Canada’s Geography & Where we Live

Have a look at the three maps provided. One clearly identifies certain climactic regions, another, drainage basins, and the third establishes physiographic regions. How do all three categories determine where people live in this country? Has this always been the case (Have we always lived in the same place)?


20 thoughts on “Canada’s Geography & Where we Live

  1. When we look back in to Canada's history we find that there are many things that factor in to where our population centers are located. Where physiographic and climactic regions can be found and the layout of our country's drainage basins are definitely some of these factors. There aren't many people living in the arctic lowland regions while there are many living in the interior plains. Why? Well, there are a few reasons. The first being the natural resources that can be found and collected in some areas in Canada. Substances such as oil and pot ash are examples of materials that can supply people with jobs. Where work can be found so can people. These sorts of materials have many steps involved in the processing of them. Since so much money can be made in places where these things can be found, many people go there seeking a way to make a good living. Secondly, people are people and we like to live in places that are comfortable weather wise. In places such as British Columbia, because of the fact they are located on the Pacific Ocean, they have a more moderate climate compared to say Manitoba. It's more convenient in Vancouver because no snow suit is needed, no snow drifts that are five feet tall and no mosquitoes to annoy you to no end. Why wouldn't someone want to live in a place that is comfortable?We also see that our major population centers form a connect the dots line down near the United States border. Not only as you get further to the Equator is the weather nicer, but it is easier to do business with companies in the U.S when you don't live too far away. For many of our largest cities, Uncle Sam is only an hour or two and a border away. One reason as to why population centers have shifted over the years is fluctuating amounts of natural resources. Take the Gold Rush for example. Thousands of people came to northern Canada when gold was discovered in large amounts in some of our rivers. The prospect of the riches that could be attained from panning for gold brought a population center to life in the middle of nowhere. Once the gold seemed to "run out" entire towns were deserted. These ghost towns are now testaments to a historical blip in population. Our population centers have not always been in these places though. In early history, people would settle where living necessities could be found easily, i.e water, places to plant food, shelter. But since then, technology has allowed us to branch out of these areas. Human beings are now able to live almost anywhere because of our ability to farm and build shelter in places we couldn't easily before.

  2. I think that people choose where to live based on 2 factors: Climate and resources. Nobody wants to live in a cold place, so less people live up north in the territories. If the ground is terrible and infertile, or it's all marsh, less people will want to live there, because it will be more inconvenient. People will want to live in the Sheild or in the mountains, because of the resources.~Becca

  3. Since the begging of Canada people have lived in areas that have lots of resources, like bodies of water. The climate of the area has also affected where people live, most people will live in a climate area where it is easier to farm. Generally the easier it is to live in a area the more people will want to live there. That is why areas in Canada that are surrounded by resources and have a better climate are more densely populated then in areas that don't. Carson

  4. The main reasons why people live where they live in Canada is because of weather and resources. Most of Canada's population is in the southern area. The southern part of Canada is the warmest part. The northern part of Canada has a very low population. Lots of people live in the north because of jobs. The other why people live where they live is because of resources. Because there is so much population in the southern area of Canada they build more resources. People who come to live in Canada live in the south because of the resources. People also live in the south because its close to U.S.A. Lots of Canadians go down to the U.S.A. to shop a tour. This is my opinion on why people live in certain places.

  5. When the Europeans originally came to Canada, they came in search of something to make money of off. In that era, the only thing you could really produce in masses, and be prosperous with, was crops. So the newcomers were in search of fertile land. There is a large quantity of Canada that you can't really grow crops in, which is known as the Canadian Shield. It covers what is now known as Ontario, Quebec, part of Manitoba, Nunavut and a little piece of Saskatchewan. Back when the Europeans came, there was no roads, planes or cars, which meant there was no means of transportation other than boat, it was near impossible to travel across the Shield. The Europeans had no choice but to head south, to what is now the United States. That choice is one of the reasons that the majority of the Canadian population lives within 100 km of the Canada-U.S. border. Other reasons that would cause Canadians to choose to live closer to the States is that the States makes more money than Canada, so it would be easier to trade with the Americans. A reason that is more of an 'up' of living close to the States, is that it's warmer there, especially when you are in the more southern part of Canada (Toronto, Ottawa, etc.).People also like to live in places with nice views. When you wake up in the morning, do you want to be looking out your window to see marshy lands, or beautiful rolling hills, and mountains? Alot of the population lives near the coast because there is the nice view, and the land is fertile, and its a really beautiful place.The more resources a region has, the more populated it would be, because people want to have the best they can. If there was land that promised perfect crops, and endless amounts of clean water, and it was a good place to have a home, people would be much more attracted to that, than just fertile ground, and a water source that is constantly dirty, with mediocre places to live.-Gracie:)

