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CANADA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 147 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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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. With its expansions, the narrow and deep Arrow lakes, it is an important waterway in the Kootenay region. The Fraser, next in size but farther north, follows a similar course, entering the sea at Vancouver; while the Skeena and Stikine in northern British Columbia are much shorter and smaller, owing to the encroachments of Peace and Liard rivers, tributaries of the Nelson, on the Cordilleran territory. All of these rivers are waterways of some importance in their lower course, and are navigated by powerful stern-wheel boats supplying the posts and mining camps of the interior with their requirements. In most cases they reach the coast through deep valleys or profound canyons, and the transcontinental railways find their way beside them, the Canadian Pacific following at first tributaries of the Columbia near its great bend, and after-wards Thompson river and the Fraser; while the Grand Trunk Pacific makes use of the valley of the Skeena and its tributaries. The divide between the rivers flowing west and those flowing east and north is very sharp in the southern Rocky Mountains, but there are two lakes, the Committee's Punch Bowl and Fortress Lake, right astride of it, sending their waters both east and west; and there is a mountain somewhat south of Fortress Lake whose melting snows drain in three directions into tributaries of the Columbia, the Saskatchewan and the Athabasca, so that they are distributed between the Pacific, the Atlantic (Hudson Bay) and the Arctic Oceans. The divide between the St Lawrence and Hudson Bay in eastern Canada also presents one or two lakes draining each way, but in a much less striking position, since the water-parting is flat and boggy instead of being a lofty range of mountains. The rivers of Canada, except the St Lawrence, are losing their importance as means of communication from year to year, as railways spread over the interior and cross the mountains to the Pacific; but from the point of view of the physical geographer there are few things more remarkable than the intricate and comprehensive way in which they drain the country. As most of the Canadian rivers have waterfalls on their course, they must become of more and more importance as sources of power. The St Lawrence system, for instance, generates many thousand horse-power at Sault Ste Marie, Niagara and the Lachine rapids. All the larger cities of Canada make use of water power in this way, and many new enterprises of the kind are projected in eastern Canada; but the. thousands of feet of fall of the rivers in the Rocky Mountain region are still almost untouched, though they will some day find use in manufactures like those of Switzerland. The Archean Protaxis.—The broad geological and geographical relationships of the country have already been outlined, but the more important sub-divisions may now be taken up with more detail, and for that purpose five areas may be distinguished, much the largest being the Archean protaxis, covering about 2,000,000 sq. m. It includes Labrador, Ungava and most of Quebec on the east, northern Ontario on the south; and the western boundary runs from Lake-of-the-Woods north-west to' the Arctic Ocean near the mouth of Mackenzie river. The southern parts of the Arctic islands, especially Banksland, belong to it also. This vast area, shaped like a broad-limbed V or U, with Hudson Bay in the centre, is made up chiefly of monotonous and barren Laurentian gneiss and granite; but scattered through it are important stretches of Keewatin and Huronian rocks intricately folded as synclines in the gneiss, as suggested earlier, the bases of ancient mountain ranges. The Keewatin and Huronian, consisting of greenstones, schists and more or less metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, are of special interest for their ore deposits, which include most of the important metals, particularly iron, nickel, copper and silver. The southern portion of the protaxis is now being opened up by railways, but the far greater northern part is known only along the lakes and rivers which are navigable by canoe. Though once consisting of great mountain ranges there are now no Iofty elevations in the region except along the Atlantic border in Labrador, where summits of the Nachvak Mountains are said to reach 6000 ft. or more. In every other part the surface is hilly or mammilated, the harder rocks, such as granite or greenstone, rising as rounded knobs, or in the case of schists forming narrow ridges, while the softer parts form valleys generally floored with lakes. From the summit of any of the higher hills one sees that the region is really a somewhat dissected plain, for all the hills rise to about the same level with a uniform skyline at the horizon. The Archean protaxis is sometimes spoken of as a plateau, but probably half of it falls below r000 ft. The lowland part includes from roo to Soo M. all round the shore of Hudson Bay, and extends south-west to the edge of the Palaeozoic rocks on Lake Winnipeg. Outwards from the bay the level rises slowly to an average of about 1500 ft., but seldom reaches 2000 ft. except at a few points near Lake Superior and on the eastern coast of Labrador. In most parts the