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Lecture 1- 2RC3

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McMaster University
Walter Peace

The Geography of Canada: An Introduction: May 2 , 2011 The Nature of Geography  Geo= earth  Graphe=write  Two sub-disciplines: o Human geography o Physical geography  Three themes: 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?  Regional geography: 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 Ontariothey are two different kinds of places where one is highly urbanized or industrialized; whereas in the north there are scattered settlementsdifferent place and economy and a different way of life  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 Physiographic o Climatic o Economic o Cultural o The bases of regional variations i.e. regions differ from one another on the basis of these characteristics 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 a population  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 unsettled interior 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  Questions: 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 Purpose: 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 Questions:  Where is Niagara Falls? o Variety of different answersan 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: st  ~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 o The
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