Canadian Geographic
Left navigation image
Central Plains

Six natural regions

Canada is a mosaic of natural regions, or ecozones, distinguished by their iconic features: the rain forest of the Pacific Coast, the flat-to-rolling horizon of the prairie, the evergreen wilderness of the Canadian Shield, and the polar barrens of the Arctic. A network of shared properties — geologic, vegetative, climatic, landforms and water, and human input — define the essence of each natural region. This network also encloses countless ecosystems — significant natural units such as wetlands. Altogether, Canada contains 15 terrestrial and 5 maritime ecozones, arranged here as follows: Arctic and Taiga, Pacific and Western Mountains, Central Plains, Boreal Shield, Mixedwood Plains, and Atlantic. The natural regions vary in size and shape. The Boreal Shield ecozone stretches across Canada; the Mixedwood Plains region lies along a narrow plain in the southern parts of Ontario and Quebec. The natural regions also vary in biodiversity. The spacious Central Plains are less abundant in plant and animal species than the Pacific ecozone, where rich layers of life ascend from ocean tidal pools to alpine mountain summits. The past and present impact of human endeavour, specifically agricultural development, resource exploitation, and urbanization, has radically altered the ecozones. Our national park system provides enclaves where their essence survives untouched. But a challenge for our time is learning to sustain our quality of life without straining their capacities further.


Six natural regions The animation displays a map of Canada; as the narration proceeds, each area described is shown in a distinct colour. When all areas are shown, the label at the bottom of the video box states “Click on a region to find out more about animals, plants and geography of each region.”

Clicking on each region brings the viewer to another screen with a broad voice and text description, and a menu for more in-depth information.

Content (Text and Narration)
Canada is a mosaic of ecozones. These can be broadly categorized into 6 natural regions as follows: Pacific and Western Mountains, Central Plains, Boreal Shield, Mixedwood Plains, Atlantic, and Arctic and Taiga. Each region is defined by its geology, climate, flora and fauna. Click on a region to learn more about its unique geography.


On the next page:


Go now!  Go now!
Quiz :

By 2025, what estimated percentage of Canada's oil will come from the tar sands?