Canada occupies the northern portion (precisely 41%) of North America. It is bordered to the south
by the contiguous United States and to the northwest by Alaska. Off the southern coast of
Newfoundland lies Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, an overseas community of France. The country stretches
from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west (hence the country's motto).
To the north lies the Arctic Ocean; Greenland is to the northeast. Since 1925,
Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60° and 141° W longitude ();
this claim is not universally recognized. The northernmost settlement in Canada (and in the world)
is Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island – latitude 82.5° N –
just 834 kilometres from the North Pole. Also, the magnetic North Pole lies within Canadian boundaries
(although is moving towards Siberia).
Canada is the world's second-largest country in total area, after Russia. Much of Canada lies in Arctic regions, however,
and thus Canada has only the fourth-most arable land area behind Russia, China, and the U.S. The population density of
3.5 people per square kilometre is among the lowest in the world: Canada has more land area than the U.S., but only
one-ninth of its population.
The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City-Windsor Axis in the east. To the north of this region is
the broad Canadian Shield, an area of rock scoured clean by the last ice age, thinly soiled, rich in minerals, and dotted
with lakes and rivers—over 60% of the world's lakes are in Canada. The Canadian Shield encircles the immense Hudson Bay,
extending from Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories at its westernmost point, to the Atlantic coast in Labrador in the east.
Newfoundland, North America's easternmost island if Greenland is excluded, is at the mouth of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence,
the world's largest estuary. The Canadian Maritimes protrude eastward from the southern coasts of Quebec.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are divided by the Bay of Fundy, which experiences the world's largest tidal variations.
Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province.
Mount Logan in Yukon, with the main peak at left; at 5 959 m, Canada's highest point and second highest in North America.
West of Ontario, the broad, flat Canadian Prairies spread toward the Rocky Mountains, which separate them from British Columbia.
Northern Canadian vegetation tapers from coniferous forests to tundra and finally to Arctic barrens in the far north.
The northern Canadian mainland is ringed with a vast archipelago containing some of the world's largest islands.
Some specific geographical features of note include the world's largest freshwater island,
Manitoulin Island, which divides Georgian Bay and Lake Huron and the world's longest freshwater beach,
Wasaga Beach, on the Lake Huron shoreline. Thanks to past glacial activity in the Canadian Shield,
Canada also boasts more freshwater lakes than any other nation, with 31,191 lakes greater than three square kilometres.
Canada has a reputation for cold temperatures but, throughout, experiences four distinct seasons.
Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, with frequent blizzards and even ice storms.
Temperatures often reach lows of -50°C in the far North; the record coldest temperature in
North America was -63°C, at Snag, Yukon, in 1947. Coastal British Columbia is an exception: i
t enjoys a temperate climate with much milder winters than the rest of the country.
Summers in Canada range from mild (low to high 20s C) on the east and west coasts to hot (mid to high 30s C),
particularly in Central Canada, the Prairies and the intermontane regions of British Columbia.
The highest recorded temperature in Canada was 45°C at both Midale and Yellow Grass in Saskatchewan on July 5, 1937.
Sources: University World and Wikipedia