Laurentian hills are bare roches moutonnees scoured by the glaciers of the Ice Age, but a broad band of clay land extends across northern Quebec and Ontario just north of the divide. The edges of the protaxis are in general its highest parts, and the rivers flowing outwards often have a descent of several hundred feet in a few miles towards the Great Lakes, the St Lawrence or the Atlantic, and in some cases they have cut back deep gorges or canyons into the tableland. The waterfalls are utilized at a few points to work up into wood pulp the forests of spruce which cover much of Labrador, Quebec and Ontario. Most of the pine that formerly grew on the Archean at the. northern fringe of the settlements has been cut, but the lumberman is still advancing northwards and approaching the northern limit of the famous Canadian white pine forests, beyond. which spruces, tamarack (larch) and poplar are the prevalent trees. As one advances northward the timber grows smaller and includes fewer species of trees, and finally the timber line is reached, near Churchill on the west coast of Hudson Bay and somewhat farther south on the Labrador side. Beyond this to the north are the " barren grounds on which herds of caribou (reindeer) and musk ox pasture, migrating from north to south according to the season. There are no permanent ice sheets known on the mainland: of north-eastern Canada, but some of the larger islands to the north of Hudson Bay and Straits are partially covered with glaciers on, their higher points. Unless by its mineral resources, of which scarcely anything is known, the barren grounds can never support a white population and have little to tempt even the Indian or Eskimo, who visit it occasionally in summer to hunt the deer in their migrations. The Acadian Region.—The "maritime provinces" of eastern Canada, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, may be considered together; and to these provinces as politically bounded may be added, from a physical point of view, the analogous south-eastern part of Quebec—the. entire area being designated the Acadian region- Taken as 'a whole, this eastern part of Canada, with a very irregular and extended coast-line on the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Atlantic, maybe regarded as a northern continuation of the Appalachian mountain system that runs parallel to the Atlantic coast of the United States. The rocks underlying it have been subjected to successive foldings and crumplings by forces acting chiefly from the direction of the Atlantic Ocean, with alternating pro-longed periods of waste and denudation. The main axis of disturbance and the highest remaining land runs through the south-eastern part of Quebec,forming the Notre Dame Mountains, and terminates in the Gaspe peninsula as the Shickshock Mountains. The first-named seldom exceed 1500 ft. in height, but the Shickshocks rise above 3000 ft. The province of New Brunswick exhibits approximately, parallel but subordinate ridges, with wide intervening areas of nearly flat Silurian and Carboniferous rocks. The peninsula of Nova Scotia, connected by a narrow neck with New Brunswick, is formed by still: another and more definite system; of parallel ridges,. deeply fretted on all sides by bays and harbours. A series of quartzites and slates referred to the Cambrian, and holding numerous and important veins of auriferous quartz, characterize its Atlantic or south-eastern side, while valuable coal-fields occur in Cape Breton and on parts of its shores on the Gulf of St Lawrence. In New Brunswick the Carboniferous rocks occupy a large area, but the coal seams so far developed are thin and unimportant. Metalliferous ores of various kinds occur both in Nova Scotia and in this province, but with the exception of the gold already mentioned, have not yet become the objects of important industries. Copper and , asbestos are the principal mineral products of that part of Quebec included in the region now under description, although many other minerals are known and already worked to some extent. Extensive tracts of good arable land exist in many parts of the Acadian region. Its surface was originally almost entirely wooded, and the products of the forest continue to hold a prominent place. Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of*Canada, is low and undulating, based on Permo-Carboniferous and Triassic rocks affording a red and very fertile soil, much of which is under cultivation. The St Lawrence Plain.—As the St Lawrence invited the earliest settlers to Canada and gave the easiest communication with the Old World, it is not surprising to find the wealthiest and most populous part of the country on its shores and near the Great Lakes which it leads up to; and this early development was greatly helped by the flat and fertile plain which follows it inland for over 600 m. from the city of Quebec to Lake Huron. This affords the largest stretch of arable land in eastern Canada, including the southern parts of Ontario and Quebec with an area of some 38,000 sq. m. In Quebec the chief portion is south of the St Lawrence on the low plain extending from Montreal to the mountains of the " Eastern Townships," while in Ontario it extends from the Archean on the ,north to the St Lawrence and Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron. The whole region is underlain by nearly horizontal and undisturbed rocks of the Palaeozoic from the Devonian downward. Superimposed