The Geography of Canada: An Introduction: May 2 , 2011
The Nature of Geography
o Human geography
o Physical geography
o Humans and the land
o Regional studies
o Spatial analysis
o What is where, where there, and why care? (Gritzner, 2002)
Geography a spatial science
o Spatial patterns- how are things arranged?
o Spatial processes- why are they arranged this way?
o Region: an area of the earth’s surface that has distinctive characteristics (Bone, p.4). i.e.
a part of the earths surface featuring internal homogeneity and at the same time, is
relatively distinct and different from surrounding areas according to certain criteria
o Southern Ontario (along the great lakes) and compare to northern Ontariothey are two
different kinds of places where one is highly urbanized or industrialized; whereas in the
north there are scattered settlementsdifferent place and economy and a different way of
Regions are intellectual creations
o Regions just don’t exist but they exist as a consequence of what we decide
o Do not exist naturally and created by people with a particular purpose in mind
Types of regions:
o The bases of regional variations i.e. regions differ from one another on the basis of these
o What is the significance of regional variation, i.e. why is it important?
Cultural landscapes and livelihoods vary from one place/region to another i.e. living in region A
is not the same as living in Region B
o Different experience living in Manitoba to Quebec
o The differences exists and are important for us to know and understand
Canada with its diversity of regions, can be viewed as a mosaic of regional landscapes
Regional variations part of the essence of Canada, “what’s it like there?”, “what kind of people
are Canadians?” (it’s different in each of those places)
Question: How can we best divide Canada into regions?
o Draw a line across Canada- 70% living below whereas above the line would have less of
Something to think about:
o What country is most like Canada?
o Canada vs United States
Due to colonial history and cultural influences
o Canada vs Britain Being a colony of Britain
o Canada vs Australia
Due to the land area; similar pattern of population along the coastline and
o Canada vs Russia
Due to size and similar environments
Where is here?
o What is geography’s role in shaping our nation, our communities and us?
o Where you are is critical to national and local identities of individuals
Geography helps us to understand our world. (Bone, 2008)
Canada: Some First Thoughts
Map of Canada
o What does the map reveal about the country and about us?
o What is the purpose of this course?
o How can/should we look at Canada?
No correct answer but it depends on ones purpose
o Where should we start?
Lecture Notes: Part 2: The Physical Environment
The physical environment
1. To describe Canada’s physical geography
2. To examine the nature of the relationship between Canada’s physical and human geographies
3. To examine the nature of environmental issues in Canada
Where is Niagara Falls?
o Variety of different answersan hour away, longitude
Where was Niagara Falls (10,000 years ago)?
o It has moved; how is this possible?
o They move depending on physical processes and the physical environment is
continuously changing through natural disasters or more gradually
o Rate of retreat:
~300 m since 1678 (1 European to see Niagara Falls-Father Hennepin)
8 km since glacial ice melted out of southern Ontario about 12,000 years ago
Estimates of annual recession rates
1842-1905: 1.52 m/year
1905-1927: 0.98 m/year
1927-1950: 0.67 m/year
1950-present: 0.10 m/year
o Why is this number getting smaller? It is due to the diversion of water; volume of water
much smaller along with the rate of erosion