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Geo Notes

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Western University
Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

Geo Notes Nov/12 Atlantic Canada - Atlantic Canada is a have-not region and is dependent on equalization payments. There is a lot of out- migration of young people. The atlantic and gulf region based on physiography includes NB, NS, PEI, Gaspe peninsula, and NL, but not Labrador. But for statistical purposes, the region of Atlantic Canada consists of the maritimes (NS, NB, PEI) and NL and Labrador (the atlantic province). Atl. Canada is united by a rich sense of place. The failure of the northern cod stocks has hurt the local fishing economy and resulted in the closure of many coastal communities. Offshore oil and gas developments have recently helped the economy. NL has recently become a have province because its offshore oil resources have been successful. Atl. Canada is Canadas oldest hinterland. In 2006, Atl. Canada had the lowest GDP and the highest unemployment. The main reasons for Atl. Canadas weak economic performance are 1. The political division of Atl. Canada into four provinces discourages an integrated economy in which economies of scale might occur and increase the cost of government. 2. Atl. Canada has been exploiting its resources for a long time. Coal and iron have been exhausted and northern cod has been overexploited. 3. Atl. Canadas population is dispersed and, which the exception of Halifax, consists of small markets. 4. Distance from national and global markets has stifled its manufacturing base. All of these factors have made it difficult for economic development to flourish in this region. - Atl. Canada is dispersed, fragmented, diverse, large uniform areas are absent, peripheral (population located on coasts), isolated, economically disadvantaged, there is ongoing outmigration, and has strong regional identity. - A resource is an element of nature judged to be of value/utility to humans. Renewable resources continue to exist despite what weve done so far (ex. water, fish, trees). Non-renewable resources get used up (ex. oil, minerals). A common property resource is owned by no one, but owned by all (ex. fish). Tragedy of the commons overuse of the resource is the logical outcome of everyone trying to maximize their return. With fish, an initial harvest may actually increase the fish stock because of improved habitat and food supply for the remaining fish. A sustainable yield is determined using inventory and biology (reproduction rate). Fish can become non-renewable or finite. - Atl. Canadas physical geography: It contains two physiographic regions the Canadian shield (Labrador) and the appalachian uplands (everywhere else). The appalachian mountains have been subjected to erosion for 500 million years and streams have cut into the Cape Breton highlands of the appalachian uplands, resulting in a rugged and hilly terrain. The Canadian shield in Labrador underwent orogeny, which is a mountain-building geologic process that occurs as a result of plate tectonics. These Torngat mountains were then covered with glaciers. The climate of Atl. Canada is varied because of the meeting of continental air masses with marine air masses. The result is unsettled weather. In the summer, the weather is mostly cool and sunny. In winter, influxes of moist Atlantic air produce mild snowy weather. Clashes of warm and cold air masses in the winter can result in winter storms. Annual precipitation is abundant in Atl. Canada. Most precipitation comes from noreasters, which are strong winds off the north atlantic from the northeast that bring stormy weather. The maritimes and NL have foggy weather. Fog forms in the chilled air above the Labrador current when it mixes with warm, moist air from the gulf of Mexico. Coastal places like St. Johns and Halifax experience lots of fog. Atl. Canada has three climatic zones atlantic, subarctic, and arctic. The arctic zone is found in northern Labrador. The Labrador current brings icebergs from Greenland to the Labrador coastline. This zone is associated with tundra vegetation. The summers are too cool for treegrowth. The subarctic climate zone is found in the Labrador interior. The interior of Labrador experiences warmer summers and the boreal forest is located here. The atlantic zone includes the maritimes and NL. This area receives the warm, moist air masses from the south, and in the winter it experiences arctic storms. In Atl. Canada, summers are cool and wet and winters are short and mild, but with lots of snow. - The Annapolis valley is a low-lying area in NS. It has fertile sandy soil that originated from marine deposits 13,000 years ago. In the early 1600s, the favourable soil attracted early French settlers (the Acadians). Today, the Annapolis valley provides the best agricultural land in NS. Land use is now changing, with vineyards replacing apple orchards. In the 1930s, it was one of three major apple producing regions in Canada and mostly exported to Britain. From 1940-1950, the British market disappeared and the valley economy became depressed. This lead to changes 1. There were financial incentives to reduce the number of trees, so that there would be fewer and larger farms, leading to economies of scale. Farmers were encouraged to retire. 2. There was a change from marketing fresh apples to marketing apple products (apple juice, apple sauce). Processing plants were located in small towns. This led to population growth and urbanization problems. 3. Diversification of the crop base changed to provide for the needs of Halifax. - Environmental challenges: The Sydney tar ponds are composed of tar and chemicals that are dangerous to humans. Sydney had a steel company called Sysco. It would release toxic waste products into a nearby stream, and they would gradually seep into Muggah Creek. All levels of government joined together to clean up the tar ponds when it was found that people living near them had an increased risk of developing cancer. There is still a lot of work to be done with the cleanup. - Atl. Canadas historical geography: Atl. Canada was the first part of North America to be discovered by Europeans. The Vikings arrived around 1000AD and settled in NL for a short time. John Cabot arrived at Atl. Canada in 1497 while trying to find a route to
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