on these rocks are Pleistocene boulder clay, and clay and sand deposited in post-glacial lakes or an extension of the Gulf of St Lawrence. Though petroleum and salt occur in the south-west peninsula of Ontario, metalliferous deposits are wanting, and the real wealth of this district lies in its soil and climate, which permit the growth of all the products of temperate regions. Georgian Bay and the northern part of Lake Huron with the whole northern margin of Lake Superior bathe the foot of the Laurentian plateau, which rises directly from these lakes; so that the older fertile lands of the country with their numerous cities and largely-developed manufactures are cut off by an elevated, rocky and mostly forest-covered tract of the Archean from the newer and far more extensive farm lands of the west. For many years this southern projection of the northern wilderness was spanned by only one railway, and offered a serious hindrance to the development of the regions beyond; but settlements are now spreading to the north and rapidly filling up the gap between east and west. The Interior Continental Plain.—Passing westward by rail from the forest-covered Archcan with its rugged granite hills, the,flat prairie of Manitoba with its rich grasses and multitude of flowers comes as a very striking contrast, introducing the Interior Continental plain in its most typical development. This great plain runs north-westward between the border of the Archean protaxis and the line of the Rocky Mountains, including most of Manitoba, the southern part of Saskatchewan and most of Alberta. At the international boundary in lat. 49° it is 800 m. wide, but in lat. 56° it has narrowed to 400 M. in width, and to the north of lat. 62° it is still narrower and somewhat interrupted, but preserves its main physical features to the Arctic Ocean about the mouth of the Mackenzie. This interior plain of the continent represents the area of the ancient sea by which it was occupied in Mesozoic times, with a more ancient margin towards the north-west against the Archean, where undisturbed lime-stones and other rocks of the Silurian and Devonian rest upon the downward slope of the Laurentian Shield. Most of the plains are underlain by Cretaceous and early Tertiary shales and sandstones lying nearly unaltered and undisturbed where they were deposited, although now raised far above sea-level, particularly along the border of the 'Rocky Mountains where they were thrust up into foot-hills when the range itself was raised. These strata have been subjected to great denudation, but owing to their comparatively soft character this has been, in the main, nearly uniform, and has produced no very bold features of relief, Coal and lignitic coal are the principal economic minerals met with in this central plain, though natural gas occurs and is put to use near Medicine Hat, and " tar sands " along the north-eastern edge of the Cretaceous indicate the presence of petroleum. Its chief value lies in its vast tracts of fertile soil, now rapidly filling up with settlers from all parts of the world, and the grassy uplands in the foot-hill region affording perennial pasturage for the cattle, horses and sheep of the rancher. Though the region is spoken of as a plain there are really great differences of level between the highest parts in south-western Alberta, 4500 ft. above the sea, and the lowest in the region of Lake Winnipeg, where the prairie is at an elevation of only 800 ft. The very flat and rich prairie near Winnipeg is the former bed of the glacial Lake Agassiz; but most of the prairie to the west is of a gently rolling character and there are two rather abrupt breaks in the plain, the most westerly one receiving the name of the Missouri Coteau. The first step represents a rise to 1600 ft., and the second to 3000 ft. on an average. In so flat a country any elevation of a few hundred feet is remarkable and is called a mountain, so that Manitoba has its Duck and Riding mountains. More important than the hills are the narrow and often rather deep river valleys cut below the general level, exposing the soft rocks of the Cretaceous and in many places seams of lignite. When not too deep the river channels may be traced from afar across the prairie by the winding band of trees growing beside the water. The treeless part of the plains, the prairie proper, has a triangular shape with an area twice as large as that of Great Britain. North of the Saskatchewan river groves or " bluffs " of trees begin, and somewhat farther north the plains are generally wooded, because of the slightly more humid climate. It has been proved, however, that certain kinds of trees if protected will grow also on the prairie, as may be seen around many of the older farm-steads. In the central southern regions the climate is arid enough to permit of " alkaline " ponds and lakes, which may completely dry up in summer, and where a supply of drinking-water is often hard to obtain, though the land itself is fertile. The Cordilleran Belt.