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Geo Notes

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Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

Geo Notes – Oct/12 Ontario - Ontario remains the heartland of Canada’s manufacturing, despite the recent economic downturn. Two key components of Ontario’s economy are forestry and manufacturing. They are stalled in the old economy and need two things – 1) fresh directions and investments to get back into the economy, 2) recovery of the US economy and the resumption of high levels of exports to the US. The worst part of the economic decline was in 2008 with the collapse of two principal automobile manufacturers – Chrysler and General Motors. In 2009, Ontario received equalization payments for the first time, making it a have-not province. In 2006, ON contributed 39% of Canada’s GDP. GDP is an estimate of the total value of all materials, foodstuffs, goods, and services produced by a country or province in a particular year. This number dropped in 2008. People have also been leaving ON for other provinces. Exports from ON to the US have dropped a lot. There is no longer an open border, making cross-border manufacturing more expensive. Also, the US implemented the buy America policy in 2009, which was not good for ON. Perhaps ON relied too much on continentalist trade. Western provinces have outpaced the economic and population growth of ON. In the past, ON and the US traded a lot (1965 Auto Pact and NAFTA in 1994). While ON has economic challenges, it still has many strengths – its central location within Canada and North America, its large population/market, its natural resources, and its cities and universities. ON will continue to be the leading manufacturing area in Canada. - Dutch disease: A theory describing the apparent relationship within a country between its expanding energy resource sector and a subsequent decline in the manufacturing sector. This has happened in Canada. This explains why a rapidly expanding oil resource in AB can increase Canada’s exchange rates and make the price of its manufactured goods more expensive in the US. - Four natural resources (agriculture, forests, minerals, water) helped with Ontario’s economic development in the past. The processing of these products created a strong industrial base and rapid population growth. The great lakes provided low-cost water transportation and Niagara falls provided low-cost hydroelectric power. - ON faces three challenges today – 1) Energy – ON requires more energy, but the cost of energy has increased. 2) Manufacturing sector – Canada has competition from countries with lower labour costs. 3) Forest industry – Affects northern ON. - ON has the largest population. Its large market is able to support the arts, professional sports, and education. - Ontario’s economic future depends on expanding trade with the US. Both the provincial and federal governments have invested money in strengthening the automobile manufacturing industry. Despite the current economic difficulties, ON will remain Canada’s industrial core. The net interprovincial migration numbers indicate a continuation of the shift of economic and demographic power to the west, but this is not the end of Ontario’s dominant position. NIM is the net migration by provinces determine by the number of people arriving and leaving each province as permanent residents. - Ontario’s physical geography: Three of Canada’s physiographic regions are located within ON – great lakes- st. Lawrence lowlands, Canadian shield, and Hudson bay lowland. Three climatic zones are located within ON – arctic, subarctic, and great lakes-st. Lawrence. ON is divided into two sub-regions – northern and southern ON. Northern ON consists of the Canadian shield and Hudson bay lowland, while southern ON consists of the great lakes-st. Lawrence lowlands. Each sub-region also has different economies – northern ON is a resource hinterland and southern ON is an agricultural-industrial core. The subarctic climate of N. ON has longer and colder winters and shorter and cooler summers than S. ON. Climate, soils, and physiography combined limit agriculture in N. ON. Northern Ontario’s economic development is dependent on forestry, tourism, and mining. S. ON has long, hot, humid summers, warm autumns, short and cold winters, and cool springs. Annual precipitation is about 1000mm. S. ON is the most favoured physical area in Canada and 93% of Canada’s population lives here. The Niagara escarpment is an erosional remnant of sedimentary rock. Prior to settlement, mixed forest vegetation was present in this temperate continental climate. The S. ON lowland has the most productive agricultural lands in Canada because of its long growing season, ample precipitation, and fertile soils. - Climate and agriculture: Southern Ontario’s climate is dominated by long, warm summers. Tropical air masses from the gulf of Mexico extend over this area. In winter, occasional invasions of arctic air masses bring cold weather. Areas close to the great lakes receive more precipitation because air masses absorb moisture from the surface of the lakes. Warm, moist air masses from the gulf of Mexico provide most of the moisture for the region, and this falls as convectional and frontal precipitation. S. ON has good agricultural land because of its mild climate and fertile soils. Grain corn, soybeans, sugar beets, fruits, grapes, and vegetables are grown here. Agricultural land use varies within S. ON. Soils are less fertile and growing season is shorter east of Toronto than southwest of Toronto. There are three highly specialized agriculture zones west of Toronto – the Essex-Kent vegetable area, the Norfolk tobacco belt, and the Niagara fruit belt. The expansion of cities in S. ON has spread into these farmlands. Despite being at 43ᵒN, the Niagara fruit belt does not have to worry about frost for several reasons – Air drainage from the Niagara escarpment to lake Ontario reduces the danger of spring and fall frosts. Lake Ontario water is warm in autumn and this helps moderate advancing cold air masses. The cool waters of lake Ontario in early spring keep air temperatures low, which helps delay the opening of fruit blossoms. - Environmental challenges: ON faces two major environmental challenges – air pollution and water pollution. This pollution represents the hidden costs of our industrial world. Air pollution is any chemical, physical, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. Sustainable development technology Canada is a foundation created by the Canadian government to support the development and demonstration of clean technologies, which are solutions that address issues of clean air, greenhouse gases, clean water, and clean soil to deliver environment, economic, and health benefits to Canadians. Smog is a health problem in the summer and is a visible form of air pollution. Most pollution comes from car exhaust and coal-burning thermoelectric plants. But ON does not want to stop electric production from the remaining coal plants until clean-air energy production is in place, and their construction will take time. Industrial waste, farm chemicals, and livestock waste are the main causes of water pollution. The great lakes are especially affected. The great lakes water quality agreement was signed in 1972 to express the commitment of Canada and the US to restore and maintain the integrity of the great lakes basin. Industrial discharge of pollutants remains a problem. Increasing levels of phosphorous are contributing to the creation of green slime, which is a dead zone where only toxic organisms can survive. The introduction of exotic species is reducing the numbers of natural species and changing the great lakes ecosystem. - Ontario’s historical geography: When the American revolution began in 1775, ON was a densely forested wilderness inhabited by a few fur traders and Indians. After losing American coloni
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