Canada’s Islands – Geography and Environment

Canada’s Islands – Geography and Environment

1. Introduction
    • Canada is the second largest nation in the world in terms of land area, following Russia (9,984,670 square kilometres and 17,075,000 square kilometres respectively). It is one of very few countries to have marine borders with 3 oceans: the Arctic to the north, the Pacific to the west, and the Atlantic to the east.
    • Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Hudson Bay, James Bay and marine islands all contribute to the length of its coastline.
    • All its islands have been mapped but not all have been indexed. The same is true of small lakes and their islands, several of which have not been named.

 2. A few superlatives :

    • Canada is the country with the longest littoral in the world: 202 080 km, this includes the perimeter of 52 455 islands.
    • Canada has three of the world’s ten largest islands: Baffin, Ellesmere and Victoria.
    • Manitoulin Island, on Lake Huron, is the largest fresh water island in the world. It has an area of 2 765 square kilometres.
    • Baffin Island, with an area of 507 451 square kilometres, is Canada’s largest island.
    • Eureka on Ellesmere Island (Nunavut) has the lowest tides in Canada. Their average height is less than 0,1 m.
    • On Newfoundland, in Witless Bay, there lives the largest Atlantic puffin population in North America. Newfoundland is also home to the second largest concentration of Leach’s storm petrels in the world.
    • On Baffin Island (Nunavut), the Dewey Soper Bird Refuge is home to the large geese colony in the world.
    • It was on Baffin Island that Canada first national park above the Arctic Circle, Auyuittuq, was founded in 1972.

 

Table 1

Canada’s Marine Island
Area and perimeter by province and territory  

 

Primary Islands

Secondary Islands

Area

Perimeter

Arctic
Queen Elizabeth Islands

34

2 092

418 961

34 262

Other Arctic Islands

57

34 377

988 709

103 067

Pacific

36

5 198

57 698

18 703

Atlantic
Newfoundland and Labrador

13

7 170

114 963

20 784

Quebec

1

2 341

8 927

2 934

Prince Edward Island

1

31

5 656

1 260

Nova Scotia

2

871

10 982

3 528

New Brunswick

2

230

518

745

Total

146

52 310

1 606 114

185 283

Source: The Atlas of Canada

 

 

Table 2
Canada’s Marine Islands
Distribution, Area, and Perimeter

Primary Islands

Secondary Islands

Area

Perimeter

Arctic

91

36 469

1 407 670

137 329

Pacific

36

5 198

57 698

18 703

Atlantic

19

10 643

140 746

29 251

Total

146

52 310

1 606 114

185 283

Source: The Atlas of Canada