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GEO2010 Chapter 9 Notes.docx

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Western University
Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

Chapter 9: Atlantic Canada Atlantic Canada Within Canada  Contains 4 provinces: Nova Scotia, News Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island  Smallest populations and historically, weakest economies of the 10 Canadian provinces  Political division of Atlantic Canada into 4 provinces discourages the emergence of an integrated economy in which economies of scale might occur and increases cost of government  Atlantic Canada has been exploiting its resources for a long time and some have been exhausted, while its renewable resources have been overexploited  Atlantic Canada’s population is widely dispersed and consists of small markets  Distance from national and global markets have stifled its manufacturing base  Atlantic Canada has become heavily dependent on Ottawa for economic support through equalization payments and social problems Atlantic Canada’s Physical Geography  Consists of two of Canada’s physiographic regions: Appalachian Uplands and Canadian Shield  Appalachian Uplands represents the worn-down remnants of an ancient mountain chain  Orogeny: mountain-building, geologic process that takes place as a result of plate tectonics – result is distinctive structural change to earth’s crust where mountains are formed  Climate of Atlantic Canada is quite varied because of meeting of continental air masses with marine air masses  Flow of continental air masses from west to east bring warm weather in the summer and cold winters  Yet its moderate marine-type weather is tempered by cold waters of Labrador Sea and warmer waters of Gulf of St. Lawrence = generally unsettled weather  In the winter, influxes of moist Atlantic air produce mild snowy weather  Annual precipitation is abundant throughout Atlantic Canada  Nor’easters: strong winds off the North Atlantic from the northeast that bring stormy weather  Coastal communities experience the greatest number of foggy days  Atlantic Canada has 3 climatic zones – Atlantic, subarctic, arctic o Great north-south extent o Meeting place of Arctic and tropical air masses and ocean currents o Close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean exerts moderating effect  Labrador Current: cold ocean current flowing south in the North Atlantic from Greenland and Labrador  Summers are usually cool and wet while winters are short and mild but often associated with heavy snow and rainfall  Temperature differences between inland and coastal locations are striking  Gulf Stream: warm ocean current paralleling the North American coast that flows from the Gulf of Mexico towards Newfoundland Environmental Challenges th  By the end of the 20 century, Sydney not only had lost its industrial sector but community was saddled with an environmental disaster – Sydney Tar Ponds (composed of tar and chemicals dangerous to human beings)  These toxic wastes came from the operation of Sysco (steel company)  Sysco discharged wastes into a nearby stream and gradually seeped into Muggah Creek  When Health Canada stated that those living closest to the tar ponds were in greater danger, Ottawa and Halifax began to pay attention  Action began after a cancer specialist concluded that there was a higher risk of dying from cancer in communities closest to tar ponds  Sydney Tar Ponds are site of the biggest environmental cleanup project in Canadian history  Improvements: construction of a sewer interceptor that will divert tonnes of raw sewage that now flow daily into tar ponds, demolition and removal of derelict structure on the coke ovens site, closure and capping of the old Sydney landfill Atlantic Canada’s Historical Geography  First part of North America to be discovered by Europeans  Groundfish: fish that live on or near the bottom of the sea  In the waters off Newfoundland lured European fishers to make the perilous voyage across Atlantic to these rich fishing grounds  Permanent settlements were slow to take hold in this part of North America  The French Shore is a coastal area along the west coast of the island and much of the northern coast where French fishers enjoyed treaty rights to fish granted by Britain in 1713, today populated by descendants of early French settlers  Beothuk: before the arrival of fishing boats from Europe, the Beothuk Indians hunted and fished on the island of Newfoundland. Forced inland the Beothuk struggled to survive in the resource-poor interior, the last died in 1829 th  Over the first half of the 18 century, war between the two European colonial powers in North America was almost continuous o After the British defeated the French, the Treaty of Paris (1763) ceded all French territories in North America to the British except for the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon  Scottish Highland Clearances: forced displacethnts of thor tenant farmers in the Scottish Highlands during 18 and 19 century, part of a process of change of estate land use from small farms to large-scale  Irish Famine: great famine in Ireland (1845 – 1852) when the principal crop and source of food, the potato, was devastated by blight  Immigrants helped to define the dominantly Scottish character of Cape Breton and Irish character of Saint John  By the time impoverished settlers from Britain arrived in the Maritimes, old world of the Mi’kmaq has collapsed forced into a state of subsistence  In the early 19 century, harvesting of Atlantic Canada’s natural wealth increased for the British Empire  Availability of timber and region’s favourable seaside location provided ideal conditions for shipbuilding in Atlantic Canada  Exports from Atlantic Canada were primarily cod and timber  Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined at the time of Confederation, PEI followed in 1873 and Newfoundland reluctantly joined in 1949 o None saw much advantage to joining Canada o In spite of their historic head start and excellent access to sea and world markets, they were on the margins of the new country and still looked to New England as their natural market  Confederation had a downside because Ottawa wanted to create a manufacturing base in Central Canada o Atlantic Canada had the basic resources for heavy industry (coal and iron) o Instead, focus was on Central Canada where bulk of the population was located  What Atlantic Canada needed was access to the market of Central Canada – intercolonial railway o With low-cost transportation to the national market and possibility of firms achieving economies of scale, general economic surge occurred in the Maritimes o Maritime economy suffered a deadly blow when federal subsidies for freight rates were eliminated  Region languished because of its scattered and relatively small population, narrow resource base, high cost of transporting, barriers to trade with New England  Even during periods of national affluence, Atlantic Canada experienced limited economic growth, numerous federal loans / grants made little difference  For over 100 years, coal and ironing mining provide the basis for Nova Scotia’s iron and steel industry o Loss of life in the coal mines, good pay but dangerous o Environmental degradation caused by seepage of toxic fluids  Major turning point took place after WWII when demand for steel dropped and size of labour force was reduced  Process of deindustrialization eventually saw the steel mill closed, economic future is uncertain Atlantic Canada Today  Young people of the region continue to seek economic opportunities in other parts of the country  Prospect for strong economic growth remains elusive and the challenge facing Atlantic Canada is to translate its fossil fuel resources, minerals and metals, forests, and marine and freshwater resources into a strong sustainable economy  But Atlantic Canada has the handicap of being an old resource hinterland, many of the region’s most valuable natural resources have already been harvested  Atlantic Canada’s attempt to at industrialization has been troubled by a small local market, distance to larger markets, and trade barriers  Atlantic Canada has a fractured geography  Rural Atlantic Canada has fallen into a steep decline with many coastal villages disappearing  Urban Atlantic Canada has
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