Canada Administrative Map
Canada Provinces Map

Download Canada Map
Canada Political Map
Canada Political Map

Download Political Map
Canada Physical Map
Canada Physical Map

Download Canada Map
Canada Map with Cities
Canada map with cities

Download Canada Map
Canada High Resolution Map
Canada Detailed High Resolution Map

Download High Resolution Map
Canada Outline Map
Canada Outline Map

Download Canada Outline Map
Canada Blank Map
Canada Blank Map

Download Canada Outline Map
    CANADA. The Dominion of Canada comprises the northern half of the continent of North America and its adjacent islands, excepting Alaska, which belongs to the United States, and Newfoundland, still a separate colony of the British empire. Its boundary on the south is the parallel of latitude 490, between the Pacific Ocean and Lake-of-the-Woods, then a chain of small lakes and rivers eastward to the mouth of Pigeon river on the north-west side of Lake Superior, and the Great Lakes with their connecting rivers to Cornwall, on the St Lawrence. From this eastward to the state of Maine the boundary is an artificial line nearly corresponding to lat. 450; then an irregular line partly determined by watersheds and rivers divides Canada from Maine, coming out on the Bay of Fundy. The western boundary is the Pacific on the south, an irregular line a few miles inland from the coast along the " pan handle " of Alaska to Mount St Elias, and the meridian of 1410 to the Arctic Ocean. A somewhat similar relationship cuts off Canada from the Atlantic on the east, the north-eastern coast of Labrador belonging to Newfoundland. Physical Geography.—In spite of these restrictions of its natural coast line on both the Atlantic and the .Pacific, Canadais admirably provided with harbours on both oceans. The Gulf of St Lawrence with its much indented shores and the coast of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick supply endless harbours, the northern ones closed by ice in the winter, but the southern ones open all the year round; and on the Pacific British Columbia is deeply fringed with islands and fjords with well-sheltered harbours everywhere, in strong contrast with the unbroken shore of the United States to the south. The long stretches of sheltered navigation from the Straits of Belle Isle north of Newfoundland to Quebec, and for 600 m. on the British Columbian coast, are of great advantage for the coasting trade. The greatly varied Arctic coast line of Canada with its large islands, inlets and channels is too much clogged with ice to be of much practical use, but Hudson Bay, a mediterranean sea 85o m. long from north to south and 600 m. wide, with its outlet Hudson Strait, has long been navigated by trading ships and whalers, and may become a great outlet for the wheat of western Canada, though closed by ice except for four months in the summer. Of the nine provinces of Canada only three have no coast line on salt water, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the first may soon be extended to Hudson Bay. Ontario has a seaboard only on Hudson Bay's southern extension, James Bay, and there is no probability that the shallow harbours of the latter bay will ever be of much importance for shipping, though Churchill Harbour on the west side of Hudson Bay may become an important grain port. What Ontario lacks in salt water navigation is, however, made up by the busy traffic of the Great Lakes. The physical features of Canada are comparatively simple, and drawn on a large scale, more than half of its surface sloping gently inwards towards the shallow basin of Hudson Bay, with higher margins to the south-east and south-west. In the main it is a broad trough, wider towards the north than towards the south, and unsymmetrical, Hudson Bay occupying much of its north-eastern part, while to the west broad plains rise gradually to the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains, the eastern member of the Cordillera which follows the Pacific coast of America. The physical geography of Canada is so closely bound up with its geology that at least an outline of the geological factors involved in its history is necessary to understand the present physiography. The mountain structures originated in three great orogenic periods, the earliest in the Archean, the second at the end of the Palaeozoic and the third at the end of the Mesozoic. The Archean mountain chains, which enclosed the Geology. present region of Hudson Bay, were so ancient that they had already been worn down almost to a plain before the early Palaeozoic sediments were laid down. This ruling geological and physical feature of the North American continent has been named by E. Suess the " Canadian Shield." Round it the Palaeozoic sands and clays, largely derived from its own waste, were deposited as nearly horizontal beds, in many places still almost undisturbed. Later the sediments lying to the south-east of this " protaxis," or nucleus of