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Western University
Geography 2011A/B
Ian Dunn

Physical Geography Ontario • Iroquois for “Lake Ontario” • “Sparkling Water” • “Rocks Standing by the Water” • 2 largest province 2 Natural Regions • Canadian Shield (Laurentian Plateau) [high] • Interior Plains and Lowlands [flat] o Hudson Bay Plains (Interior Plains) o Lowlands (Great Lakes-St. Lawrence) Canadian Shield • 3 major components: rock, lake, forest • Except for forestry, mining, and Native Canadians, very few people live here • Boreal Shield (supports Boreal Forest) • Mixed Wood Plain (southern Ontario; majority of pop.) • Igneous and metamorphic rock o Between 1.5 and 3.5 billion years old o High mountains eroded down to rocky ridges over many years o Hardest rock remains • Thousands of lakes – result of glaciation over million years • Massive ice sheets scoured and gouged the earth = changing drainage patterns • Glaciers scraped the soil from the rocks • Although flat and easily accessible, agriculture is not possible o Soil is not able to support trees • Since the last ice age, the land has become covered with a thick Boreal forest of coniferous trees o Jack pine, balsam fir, white and black spruce o Trees continue north to treeline where tundra begins • Forested land diminishing due to decades of development o Cleared for agriculture • Deciduous trees lose leaves seasonally • Mixed forest has both coniferous and deciduous Hudson Bay Plains • Third largest wetland in the world • Very far north, low land with a shallow slope • Muskeg and peatlands • Permafrost underlies much of the region • Rivers all flow north to Hudson Bay Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands • Divided by the Canadian Shield’s FrontenacAxis (Kingston to St. Lawrence River) • Value to farmer and environment • Woodlots contiguous (don’t connect) o Insufficient place for animals to inhabit o Used for agriculture • Niagara Escarpment that partially runs through southern Ontario • St. Lawrence Lowland o Rift Valley = faults or crack in the Earth’s crust split the valley, which was then part of the Canadian Shield. The floor of the valley fell, creating the Lowland. o After the last ice age, high ocean levels allowed theAtlantic Ocean to creep inwards and create a very flat landscape. • Great Lakes Lowland o Niagara Escarpment = dominant feature  Erosion left a rocky ridge 30-50m above surrounding area (doesn’t erode in the same way)  World Biosphere Reserve = protect from unnatural development  Only exception has been Niagara Falls (tourist area) o Flat landscape with some glacial landforms o Prime agricultural land, but easily convertible to urban use o Niagara fruit belt o Kettle rock o Home to majority of Ontarians Climate • Mostly “humid continental” • Some more “maritime” • 3 major air sources o Cold, dry, polar air from North o Pacific polar air passing over the prairies o Warm, moist, subtropical air fromAtlantic Ocean • Great Lakes provide humidity • Temperature and precipitation depend on latitude, proximity to water and terrain • Temperature generally warmer S, colder N o Growing degree days: crop maturity date predictor • Precipitation trends an increase from NW to SE o Snow accumulation varies greatly across the province Land Use and Urban Sprawl • City + suburbs => rural land • Open space => built-up, developed land o After conversion to urban use, it is rare for it to be turned back into a rural space • High volumes of traffic • Scattering of businesses, shops, and homes o Areas have a distinct purpose • Inadequate public transportation • Pedestrian unfriendly streets o Some streets without a sidewalk • Zoning that divides neighbourhoods from offices, shops, and restaurants • Parking lots that push buildings back and farther away from each other o Societal norm to move car across a large parking lot rather than walking across it • An additional 260k acres (1.1k km ) of rural land to be urbanized by 2031 o 92% of that is Ontario’s best farmland o Converting natural resources o Environmental concerns • Golden Horseshoe growing by over 115k people/year o Big population and land; central power o Dense in the core o Urban development is perpetual o No separation between communities • In 2030, will be third largest urban region in NAbehind NY and LA • Urban sprawl = meet societal demand for residential housing • Other externalities: illnesses, time lost, traffic accidents, noise, economic costs of climate change • Cheaper land is further from city centre • Increased property taxes due to maintenance of infrastructure • Extra transportation