James is a sixth grade student in Pond Inlet, a town in Nunavut. Nunavut is in the far north of Canada. When James goes to school in January, the sun never comes up. If he looks out his classroom window in the dark winter months, all he sees are streetlights and the lights of cars. Some of his classes are taught in English. Others are in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. James and most of the other sixth graders also speak Inuktitut at home. In their language, the towns name is Mittimatalik. Compare James with Marie, a sixth grader in Quebec City. Marie is French Canadian. All of her classes are taught in French. It is always light outside when she is in school. Marie can see many people on the streets outside her school. James and Marie live in the same country. But their experiences are very different. Canada is a large, very diverse country. It is often called a plural society [plural society: a society in which different cultural groups keep their own identity, beliefs, and traditions] . This term reflects the fact that its people have come from many countries and cultures. While most people share a
Canadian identity, many also keep the traditions of their parents and grandparents. Canadians often divide their country into five regions [region: an area defined by one or more natural or cultural characteristics that set it apart from other areas] In area, Canada is the worlds second largest country. It covers most of the northern part of North America. The United States is its neighbor to the south. The two countries share a 5,000-mile-long border. This is the longest unguarded border in the world. Canadas Three Founding Peoples The first people to settle in Canada probably came from Asia tens of thousands of years ago. They crossed over a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. In time, they became the Inuit and other Native American groups. These native peoples still live in Canada. Today they are known as Canadas first founding peoples."
Canadas second and third founding peoples came from Europe. Colonists from France settled Quebec in the 1600s. Later, English colonists settled on the Atlantic coast. In the 1700s, France and England fought a war for control of North America. When the war ended in 1763, France agreed to give up Canada to England. During the 1800s, large numbers of English settlers came to Canada. But the Frenchspeaking people held on to their language and way of life. Meanwhile, Canada also attracted settlers from Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, and Germany. By the early 1900s, Italians, Ukrainians, and Jews were arriving from southern and eastern Europe. Some settled in the big eastern cities. Others began farms on the flat land in Canadas center. Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino people came from Asia as well. Many of them settled along Canadas Pacific coast. All of these groups have helped shape Canadas plural society. Its founding peoples have kept their languages and traditions. Newer settlers have also held on to traditional ways from other cultures. Yet all are Canadians. THE GEOGRAPHIC SETTING
Many Americans think that Canadians lives are just like theirs. This is not the case. It is true that many Canadians live close to the United States. It is also true that Canada and the United States are each others most important trading partner. And it is true that they are good allies. But there are many differences between the two countries. Some of these are political. Others are economic, and some are cultural. Canada is divided into provinces and territories. There are 10 provinces. Each has its own government. In this way, provinces are much like states in the United States. Territories are areas that have too few people to be provinces. Geographers often divide Canada into five large regions. They are outlined in black on the map you see here. As you will learn, each region has its own geography. Each also has its own history and way of life. Atlantic Region This region lines the Atlantic coast of Canada. It includes the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova
Scotia, and New Brunswick. Some of these provinces are islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Core Region This region stretches north of the Great Lakes. It includes the two large provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Prairie Region This region covers Canadas central plains. It includes the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Pacific Region This region is on Canadas Pacific coast. It is made up of the province of British Columbia. Northern Region This region lies to the north of the provinces. It reaches far into the Arctic Ocean. It includes Canadas three territories. These are the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Canadas 5 Regions Settlement Patterns: Who Lives Where?
Imagine that you could spread Canadas people out evenly. About eight people would live in every square mile. But Canadas people do not live like this. Outside of the large cities, an average of only two people live in every square mile. The Atlantic Region This was the first area where Europeans settled in Canada. 2.3 million people call this region home. They came because fishing was so good in the North Atlantic. Until recent years, most people here made a living by fishing. But the ocean has been overfished. The government now limits fishing to make sure there will be fish in the future. As a result, many people have moved away. The Core Region Most Canadians live in Canadas core region (19.7 Million). This region has three of Canadas largest cities. They are Toronto, Montreal, and the capital city [capital city: a city that is the governmental center of a country or region] of Ottawa. In the
past, people came to Ontario to work in its many factories. More recently they have come for jobs in banks, computer companies, and other businesses. The Prairie Region More than 5 million people live in the three prairie provinces. Farming was once the main activity here. Today the oil and gas business is booming in Alberta. As a result, Alberta is the fastest-growing province in Canada. Its biggest cities are Edmonton and Calgary. Both are popular urban areas. The Pacific Region British Columbia is home to more than 4 million people. Most live in or near Vancouver and Victoria. People also live on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Many people from Asia have moved to this region, because of its location on the Pacific Ocean.
