Tundra, which comes from a Sami word meaning “barren land,” refers to a treeless arctic region characterized by permafrost. Canada’s tundra is known for its freezing temperatures, lack of trees, low-growing vegetation and abundant rock outcrops. The southern boundary of tundra in Canada extends from the Mackenzie River delta to the southern reaches of Hudson Bay and northeast to the Labrador Peninsula. The term “alpine tundra” is often used to describe any area above the treeline in mountainous areas. But “alpine tundra” and “arctic tundra” are not interchangeable. (While the two regions share some similarities, the differences are significant.)
The Arctic Circle is a parallel or line of latitude at approximately 66°33’ N that marks the border of the Arctic, the northernmost region of Earth. The geographic point at the centre of Arctic Circle is the North Pole. In Canada, communities located close to this cartographic boundary include Old Crow in the Yukon, Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, and Repulse Bay and Qikiqtarjuaq in Nunavut. The latitude of the Arctic Circle shifts slightly depending on the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis.
A glacier is a large mass of ice, formed at least in part on land, that shows evidence of present or past movement. It is formed by the compaction and recrystallization of snow into ice crystals and commonly also contains air, water and rock debris. With approximately 200,000 km2 of glacier coverage in the Arctic and the West, Canada is home to a significant percentage of the world’s glaciers. By 2100, however, scientists predict that those in Alberta and British Columbia will have lost 70 per cent of their 2005 volume due to climate change.
These 2 great journeys were first made just before the end of the 18th century, and by the same man. Alexander Mackenzie reached the mouth of the river which now bears his name in 1789, and was the first European to cross the North American continent (to Bella Coola) in 1793.
Canada's national parks are protected areas established under federal legislation to preserve Canada's natural heritage. Canadians live in a land rich in natural beauty, from great northern landscapes and huge swaths of boreal forest, to temperate rainforests and prairie grasslands.
Prairie, often considered a featureless flatland, actually contains great diversity, reflecting the depositional features associated with the Wisconsinan GLACIATION. Topography ranges from broad undulating plains to rolling hills and plateaus, often dissected by beautiful valleys and escarpments.