Take a journey across Canada to visit our world-renowned natural and historic landmarks.
With Canada's World Wonders , you'll visit Banff National Park, the first link in a vast network of natural parks and heritage sites that has grown to include Old Quebec, the Rideau Canal, and the Fortress of Louisbourg. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta and the Gwaii Haanas totems in British Columbia, as well as such Indigenous cultural sites including the locations of ancient inuksuit, are also part of the journey.
You'll travel through the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel, cruise the Trans-Canada Highway, explore the Grosse Îsle and Pier 21 immigration memorials, tour the graves of the failed Franklin Expedition, and visit the Vimy Ridge War Memorial, all with Ron Brown's engaging historical commentary.
First Chapter or Excerpt
Every year tens of thousands of alien objectsinvade the earth's atmosphere. They are not,however, living beings guiding their spaceshipsto invade our planet; rather, they are massivespace rocks known as meteors and range in size froma few centimetres to hundreds of metres across. Few make it to the earth's surface, and those thatdo are called meteorites. In a few cases, they are largeenough to explode and open up a crater in the earth'ssurface. The result is known as an impact crater. Thelargest impact crater in the world, the two-billion-year-old Vredefort crater at three hundred kilometresacross, lies in a field in South Africa, but Canada cancount more than two dozen impact craters of its own.None, however, has had the earth-altering impactof the fifteen-kilometre-wide asteroid that blastedinto the shallow seas off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsulasixty-six million years ago, sending massive volumesof sulphur dust high into the atmosphere. The thick,poisonous cloud created a long, dark winter thatwiped out the earth's food supply, starving the dinosaursinto a mass extinction. Not all impact craters can be easily identifiedfrom the ground, including the one that plummetedinto the Yucatan. Most require an aerial vantage orgeological survey. Their evidence, however, is sometimesplain to see. A few even boast historical plaquesto celebrate their locations. Canada's largest meteor blew open the earth intoday's Sudbury region of Ontario. When the massiveobject smashed into the earth 1.8 billion years ago,its fiery collision created a crater that originally measured150 kilometres across and altered the region'schemistry enough to create an array of minerals, suchas nickel and copper, that have made Sudbury themining giant it is today. However, prolonged erosionand surface alteration has removed any visible craterformation, and only geological maps can reveal theshape and extent of the impact. Recent analyses havedetermined that the space intruder was, in fact, acomet and not the long-presumed asteroid. One impact crater has become a major touristattraction: the one near Flagstaff, Arizona, about twohours from the Grand Canyon. Exposed in a treelessdesert, unobstructed by water or vegetation, itremains one of the world's most clearly identifiablecraters and likely one of the most visited. That explosivecollision occurred a mere fifty thousand years agoand blasted open a circular depression that is 1,300metres wide and 130 metres deep. The visitors' centrecontains a fragment of the fiery rock. A popular hiking trail in eastern Algonquin Parkleads to the small 3.8-kilometre-wide Brent crater,largely filled in with small lakes. Even smaller is theHolleford crater, little more than a ninety-metre-widedepression in a farm field north of Kingston. Yet, bothare the subject of nearby historical plaques. And then there is the Charlevoix impact crater. Atfifty-four kilometres across, it is the eleventh-largestcrater on earth and has been described as the eighthwonder of the world. When the two-kilometre-widemonster meteorite roared into the earth 340 millionyears ago, it totally reconfigured the geology of theregion, exploding upward with a force thousandsof times that of the American atomic bomb thatdestroyed Hiroshima. The core of the upthrust is thevisible Mont des Éboulements. The southern half of the crater lies beneath thewaters of the St. Lawrence River, while the northernportion is defined by the rugged LaurentianMountains. The interior ring surrounding theupthrust is relatively level and remains home to arural population, making it the earth's only inhabitedimpact crater. The outer ring consists of a higher ridgeof largely Precambrian-era rocks. The crater remained unknown until 1965, whenDr. Jehan Rondot studied a rock cut on the summitof Mont des Éboulements and saw the unusual shapeof a shatter cone, literally a cone-shaped rock linedwith clearly identifiable shatter lines. The crater also has its own interpretationcentre, the Observatoire de l'Astroblème, createdby Professor Jean-Michel Gastonguay and locatedadjacent to the luxurious Fairmont Le ManoirRichelieu hotel at La Malbaie, Quebec. The buildingis actually the former golf clubhouse for theManoir. Throughout the Charlevoix region, geologicalevidence of the huge explosion lies everywhere,from suevite beds (looking like grey lava flows) onthe shores of the St. Lawrence River to fractures inlimestone cliffs near La Malbaie. From a distance, especially from the parking lotat the Observatoire, the level plain that surrounds thepeak and the cone-shaped apex of the upthrust itselfare all readily identifiable. Another fine view of thedepression encircling the cone is that from Mont dela Croix at Saint-Hilarion. Satellite imagery continues to reveal previouslyunknown craters in Canada, such as the twentyfive-kilometre-wide crater discovered on the PrinceAlbert Peninsula in the Arctic in 2012 and a buriedcrater in southern Alberta identified in 2014. Excerpted from Canada's World Wonders by Ron Brown All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.