the continent, were pushed against its edge and raised into the Appalachian chain of mountains, which, however, extends only a short distance into Canada. The Mesozoic sediments were almost entirely laid down to the west and south-west of the protaxis, upon the flat-lying Palaeozoic rocks, and in the prairie region they are still almost horizontal; but in the Cordillera they have been thrust up into the series of mountain chains characterizing the Pacific coast region. The youngest of these mountain chains is naturally the highest, and the oldest one in most places no longer rises to heights deserving the name of mountains. Owing to this unsymmetric development of North America the main structural watershed is towards its western side, on the south coinciding with the Rocky Mountains proper, but to the northward falling back to ranges situated further west in the same mountain region. The great central area of Canada is drained towards Hudson Bay, but its two largest rivers have separate watersheds, the Mackenzie flowing north-west to the Arctic Ocean and the St Lawrence north-east towards the Atlantic, the one to the south-west and the other to the south-east of the Archean protaxis. While these ancient events shaped the topography in a broad way, its final development was comparatively recent, during the glacial period, when the loose materials were scoured from some regions and spread out as boulder clay, or piled up as moraines in others; and the original water-ways were blocked in many places. The retreat of the ice left Canada much in its present condition except for certain post-glacial changes of level which seem to be still in progress. For this reason the region has a very youthful topography with innumerable lakes and waterfalls as evidence that the rivers have not long been at work. The uneven carving down of the older mountain systems, especially that of the Archean protaxis, and the disorderly scattering of glacial material provide most of the lake basins so characteristic of Canada. Lakes and Rivers. As a result of the geological causes just mentioned many parts of Canada are lavishly strewn with lakes of all sizes and shapes, from bodies of water hundreds of miles long and a thousand feet deep to ponds lost to sight in the forest. Thousands of these lakes have been mapped more or less carefully, and every new survey brings to light small lakes hitherto unknown to the white man. For numbers they can be compared only with those of Finland and Scandinavia in Europe, and for size with those of eastern Africa; but for the great extent of lake-filled country there is no comparison. From the map it will be noticed that the largest and most thickly strewn lakes occur within five hundred or a thousand miles of Hudson Bay, and belong to the Archean protaxis or project beyond its edges into the Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks which lean against it. The most famous of the lakes are those of the St Lawrence system, which form part of the southern boundary of Canada and are shared with the United States; but many others have the right to be called " Great Lakes " from their magnitude. There are nine others which have a length of more than ioo m., and thirty-five which are more than 50 M. long. Within the Archean protaxis they are of the most varied shapes, since they represent merely portions of the irregular surface inundated by some morainic dam at the lowest point. Comparatively few have simple outlines and an unbroken surface of water, the great majority running into long irregular bays and containing many islands, sometimes even thousands in number, as in Georgian Bay and Lake-of-the-Woods. In the Cordilleran region on the other hand the lakes are long, narrow and deep, in reality sections of mountain valleys occupied by fresh water, just as the fjords of the adjoining coast are valleys occupied by the sea. The lakes of the different regions present the same features as the nearest sea coasts but on a smaller scale. The majority of the lakes have rocky shores and islands and great variety of depth, many of the smaller ones, however, are rimmed with marshes and are slowly filling up with vegetable matter, ultimately becoming peat bogs, the muskegs of the Indian. Most of Canada is so well watered that the lakes have outlets and are kept fresh, but there are a few small lakes in southern Saskatchewan, e.g. the Quill and Old Wives lakes, in regions arid enough to require no outlets. In such cases the waters are alkaline, and contain various salts in solution which are deposited as a white rim round the basin towards the end of the summer when the amount of water has been greatly reduced by evaporation. It is interesting to find maritime plants, such as the samphire, growing on their shores a thousand miles from the sea and more than a thousand feet above it. In many cases the lakes of Canada simply spill over at the lowest point from one basin into the next