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The Great Canadian Creative Ecozone Journey

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FC: My Journey from the Mixedwood Plains to the Boreal Shield

1: From the Mixedwood Plains, to the Boreal Shield Justin Nguyen

2: Our family will begin the journey from our hometown Markham, and end in the city of Sudbury. Markham is a fairly busy city, with a good balance of humans and wildlife. | Markham | There are many forests in the area, with a mix of different tree species, such as maple, silver birch, coniferous, and many more. The temperature is fairly moderate, with little precipitation. The average temperature is around 7.4 degrees Celsius, with July being the warmest, and January the coldest. Total annual precipitation in Markham is around 858 mm.

3: There is a yearly temperature range of 26.8 degrees. As we drove along, we found many forests, farms, and developed areas. Deers. coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, Canadian geese, turtles, and frogs are some wildlife in the area. The Mixedwood Plains is very prominent in the Markham area. | Leaving Markham | Golf Course Geese | I also noticed that a lot of Canadian Geese were making the golf courses their temporary home for winter. It is probably due to the warm winter we had this year. | Bur Oak Forest

4: After we left home, we made our way to Downtown Toronto to pick my grandparents up. The temperature was -5 degrees Celsius. | It is very Cold! | Map from Markham to Toronto | Copyright 2013 Google Maps

5: After we picked my grandparents up... | We drove down Queen's Quay East, passing Corus Entertainment and Redpath Sugar. | Then, we saw one of the five Great Lakes. LAKE ONTARIO! | Copyright 2013 Google Maps | Copyright 2013 Google Maps | Copyright 2013 Google Maps

6: Lake Ontario is the easternmost of the Great Lakes, and the smallest in surface area (18 960 km square); although it exceeds Lake Erie in volume (1639 km cube 480 km cube). It is the last of the Great Lakes chain, and serves as an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence River. It is the only Great Lake to not share it's coastline with Michigan. | Map of Lake Ontario | Copyright 2013 Google Maps

7: Did You Know? | According to my geography teacher, the Great Lakes Basin was formed by receding glaciers in the last Ice Age. I was intrigued by this fact, and did some research. The truth is, Lake Ontario was carved out of soft, weak, Silurian-age rocks by the Wisconsin ice sheet during the last Ice Age! | Copyright 2013 Google Maps

8: Our Road Map! | Map of our

9: Journey | MAJOR DESTINATIONS ALONG THE WAY: -Lake Ontario -CN TOWER! -Copeland Forest -Georgian Bay Islands National Park -Giant Nickel -Oak Ridges Moraine -Lake Laurentian Provincial Park -French River AND MANY MORE! | Copyright 2013 Google Maps

10: We are heading up the highway to Newmarket... | and I noticed the landscape starting to change. | Honda Headquarters

11: There was a high forest area, with lots of valleys, and creeks. I was puzzled about the land form at first, but I soon realized | We had entered the Oak Ridges Moraine! | The Oak Ridges Moraine

12: The Oak Ridges Moraine is an important geological landform of the Mixedwood Plains in South-Eastern Ontario. The moraine covers a geologic area of about 1 900 square kilometers between Caledon and Rice Lake near Peterborough. The moraine gets it's name from its rolling hills and river valleys, extending 190 km from the Niagara Escarpment, east to Rice Lake. The Oak Ridges Moraine was formed about 12 000 years ago by advancing and retrieving glaciers. | The Oak Ridges Moraine | Copyright 2013 Google Maps | THE OAK RODGES MORAINE

13: The Hooded Warbler is an endangered species found in the Oak Ridges Moraine. | Formation of the Moraine | The Oak Ridges Moraine is a pair of large ridges composed of four elevated wedges. The moraine is currently a contested site in Ontario, since it stands in the path of major urban development.

14: The Mixedwood Plains extends along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, including the densely-populated region of Southern Ontario, with two of Canada's largest cities, Toronto and Montreal. The dense population has led to some of the highest levels of pollution in the country. | THE MIXEDWOOD PLAINS | Though the smallest of all the Canadian Ecozones, the Mixedwood Plains is home to almost half of the country's population. This ecozone has cool winters (average temperature -5 degrees Celsius) and warm summers (average temperature 17 degrees Celsius). However, the mixedwood plains is prone to highly changeable daily weather due to the fact that it lies in the path of a major storm track. Plains and gently rolling hills are found here. There are also several major waterways and lakes. Three of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries, dominate much of the region. Deposits from ancient water bodies and glaciers make the soil here the most productive in Canada. Carbonate-rich Paleozoic bedrock characterizes the geology of the Mixedwood Plains. | Copyright 2002 Google Maps

15: The Mixedwood Plains houses a variety of vegetation and wildlife. A mix of coniferous and deciduous trees are found here, such as red-pine and maple tree. | There is also plenty of wildlife in the area, with some of the largest animals on the planet, such as the moose and black bear.

