The Size and Shape of Canada

Canada is one big country! If you decided to travel across Canada, from the east to the west, it would probably take you a whole week of driving from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed each day! The Trans Canada Highway which was completed in 1962, is 7777 km from one end (Victoria, British Columbia) to the other (St. John’s, Newfoundland). Canada also reaches far up to the north where it is cold and frozen. And if you go south far enough, you will cross an invisible border and find yourself in a different country — the United States of America.

If you were travelling across Canada, the time would keep changing. Since the sun rises in the east, people living on the east side wake up first. It is still dark in the west and it is not until easterners are having lunch that it is morning in the west. These times zones have names: Newfoundland, Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific Standard Time.

Portrait of Sir Sandford Fleming

Sir Sandford Fleming

A Canadian named Sandford Fleming was the inventor of time zones. He was the man in charge of the survey teams who worked out a path for the railway to take from Montreal to Vancouver. When the trains finally started running, he realized that they couldn’t run on a schedule unless time was consistent across Canada. So he divided the world up into 24 time zones. It was for this that he was knighted and became Sir Sandford Fleming.

If you are able to use the internet, find a satellite image of Canada. What do you notice about the shape of Canada? You will notice that Canada is not one solid colour. Can you imagine what the different colours mean? While you are there, zoom in on the community where you live! A good website to try is:

PROJECT: Get a good map of Canada to put up on your wall where it can stay for a while. You could trace out the shape of Canada on a big piece of poster board or you could print out this tiled map of Canada from Canadian Geographic, or you could print one out for a notebook: Map. Look at it’s shape. Mark a compass rose on your map showing the four directions. Find the place where you live on this big map of Canada, and mark it with a dot. Notice what is to the east, west, north and south of you. Depending on where you live, when you look out your window to the west where the sun is setting, you might be looking toward the rocky mountains, or towards the coast where the temperate rainforest and big trees are. And when you look towards the east where the sun is rising, you are looking towards the maritime provinces and the rocky island of Newfoundland.

Extras: 22 Maps of Canada; Picture Map Geography by Vernon Quinn, A Printable Puzzle Map


4 thoughts on “The Size and Shape of Canada

  1. I like the map idea! Being directionally challenged I often forget what way I’m headed. And in relation to major Canadian landmarks, that’s pretty cool! Will need to tell our students about this one…

  2. Well – there is a learning for me today – I did not know that a Canadian invented time zones – thanks for that piece of information!

  3. Pingback: Canada for Squirts | Getting to Know Canada

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