Back To CourseGeography: Middle School
55 chapters | 528 lessons
As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 75,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.Try it risk-free
Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.
Canada is a big place. The second largest country in the world by land area, it accommodates a wide range of climates, economies, ecosystems, and people. In this lesson, we are going to meet seven different Canadians who all live in different cities in Canada so we can learn a little bit more about Canada and what life is like in Canada's various cities and regions. Without further ado, let's get started!
This is Steve. Steve lives in downtown Toronto. Surrounded by around 2.6 million people, Steve lives in Canada's largest metropolis. Steve, as you might presume by his slick suit and briefcase, is an investment banker. All day, he monitors his clients' investments on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Canada's only stock market, which is also based in downtown Toronto. Toronto is Canada's financial hub, and tens of thousands of banking professionals and lawyers live in the city. Most of the companies he invests in are manufacturing companies that are based in and around Toronto and throughout the province of Ontario, Canada's manufacturing capital.
It's a good thing Steve makes as much money as he does, because living in Ontario, especially in Toronto, can be pretty expensive. Ontarians pay high rates of taxes but they get plenty in return: a completely free healthcare system, numerous social services available to the public at low costs, and even monthly checks mailed to new parents by the provincial government to help offset the expenses of child-rearing. Even indirect taxes are high in Ontario; Ontarians pay a 13% sales tax, high property taxes, and even proportionally high taxes on gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco. The average package of cigarettes, for example, costs well over $10 in Ontario!
Steve enjoys similar weather to his American neighbors across Lake Ontario in New York: relatively short, hot summers followed by longer, colder winters that often see Steve spending his weekends shoveling snow! Steve likes to spend his summer weekends bicycling and hiking through the numerous deciduous forests that cover large portions of southern Ontario.
Let's leave Steve behind for now and meet Dave out on Canada's East coast. Dave lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. As you can probably tell from the galoshes and net, Dave is a fisherman. He spends large periods of time out on the open ocean on his boat catching tuna, halibut, and other fish for the commercial fishing industry. As much of life and the economy in Canada's Atlantic provinces revolves around the ocean, Dave's wife and most of his relatives work in the fish canning plant a few miles outside Halifax.
Dave and his family don't make a ton of money. The commercial fishing industry in eastern Canada has steadily declined over the past half century as domestic fisheries and growth in fishing in other areas of the world have hurt demand for Dave's products. Indeed, the Atlantic provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland) only account for roughly 5% of Canada's GDP.
Dave's winters are even longer and harsher than Steve's. Storms referred to as 'nor'easters' often storm up the East coast of the United States and into Atlantic Canada, dumping feet of snow in the process. Summers are cooler in Atlantic Canada as well.
Leaving Dave to his fishing and snow, let's jump all the way to Canada's west coast and meet Sally. Sally lives in Vancouver. Sally works as an executive for a foresting company. Though Vancouver is one of Canada's largest cities, it is surrounded by mountains and expansive coniferous forests that cover most of British Columbia. Various lucrative forestry and mining companies operate in British Columbia and throughout western Canada and many are headquartered in Vancouver. Vancouver is more economically diverse than other cities. Pacific fishing operations are also a big economic motivator in the city, as well as shipping and logistics. Meanwhile, Telus, one of Canada's 'Big Three' telecommunications companies, is also located in Vancouver.
Sally's job as an executive gives her a big salary, which makes it possible for her to live in downtown Vancouver, the most expensive city in Canada. Indeed, Sally's rent and utilities would put Steve's in Toronto to shame. Property values here are higher than anywhere else in Canada. At least Sally can save some money on winter clothing in comparison to other Canadians. Vancouver, much like Seattle or Portland in the United States, is kept warmer during the winter than other areas at its latitude by the warm Pacific currents on its shores. It rarely, if ever, snows in Vancouver. The same feature also keeps it cooler and rainier in the summer than elsewhere in Canada.
Let's leave Sally to her rain and head north across the Rocky Mountains to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Here, we meet Dale. Dale works in the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry is the biggest economic motivator in Alberta and, arguably, Canada's most profitable industry in the past quarter century. It's what has caused people like Dale, who used to live in Ontario, to move to places like Fort McMurray to take a job in one of Northern Alberta's numerous oil sands extraction operations.
Winters in Fort McMurray can be bitterly cold, but Dale is at least warmed by the money he makes. The lucrative oil and natural gas industry has made Alberta Canada's greatest economic success story, the only province that routinely posts budget surpluses.
If Dale thinks winters are cold in Fort McMurray, he should meet Stephanie in Nunavut! Stephanie works for the federal government in the provincial capital of Canada's arctic province, Iqaluit. Stephanie is also aboriginal, one of Canada's First Peoples. In fact, of the roughly 32,000 people who live in Nunavut, 84% identify themselves as Inuit or otherwise aboriginal.
With Nunavut temperatures below freezing most of the year, agriculture is virtually impossible. Most people in Nunavut work in resource extraction, fishing, or for the federal government, like Stephanie, helping to administer government in the vast arctic region. Indeed, federal spending makes up roughly 70% of GDP spending in the province!
Let's leave Stephanie to her work helping to govern Canada's arctic and visit someone who is trying to help feed most of Canada. This is Trevor. Trevor lives in a rural area outside of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in Canada's prairies. Canada's prairie land stretches west from the Rocky Mountains all the way to Ontario and looks very similar to the prairies in the United States. Also like the U.S.' prairies, the Canadian prairies are heavily farmed by people like Trevor. Indeed, well over 90% of Canada's prairies have been converted into agricultural land where Trevor grows wheat, soybeans, and other crops, as well as grazing cattle. The wheat of Canada's prairies helps feed large parts of the rest of the country and makes up a sizable portion of Canadian exports to other countries, specifically in East Asia.
Last, but certainly not least, let's visit Marie in Montreal. Montreal is in Canada's only officially French-speaking province, Quebec. Marie's first language, like many Quebecers, is French, though she has a pretty good grasp of English, too. Indeed, Marie often spends most of her days speaking both English and French, depending on her audience.
Marie pays very high taxes, higher even than in Ontario, but she has access to numerous government services. Marie even has access to incredibly affordable government-funded daycare services, where she can drop off her children while she is at work for only $7 a day! The weather Marie enjoys in Montreal is relatively similar to that Steve enjoys in Toronto, except a little colder; Quebec is farther north than most of Ontario.
Predictably, in a country as vast as Canada, people live very different lives in different environments and climates and work at very different jobs. For example, Stephanie works for the federal government in a snowy environment the entire year, while Sally may never see snow outside her Vancouver apartment! Canada has farmers and farming communities, like Trevor's in the prairies, and it has high-powered bankers, like Steve in Toronto. This even extends to languages: Canada's second official language, French, is the only official language in the province of Quebec. Canada is an extremely diverse country from Halifax to Vancouver, and from Toronto to Iqaluit.
Studying this lesson equips students with the ability to compare and contrast seven different cities and regions of Canada in terms of climate, culture, and economy.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Already a member? Log InBack
Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Back To CourseGeography: Middle School
55 chapters | 528 lessons