Human Geography of Canada
Developing a Vast Wilderness
Three major groups in
Canada—the native
peoples, the French,
and the English—have
melded into a diverse
and economically strong
nation.
Canadian fur trapper.
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Human Geography of Canada
Developing a Vast Wilderness
SECTION 1
History and Government of Canada
SECTION 2
Economy and Culture of Canada
SECTION 3
Subregions of Canada
Unit Atlas: Physical
Unit Atlas: Political
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Section 1
History and
Government of Canada
• French and British settlement greatly
influenced Canada’s political development.
• Canada’s size and climate affected economic
growth and population distribution.
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SECTION
1
History and Government of
Canada
The First Settlers and Colonial Rivalry
Early Peoples
• After Ice Age, migrants cross Arctic land bridge from
Asia
- ancestors of Arctic Inuit (Eskimos); North
American Indians to south
• Vikings found Vinland (Newfoundland) about A.D.
1000; later abandon
Continued . . .
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SECTION
1
continued The
First Settlers and Colonial Rivalry
Colonization by France and Britain
• French explorers claim much of Canada in 1500–
1600s as “New France”
• British settlers colonize the Atlantic Coast
• Coastal fisheries and inland fur trade important to
both countries
• Britain wins French and Indian War (1754–1763);
French settlers stay
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SECTION
1
Steps Toward Unity
Establishing the Dominion of Canada
• In 1791 Britain creates two political units called
provinces
- Upper Canada (later, Ontario): English-speaking,
Protestant
- Lower Canada (Quebec): French-speaking,
Roman Catholic
• Rupert’s Land a northern area owned by fur-trading
company
• Immigrants arrive, cities develop: Quebec City,
Montreal, Toronto
- railways, canals are built as explorers seek
better fur-trading areas
Continued . . .
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SECTION
1
continued Steps
Toward Unity
Establishing the Dominion of Canada
• Political, ethnic disputes lead to Britain’s 1867
North America Act
- creates Dominion of Canada as a loose
confederation (political union)
- Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
- self-governed part of British Empire
• Expansion includes:
- Rupert’s Land, Manitoba, British Columbia,
Prince Edward Island
- later: Yukon Territory, Alberta, Saskatchewan
- Newfoundland in 1949
Map
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SECTION
1
Continental Expansion and Development
From the Atlantic to the Pacific
• In 1885 a transcontinental railroad goes from
Montreal to Vancouver
• European immigrants arrive and Yukon gold brings
fortune hunters
- copper, zinc, silver also found; grow towns,
railroads
Image
Urban and Industrial Growth
• Farming gives way to urban industrialization,
manufacturing
- within 100 miles of U.S. border due to climate,
land, transportation
• Canada becomes major economic power in 20th
century
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SECTION
1
Governing Canada
The Parliamentary System
• In 1931 Canada becomes independent, British
monarch is symbolic head
• Parliamentary government:
- parliament—legislature combining legislative
and executive functions
- consists of an appointed Senate, elected
House of Commons
- prime minister, head of government, is
majority party leader
• All ten provinces have own legislature and premier
(prime minister)
- federal government administers the territories
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Section 2
Economy and Culture
of Canada
• Canada is highly industrialized and
urbanized, with one of the world’s most
developed economies.
• Canadians are a diverse people.
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SECTION
2
Economy and Culture of
Canada
An Increasingly Diverse Economy
The Early Fur Trade
• Beginning in 1500s Native Americans, now known
as the First Nations:
- begin trade with European fishermen along
Atlantic coast
• French and English trappers and traders expand
westward
• Voyageurs—French-Canadian boatmen transport
pelts to trading posts
Continued . . .
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SECTION
2
continued An
Increasingly Diverse Economy
Canada’s Primary Industries
• Farming, logging, mining, fishing: 10% of gross
domestic product
- Canada is the world’s leading exporter of forest
products
• Mining: uranium, zinc, gold, and silver are exported
• Fishing: domestic consumption is low, so most of
catch is exported
Map
Chart
Continued . . .
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SECTION
2
continued An
Increasingly Diverse Economy
The Manufacturing Sector
• 15% of Canadians work in manufacturing, create
1/5 of GDP
- make cars, steel, appliances, equipment
(high-tech, mining)
- centered in heartland, from Quebec City,
Quebec, to Windsor, Ontario
Continued . . .
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SECTION
2
continued An
Increasingly Diverse Economy
Service Industries Drive the Economy
• Most Canadians work in service industries, which
create 60% of GDP
- finance, utilities, trade, transportation,
communication, insurance
- land’s natural beauty makes tourism the fastest
growing service
• Heavy trade with U.S.: same language, open
border (world’s longest)
- 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) with U.S., Mexico
- 85% of Canadian exports go to U.S.
- 75% of Canada’s imports come from U.S.
Image
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SECTION
2
A Land of Many Cultures
Languages and Religions
• Mixing of French and native peoples created métis
culture
• Bilingual: English is most common, except in
French-speaking Quebec
• English Protestants and French Catholics dominate,
but often clash
- increasing numbers of Muslims, Jews, other
groups
Continued . . .