—The Rocky Mountain region as a whole; best named the Cordillera or Cordilleran belt, includes several parallel ranges of mountains of different structures and ages, the eastern one constituting the Rocky Mountains proper. This band of mountains 400 M. wide covers towards the south almost all of British Columbia and a strip of Alberta east of the watershed, and towards the north forms the whole of the Yukon . Territory. While it is throughout essentially a mountainous country, very complicated in its orographic features and inter-locking river systems, two principal mountain axes form its ruling features—the Rocky Mountains proper, above referred to, and the Coast Ranges. Between them are many other ranges shorter and less regular in trend, such as the Selkirk Mountains, the Gold Ranges and the Caribou Mountains. There is also in the southern inland region an interior plateau, once probably a peneplain, but now elevated and greatly dissected by river valleys, which extends north-westward for 500 M. with a width of about Too m. and affords the largest areas of arable and pasture land in British Columbia. Similar wide tracts of less broken country occur, after a mountainous interruption, in northern British Columbia and to some extent in the Yukon Territory, where wide valleys and rolling hills alternate with short mountain ranges of no great altitude. The Pacific border of the coast range of British Columbia is ragged with fjords and channels, where large steamers may go 50 or Too M. inland between mountainous walls as on the coast of Norway; and-there is also a bordering mountain system partly submerged forming Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The highest mountains of the Cordillera in Canada are near the southern end of the boundary separating Alaska from the Yukon Territory, the meridian of 141°, and they include Mount Logan (19,54o ft.) and Mount St Elias (i8,000 ft.), while the highest peak in North America, Mount McKinley (20,000 ft.), is. not far to the north-west in Alaska. This knot of very lofty mountains, with Mount Fairweather and some others, all snowy and glacier-clad for almost their whole height, are quite isolated from the highest points of the Rocky Mountains proper, which are loos) m. to the south-east. Near the. height of land between British Columbia and Alberta there are many peaks which rise from 10,000 to 12,000 ft. above sea-level, the highest which has been carefully measured being Mount Robson (13,700 ft.). The next range to the east, the Selkirks, has several summits that reach ro,000 ft. or over, while the Coast Ranges scarcely go beyond 9000 ft. The snow line in the south is from 7500 to 9000 ft. above sea-level, being lower on the Pacific side where the heaviest snowfall comes in winter than on the drier north-eastern side. The snow line gradually sinks as one advances north-west, reaching only 2000 or 3000 ft. on the Alaskan coast. The Rockies and Selkirks support thousands of glaciers, mostly not very large, but having some 50 or loo sq. m. of snowfield. All the glaciers are now in retreat, with old tree-covered moraines, hundreds or thousands of feet lower down the valley. The timber line is at about 7500 ft. in southern British Columbia and 4000 ft. in the interior of the Yukon Territory. On the westward slopes, especially of the Selkirks and Coast Ranges, vegetation is almost tropical in its density and luxuriance, the giant cedar and the Douglas fir sometimes having diameters of 10 ft. or more and rising to the height of 150 ft. On the eastern flanks of the ranges the forest is much thinner, and on the interior plateau and in many of the valleys largely gives way to open grass land. The several ranges of the Cordillera show very different types of structure and were formed at different ages, the Selkirks with their core of pre-Cambrian granite, gneiss and schists coming first, then the Coast Ranges, which seem to have been elevated in Cretaceous times, formetl mainly by a great upwelling of granite and diorite as batholiths along the margin of the continent and sedimentary rocks lying as remnants on their flanks; and finally the Rocky Mountains in the Laramie or early Eocene, after the close of the Cretaceous. This latest and also highest range was formed by tremendous thrusts from the Pacific side, crumpling and folding the ancient sedimentary rocks, which run from the Cambrian to the Cretaceous, and faulting them along overturned folds. The outer ranges in Alberta have usually the form of tilted blocks with a steep cliff towards the north-east and a gentler slope, corresponding to the dip of the beds, towards the south-west. Near the centre of the range there are broader foldings, carved into castle and cathedral shapes. The most easterly range has been shown to have been actually pushed . 7 M. out upon the prairies. In the Rocky Mountains proper no eruptive rocks have broken through, so that no ore deposits of importance are known from them, but in the Cretaceous synclines which they enclose valuable coal basins exist. Coal of a bituminous and also semi-anthracite kind is produced, the best mined on the Pacific slope of the continent, the coking coals of the Fernie region supplying the fuel of the great metal mining districts of the Kootenays in British Columbia, and of Montana and other states to the south. The Selkirks and Gold Ranges west of the Rockies, with their great areas of eruptive rocks, both ancient and modern, include most of the important mines of gold, silver, copper and lead which give British Columbia its leadership among the Canadian provinces as a producer of metals. In early days the placer gold mines of the Columbia, Fraser and Caribou attracted miners from everywhere, but these have declined, and lode mines supply most of the gold as well as the other metals. The Coast Ranges and islands also include many mines, especially of copper, but up to the present