The Canadian Shield  


The Canadian Shield is a great place to start a business industry or a tourist attraction. Canada is one of the worlds leading producers of a valuable minerals. People visit the shield to do activities in the outdoors like canoeing, hunting, fishing etc. Read own to know the pro and cons of opening a business industry or a tourist attraction in the Canadian Shield.

Physical Land Forms / Geology

              The Canadian Shield is mainly flat land with rounded hills. It is made up of two main types of rocks: igneous and metamorphic. The Canadian Shield is the largest of Canada's 6 physical regions. It includes the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador (Labrador only). It mainly is rock that was once mountains millions of years ago. Through the process of erosion, water, ice, glaciers from the Ice Age, and wind, it wore down the rock and became flatter. Over those millions of years, rivers, rapids, lakes and valleys have been carved out by the forces of nature. All these beautiful sources of water add to the tourism and recreation (e.g. camping) industry. In the northern areas of the Shield bush planes are still commonly used to get around. It is amazing to see how powerful and forever changing mother nature really is. Imagine holding a tall piece of wood and using chisels and sandpaper, you could certainly change the look and the shape of that wood in no time. Mother Nature acted and still acts the same way with regards to the Canadian Shield (over millions of years).


The climate of the Canadian Shield is different from the rest of Canada. In the Canadian Shield, there are short cold winters and long hot summers. In the southern part, there are very cold snow, while the summer are warm and long.The southern part of the Canadian Shield gets lots of rain and snow each year. The Northern part gets very little rain and snow each year. Since the Canadian Shield is so big the temperature changes a lot. In the southern parts of the Canadian Shield such as Ontario the climate stays about the same all year long. The average temperature in the winter is -18*C. In the summer the temperature is 25*C degrees. The southern part has 15 hours of daylight in the summer and in the winter there is about 8.5 hours of daylight. In the northern part of the Canadian Shield they get 5 hours of daylight in the winter and 24 hours in the summer months.

Vegetation and Soil

In the lowlands of the Canadian Shield (Hudson Bay Area) the soil is soggy and is suitable for planting trees. However the area has many marshes and bogs. The rest of the region has course soil that doesn't hold moisture very well and is frozen year round. This is called the "tundra". Vegetation in the Canadian Shield is mainly coniferous forests. In the south the trees are larger and closer together. As you go north trees are smaller and not as dense. There is eventually a spot up north in the Canadian Shield that doesn't have any forest; this is again in the tundra.There are many types of trees in the Canadian Shield. Some of the trees are coniferous trees and deciduous. It is all mixed in the southern part of the Canadian Shield. The forests are mixed with birch trees, aspen trees, tamarack trees, black and white spruce tress, willow trees, hemlock trees, pine trees and balsam fir tress. The mixed forests are beautiful in the fall when the leaves of the deciduous trees change color.Some trees are; Black & White Spruce, Fir, Tamarack, Aspen, Alder, Maple, Cherry, Black Ash, Hemlock, Poplar, Willow, and Cedar. Some berries include; Blueberry, Bunchberry, Bearberry, Soapberry, Cupidberry, Baneberry, Gooseberry, and Crowberry.

Risk of Natural Disasters

Because the Canadian Shield is very close to bodies of water, the colliding plates often cause earthquakes. These earthquakes happen all the time the magnitude is so small you can barely feel the ground moving, so there isn't a big risk of huge destruction caused by earthquakes. Although damage done by earthquakes is very little to none, many floods can happen here. The large bodies of water cause a lot of precipitation, and too much precipitation can cause floods. Also since the Canadian Shield is filled with forests of trees, 9,000 to 12,000 forest fires occur annually, burning 2 to 7 million hectares. Although most fires result from human carelessness — an untended campfire or a smoldering cigarette — 85 percent of the forest area burned annually is caused by lightning strikes

Human Activity

The people in the Canadian Shield are very bi-cultural and share a number of traits. The vastness of this region allows the people to spread out and live far away from each other. There are less than 4 million people living in this region, because it was too large to settle. Most people settled in the south, closer to Toronto and Ottawa. The population was not equally spread out, because there were nodal points where most of the people went. A drop occurred in the population when 80 of the mines were closed. Logging and mining are the top two occupations in this region. Farming and hunting also provide jobs for some people, although they are not as large as mining and logging. Because of the minerals, lots of air pilots and truckers are hired to transport them all over the country. Also, the beautiful scenery allows people to become boat drivers for tourists. There are five major recreational activities in the Canadian Shield, and they are boating, dogsled riding, fishing, hunting, and cross country skiing. Railway is the main way to get around, with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National. Roads are not used often, because they are hard and expensive to build in this area. Air flights are also difficult, so quick take off and landing ships are necessary to use. In the past, trade was centered on furs. Now, in modern times, mining and forestry are the main exports of the Shield. They import a lot of grain from the Prairie Provinces by rail. The mining centers are linked together as well. Growing seasons are short and the crops usually don’t survive. The soil is also very boggy and farming areas are isolated, so farming is not a major industry in this region. But, the farming that does occur is centered on dairy farming. Vegetable and grain farming are also minor practices.The Shield is covered by the world’s largest boreal forest. Waterways are used to transport the logs to where they are manufactured. Paper made here is shipped to the US to make newspaper. It is expensive to log the trees, replant them, and there is no capital to start new logging centers.

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