Map Exercise: Canada


Peace River: The headwaters are in the Omineca Mountains of British Columbia, formed by the meeting of the Finlay and Parsnip rivers. From there, it flows into Williston Lake, a reservoir filling the river basin. Peace River continues east to the British Columbia border and into Alberta. In the middle of Alberta, it hits the Slave River and ends, by name. Interestingly, the Finlay River (the main source of Peace River) is considered the ultimate beginning of the Mackenzie River, the 12th longest river in the world.)
Assiniboine River: The headwaters are in the southeastern area of Saskatchewan province. From there it flows south to Lake of the Prairies, which straddles the Saskatchewan / Manitoba border. From there, it flows south, takes a 90 degree turn and flows east to Winnipeg and into the Red River, which almost immediately flows into Lake Winnipeg, a huge lake that covers almost 9,500 square miles (or since we're in Canada, 24,500 square kilometers).
St. Lawrence River: This river begins at the edge of Lake Ontario, and follows the border of Ontario, Canada and New York, United States until the town of Cornwall, where it follows the Ontario / Quebec border for a short way until it moves into Quebec proper, and then flows through the cities of Montreal and Quebec, and then finally out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean.
Back River (original name was 'Great Fish River'): The headwaters are in the Northwest Territories, where it flows north and into Nunavit. From there it flows into Lake Garry, and then on north until it reaches the Arctic Ocean.
Fraser River: The headwaters lie in the Columbia Mountains (part of the Rocky Mountains) in British Columbia. The river flows north, then turns around and flows south, almost to the British Columbia, Canada / Washington, United States border and then through Vancouver and out into the Strait of Georgia and the Pacific Ocean.


Mackenzie Mountains: This mountain range runs north to south in the Northwest Territories along the border between the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
Monts Notre-Dame: This mountain range runs along the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec Province.
Torngat Mountains: This mountain range occupies the northern most peninsula of Newfoundland, bordering Quebec Province and the Labrador Sea.

Site and Situation

Almost the entire country of Canada lies above the 45th parallel, and a majority of it extends to the 70th parallel (with smaller portions reaching past the 80th). Canada is the northernmost country of the continent of North America, and the northern edge is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean, with the country (yay!) of Greenland not too far away. The southern border is entirely shared with the United States. A short (aprox 800 km) stretch of the southwestern border reaches the Pacific Ocean. The rest of the western border is shared with the United States.
The first thing to know about Canada is that it is a very cold country. The northern half of Canada is covered in vast tracts of uninhabited forests and tundra. The western portion of the country is dominated by the Rocky Mountain range, and is covered by dense forest. The northern portion of the county is comprised of many islands, all covered in tundra and ice. Following the northern coastline of the mainland, an enormous bay is reached which is frozen over for about half the year. The remaining portion of the country is bordered on the east by the Atlantic, and the south by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The southern portion of this region is the most densely populated area of the country, and is covered by hardwood forests, good farmland, and access to the trade through the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes.


Where, in Canada, are the most densely populated areas? Explain why this/these areas are most densely populated.
Generally, Canada is most highly populated in the southern portions of the country. The Arctic circle can be a harsh environment, and so it makes sense that the farther you go from the dark and freezing temperatures, the more people will be living there. More specifically, there are also more people living along the coast, due to the milder climate as well as the access the ocean brings. There is also a higher population density in the central plains. I imagine that it is easier to raise cattle and build roads in the areas where it is flat rather than the mountainous regions surrounding it.

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