  6. When the first settlers came to Canada, they began living in places such as the prairies and the St. Lawrence lowlands because of the vast amount of resources. For example, the prairies are a great place to plant crops and the St. Lawrence lowlands are surrounded by the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. From the past to the present, people have always lived in places that had a large amount of resources and also climate has a part in this. Very few people live in the northern territories because it is bitterly cold and the ground is unproductive. The same is for the Canadian Shield region because it's very rocky and the ground is hard making it difficult to build stuff like houses.Places like Ontario, Quebec and BC for example, have denser populations because of the major companies and industrial firms. Like in BC, the major industry there is logging and lumber while in Ontario, the major industries are mining and the car manufacturing business. This makes up large amount of our economy which attract more people to these places because of the job opportunities.Ryan

  7. It has been made abundantly clear with these maps that the relation between climate, topography and where people live is very close. There are many deciding factors about where the bulk of the population lives, and they are visible by merely looking at them. These deciding factors are nearness to the rest of the population, where there is fertile soil, where it is not boggy, and where it is warm.When people first immigrated to Canada, they wanted to live in areas where water was easily accessible, where it was easy to grow food, and where they could acquire basic resources for living with as little effort as necessary. Taking these into account, people would have wanted to live in the Great Plain, the Cordilleran Region and the St. Lawrence Lowlands for their fertile soil. I personally am glad that I live on the Plains because our food is so fresh, and I think I would find it very uncomfortable to live in a different climactic region and not have food that is grown close to home. However, the place where almost exclusively all of the early settlers were coming from was Europe, which meant that they had to come to Canada by the Atlantic Ocean first, and then by way of the St. Lawrence River. If they wanted to get to the Cordilleran Region, even the Great Plains, they would have had to travel long distances to get there, time that would have better and more easily been spent in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. Also, they would be very far away from the bulk of the settlers and wouldn’t be able to communicate with their homeland as freely. More than that, they would have gained very close to the same profit of a growing season near the St. Lawrence, so moving to the Plains or the Cordilleran Region would not have been a wise choice.The topography of Canada is not the only reason why people live where they do. Climate has been and still is a deciding factor. Firstly and fore mostly, people don’t want to live where it is cold, not only because it has a very short growing season, but because it is uncomfortable. Warm places in Canada are basically limited to below 50 degrees Latitude, which is consequently where over 90% of the population lives. Secondly, people don’t want to live near a watershed that is very large, such as the area surrounding the Hudson’s Bay Lowlands, because it is consequently very boggy and people are unable to grow adequate crops because of flooding. Therefore, people live where they do in Canada because of several factors. The topography of Canada was very important for the first immigrants, and climate is also a very deciding factor today. People want to live where it is warm, where there is fertile soil, not too much flooding, and where the rest of the population is easily accessible. These were the initial reasons why cities such as Montreal and Toronto are such popular places for people to live, and why they continue to thrive today. ~Stephanie