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SECTION
2
continued A
Land of Many Cultures
Canada’s Population
• Densest in port cities (Montreal, Toronto,
Vancouver) and farmlands
• Environment keeps 80% of people on 10% of land
(near U.S. border)
• Urbanization: in 1900 33% of people lived in cities,
today it’s 80%
• Various ethnic groups cluster in certain areas
- 75% of French Canadians live in Quebec
- many native peoples live on reserves—public
land set aside for them
- most Inuits live in the remote Arctic north
- many Canadians of Asian ancestry live on
West Coast
Image
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2
Life in Canada Today
Employment and Education
• Relatively high standard of living, well-educated
population
• Labor force is 55% men, 45% women
- 75% in service industries, 15% in manufacturing
• Oldest university, Laval, established in Quebec by
French
• English universities founded in Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick in 1780s
• Today, Canada has a 97% literacy rate
Continued . . .
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SECTION
2
continued Life
in Canada Today
Sports and Recreation
• Popular sports: skating, ice hockey, fishing, skiing,
golf, hunting
- Canada has own football league; other pro
teams play in U.S. leagues
- native peoples developed lacrosse, European
settlers developed hockey
• Annual festivals include Quebec Winter Carnival,
Calgary Stampede
Image
Continued . . .
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SECTION
2
continued Life
in Canada Today
The Arts
• Earliest literature from oral traditions of First
Nations peoples
• Later writings from settlers, missionaries, explorers
• Early visual arts seen in Inuit carving, West Coast
totem poles
• Early 1900s painting: unique style of Toronto’s
Group of Seven
• Shakespeare honored at Ontario’s world-famous
Stratford Festival
Image
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Section 3
Subregions of Canada
• Canada is divided into four subregions: the
Atlantic, Core, and Prairie Provinces, and the
Pacific Province and the Territories.
• Each subregion possesses unique natural
resources, landforms, economic activities,
and cultural life.
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SECTION
3
Subregions of Canada
The Atlantic Provinces
Harsh Lands and Small Populations
• Eastern Canada’s Atlantic Provinces:
- Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, Newfoundland
• Only 8% of Canada’s population, due to rugged
terrain, harsh weather
• Most people live in coastal cities such as:
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- St. John, New Brunswick
• 85% of Nova Scotia is rocky hills, poor soil
• 90% of New Brunswick is forested
• Newfoundland has severe storms
Continued . . .
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SECTION
3
continued The
Atlantic Provinces
Economic Activities
• New Brunswick’s largest industry: logging (lumber,
wood pulp, paper)
• Gulf of St. Lawrence, coastal waters supply
seafood for export
• Nova Scotia: logging, fishing, shipbuilding, trade
through Halifax
• Newfoundland: fishing, mining, logging, hydroelectric power
- supplies power to Quebec, parts of northeastern
U.S.
Image
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SECTION
3
The Core Provinces—Quebec and Ontario
The Heartland of Canada
• Quebec City: French explorer Samuel de
Champlain built fort in 1608
• 60% Canada’s population live in Core Provinces
Ontario and Quebec
- Ontario has largest population; Quebec has
largest land area
Continued . . .
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SECTION
3
continued The
Core Provinces—Quebec and Ontario
Canada’s Political and Economic Center
• Ottawa, Ontario is the national capital
• Quebec has great political importance in FrenchCanadian life
• Core: 35% of Canada’s crops, 45% of minerals,
70% of manufacturing
• Toronto the largest city, finance hub; Montreal
second largest city
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SECTION
3
The Prairie Provinces
Canada’s Breadbasket
• Great Plains Prairie Provinces: Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta
• 50% of Canada’s agricultural production, 60% of
mineral output
- Alberta has coal, oil deposits; produces 90%
of Canada’s natural gas
Continued . . .
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SECTION
3
continued The
Prairie Provinces
A Cultural Mix
• Manitoba: Scots-Irish, Germans, Scandinavians,
Ukrainians, Poles
• Saskatchewan’s population includes Asian
immigrants, métis
• Alberta’s diversity includes Indian, Japanese,
Lebanese, Vietnamese
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SECTION
3
The Pacific Province and the Territories
British Columbia
• British Columbia—westernmost province, mostly
in Rocky Mountains
- 1/2 is forests; 1/3 is frozen tundra, snowfields,
glaciers
• Most people live in southwest; major cities are
Victoria, Vancouver
• Economy built on logging, mining, hydroelectric
power
- Vancouver is Canada’s largest port, has
prosperous shipping trade
Continued . . .
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SECTION
3
continued The
Pacific Province and the Territories
The Territories
• The three northern territories account for 41% of
Canada’s land
• Sparsely populated due to rugged land and severe
climate
- Yukon has population of 30,000; mostly
wilderness
- Northwest Territories has population of 41,000;
extends into Arctic
- Nunavut was created from Northwest Territories
in 1999; home to Inuit
• Territories’ economies include mining, fishing, some
logging
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