The Canadian Shield is a region in the east, northeast and eastern central parts of Canada, roughly around the Hudson Bay, but extending quite far south into the northern parts of the United States. It's like no other region on the planet. It's beautiful, relatively unspoiled and very harsh. It covers half of Canada and a small part of the US and is rich in resources.
It's the basis of Canada's history. It forms the main narrative from First Nations to the voyageurs and trappers of the Hudson Bay Company to the First Nations bands, hard rock miners, lumbermen and myriad cottagers of today. And it's why the canoe was invented.
The area contains of very hard, Precambrian, multi billion year old rock, like you can find all over the planet. It was also carved and bared by two kilometre thick slabs of continental glacier just a relatively short time ago and the legacy is millions of lakes, raging rivers and country that is so inhospitable that it's virtually uninhabited. Basically, the heart is formed by the Hudson Bay and it stretches from Labrador & the maritimes, through Quebec north of the St. Lawrence River, much of Ontario, central and northern Manitoba, northern Saskatchewan, a small part of northeastern Alberta and the eastern part of Northern Canada (Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and covers a total area of roughly 8 million square kilometres. The shield extends into the United States as the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York, the northernmost part of Lower Michigan and all of Upper Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and northeastern Minnesota. To add, it also covers large parts of Greenland. Population is scarce which only attracts to the wildness of this part of the world.
Where else can you canoe scores of lakes and rivers for weeks or months, hurdling nefarious beaver dams and at the end of the day settle down to a dinner of freshly caught trout, behind the most beautiful sunsets imaginable and serenaded by a loon. It has inspired painters and created in Canada a unique sense of the north and defined Canadians as a hardy, rugged, steadfast people.
And it's so accessible. For the cost of a rental canoe, a good map & compass, a strong back and minimal camping gear anyone can become a modern day voyageur.
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