The Ottawa River is Canada’s eighth largest river and the chief tributary of the St. Lawrence. Beginning in the Laurentian Mountains, it flows west before turning southeast to form a portion of the border between Ontario and Quebec. It drains an area twice the size of New Brunswick. As the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, a key route in the fur trade and the site of a 19th-century timber boom, the Ottawa River has played an important role in Canada’s history and economy. Its diverse ecosystems, which are currently the focus of several conservation efforts, are home to rich plant and animal life. The river also sustains urban areas along its shores, the largest being the Ottawa-Gatineau area.
Arctic sovereignty is a key part of Canada’s history and future — 40 per cent of the country’s landmass is in its three northern territories, and the country has 162,000 kilometers km of Arctic coastline. Sovereignty over the area has become a national priority for Canadian governments in the 21st century, thanks to growing international interest in the Arctic due to resource development, climate change, control of the Northwest Passage and access to transportation routes. Said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008: “The geopolitical importance of the Arctic and Canada’s interests in it have never been greater.”1
Grosse Île is an island in the St. Lawrence Estuary, 46 km downstream from Quebec City. It is 2.9 km long and 1 km wide and consists of a wooded Appalachian ridge surrounded by a coastline of coves and capes. It is one of the 21 islands composing the Isle-aux-Grues archipelago. It has also been known as Île de Grâce and Quarantine Island. From 1832 to 1937, it was used as a quarantine station for the port of Quebec City. Over this century of activity, more than 4 million immigrants passed through this station, including nearly 90,000 during the “black year” of 1847. Closely tied to memories of Irish immigration to Canada, Grosse Île is a Canadian national historic site, administered by Parks Canada and open to the public.
This is a steep or vertical cliff which usually extends over a considerable distance. The most common type of escarpment occurs where more resistant strata form a cap rock over easily eroded rocks. As EROSION takes place, the lower rock erodes more rapidly so that the cliff remains very steep.
The falls have eroded the soft shales and limestones of the escarpment at an average rate of 1.2 m per year and now stand 11 km from their place of origin at present-day QUEENSTON. Their recession rate has been variable though, as the volume of water flowing from the upper Great Lakes controls it.
The Rocky Mountain Trench is a long and deep valley extending approximately 1,500 km from the Bitterroot Valley in northwest Montana through British Columbia to the Liard Plain just south of the Yukon Territory. Its predominantly flat floor is 3–20 km wide and ranges in elevation between 600 m and 1,000 m above sea level. With walls made of sedimentary, volcanic and igneous rock, the Trench is sometimes referred to as the “Valley of a Thousand Peaks” because of the towering mountain ranges on either side: the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Columbia, Omineca and Cassiar mountains to the west. Humans have relied on the rich resources provided by this distinctive landscape from pre-colonial times to the present.