  8. The Majority of people in Canada live in Southern Canada, and this has been the case throughout history. People live in southern Canada for three reasons, the climate,the physiographic regions and where the drainage basins are located. Climate greatly affects where people in Canada live. Most people in Canada live more southern because it is warmer. I think people do not just live in the south because they enjoy warm weather, but also warm weather makes things much easier. Such as transportation or farming. Farming is one of the reasons I think people have lived in the same places for such a long time. When it is warm the growing season is longer and it is also easier to work. They did navigate a bit more northern but that is due to technology and the fact that there are more people in Canada overall. Another factor that impacts where people live is physiographic regions. Most people live in the Great lakes and St. Lawrence lowlands. People live here in 2010 because it is a great place for hydroelectric power and its natural resources include fertile soils and great construction materials. These three things are huge pull factors and have been for a very long time. A long time ago many people would want to live in Great lakes and St. Lawrence lowlands because of the fertile soil. Fertile soil in fantastic for farming and the Great lakes and St. Lawrence lowlands is one of the only physiographic regions the have it. Many people also live in the Canadian shield. The Canadian shield has great things such as gold uranium and copper, but has poor and acidic soil. Fertile soil has made the Great lakes and St. Lawrence lowlands a prime place to live. Drainage basins are also an important part of where people live. Living near water was important in history for food and water and is still important today. Living close to an ocean will result in more steady weather, warm summers and cool winters which is very appealing to people in 2010. Warm weather is much easier to deal with. If you live far from an ocean you will have hot summers and cold winters. Which results in more money being spent on things such as automobile repair and winter clothing. When people first came to Canada they needed water for transportation this is another reason people want to live near drainage basins. Drainage basins greatly affect where people live now but not as much as did in history. People live where it is comfortable and easy to live, this is why most of Canada’s population is located in southern Canada. Although technology has allowed us to live farther north we still choose to live where life is easiest just like the people who first came to Canada. Jane

  9. People in the past have picked the place they would prefer to live in for three reasons. One they want some place where water can easily be found. Two they want some place warmer so they not only do not have to deal with their crops freezing over but also will not freeze to death themselves. And three they want someplace with fertile ground where their crops can grow with ease.Before more modern technologies came along this is basically what the people needed to survive. Now though we are more technologically advanced we have more freedom to live where we want to; such as in the more northern parts of Canada where before now it would have been very difficult to survive.The places in Canada with the largest populations are still located in the warmer parts of Canada. This shows that people still do gravitate toward the same places they did when we first arrived here in Canada.Sarah

  10. Climate is a factor that affects where people live because most people tend to live closer to the equator. People may just like the hot summers and the warm winters but i think that people also tend to live in warmer regions because of the resources. For example in Churchill it would be very difficult to grow crops. The warm weather allows people to avoid those terribly long winters and just makes winter easier overall.Physiographic regions also impact where people live. Throughout history people would want to live by the St. Lawrence lowlands because the soil is extremely fertile and it's perfect for growing crops. Others may want to live in the Canadien Shield because of it's various metals and gold. The soil is not ideal for growing crops but the Canadien Shield is a huge region and the area by Hudson Bay had attracted people because of the fur trade. Drainage Basins impact where people live because when people first started coming to Canada they did not have airplanes or cars so majority came by boat. Drainage basins provided fantastic transportation. Now adays drainage baisins attract people becaue of the hydro-electric power and comfort. Some poeple like living by the ocean.The preference of warm weather has guided people more south of the country but it hasnt always been that way. Natives lived north and used the fur trade as their means of survival and warm weather was not of concern to them. People prefer the south and it is clearly because of the climate as the main factor; nevertheless, drainage basins and physiographic regions affect where people live as well.- Nicole 🙂

  11. Most people in Canada live in the Southern Areas. This is mostly because of climate, physiographic regions, and drainage basins.People settled in the southern areas because it is warm. Not only do these people just want a warm place to live in, they also want a warm place so that they can grown their crops. Also when you live in a warm area, there is a longer "growing season"Physiographic regions also play a big factor for where people live. Most early settlers lived in the Great Lakes or the St Lawrence Lowlands because of the the rich fertile soil which is great for farming. This attracts many people.Also, living near drainage basins was a huge pull factor because it allowed you to get quick access to water which is a huge necessity that every human needs. Also drainage basins also help for transportation. They are needed more now, than they were needed before.Most people used to settle in the Southern Areas but that isnt necessarily the case anymore because of the technology that we have developed. Now people can live in the northern areas and can still have the resources they need to live-Bilal