The Northern Region This is the largest region in land area. But it has the fewest people. Only about 100,000 people live in all three territories. The region is costly to live in because it is so far from other places. There are so few roads that goods are often flown in by plane. A Plural Society: Who Speaks What? If you walked around Toronto, you would hear people speaking many different languages. Of course, you would hear English and French. But many other cultural groups live there as well. Toronto has one of the most multicultural school districts in the world. More than half the students in the city speak a language other than English at home. The Atlantic Region Most people in this region speak English as their first language. Their families came from Great Britain to farm or fish many years ago. Some French speakers settled here as well. French remains
their first language. The Core Region In Ontario, most people speak English. But in Quebec, most people speak French. Chinese, Italian, and Portuguese are other languages spoken here. For years, Canadians argued about which language their government should use. Now both French and English are its official languages. Some people in Quebec think their province should be a separate country. In 1995, the people of Quebec voted on this question. They decided to stay part of Canada, but it was a close vote. Since then, enthusiasm for independence has declined. In fact, support for independence has dropped well below 40 percent in public opinion polls. The Prairie Region European settlers first came to this region to farm. Now, oil in Alberta attracts newcomers. English is the first language
for more than four out of five people in this region. But people who speak French, German, and Ukrainian have moved here too. The Pacific Region Here, English is the first language. But many people from Asia also live in this region. Chinese is the second most common language. People from India speak Punjabi. People from the Philippines speak Tagalog. The Northern Region Almost two thirds of the people in the north speak English as their first language. Many are English-speaking Canadians who moved here to work for the government. Most of the founding peoples, such as the Inuit, have kept their cultures. The Inuit continue to
speak Inuktitut. Having Fun in the Cold Winters are long and summers are short in this northern country. Canadians have adjusted by finding ways to have fun in all seasons. In summer, for example, people use the Rideau Canal in Ottawa for boating. But in the winter the canal freezes. For a few months it becomes the longest skating rink in the world. The Atlantic Region This area has a fairly mild humid continental [humid continental: a climate or climate zone
with warm, rainy summers and cool, snowy winters] climate. Winters can be very wet. Halifax, for example, gets five inches of precipitation [precipitation: moisture that falls from the sky as rain, snow, sleet, or hail] in January alone. Nova Scotia is said to be the birthplace of ice hockey. The story goes that Canadians were unhappy spending the long winter months indoors. They knew of a game that is like field hockey. Someone thought to put on skates, and ice hockey was born. Today ice hockey is popular in the United States too. The Core Region The southern part of this area has a humid continental climate. Torontos average temperature in July is a pleasant 63F. Every February, Canadians celebrate Winterlude in Ottawa. People ice skate and ride sleighs along the Rideau Canal. There are races and figure-skating contests. You can learn how to make ice carvings. Or you can eat at a cafe carved
from ice! The Prairie Region The southern part of this region has a semiarid to humid continental climate. The northern part has a subarctic climate. In Churchill, the average January temperature is a frosty 16F. Churchill is called the Polar Bear Capital of the World. Once a year, more than 1,000 migrating polar bears pass through this town. People travel each year to Churchill to see this event. The Pacific Region The coast of British Columbia has a marine west coast climate. In Vancouver, January temperatures average 37F. This is much warmer than most parts of Canada. Winter surfing is a popular sport off the Pacific coast. Large waves from winter storms challenge surfers there. Farther inland lie the Coast Mountains and the Rockies. The high altitudes here mean long, cold winters. You will find some of Canadas best ski resorts in this region.
