Three of Canada's seven physiographic regions divide Ontario. The Hudson Bay Lowlands, the Canadian Shield, and the St. Lawrence Lowlands are the three areas. They are separated by bands of rock that rise up from each side of the Strait of Niagara to form islands. These islands include Lake Ontario, Georgian Bay, and Lake Huron.
The Hudson Bay Lowlands cover most of Manitoba and western Ontario. They are made up of flat to gently rolling hills interspersed with ponds and lakes. This region is underlain by clay and silt deposits derived from erosion of the surrounding bedrock. As a result, the soil is shallow and poor quality for farming. However, because there are no significant elevation changes, water can be easily drained from the soil surface. This allows for open space development without the need for drainage pipes or other infrastructure devices.
The Canadian Shield covers most of Quebec and northeastern Ontario. It is made up of an extensive network of hard rocks that reach deep into the earth's crust. There are two major types of rocks found in the Canadian Shield: granites and gneisses. Both are relatively soft minerals that have been intruded into pre-existing rock formations over time. As a result, they tend to contain small crystals of quartz, mica, and feldspar.
These unique zones are formed by the interaction of geology, climate, soil, and vegetation. The terrain of Ontario is the most diverse of any Canadian province. The Canadian Shield covers two-thirds of the province. With the exception of the Hudson Bay Lowlands, the Canadian Shield covers the majority of the north. A large portion of the Canadian Shield is made up of mafic (low in iron) volcanic rocks interspersed with some siderite (iron ore) deposits. Closer to the south, sedimentary rocks dominate with layers of sandstone, shale, limestone, and dolomite. Vegetation varies depending on the zone. For example, trees can only grow in certain soils so each zone has a variety of plant life.
The climate of Ontario is very different from region to region. In the central part of the province, there is much precipitation (more than 40 inches per year average) due to the moderating influence of the Great Lakes. The surrounding mountains block most of the wind from coming in from the oceans causing warmer temperatures relative to other parts of Canada. This is also where you will find the lowest altitude: about 600 feet near Lake Huron. To the east of here is a broad band of land that gets more humid as you go farther inland. This is the so-called "Atlantic Bight" where winds come off the ocean and are forced upward through the depression between New York State and Canada before turning northeast toward the Arctic Ocean.
The Canadian Shield region is home to hydroelectric power, freshwater fishing, metal mining, and some forests. Three of Canada's seven physiographic areas separate Manitoba. The Hudson Bay Lowland, the Canadian Shield, and the Interior Plains are the three areas. They make up most of Manitoba.
The Hudson Bay Lowland has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. It is flat and covers most of southern Manitoba. The area around St. Paul's Island has been flooded by water from the Red River Valley in northern Minnesota and Iowa.
The Canadian Shield has a subarctic climate, with very cold winters and mild summers. It covers most of western Manitoba and parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Ontario. The only large city in this region is Winnipeg.
The Interior Plains have a dry-summer continental climate, with cold winters and hot, humid summers. Most of Manitoba is in this region, which includes the central part of the province where there are no mountains or lakes. The only large city here is Brandon.
Manitoba is divided into four natural regions: the Parklands, the Pineries, the Prairies, and the Shores. Each region has a different ecology that influences what can be found within them. For example, plants that grow in acidic soil like aspen and birch trees are common in the Parklands.
Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario are frequently conceptually separated into two areas. The vast bulk of Ontario's population and fertile land are concentrated in the south. The bigger, northern region of Ontario, on the other hand, is sparsely inhabited, with severe winters and dense forestation. Despite its size, it has only one city of any significance: Thunder Bay.
In addition to these two main regions, there are also four official administrative divisions of Ontario. These are the counties, each consisting of a single municipality or town. There are also three cities that function as regional municipalities. Last but not least, there is one indigenous nation with reserves across the province.
These are all political subdivisions of Ontario created for various purposes by its government agencies. Some have specific powers assigned to them while others do not. Each has its own council that sets policy for their area.
The regions of Ontario are useful concepts for understanding the diversity of the province's culture and economy. They can be used as guides to travel around the province or even better understand it. For example, you might wonder about the differences between Northern and Southern Ontario or perhaps between urban and rural communities. You could also use this information to plan visits to specific places or even to find jobs. The regions of Ontario aren't fixed or rigid so they can change depending on how our governments want to divide up their territories.
The Lawrence Lowlands are between the Canadian Shield and the Appalachian Mountains. They may be found in Eastern Ontario and Southern Quebec. Brockville, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa are the major cities in the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
The Fenland is a flat area covered with grass and herbs that lies between the Humber River and Lake Erie. The term is used mainly to describe the region in eastern England but it can also be used as a general term for similar areas in other parts of the world. The fen has been described as "the most important wetland site in Europe" because of its importance for wildlife. There are three main types of vegetation found in the fens: broad-leaved trees, conifers, and willows. Wetlands vary in size from small pools to large lakes. There are about 5,000 square miles of fen in England but only about 100 of this are protected as nature reserves.
The Great Plains are a vast area of land covering most of North America. They start in western South Dakota and run all the way to the border with Mexico in the south. This region contains some of the highest mountains in the United States (e.g., the Rocky Mountains) as well as some of the lowest places (floodplains). The climate is generally considered to be semi-arid with hot summers and cold winters.