  12. I have read the comments so far and I have to agree with Becca on the two main facts, Climate and Resources.Canada is the second largest country in the world, besides Russia. But the only thing is that most of our land is ice and snow. Unless, people want to live in -30 every single day, some… actually the majority would rather live where it is nice and warm. And I have noticed that a lot of major cities in Canada are close to the border, which is probably the warmest you can get without leaving Canada.Which brings me to my next point, resources. What does the U.S. have that we don't? Bigger, better Amusement parks. Bigger, better Shopping Malls. Bigger, better clothing lines. Basically the U.S. has a lot of things we don't have. But remember we have free health care, and we also have A LOT of free ice and snow! But we don't care what we have already, as greedy as we are, we always want more! So we plant our cities near the border so we could make business with the U.S. and we could also "Shop 'til we drop"All in all, I think that climate and resources are big parts in deciding where people live in Canada.Odile

  13. Where the major population of Canada is, is based on many factors. The main factor is when people first started coming to Canada and where they settled. They mostly settled where the land was good to grow crops. A lot of Canada you cannot grow crops on. These settlers would not settle there because of the poor land due to the Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Shield, and the northern parts of Canada being so cold and less sunny. Also they stayed close to the east because it was nearly impossible to cross the Canadian Shield since back then they had no road or cars so it was easier for them to stay closer to the east where the settlers came from. Also the weather farther south in Canada is a lot warmer than up north and easier to adapt to for the settlers.People now a day’s want to stay a lot closer to the US-Canada border because it’s a lot warmer. The climate up in the north isn’t exactly what most people would call nice. The weather closer to the boarder is a lot better for living situations. Canadian’s also want to live in southern Canada because its easier for business situations. It is a lot easier to do business with the States if your closer to the boarder. The places in Canada that have larger populations are where its warmer in Canada. This proves that people in Canada move toward the warmer places and easier living areas.-Tailyn 🙂

  14. Canadian cities are still in the same places they were when Canada was created because of access to water, which was important for transportation and fertile land for farming. People don't want to live up north because it is way too cold. Winnipeg isn't that far north in Canada but it is still very cold.Sam

  15. Settlers had a crucial role in where we live today. They had first settled in Quebec but later began going further into the land using the St. lawrence River and the Great lakes for transportation. Which brings me to a good point to why the setllers chose this area. Transoportation was really simple considering they were really close to many water bodies. Today we are mainly populated in that area due to the same reasons. Waer bodies surround us which give us a boost in resources too. The agriculutral system is incredible thanks to the help of the many water bodies. Crops would be feritilized and the river would be a close supply of water to help grow these plants. this made the St. Lawrence lowlands really resourcful and also the Water is fresh (source is lake Ontario). Another essential reason that determines where canadians live is the climate. canada is known for a variation in weather from British Colombia's rainy weather to Nunavut's stormy winters. Usually people chose to live in the warmer places (allows more outdoor experience, cheaper for heaters and better for crops). therefore since the border is one of the warmest areas in canada, we chose to live near the boreder. This explains why many people live in the St. Lawrence lowlands area (includes Toronto which is one of the most populated cities of Canada).Although many candians chose to live near the big cities near the border (such as toronto); some people live in the cordilleran region. This is because the weather is extremly rainy which is good for agruiculture. Therefore, this is why BC is known for its forestry bussiness. The cordilleran region is also near the border which is another easy access of transportation and depending on where you live the tempratures can vary from cold to warm. Many reasons affect where canadians live but like the first settlers, canadians still chose to live near the border for the reasons stated.-Ramy B

  16. Drainage basins, climate and physiographic regions all play significant roles in determining where people choose to live. An obvious reason why most people do not live up north but more to the south is due to their dislike for extremely cold and bitter temperature. Climate regions such as the Cordillera and the Pacific feature mild summers and winters. The majority of Canadian cities are close to the border between the United States and Canada. This area features not only optimum weather conditions but also good opportunities for business due to its close proximity to the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner.Another important factor is the local industry. For example, If farming is your profession but you live in a climate region that is not suited to for crops (eg. The Arctic), chances are you will not have a very successful career. Farmers tend to live where there is good natural vegetation. Moreover, farmers take into account the amount of precipitation in an area. Sure, there may be great, fertile soil but if there is little rainfall, the result may be disastrous.Hudson Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Ocean are all drainage basins used by Canadians. The location and the size of the basins are extremely important. Rivers and lakes are vital too. Various rivers are used as transportation paths, and can even be used to obtain power. Manitoba Hydro, for example, uses dams to generate power. People also fish in many rivers. Industry uses water for agricultural and domestic use.The Canadian Shield is the largest out of all of the physiographic regions. However, it does not hold the most people in Canada. Why is this? The reason lies with the climate and drainage basins. Furthermore, the soil is not very good and occassionally nowhere to be found. This is not to say that no one lives in the Canadian Shield because many people make it their home. The Canadian Shield offers forest and mineral deposits such as gold, uranium, copper and nickel. Other people may live in a different physiographic region because of the oil, fishing or lumber industry. Most people live where they can make a living.I believe people live where they think they will have the best life whether it is for weather or a great job they have been offered. For example, back in 1912, Winnipeg was a relatively new city. Nevertheless, it was named “Chicago of the North” and was considered a boomtown. Many people wanted in. This is because Winnipeg had many natural resources to offer. Therefore, I do not think most people settle in one place and stay there for the rest of their life. Rather, they stay where they have jobs.-Michael