of less value than those inland. Most of the mining development is in southern British Columbia, where a network of railways and waterways gives easy access; but as means of communication improve to the north a similar development may be looked for there. The Atlin and White Horse regions in northern British Columbia and southern Yukon have attracted much attention, and the Klondike placers still farther north have furnished many millions of dollars' worth of gold. Summing up the economic features of the Cordilleran belt, it includes many of the best coal-mines and the most extensive deposits of gold, copper, lead and zinc of the Dominion, while in silver, nickel and iron Ontario takes the lead. When its vast area stretching from the international boundary to beyond the Arctic circle is opened up, it may be expected to prove the counterpart of the great Wining region of the Cordillera in the United States to the south. Climate.—In a country like Canada ranging from lat. 420 to the Arctic regions and touching three oceans, there must be great variations of climate. If placed upon Europe it would extend from Rome to the North Cape, but latitude is of course only one of the factors influencing climate, the arrangement of the ocean currents and of the areas of high and low pressure making a very wide difference between the climates of the two sides of the Atlantic. In reality the Pacific coast of Canada, rather than the Atlantic coast, should be compared with western Europe, the south-west corner of British Columbia, in lat. 48° to 5o°, having a climate very similar to the southern coast of England. In Canada the isotherms by no means follow parallels of latitude, especially in summer when in the western half of the country they run nearly north-west and south-east; so that the average temperature of 550 is found about on the Arctic circle in the Mackenzie river valley, in lat. 500 near the Lake-of-the-Woods, in lat. 55° at the northern end of James Bay, and in lat. 490 on Anticosti in the Gulf of St Lawrence. The proximity of the sea or of great lakes, the elevation and the direction of mountain chains, the usual path of storms and of prevalent winds, and the relative length of day and amount of sunshine in summer and winter all have their effect on different parts of Canada. One cannot even describe the climate of a single province, like Ontario or British Columbia, as a unit, as it varies so greatly in different parts. Details should therefore be sought in articles on the separate provinces. In eastern Canada Ungava and Labrador are very chill and inhospitable, owing largely to the iceberg-laden current sweeping down the coast from Davis Strait, bringing fogs and long snowy winters and a temperature for the year much below the freezing-point. South of the Gulf of St Lawrence, however, the maritime provinces have much more genial temperatures, averaging 40° F. for the year and over 6o° for the summer months. The amount of rain is naturally high so near the sea, 40 to 56 in., but the snowfall is not usually excessive. In Quebec and northern Ontario the rainfall is diminished, ranging from 20 to 40 in., while the snows of winter are deep and generally cover the ground from the beginning of December to the end of March. The winters are brilliant but cold, and the summers average from 6o° to 65° F., with generally clear skies and a bracing atmosphere which makes these regions favourite summer resorts for the people of the cities to the south. The winter storms often sweep a little to the north of southern Ontario, so that what falls as snow in the north is rain in the south, giving a much more variable winter, often with too little snow for sleighing. The summers are warm, with an average temperature of 65° and an occasional rise to 9o°. As one goes westward the precipitation diminishes to 17.34 in. in Manitoba and 13.35 for the other two prairie provinces, most of this, however, coming opportunely from May to August, the months when the growing grain most requires moisture. There is a much lighter snowfall in winter than in northern Ontario and Quebec, with somewhat lower temperatures. The snow and the frost in the ground are considered useful as furnishing moisture to start the wheat in spring. The precipitation in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta is much more variable than farther east and north, so that in some seasons crops have been a failure through drought, but large areas are now being brought under irrigation to avoid such losses. The prairie provinces have in most parts a distinctly continental climate with comparatively short, warm summers and long, cold winters, but with much sunshine in both seasons. In southern Alberta, however, the winter cold is often interrupted by chinooks, westerly winds which have lost their moisture by crossing the mountains and become warmed by plunging down to the plains, where they blow strongly, licking up the snow and raising the temperature, sometimes in a few hours, from 20° to 40° F. In this region cattle and horses can generally winter on the grass of the ranges without being fed, though in hard seasons there may be heavy losses. Northwards chinooks become less frequent and the winter's cold increases, but the coming of spring is not much later, and the summer temperatures, with sunshine for twenty hours out of twenty-four in June, are almost the same
End of Article: CANADA
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