16: Lake Simcoe | Lake Simcoe is the forth largest lake wholly in Ontario, and is bordered by York Region, Simcoe County, and Durham Region. Lake Simcoe is a remnant of a much larger prehistoric lake known as Lake Algonquin. This ancient lake basin included Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Nipigon, and Lake Nipissing. The melting of an ice dam at the end of the last Ice Age greatly reduced water levels in the region, leaving the lakes of today. | Lake Simcoe lies between Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario, 40 miles (65 km) north of Toronto. Fed by numerous small streams and joined by the Trent Canal, Lake Simcoe is a 743 square kilometer lake that drains northward through Couchiching Lake, Severn River, and into parts of the Trent-Seven waterway, into the Southeastern end of Georgian Bay. The lake is 30 miles (48 km) long and contains several islands, with the largest being Georgina, a First Nations Reserve Island. Lake Simcoe was first encountered by Samuel de Champlain in 1650; and was originally known as Lac aux Claies before Governor John Simcoe renamed it for his father. The lake is now a popular vacation and relaxation spot. | Copyright 2013 Google Maps

17: Georgina Island | Lake Simcoe is home to the one and only Lake Simcoe Whitefish, which is distinct from the whitefish populations which inhabit many of the shield lakes in Southern Ontario.

18: Georgian Bay Islands National Park | The Georgian Bay Islands National Park is composed of 63 small, wide spread islands in the southern end of Georgian Bay. The park 's beautiful landscape was the inspiration for many of the famed Canadian Group of Seven artists. The park is only 13.5 square kilometers in size but is part of a 30,000 island archipelago, the largest collection of freshwater islands in the world. One unique feature about the park is the fact that the islands are at the transition zone of two distinctive ecozones. The rugged land of the Boreal Shield in the park's northern half with windswept pines emerging from barren rocky outcrops gives way to the deciduous hardwood forests of the Mixedwood Plains. The Georgian Bay Islands National Park is renowned for it's abundance in wildlife, particularly reptiles and amphibians. The park is also one of the few remaining habitats of the endangered Massasauga Rattlesnake, the only venomous snake in all of Eastern Canada.

19: The Massasauga Rattlesnake | Georgian Bay Islands National Park

20: In addition, I also noticed that the Boreal Shield region is much more recognizable than the overly developed Mixedwood Plains. Finally, the climate is also significantly different between the two. Although they both receive ample precipitation, the Boreal Shield has longer, colder winters and shorter summers. Though, there are many similarities between these two ecozones they are still quite distinct. | As we continued our journey, I started to notice a change in my surroundings. We were now exiting the Mixedwood Plains, and entering the Boreal Shield. What I first noticed was the physical landforms. The Boreal Shield is made up of rolling hills and rocky outcrops of the Canadian Shield, whereas, the Mixedwood Plains is a flat and rolling area. The vegetation in both ecozones is similar. Both the Boreal Shield and Mixedwood Plains support the growth of coniferous trees. However, there are few deciduous trees in the Boreal Shield and many in the Mixedwood Plains. | Change | From the Mixedwood Plains to the Boreal Shield

21: From the Mixedwood Plains to the Boreal Shield | Date Published: ???

22: Boreal Shield | The Boreal Shield covers a wide area from Alberta to Newfoundland. It is south of the Taiga Shield and Hudson Plains and north of the Mixedwood Plains and Atlantic Maritime. The Boreal Shield is the largest ecozone in Canada. It is known for it's exposed bedrock, endless forests, and rushing rivers. The Boreal Shield provides the image that many people perceive as Canada. | The Boreal Shield may have once been home to a great mountain range, but all that is left today is rolling hills. Summers in the Boreal Shield are roughly the same average temperature throughout the area, about 13 degrees Celsius. The Maritime influence in the east side of the Boreal Shield gives it a milder winter, with a mean temperature of about -1 degrees Celsius; while the western edge suffers through average winter temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius. Trees in the north are coniferous, whereas broadleaf trees appear further south, such as the area close to the Mixedwood Plains. The extensive waterways in the Boreal Shield were once the roads of the fur trade. More recently, some rivers have been altered and degraded by mining, hydroelectric development, and logging practices. Rivers and lakes account for 22 percent of Canada’s freshwater surface area.The Boreal Shield contains water bodies such as Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Winnipeg. It also borders the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Ocean. The ecozone’s numerous rivers are drained by the Hudson Bay and Atlantic drainage basins.

