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Geography 1.docx

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Western University
Geography 2010A/B
Mark Moscicki

Geography of Canada: Lecture 1 Jan 8 2014 The Study of Regional Geography • Canada is a huge and diverse country, so its geography is best understood from a regional perspective. The geographic study of a particular part of the world is called regional geography. Canada is divided up into 6 regions, each with its own location, physical geography and history. The 6 geographic regions of Canada are British Columbia, Territorial North (consists of 3 territories), Western Canada (Alberta/Saskatchewan/Manitoba), Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland/Labrador). • A strong sense of regional identity exists, and these identities were shaped over time as people faced challenges imposed by their economic, physical and social environments. For many, place is the most powerful determinant of their life chances, experiences and opportunities. Living and working in a common space inevitably leads to the formation of a regional identity. • Regional identity is the product of a regions physical geography, historical events, and economic situation. • People place their imprint on landscapes (via interactions with the environment) just as landscapes influence their lives and activities. • Other expressions of regional belonging are sense of place (emphasizes local control over regional/community affairs) and power of place (linked to globalization) Quebecois exhibit a strong sense of place, who perceive their place within Canada as more of a partnership with the rest of the country. Regionalism • What is regionalism?  Regionalism is the division of a large area (country) into different parts.  Some countries are more prone to regionalism than others. Canada is very prone to regionalism. This is mainly a result of its large size. • Why is regionalism so prevalent in Canada?  The main reason that regionalism is prevalent in Canada is due to its vast geographic size and varied physical geography (creates natural regional divisions).  There are other reasons for regionalism as well. These include: Different patterns of historic settlement and relationship with the aboriginals (provides distinct cultural base in different areas), different cultures and language (Quebec), and uneven population/economic distribution (concentrates power in Central Canada).  The British N.A act of 1867 gave considerable power to the provinces (education/health/natural resources). Region • Definition: A distinctive area of Earth’s surface. It has distinguishing human or natural characteristics that set it apart from other areas (geographic location/historical development/variations in area, population and economic strength/proportions of French speakers and Aboriginals). • Canada has 6 main regions (as well as sub regions such as Southern/Northern Ontario), determined by geographic size, economic importance and population size. An effort was made to balance the 6 regions with regard to these aspects. As a result, Western Canada consists of several provinces, the Territorial North consists of several territories and Atlantic Canada consists of several provinces. Only Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec have the geographic size, population size and economic importance to form separate geographic regions. • The boundaries of regions are related to faultlines. These are NOT physical fault lines. They are differences between two different areas whether it be geographical, cultural, etc. Approaches to Identifying Regions • Select the critical and physical human characteristics that logically divide a large spatial unit into a series of regions and that distinguish each region from adjacent ones. Towards the margins of a region, its core characteristics become less distinct (merge with neighbouring regions) and are best considered transition zones. • Provincially defined region: Choose an area of provinces (ie. Atlantic Canada). Describe the area, analyze the economy, study the demographics, understand the physical geography. • Categorization of land surface: Classify land into chunks that have similar characteristics (based on appearance). Types of Regions • Uniform region: Named after a characteristic where all locations in the region have similarities in that particular characteristic.  Ex: Vegetation (grassland/desert region) • Functional region: Interactions
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