below, making chains of lakes with no long or well-defined channels between, since in so young a country there has not yet been time for the rivers to have carved wide valleys. Thus canoe navigation may be carried on for hundreds of miles, with here and there a water-fall or a rapid requiring a portage of a few hundred yards or at most a mile or two. The river systems are therefore in many cases complex and tortuous, and very often the successive connecting links between the lakes receive different names. The best example of this is the familiar one of the St Lawrence, which may be said to begin as Nipigon river and to take the names St Mary's, St Clair, Detroit and Niagara, before finally flowing from Lake Ontario to the sea under its proper name. As theselakes are great reservoirs and settling basins, the rivers which empty them are unusually steady in level and contain beautifully clear water. The St Lawrence varies only a few feet in the year and always has pellucid bluish-green water, while the Mississippi, whose tributaries begin only a short distance south of the Great Lakes, varies 40 ft. or more between high- and low-water and is loaded with mud. The St Lawrence is far the most important Canadian river from the historic and economic points of view, since it provided the main artery of exploration in early days, and with its canals past rapids and between lakes still serves as a great highway of trade between the interior of the continent and the seaports of Montreal and Quebec. It is probable that politically Canada would have followed the course of the States to the south but for the planting of a French colony with widely extended trading posts along the easily ascended channel of the St Lawrence and the Great Lakes, so that this river was the ultimate bond of union between Canada and the empire. North of the divide between the St Lawrence system and Hudson Bay there are many large rivers converging on that inland sea, such as Whale river, Big river, East Main, Rupert and Nottaway rivers coming in from Ungava and northern Quebec; Moose and Albany rivers with important tributaries from northern Ontario; and Severn, Nelson and Churchill rivers from the south-west. All of these are rapid and shallow, affording navigation only for-canoes; but the largest of them, Nelson river, drains the great Manitoban lakes, Winnipeg, Winnipegosis and Manitoba, which are frequented by steamers, and receive the waters of Lake-of-the-Woods, Lake Seul and many others emptying into Winnipeg river from Ontario; of Red river coming in from the United States to the south; and of the southern parts of the Rocky Mountains and the western prairie provinces drained by the great Saskatchewan river. The parallel of 490 approximately separates the Saskatchewan waters from the streams going south to the Missouri, though a few small tributaries of the latter river begin on Canadian territory. The northern part of Alberta and Saskatchewan and much of northern British Columbia are drained through the Athabasca and Peace rivers, first north-eastwards towards Athabasca Lake, then north through Slave river to Great Slave Lake, and finally north-west through Mackenzie river to the Arctic Ocean. If measured to the head of Peace river the Mackenzie has a length of more than 2000 m., and it provides more than i000 m. of navigation for stern-wheel steamers. Unfortunately, like other northward-flowing rivers, it does not lead down to a frequented sea, and so bears little traffic except for the northern fur-trading posts. The Mackenzie forms a large but little-known delta in lat. 69°, and in its flood season the head-waters pour down their torrents before the thick ice of the lower part with its severer climate has yet given way, piling up the ice in great barriers and giving rise to widespread floods along the lower reaches. Similar flooding takes place in several other important northward-flowing rivers in Canada, the St Lawrence at Montreal affording the best-known instance. Second among the great north-western rivers is the Yukon, which begins its course about i8 m. from tide-water on an arm of the Pacific, 2800 ft. above the sea and just within the Canadian border. It flows first to the north, then to the north-west, passing out of the Yukon territory into Alaska, and then south-west, ending in Bering Sea, the northward projection of the Pacific, 2000 M. from its head-waters. Of its course 1800 m. are continuously navigable for suitable steamers, so that most of the traffic connected with the rich Klondike gold-fields passes over its waters. The rest of the rivers flowing into the Pacific pass through British Columbia and are much shorter, though the two southern ones carry a great volume of water owing to the heavy precipitation of snow and rain in the Cordilleran region. The Columbia is the largest, but after flowing north-west and then south for about 400 m., it passes into the United States.

    More Facts