The Northern Region Much of this area is treeless tundra. The most northern part has very few plants. The southern part has a subarctic climate. The temperature in the town of Whitehorse in July averages 57F. The all-terrain vehicle has replaced the dog sled in the north. But people still love to compete in dog sled races. A long-distance race can cover 1,000 miles and take up to two weeks. Different Traditions and Needs: Whats Built Where? Lets say you are visiting the Museum of Civilization, a short trip from Ottawa. You see houses of Canadas native peoples. Later you look at a lumber camp. Then you walk past an oil derrick or a fishing village. You soon see how peoples needs and traditions, as well as their locations, have led them to build different kinds
of structures. The Atlantic Region Lighthouses dot the coast in this region. This is because of the importance of fishing. Lighthouses help sailors figure out their position on the ocean. They let ships know that land is near and warn of dangerous rocks. Canada still has several hundred lighthouses in operation. The Core Region Many buildings here combine British and French influences. British and French settlers brought this style from Europe. These large stone buildings have tall, pointed windows and carved ornaments. Another example of this style is the Chteau Frontenac. This is a famous hotel in Quebec City. The Prairie Region Farms cover the southern part of this region. The typical farm sits on hundreds of acres. Beside the barn is a silo. This is a tall
structure for storing grain. Farmers in this rural region usually grow spring wheat. This crop is planted in the spring and harvested in late summer. It grows well in climates with harsh winters. The Pacific Region British influence is strong here. Victoria was the first city in British Columbia. It is known as the most British of Canadian cities. Some buildings there look almost like castles. The Northern Region This region has long, cold winters. In the past, some Inuit made winter igloos from snow blocks. The word igloo means house. Igloos can also be made of other materials, such as sod, stone, or wood. Today, most Inuit have houses made from kits. Such a house is put together from sections made in factories. Inuit live in widely scattered villages along the Arctic Ocean or Hudson Bay. How People Make Living Canada is rich in natural resources [natural resource: a useful material that is
found in nature, such as water, wood, coal, or oil] . Furs and lumber were early exports. Today oil and minerals are important as well. Even so, most Canadians today work in service industries. These industries produce a service for people rather than goods. Examples include restaurants, dry cleaners, and banks. The Atlantic Region In the 1800s, this region had a strong economy. Good fishing in the Atlantic Ocean made it easy to make a living. But, as you read earlier, overfishing has led to limits on fishing. That, in turn, has put many people out of work. Coal mining and farming are also economic activities here. But poor soil limits farming to small patches of good land. Forestry [forestry: the planting, growing, and harvesting of trees] is a growing industry. Forestry companies produce lumber and pulp for paper. The Core Region Most of Canadas factories are located here. This region is also a strong farming center. More than a third of Canadas farm products are grown here. Recently, the region has become a large producer of hydroelectric power
[hydroelectric power: electricity that is generated from the power of moving water] . This is electricity generated from flowing rivers. Some power plants are located on rivers in northern Quebec. Others are found near Niagara Falls or along the St. Lawrence River The Prairie Region This region produces half of the countrys farm products. Its southern plains are good for raising grains. Mining is also important. More than half of Canadas minerals are mined here. They include coal, nickel, copper, zinc, and uranium. Much oil is trapped in the oil sands of northern Alberta. This area is thought to contain more oil than the entire Middle East. It is expensive to separate oil from the sand. But because demand for oil is high, Albertas oil business is booming. The same is true in Edmonton, one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada. The Pacific Region Forestry and fishing are important in British Columbia.
But now newer industries have passed these by. Both metals and coal are mined in this region. The shipping industry is growing as well. Shippers on the coast carry Canadian products to all parts of the world. Many rivers have been dammed to produce hydroelectric power. Much of the electricity generated in the region is sold to the United States. The Northern Region Some native peoples still follow the nomadic, or wandering, life of herders and hunters. But most are settled in small villages. Because there is little business in most villages, jobs are few. Canadians from the south sometimes come here to work for short periods. They find jobs with the government, churches, or mining companies. Many people in the territories believe that there are undiscovered precious minerals still to be found here.
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