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Canada, theworld’s second-largest country (after Russia), is the largest country in the Western Hemisphere and comprises all the North American continent north of the United States, with the exclusion of Alaska, Greeland, and the tiny French Island of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Canada is bounded on the north by the Artic Ocean, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean amd its associated bodies of water, including Baffin Bay and Labrador Sea. Its only international land boundary is with the United States - - on the northwest, beween Canada and the state of Alaska, and on the south, whwre the U.S- Canada border is 6t,416 km (3,987 mi) long.

Canada has a total population (1991) of 27,296,859 . About 80% of this number live within 160 km (100 mi) of the U.S. border on the south; approximately 89% of the country is virtually unsettled. Becouse of these vast tracts of virtually uninhabited northern forests and tundra, Canada has one of the Lowest population densities in the world.

Canada is gich in natural resources. It is a world leader in value of mineral exports and produces and exports many of the minerals needed for modern industrial economies, although a few minerals, such as manganese, chromium, bauxite, and tin must by imported. Its soils, which are especially rich in the three prairie provinces of Alberta. Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, are intensively utilized and make Canada one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products. Forests cover much of the land, and Canada is the world’s largest exported of newsprint and a leading supplier of lumber, pulp, paper, and wood products.

Canada has a dual cultural heritage that stems from the British conquest (1763) of the French colony of New France. Today both French and English are official languages. The threat of separatism by the largely French – speaking province of Quebec was an issue through the 1980s and early 1990s referendum mandating the sovereingnty of Quebec was defeated by Quebec’s electorate. The 1987 Meech Lake accord, an addition to the 1982 constitution that acknowledge Quebec’s distinctness, failed in 1990 when two provinces refused to finalize it.

The name Canada is thought to be derived from Kanata, the Huron – Iroquois word meaning ‘’vilage’’ or ‘’community’’.


Physical Regions

Canadahas six major physical, or physiographc, regions: the CANADIAN SHIELD, the Artic Island, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Appalachian Region, the Interior Plains, and the Cordilleran Region.


The populated southern areas of Canada have a wide variety of temperate climates. The Pacific coastal areas have a temperate marine west coast type of climate, with cool summers in the 16 deg-18 deg C ( 60deg- 65deg F) range and mild wintwrs in the 0 deg-4 deg C ( 32 deg – 39 deg F ) range. The interior plains have a middle- latitude steppe-type climate in the drier southern section and a more humid and extreme continental type of climate elsewhere. Temperatures winters and 18 deg- 20 deg to 25 deg C (-5 deg to +5 deg F) in long winters and 18 deg- 20 deg C (65 deg- 68 deg F) in short summers.

The Great Lakes- St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Appalachian Region have a more humid version of a continental type of climate. Both areas have a long, cold winter, with January averages about -10 deg C (14 deg F) in the eastern sections and -4 deg C(25 deg F) in the Ontario Pininsula, and short, warm summer with average temperatures of near 20 deg C (68 deg F).

Precipitation is heaviest in the west. Where moisture –laden winds from the Pacific Ocean are forced to rise over the mountainous coastal regions and bring more than 5,000 mm (195 in) of rain a year to some areas, although average annual precipitation is 1,525 to 2,540 mm (60 to 100 in). Precipitation is least in the Interior Plains, where many areas receive less than 500 mm (20 in) a year. Except for the low- lying Pacific coast areas, winter precipitation throughout Canada is usually in the form of snow, and thick blankets of accumulated snow cover most of Canada east of Rockies for 3 to 6 months of the year.

The sparsely settled northern areas have an artic, or tundra, type of climate on the island and northern coastal areas and a subartic type of climate in the vast transitional area between the frozen north and the settled south. The artic type of climate is characterized by lonc, very cold winters, with average temperatures higher than 10 deg C (50 deg F) .

In the subartic areas, winters are similarly long and bitterly cold, but summers are warm enough (more than 10 deg C/50 deg F) to support vegetation growth. Precipitation is generally light in the western areas of the arctic and subartic regions and heavier in nortern Quebec and Labrador. Despite the low precipitation. Snow covers the groumd permanently for more than 6 months of everi year.

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