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The Area and Boundaries of Canada

Updated on April 14, 2014

Canada's area is almost 4 million square miles (10,360,000 sq km). It is the largest country in the Western Hemishpere, exceeded in the world by only the Russian Federation. Of this area, over 3,500,000 square miles (9,065,000 sq km) is land, and almost 300,000 square miles (777,000 sq km) is freshwater.

Canada extends over more than 40 degrees of latitude and over nearly 90 degrees of longitude. From the southernmost to the northernmost point is approximately 3,000 miles (4,800 km). The greatest distance from east to west is just about 3,500 miles (5,600 km).

Canada covers all the northern part of the mainland of the North American continent except Alaska and includes the islands to the north apart from Greenland, which is part of Denmark. St. Pierre and Miquelon, two small islands in Cabot Strait south of Newfoundland, are French.


The boundary between Canada and Alaska runs south from the Arctic Coast near Demarcation Point along the 141° west meridian to a point about 20 miles (30 km) from the Pacific Ocean on the western shoulder of Mt. St. Elias. From there it runs to the peak of the mountain and then roughly parallel to the coast toward the southeast along an irregular line between 20 and 30 miles (30–50 km) inland, as far as the head of Portland Canal, which it follows to Pearse Canal and on to the Pacific Ocean. The offshore islands from latitude 54°40′ N to the Strait of Juan de Fuca are Canadian.


The southern boundary of Canada passes through Juan de Fuca Strait, Haro Strait, and the Strait of Georgia to latitude 49° N, which it follows eastward across the Cordillera and the prairies to a point in Lake of the Woods. There it turns due north for about 25 miles (40 km) along the 95°09′ west meridian to the northwesterly point of the lake and then runs irregularly through the lake to the mouth of the Rainy River. It follows the course of the river and then crosses the watershed by a chain of lakes to the Pigeon River, which flows into Lake Superior.


In Lake Superior the boundary passes north of Isle Royale. In St. Mary's River, between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, it passes north of Sugar Island, south of St. Joseph Island, north of Drummond Island, and south of Cockburn Island, to continue across Lake Huron and along the St. Clair River and the Detroit River. In Lake Erie it passes south of Pelee Island and Middle Island, the southernmost part of Canada, and then through the lake, along the Niagara River and through Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River.

Passing south of Wolfe Island and through the Thousand Islands, the boundary follows the St. Lawrence River to latitude 45° N, which it follows east to the 71°30′ west meridian southeast of Sherbrooke. From there it runs approximately northeasterly as far as the southern end of Lake Pohengamook. It then follows the course of the St. Francis River and the upper St. John River to longitude 57°48′ W near Grand Falls, where it turns due south to the source of St. Croix River, which it follows to Back Bay, part of Passamaquoddy Bay, in the Bay of Fundy. The boundary then passes between the state of Maine and Deer Island, Campobello Island, and ultimately Grand Manan Island to the limits of territorial waters.

The eastern boundary of Canada is formed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Labrador Sea and by Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel, Hall Basin, and Robeson Channel, which separate Canada from Greenland.


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