Geography of Canada


Physical Geography
LocationCanada is located in the continent of North America. It is bound in the north by the Arctic Ocean, in the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, in the south by the United States of America (USA) and in the west by the North Pacific Ocean. Alaska, a US State, lies in its north-western part. Canada is the largest, among the various nations of the world that share an international border with only one country.

The geographic coordinates of the country are 60 degrees 00 minutes north and 95 degrees 00 minutes west. The northernmost point of the country is Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island in northwest territory, while the southernmost point is Middle Island in Lake Erie, Ontario, and the easternmost point is Cape Spear in Newfoundland, while the westernmost point is Mt. St. Elias, in the Yukon territory.

Canada is divided into six time-zones. These are NST-Newfoundland Standard Time (UTC -3:30), AST-Atlantic Standard Time (UTC -4), EST-Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5), CST-Central Standard Time (UTC -6), MST-Mountain Standard Time (UTC -7), PST-Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8).

Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday of March and reverts to Standard Time on the first Sunday of November each year. With the clock set forward by 1 hour, the names of the time zones also change to NDT-Newfoundland Daylight Time (UTC -2:30), ADT-Atlantic Daylight Time (UTC -3), EDT-Eastern Daylight Time (UTC -4), CDT-Central Daylight Time (UTC -5), MDT-Mountain Daylight Time (UTC -6), PDT-Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7) and YDT-Yukon Daylight Time (UTC -7).

Canada PhysiographyThe total area of Canada is 3,855,103 sq. mi (9,984,671sq. km) and this makes it the second largest country in the world (Russia being the largest). Of the total land area, 91.08% is ‘dry,’ while the remaining 8.92% is covered by water.

The Rocky Mountains, with their snow-capped peaks and their clear blue lakes are found in the western part of the country. The rest of the country is mostly covered with plains;however, lowlands are found in the southeast. Canada comprises varied landforms like mountains, plains, deserts, and fjords.

The highest point in the country is Mount Logan which is 19,550 ft. (5,959 m) high while the lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean which is at sea level.

Canada ClimateMost of northern Canada has an arctic or subarctic climate with long harsh winters, short sunny summers and little precipitation,with mean temperatures below freezing for nearly seven months in a year. While the southern part of the country has a relatively milder climate, often experiencing high levels of humidity during the summer months and the temperatures rise above 85 degrees F (30 degrees C).

The western and south-eastern part of the country can experience heavy rainfall, while the prairies are relatively dry. Most of the country’s rain and snow east of the Rocky Mountains is caused by cyclonic storms that form as a result of the mixing of air from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior.

In general terms, four seasons can be distinguished in Canada, they are Spring (March to May), Summer (June to August/September), Autumn (September to November) and Winter (December to February or later).

Canada HydrologyCanada has immense fresh water resources and almost 9% of its territory is water. An interesting fact about Canada’s hydrology is that nearly 60% of the country’s rivers flow and drain towards the north; away from the nearly 90% of its population which lives in the south. The major rivers of the country are the Athabasca, Columbia, Fraser, Mackenzie, Nelson, Ottawa, St. Lawrence, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Of these, the Columbia and the Yukon cross the international border into the USA, while Mackenzie is the largest river of Canada.

Canada has more lakes than any other country in the world, and more than 500 lakes in the country are larger than 38 sq. mi (100 sq. km). Some of the biggest lakes of Canada are Lake Superior, Huron, Great Bear, Great Slave, Erie, Winnipeg, Ontario, Athabasca, and Winnipegosis. Of these, the four which form a part of the great lakes-Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario are shared with USA.

BiodiversityIn Canada, about 71,000 species have been named and classified by scientists while it is believed that about 69,000 are yet to be recorded for the first time. Despite its northerly position, the country is rich and diverse in plant and animal life due to its large size.

Boreal forests are the most common type of vegetation found in Canada; other flora includes Spruce, Fir, Birch, Pine, Maple trees, and gigantic Red Cedar, and prairie grasslands. Iconic fauna of Canada includes the Beaver, Bobcat, Canadian Lynx, Lemming, Polar Bear, Wolverine, Arctic Fox, Badger, Black Bear, Coyote, Moose, and Porcupine.

National Parks
National ParksCanada has designated 42 areas as national parks and national park reserves to preserve the country’s natural beauty, historic heritage and biodiversity. Some of the most visited national parks and reserves in the country are Cape Breton in Nova Scotia; Banff National Park in Alberta; Fundy National Park in New Brunswick; Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador; Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site in British Columbia; Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park in Ontario; Forillon National Park in Quebec; Yoho National Park in British Columbia; Auyuittuq National Park in Nunavut, and Nahanni National Park Reserve in the northwest territories.

Last Updated on: January 4th, 2018