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Topic – The Canadian Shield

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The Canadian Shield

Map of Canada


The Canadian Shield region includes parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the largest geographic region of Canada and covers about half of Canada.

Physical Features

Picture of a landscape in The Canadian Shield

The Canadian Shield is made of rock and is covered in most places with a thin layer of soil. In many places, bare rock shows through. Landforms in the Canadian Shield include both flat areas and rocky hills. There are forests, tundra, and lowlands.

More than one quarter of the Canadian Shield’s surface is covered by water. The Canadian Shield has thousands of lakes, rivers, streams, and marshes. Some rivers flow toward Hudson Bay. Other rivers flow into the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.


The northern part of Canadian Shield has long and cold winters. The summers are short and warm. Precipitation is light with less than 300 mm of rain and snow each year. In the northern part of the Canadian Shield there is permafrost. The southern part of the Canadian Shield has cold and snowy winters, while the summers are warm. Precipitation is up to 1600 mm per year.


Boggy wetlands

• The northern part has tundra vegetation such as small plants, mosses, and low-growing shrubs.

• Boggy wetlands called muskeg are found between the rocky hills.

• The rocky areas of the Canadian Shield region are barren.

• Mixed deciduous and coniferous forests grow in the southern part of the region.


• mammals such as caribou, moose, and deer

• birds such as ravens, loons, and sparrows

• fish such as trout, bass, perch, and pickerel

• insects such as black flies and mosquitoes

Natural Resources

silver and gold

• hydroelectricity   

• softwood and hardwood

• gold, silver, asbestos, nickel, zinc, iron, copper, and uranium

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