Chapter 1 - Regions of Canada.docx

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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)
Provides a description and explanation of lands and peoples beyond our personal experience
Geography is destiny: meaning that for most people, place is the most powerful determinant of their
life chances, experiences and opportunities
Place
oConcept refers to community/region where one was born and raised
oHas played a role in shaping attitudes and values of inhabitants of that community/region
oBased on living, working and sharing together in common space
oExperience inevitably leads to the formation of a regional identity and consciousness
Both are products of a region’s physical geography, historical event & economic situation
Sense of Place
Sense of place has deep roots in cultural and regional geography
Term reflects a deeply felt attachment to a region or area by local residents who have bonded to their
environment and resulting institutions
Provides some protection from the landscapes produced by economic and cultural globalization
Landscapes are associated with a sense of placelessness
Sense of place involves a psychological bond between people & locale; globalization or generic
landscapes do not have local roots
Local roots stem from the physical nature, human activities, and institutional bodies found in a region
Ex. Atlantic Canada
oNature has made its mark on people and their sense of place
oSea plays a fundamental role
oEarly settlements dotted the coast and provided economic basis for many coastal communities
oTragic demise of northern cod fishery by overfishing brought great economic hardship to the
inhabitants of many small fishing communities in Atlantic Canada
oDemise of the northern cod fishery by overfishing brought economic hardship to the inhabitants
of many small fishing communities in Atlantic Canada, but especially to the outports in
Newfoundland
Ex. Western Canada
oContinental climate of the Prairies is characterized by dry spells, making farming difficult
oOne such time was Dust Bowl that forced many to abandon their homes
oSemi-arid environment continues to influence life on the Prairies and shape its institutions
Ex. Quebec
oNew France was born and grew within the confines of the St Lawrence River has played a key
role in its settlement and economic development
oSt Lawrence River has played a key role in its settlement and economic development
oRiver promoted the interests of the French colony by providing a supply route to France,
allowing the fur traders to go far inland to trade with distant Indian tribes
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Region: synthesis of physical and human characteristics that, combined with its distinctiveness from
surrounding regions, produces a unique character, including a sense of place and power
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
oWhile power of place is closely linked to globalization, sense of place emphasizes local control
over regional and community affairs
oNo 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
oCanada’s vast geographic size and physical geography create natural regional divisions
oCountry’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 & 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
oQuebec, a product of early French settlement, provides a cornerstone in Canada’s regional
identity
oThe BNA gives considerable powers to provinces which lend a political dimension to Canadian
regionalism
oCanada’s uneven population distribution and economic activities concentrate power in Central
Canada
oFederal 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
Consists of 6 regions each with a distinct location, physical geography and historical development
oPhysical / 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)
oCould be the uniform presence or absence of something
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oEx: deserts are distinguished by absence of moisture
Functional region is one that is based in interaction, much more dynamic
oEx: find series of cities and see how they’re joined (regional cities that an airline flies between,
draw boundary of those cities)
oNode / 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 region on map but not real world)
oWe have transition zones, as you approach what you have on the map as “line” area changes
oEx: tree line – as you approach the line, trees gradually get shorter and more spaced out until
there are none
Regions exist in an hierarchy
oEx: 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 OntarioOntarioCanadaNorth America
Regions are human constructs, we create and define regions on some purpose we have
oWithout a purpose, why would we need a region?
oGiven that human create regions, there’s an infinite number
Regions of Canada:
oOntario – automobile manufacturing
oQuebec – hydroelectric power
oBritish Columbia – forest industry
oWestern Canada – agriculture
oAtlantic Canada – fisheries
oTerritorial North – megaprojects
In vernacular, Western Canada is anything west of Ontario but that would include British Columbia
oIn textbook, Western Canada refers to the three prairie provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, and
Manitoba
oPrairie / interior plains – BC isn’t included here
Why regionalize and why these regions?
1) To create manageable portions of the Earth’s surface
Models simplify the real world so that we can focus in on what’s important
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
Something dominates each region, some distinct physical environment
3) These regions because they represent provinces, we can collect stats
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 regionsabstract area / real place where
economic power, population, and
Core: 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
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Document Summary

Both are products of a region"s physical geography, historical event & economic situation. Landscapes are associated with a sense of placelessness landscapes do not have local roots. Local roots stem from the physical nature, human activities, and institutional bodies found in a region: ex. In vernacular, western canada is anything west of ontario but that would include british columbia: in textbook, western canada refers to the three prairie provinces alberta, saskatchewan, and. 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),

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