1. Canadian Shield
2. Appalachian Mountains
3. Western Cordillera
4. Innuitian Mountains
5. Arctic Lowlands
6. Interior Plains
7. Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Lowlands
8. Hudson Bay Lowlands
What sets each region apart?
The shield acts as the foundation of Canada’s other landform regions. It has had volcanoes, plains, and mountains. It has thin, acidic soils (called podzols). This soil supports the coniferous forests but is not good for growing crops. It covers much of Central Canada and including parts of SK, MB, ON, QC, Labrador, NT and NU.
The typical height for mountains in this chain is 1000m. There is both coniferous and deciduous forests (the cooler areas have more coniferous). The mountains seem more rounded than in other parts of Canada, like in Cape Breton, etc.
It is made up of parallel mountain ranges (the Coast Mountains, Columbia Mountains, and the Rocky Mountains), which rise over 3000m. The Okanagan Valley has rich soils and therefore ideal growing conditions. In BC, 200-300 year old fir trees may reach 100 m and 5 m in diameter.
These mountains have rugged peaks and rise over 2000m. This area also has steep-sided valleys and it is too cold for trees to survive, such as on Ellesmere Island.
They are located south of Innuitian Mountains. It is an extensive region of tundra, treeless plains, cold, dry climate and poorly drained soil. There are only bits of lichens and moss. Most of the Arctic Lowlands are located in Nunavut.
Located between the Shield and the Western Cordillera (hence the name “interior”) it has three prairie plains. The three plains are separated by long, steep cliffs called escarpments- the Manitoba Escarpment and the Missouri Coteau. The interior plains have areas of semi-desert with cacti, mostly in the south. While other parts of the plains have very good soil (25 cm deep) for farming wheat. The Interior plains stretch all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Lowlands
They stretch from southwest Ontario to the mouth of the Saguenay River in Quebec. It is very level land with very fertile soil called brown earth.
Hudson Bay Lowlands
Located within the Shield, it is an area of rocks to the depth of 2000m. These lowlands are located in northern Ontario and Manitoba. Due to poorly draining soil, there is generally a mix of tundra and “swamp forests.”