near Edmonton, Alberta, and an even greater amount of oil is contained the the Tar Sands
near Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The forest lands of Canada provide dimension lumber for construction -- but even greater
in value is newsprint. Much of Canada's lumber, wood products, and newsprint is exported -- a great deal to the United
Fur-bearing animals of the far north are of historic interest in the development of
Canada and continue today as a source of income for people living there.
Manufacturing is concentrated around the large cities of Montreal and Toronto.
The manufacturing belt extends from roughly Detroit through southern Ontario and Quebec -- near the Great Lakes and along
the St. Lawrence Valley. Abundant hydroelectric power favors the refining of aluminum imported from the Caribbean region.
Kitimat, British Columbia also has an alumina plant run by hydro -- the ore travels through the Panama canal.
The construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway -- a joint U.S.-Canadian project has improved
trade connections between Canada and the rest of the world. Montreal and Toronto are major Canadian port cities.