Canada Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Canada?


The world's second-largest country in land area (3,851,809 square miles), Canada is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the northeast by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the U.S., and on the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska.

Much of Canada's industry is concentrated in the southeast near the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, in an environment similar to adjacent areas of the U.S. To the northeast is the rolling Appalachian country of southern Quebec, the Maritime Provinces, and the Island of Newfoundland.

Canada's most outstanding physical feature is the Shield, a rugged area of pre-Cambrian rock that surrounds Hudson Bay and covers most of eastern and central Canada--almost half the country. This semi-barren area and the Arctic Archipelago to the north are sparsely populated and, as yet, largely undeveloped.

Another distinctive major region is the Canadian Prairie, an extension of the midcontinent Great Plains. This area lies between the western border of the Shield and the Canadian Rockies. It is the Canadian breadbasket and an area that is also rich in petroleum, gas, and other mineral resources.

Far Western Canada, comprising most of British Columbia, is laced with towering mountain ranges. Most people there live on the temperate southwest coast and on Vancouver Island.

Geography - note

The second-largest country in the world (after Russia); a strategic location between Russia and the United States via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the United States border; Canada has more fresh water than any other country and almost 9% of Canadian territory is water; Canada has at least 2 million and possibly over 3 million lakes - that is more than all other countries combined.

Canada Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location North America
Total Area 3,855,081 Square Miles
9,984,670 Square Kilometers
Land Area 3,511,003 Square Miles
9,093,507 Square Kilometers
Water Area 344,078 Square Miles
891,163 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 5,526 Miles
8,893 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 3,359 Square Miles
8,699 Square Kilometers
Border Countries United States 8,893 km (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)
Coastline 125,567 Miles
202,080 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 60 00 N, 95 00 W
Terrain Mostly plains with mountains in the west and lowlands in the southeast
Highest Point 5,959 Meters
Highest Point Location Mount Logan 5,959 m
Lowest Point Location Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources Iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, rare earth elements, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
Time Zone UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: Canada has six time zones
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

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