costs since all trips require a car o Time spent driving • No direct route to a destination o Originally designed to slow traffic in residential neighbourhoods Land Use • Land is finite • Land used for urban development is often prime agricultural land o Open land preserves habitat and absorbs rain o Pressure on agricultural land o Commercial development perceived as more valuable • Millions of vehicles = billions of litres of gas used o Emit millions of tonnes of pollution • 16,000 premature deaths/year in Canada • Air pollution costs Ontario over $1 billion/year • Burning fossil fuels = GHG emissions o Permafrost thaw o Accelerated coastal erosion o Increasing severity of storms and droughts • Urban sprawl requires abundant and cheap energy o Suburbs will become much more expensive • Clearing forest and agricultural cover increases runoff • Sewers gather chemicals from pavement and deposits into rivers and lakes • Expansion into woodlands and wetlands destroys habitat o Primary threat to remaining lands near Canada’s cities • Absence of a “sense of place” o Difficult to foster a sense of place when everything looks the same in urban areas o Lack of ability to downsize in the same area – if you don’t fit, you can’t live there • Social loss – isolation, no connectivity or engagement • Those who cannot drive are left behind o Quality of life changes • Smart growth – make urban development a positive, long-term force o New urbanism o Institutionalize new principles by which to plan cities going forward • Preserve green space and farmland o Rather than developing on it • Integrate land use and transportation planning • Make full use of existing urban land and infrastructure (“fill in the spaces”) • Mix land uses • Provide a variety of transportation o Opportunities to bike, walk, etc. with more bike paths and sidewalks • Compact building design • Range of housing opportunities • Invite walking and bicycling • Communities with a strong sense of place • Green belt – areas that are supposed to be protected • Grey areas have development dictated by the individual city Social Geography • Native peoples arrived 10,000 years ago o Different settlement patterns (Pacific Ocean, western Canada, etc.) o 60,000 – 117,000 in the 1500s o Not a homogenous group of people o Use up land for agriculture => relocate while land recovers • European settlers o 1500s – Passage to the Orient o 1600s – Fur trade begins; French vs. English o 1759 – British vs. French showdown o 1763 – Treaty of Paris o 1775 –American Revolution o 1779 – English, Scottish & Irish immigrants o 1787 – US Ordinance develop the Lakes o 1791 – Upper Canada defined (15,000 pop.) o 1812 – Last military challenge for the Lakes (90,000 pop.) o 1867 – Confederation (ON, QC, NS, NB) o 1900s – half rural (2M pop.) o 1904 – Ford Motor Company manufactured in Windsor  Silver discovered at Cobalt in northern Ontario o 1906 – Niagara Falls harnessed  Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission o 1911 – 1913 – 1M immigrants to Canada, most to Ontario • Ontario currently has population of 13.2M (~40% of Canada) o Since 2001, Ontario’s pop. growth is half of Canada’s o Higher % growth in ON, AB, and BC • Francophones = largest language minority o Declining in popularity o As an official language, it makes up a really small part of pop. • Visible minorities increasing and more diverse (2.2M in Ontario, 2001) o ~20% of province’s population o 54% of visible minorities in Canada • Immigration driven by push factors or pull factors o Government regulation changes make it easier to immigrate to Canada o Currently, fed gov’t pushing for more immigration to prairies (economic opportunities) • Resource boom: uncertain of how long the natural resources will last • Rate of decline continuing in natural increase (births – deaths) • Net migration is historically unstable o Driven by economic opportunities, government regulations, etc. o Unpredictable trends, but still projected to increase over next two decades o Need to plan for increased population or have a low dependency ratio • Population has always been driven by immigration o Increasing % of urban population o Most population growth in GTA • Natural increase o Positive in NW Ontario, driven byAboriginals o Declining in the rest of N Ontario o Positive in most of S Ontario (if high immigration, natural increase also goes up) • Population decline in 2036 for N Ontario o Increasing % of seniors; poses a problem • Baby boomers have shifted age brackets as time passes o More difficult to m
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