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Chapter 1

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Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

Chapter 1: Regions of Canada Geography as a Discipline  Geography provides a description and explanation of lands, places, and peoples beyond our personal experience  Regional Identity: person’s association with a place or region and their sense of belonging to a collectivity  Consciousness: sense of one's identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by an individual / group  Regional Self-Interest: aspirations, concerns and interests of people living in a region and acted on by local politicians (improve prospects of their region at expense of others / federal government) Regional Geography  Regional Geography: study of geography of regions and interplay between physical and human geography, results in an understanding of human society / physical geographical underpinnings / sense of place  Region: area of the Earth’s surface defined by its distinctive human / natural characteristics  Today, geographers place more emphasis on the human side because the physical environment is largely mediated through culture, economy, and technology  Sense of Place: special and intense feelings that people have for the area where they live, powerful bond between people and their region  Power of Place: economic, political, and cultural power of a particular place o While power of place is closely linked to globalization, sense of place emphasizes local control over regional and community affairs o No stronger sense of place than that exhibited by the Quebecois Regionalism  Regionalism: division of countries or areas of the earth into different natural / political / cultural parts  Canada’s vast geographic size and physical geography create natural regional divisions  Country’s physiographic regions have a north / south orientation that encourages internal divisions within Canada  Continentalism: policies that promote Canadian trade and economic ties with the United States  Each region experienced a different pattern of historic settlement and relationship with Aboriginal peoples  Pluralistic Society: societies where small groups within the larger society are permitted to maintain their unique cultural identities (multiculturalism)  Visible Minority: persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non- Caucasian in race or non-white in colour  Quebec, a product of early French settlement, provides a cornerstone in Canada’s regional identity  The BNA gives considerable powers to provinces which lend a political dimension to Canadian regionalism  Canada’s uneven population distribution and economic activities concentrate power in Central Canada  Federal government formulates policies and programs designed to promote national interest but impact of Ottawa’s efforts flow mainly to the heavily populated areas  Corporate & Political Elite: common folk are powerless while corporate and political leaders hold their reins of power  corporate leaders advance their economic interests with the active support of politicians who gain from this relationship Canada’s Geographic Regions  Canada consists of 6 regions each with a distinct location, physical geography and historical development o Physical / cultural, formal / functional, boundaries, hierarchy, human constructs  Physical: vegetation, climate, part of the natural world) VS cultural: anything related to humans – language, population density, architectural styles  Formal region is one that is based in uniformity (grassland region – defined on the basis that’s its “grass” or the French-speaking regions of Canada) o Could be the uniform presence or absence of something o Ex: deserts are distinguished by absence of moisture  Functional region is one that is based in interaction, much more dynamic o Ex: find series of cities and see how they’re joined (regional cities that an airline flies between, draw boundary of those cities) o Node / central place and outline locations, ex: London Free Press – distributed to a variety of places but published in London (central point)  Vernacular: words in common usage, language of the people (downtown, to the North)  All regions have to have boundaries (nice clean line drawn around the region on map but not real world) o We have transition zones, as you approach what you have on the map as the “line” the area changes o Ex: tree line – as you approach the line, trees gradually get shorter and more spaced out until there are none  Regions exist in an hierarchy o Ex: city of London could be described as a region, it covers an area but that region is found within a larger region called county of Middlesex which exists within Southwestern Ontario which exists with Southern Ontario  Ontario  Canada  North America  Regions are human constructs, we create and define regions on some purpose we have o Without a purpose, why would we need a region? o Given that human create regions, there’s an infinite number  Regions of Canada: 1) Ontario – automobile manufacturing 2) Quebec – hydroelectric power 3) British Columbia – forest industry 4) Western Canada – agriculture 5) Atlantic Canada – fisheries 6) Territorial North – megaprojects  In vernacular, Western Canada is anything west of Ontario but that would include British Columbia o In textbook, Western Canada refers to the three prairie provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba o Prairie / interior plains – BC isn’t included here  Why regionalize and why these regions? 1) To create manageable portions of the Earth’s surface o Models simplify the real world so that we can focus in on what’s important o Ex: studying gophers, mostly in grassland areas…then why study forests? Or deserts? o Separate out the unimportant regions then that would help 2) Each region exhibits characteristic physical features, identifiable ones o Something dominates each region, some distinct physical environment 3) These regions because they represent provinces, we can collect stats o Census of Canada collects stats on the basis on provinces, automatic access to stats 4) This scheme reflects what is commonly used in the media and by scholars, almost any textbook is going to break Canada out in the same basic set of regions  Core: abstract area / real place where economic power, population, and wealth are concentrated  Hinterland: geographic area based on resource development that supplies the heartland with many of its primary products (periphery) The Dynamic Nature of Regions  Auto Pact had profound impact on Ontario’s economy and signaled Ottawa’s intention to look more favourably on continental trade relations with the US  Emergence of the Parti Qubecois gave political expression to the desire for political autonomy / separation in Quebec and threatened the unity of Canada  End of baby boom has meant greater reliance on immigration to keep Canada’s population increasing; with rapid growth in urban Canada fed by immigration  1969 White Paper calling for equality for Aboriginal Canadians, repeal of the Indian Act, and an end to treaty benefits led to a strong reaction and emergence of Aboriginal political power  Value-Added Production: manufacturing that increases the value of primary goods Power of Place  Framework that allows us to look at the functional interrelationships of the regions o Geographically, Canada’s core has been Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec (generally referred to as Central Canada) o Northern Quebec & Ontario are quite distinct from the southern parts o From Windsor (W) to Quebec City (E) – Quebec/Windsor Axis o “Main street” – contains bulk of Canada’s population, manufacturing, major cities o Periphery is everything else (outside of core)  Periphery’s economies is dominated by primary activities (harvesting & extracting) while core economy is from manufacturing and industry  Geographically, core is small while periphery is large  Core always had a diverse economy, find every aspect of primary / secondary / tertiary / quaternary (somewhere in the core), periphery has narrow based economy based on resources (forestry, mining agricultural)  Decisions tend to come from the core and the periphery acts on these decisions rather than making the decisions  Factors of production are found mostly in the core (finance)  Away from core, regional disparity increases, average income goes down and unemployment increases (traditionally)  After the 80s, thing started to change… o Newfoundland & Labrador has become a HAVE province (it didn’t get money back) o Have to recognize the change from traditional model, new candidates for possible core status o Shifting to British Columbia (facing pacific rim) and Alberta (oil well), Saskatchewan – gaining in economic power within Canada at the expense of the core o Is there a new core? Traditional core is not about to be replaced, it may be losing economic power on a relatively basis but it takes more than just that to become the core  Edmonton / Calgary function as an urban system, almost joined urban areas – significant interaction between them (close geographic proximity)  Vancouver & Edmonton / Calgary are certainly growing in power, both of them are regional cores within Canada but not national core  There are other regional heartlands – Winnipeg (core for the Eastern part of the Western Canada), Halifax  Staples Thesis: Harold Innis’s idea that the history of Canada was linked to the discovery, utilization, and export of particular staple resources in Canada’s vast frontier  Core/Periphery Model: theoretical concept based on a dual spatial structure of the capitalist world and a mutual beneficial relationship between its two parts (core dominates the economic relationship with its periphery)  Staple Product: natural resource that can be exploited relatively quickly and cheaply for profit  Staples Thesis created by Harold Innis as a possible approach of how core became the core o An area’s staple products can change over time o Fur-trapping was to sell to Britain, lucrative business but diminished the small animal population (from east coast slowly west
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