  17. During the 1800’s people usually settled in a region for three reasons: Natural Resources, Good Climate to grow crops and Trade Routes. Winnipeg is a perfect example of what people moved to an area for. People first moved here to farm wheat. The three rivers meeting here gave them safe and fast way to transport their goods. The natural resources of fertile soil created by the large drainage basin made this popular area for settlers. Many physiographic areas of Canada are not farmable due to permafrost. People did not settle in these particular regions because they couldn’t farm. Each region of Canada that people first settled in had to provide the same situation in some way for the people of Winnipeg. People usually settled in the southern regions of Canada for the warmer climate to grow crops. Today with all our modern technology and innovation to help people; we not limited to where we live. Agriculture is not the lifestyle of most people today. Goods can be transported all over the world. The service industry has grown dramatically over the last decade. People now don’t have to move to the resources for them to survive. They can have the resources shipped to them. Today, probably an important factor of where modern people decide to live is climate. Most people move where it’s warm. It’s easier for transportation, less expenses, and playing activities. People don’t want to move where it’s cold, snowy, or swampy; making it difficult for them. People want to be able to travel in safe conditions where there’s not other dangerous factors (snow, hail, ice, floods) preventing them to or damaging their vehicle. Another reason people live in warmer climates is it is less expensive; like spending the money for heavy winter clothes, hiring someone to snowplow your driveway, or paying the heating bill; while they can use their money for more important things. Another contributing factor for why people move is because of their jobs. Cities are usually still in the same place they were when they first started. So people do stay in the same places overall. They may choose a job because of its location to outdoor activities, scenery or their lifestyle.Spero

  18. I think the reasons why someone would want to live somewhere in Canada would be the weather, resources, and ecosystem. Most people do not want to live in a place that is way too cold, but there are some places in canada that have very nice weather such as places in souther B.C. and southern Ontario such as Toronto and Vancouver. There are some very good resources in Canada such as the health care system and social assistance if you need it, and very good jobs. The ecosystem also seems to be working fine in canada which makes at a very nice place to live in.-Avery 😀

  19. The main reasons why people live where they live in Canada is because of weather and resources. Most of Canada's population is in the south. The southern part of Canada is the warmest area and end also has the most population. Northern Canada is one of the coldest areas in the world. The northern part of Canada has a very low population. There are only a few amount of people who come to live in the north mostly because of jobs. Climate is a large part on why people live where they live. The other reason why people live where they live is because of resources. Because there is so much population in the southern area of Canada they build more resources. People who come to live in Canada live in the south because of these resources. People also live in the south because its close to United States. Lots of Canadians go down to United States to shop and tour. Resources affect a great deal on why people live where they live. People also live where they live because of their jobs. Many people move from different countries to Canada because of jobs. Some people may move with there family in Northern or Southern Canada depending on what job they have. This is my opinion on why people live where they live in Canada. Daniel Kenedy

  20. People who first settled in Canada where mainly farmers these farmers determined where we live today. When farmers came to Canada they need lots of water to err-agate there crops so they settled near rivers. These rivers provided a second function as well something that a lake wouldn't the carried away the waste and garbage from the farms. Farmers also needed a long growing season to provide more productive crops. This meant that they settled near what is now the U.S border because it was warmer for longer there. A third reason that farmers chose to live where they did was because in some areas for example in the Canadian shield the soil was not right for growing crops.jeremy

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