23: The current population in the Boreal Shield is about 3 million people. The Boreal Shield is home to a wide range of plants, and wildlife. Some trees that can be found here include the Black Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, and the White Birch. There is also a wide range of wildlife in the Boreal Shield, and include Caribou, Wolves, Monarch Butterflies and Grizzly Bears. The Boreal Shield is also home to the Snapping Turtle, and the Northern Leopard Frog. There are also a variety of fish species in the Boreal Shield, including the Lake Sturgeon, Atlantic Salmon, Lampreys, and Largemouth Bass

24: The French River is a river in Central Ontario that flows 110 km from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. The river follows a "boundary" between the Parry Sound District, and Sudbury District. The French River is considered by many the "dividing boundary" between Northern and Southern Ontario. The French River flows through the Boreal Shield. The river exposes rugged glaciated rocks in many places. The north portion of the river flows through heavily forested areas, with the river mouth forming a delta. The French River delta contains numerous islands and channels that vary from rapids, falls, to broad expanses of open water. The French River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 1986. | DID YOU KNOW? The Ojibwa people named this RIver the French River because it was associated with French travelers in the 17th Century, such as Samuel de Champlain | French River

25: Where We Currently Are

26: We have now arrived to Sudbury! Lake Ramsey is located near the downtown core of Sudbury, and held the Guiness World Record for "Largest Lake Entirely Within a City" until 2001, when it lost to another lake in Sudbury just 20 kilometers Northeast called Lake Wanapitei. | Lake Ramsey | Lake Ramsey covers an area of about 792.2 hectares, with a shoreline of 34 km long. Due to air pollution in the area, the lake was considered a dead lake for many years. In 1972, a major environmental project was launched to clean up the lake's water and reintroduce aquatic life. The project was successful, which led to further initiatives to improve the city of Sudbury's environment, such as tree planting. Ramsey Lake now has a diverse population of fish, which includes walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, white sucker, pumpkinseed, and rock bass.

27: A view of Lake Ramsey

28: Sudbury | Sudbury (2011 census population 160 274) is the largest city in Northern Ontario by population and 24th largest metropolitan area in Canada. Sudbury is also the largest city in Ontario by land area. Sudbury has a humid continental climate with warm and often hot summers and long, cold, snowy winters. The population resides in an urban core and many smaller communities scattered around 300 lakes and among hills of rock blackened by historical mining activity. Sudbury is built around many small rocky mountains with exposed igneous rock. Ore deposits in Sudbury are part of a large geological structure known as the Sudbury Basin, a remnant of a 1.85 billion-year-old meteorite crater. Sudbury's ores contain profitable amounts of many elements—primarily nickel and copper, but also platinum, palladium and other valuable metals. Since Sudbury is a mining city, local smelting of ore releases sulfur into the atmosphere where it combines with water vapour to form Sulfuric Acid, contributing to acid rain; thus giving Sudbury the image of a waste land. Sudbury has a humid continental climate, with an an average temperature of 3.7 degrees Celsius and average annual precipitation of 899.3 mm per year, with a temperature range of 32.6 degrees.

29: In Sudbury, over 94.7% of it's trees are coniferous, while 4.5% of trees being hardwood, and 0.8% being shrubs. There is a small variety of tree species in Sudbury due to extensive logging and mining. Species include Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, Cedar, Dogwood, and Maple. Sudbury is also home to 2 species of amphibians, 10 species of reptiles, 183 species of nesting birds and 46 species of mammals. Some animal species are raccoons, bears, and moose.

30: Map of Our


32: Works Cited | "Canadian Biodiversity: Ecozones: Boreal Shield." Canadian Biodiversity: Ecozones: Boreal Shield. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. "Canadian Biodiversity: Ecozones: Mixedwood Plains." Canadian Biodiversity: Ecozones: Mixedwood Plains. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. "French River." French River. Ontarioparks.com, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. "Georgian Bay Islands National Park of Canada" Parks Canada. http://www.pc.gc.ca/, 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. "Greater Sudbury." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. "Lake Ontario Facts and Figures." Lake Ontario Facts and Figures. N.p., 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. "Lake Ontario." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.

33: "Lake Ramsey." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. "Lake Simcoe Protection." Ministry of the Environment. http://www.ontario.ca/, 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. "Oak Ridges Moraine A Ridge of Resources." Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada. http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/, 1 Mar. 2008. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. "Oak Ridges Moraine." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

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  • Title: The Great Canadian Creative Ecozone Journey
  • From the Mixedwood Plains to the Boreal Shield
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