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Canada….My Amazing Home!

Canada…My Amazing Home!

By Mary Johnson, Ontario Psi, International Relations Committee, Liaison for Canada

This beautiful land that I call home is vast and full of amazing geographic features that make it unique and awe-inspiring. Canada is the world’s second largest country after Russia but most of it is uninhabited! This is due to its geography and climate that gets inhospitable to humans as you go further north. The bulk of the population, more than 37 million, lives in bustling industrial and technologically based urban centreswithin 200 km/124.274 miles of the US border. Canada’s most liveable areas span west to east where you will find the most diverse geographic features from lush green forests to dry, sandy deserts. People equate Canada with snow and cold temperatures but because of its size, it has many different climates. The most southern point lies in the same latitude as sunny N. California, while the northern border is near the frigid Arctic with long harsh winters and is basically a cold desert!

Because of its vastness, Canada stretches across six time zones…Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic and Newfoundland Time. Almost every region in Canada is home to an abundance of forests, rivers and lakes. With its millions of lakes and rivers it is not surprising that it has earned the title“the largest source of fresh water in the world”! Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Among the largest are Lake Huron and Lake Superior in Ontario and Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. Canada has its own version of the Dead Sea, Little Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan. Fed by underground springs, the lake has mineral salt concentrations that make it extremely buoyant. At 243,000 km/150,993.2 miles along the shores of 52,455 islands, Canada boasts of the longest coastline in the world! It is divided into six physical regions:

The Mountainous West Coast/Cordillera Region is found in British Columbia, the Yukon, Southwest Alberta and parts of the Northwest Territories. The climate on the coast is mild, wet and rarely has snow that stays. The Interior is usually colder and dryer with large amounts of snow. The natural resources are forestry, agriculture, mining and fisheries.  

The Flat Plains Region is found in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This region has vast, wide open fields and flat, fertile lands, making it the country’s agricultural centre. There are three enormous lakes in the central part of Manitoba…Lake Manitoba, Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Winnipeg. These lakes are surrounded by lush vegetation, rivers and bogs. Natural resources include crops and animals from farming and oil, natural gas, coal, potash, copper, zinc, gold and uranium from mining. 

The Great Canadian Shield Region includes The Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland/ Labrador. It mainly contains rock that was mountains millions of years ago. Through the process of erosion during the ice age, the rocks became flatter and carved water sources such as rivers and lakes. Natural resources include furs from hunting and trapping, minerals, hydro electricity and forestry. 

The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Lowlands Region consists of southern Ontario where the Great Lakes surround it, along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River and extends through the province of Quebec. The land is mostly flat and the forests that once covered this fertile area have mainly been cleared for farming. Ranching is also popular in the Saint Lawrence lowlands. Because of the abundance of lakes fresh water is also a natural resource. 

Atlantic Canada/Appalachian Region encompasses the provinces of Newfoundland/ Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Its landscape is a mix of rocky coasts and forests as well as steep cliffs and long fjords due to its nearness to the sea. Natural resources include minerals, forests, farming, and oil found under the ocean floor.  

The Arctic Region/Frozen North contains the three territories of the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories plus northern Quebec and the most extreme tip of Newfoundland/Labrador. This is the only region of permafrost where the ground is frozen all year. Natural resources include oil and gas located on the land and in water. Huge off shore drilling rigs may be found off the coastal regions. Hunting, trapping and fishing are critical to the people who live in this region. 

Fun Facts: 

*Alpha Delta Kappa has approximately 80 members in Manitoba and 200 members in Ontario. 

* Canada has hosted 3 NC Regional Conferences: Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2018, Toronto, Ontario in 2006 and 1966. International Convention was hosted in Toronto, Ontario in 1993.

*In 1916, Manitoba became the first province in Canada to give women the right to vote.

*The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is located inWinnipeg, Manitoba.  

*Government and University of Manitoba researchers ‘designed’ the canola plant/crop in 1970 and canola oil was created by K. Downey and B. Stefansson later in the 1970s.   

*Wapusk National Park in Manitoba is home to the world’s largest polar bear denning areas.  

*Winnipeg, Manitoba was the first city in N. America to get a three digit emergency number system.

*Around 3,000 Beluga whales visit the Churchill area of Manitoba each year between mid June and mid Aug.     

*The name Ontario is thought to be derived from the Huron word “ontare” meaning lake. 

*The CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario is one of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Seven Wonders of the Modern World. 

*The world famous BlackBerry Smartphone was developed in Waterloo, Ontario and the pager, CB radio and cordless phone were invented by Toronto born Alfred J. Gross.

*Pablum was invented in 1930 by three paediatricians, F. Tisdall, T. Drake and A. Brown along with lab technician Ruth Herbert and chemist H. Eagel at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children to curb infant malnutrition and rickets.

*Insulin was discovered in 1921 by Toronto doctor Frederick Banting and further developed at the University of Toronto by Banting, C. Best, J. Macleod and B. Collip. Banting and Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine two years later. The team patented the insulin extract but sold the rights to the university for $1, which was used to fund new research.

*Ontario and Quebec are the two most populated provinces in Canada and the first road lines in the world were painted on a stretch of highway between the two provinces in 1930, having been invented by Ontario department of transportation engineer John D. Millar.

*The first subcutaneous pacemaker was built in 1949 by Canadian engineer John Hopps, based on observations made by two Toronto based cardiac surgeons, W. Bigelow and J. Callaghan. Further developments made by them and other inventors lead to the first implantable pacemaker in 1958.

*In 1975 NASA and the Canadian National Research Council signed a memorandum of agreement that Canada would develop and construct “Canadarm”. It is a series of robotic arms used on the Space Shuttle orbits to deploy, manoeuvre and capture payloads. Its use continues to expand.

*Basketball was invented by Canadian James Naismith. Despite being born in Ontario and educated at McGill University in Quebec, he invented the sport while working as a physical education instructor at the YMCA in Massachusetts in 1891 and wrote the rulebook the following year. He became the first basketball coach at the University of Kansas.  

*The Canadian Pacific Railway Company was incorporated in 1881 and formed to physically unite Canada and Canadians from coast to coast. The building of the railway is considered to be one of Canada’s greatest feats of engineering. The CPR played a major role in the promotion of tourism and immigration as well as Canada’s war efforts. Through the years the railway grew to include steamships, hotels, airlines, mining, oil and gas exploration, delivery and telecommunications companies. Travelling by rail is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty that is Canada!

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