Canada

The majority of Canada is relatively wild, covered by hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of rivers and lakes and hundreds of millions of hectares of forests. Canada is also home to many globally important ecosystems, including 25% of the world's wetlands and boreal forests.

However, habitat loss, pollution, climate change and unsustainable logging practices have pushed hundreds of species within the country dangerously close to extinction, including polar bears, eastern cougars, beluga whales, whooping cranes, spotted owls and wood bison.

Ocean waters and other waterways are also becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining and forestry activities, along with direct impacts of urban residents.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / John S. MITCHELL
Algonquin Provincial Park, Autumn Ontario, Canada.
© WWF-Canon / John S. MITCHELL

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • In Ontario and Alberta, companies such as Bullfrog Power (www.bullfrogpower.com), offer green electricity from such renewable energy sources as wind power.
  • Water in Canada is safe to drink from the tap.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo to indicate the most energy-efficient consumer products, including computers and kitchen appliances.
[Back to top]
Recycling
  • Curbside recycling programmes are found throughout Canada. Blue box containers in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Manitoba are used to collect newspaper, glass, metal containers and most plastic containters. Other provinces have similar recycling programmes.
  • Recycling depots have been established in many rural areas, where distances and collection costs make curbside programs impractical.
  • Many provinces and territories have deposit refunds on beverage containers (glass, plastic and aluminum). Deposits range from 5¢ to 40¢ per unit.
  • Ontario’s system of deposit refunds for beer bottles, through The Beer Store, has close to a 100% return rate.
[Back to top]
Transport
  • VIA Rail Canada operates trains over a network spanning the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Great Lakes to James Bay – http://www.viarail.ca
  • Six cities in Canada have rapid transit systems: Toronto Subway, Montreal Metro, Vancouver SkyTrain, Calgary C-Train, Edmonton Light Rail Transit and Ottawa O-train.
  • Passenger ferry services are extensive, connecting Vancouver Island to the mainland, and from British Columbia to Alaska and Washington State in the US; Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and Labrador; Quebec to Labrador; and elsewhere.
  • Major Canadian cities, including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, have extensive networks of bike routes and paths - http://www.canadatrails.ca/biking
[Back to top]
Food
  • Many supermarkets throughout the country stock certified organic products.  One example is the Canada Organic logo, certifying that the food products meet federal standards for organic production and contain at least 95% organic ingredients.
  • Finding vegetarian restaurants and health food stores throughout Canada is easy. For a full listing, visit: http://www.happycow.net/north_america/canada/index.html
  • Wild game is still hunted and eaten by many Canadians, particularly in the North and in First Nations communities, though not commonly found in urban centres. Hunting is strictly regulated.
[Back to top]
Souvenirs
  • Buy locally made crafts, particularly sustainably sourced wood products.
 
[Back to top]
Green Spots
  • There are numerous parks and natural areas all across Canada, including in and near urban areas.  See municipal and provincial parks lists for a great selection.  For national parks, visit Parks Canada’s website at www.pc.gc.ca.
  • Banff National Park: Located in the province of Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff - Canada’s first national park - is a popular travel destination, known for its mountainous terrain, glaciers, dense coniferous forests, meadows and rivers. Grizzly and black bears inhabit the forested areas. (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/index_E.asp)
  • Glacier National Park of Canada: The park, located in British Columbia, protects unique stands of old-growth cedar and hemlock, and is a critical habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife species such as mountain caribou, mountain goat and grizzly bear. (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/glacier/index_E.asp)
  • Jasper National Park: The largest and most northerly Canadian rocky mountain national park, Jasper is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes raging rivers, crashing waterfalls and one of the world’s most accessible glaciers. Located in Alberta, there are more than 1,200km of hiking trails and a number of spectacular mountain drives. Large numbers of elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer are found in the park, as well as their predators: grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves and wolverines. (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/index_E.asp)
  • Prince Edward Island National Park: Located on Prince Edward’s Island on the Gulf of St Lawrence, this is one of Canada’s smallest but busiest parks. The park features pristine sand dunes and beaches, barrier islands, sandstone cliffs, wetlands and forests. (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/index_E.asp)
  • Algonquin Provincial Park: Located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in central Ontario – 3.5 hours from both Toronto and Ottawa - this popular provincial park offers a vast landscape of forests, bogs, rivers and lakes. There are over 2,000 kilometres of canoe routes.
  • High Park: Spanning 161 hectares of manicured gardens, forest areas, sports fields, a zoo and restaurants, this is the largest park accessible by subway in Toronto. During weekends in the summer, roads through the park are closed so visitors can bike, walk and rollerblade.
  • Mount Royal Park: One of Montreal’s largest open green spaces overlooking the city, Mount Royal offers plenty of activities all year round: hiking, biking, and water-related activities like paddle-boating in the summer; cross-country skiing, ice skating and sledding in the winter.
  • Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area: Announced in 2007, the marine conservation area on the north shore of Lake Superior will extend roughly 140 kilometres east of Thunder Bay, protecting fish, caribou, peregrine falcons, eagles and herons. At one million hectares, it is the largest freshwater marine conservation area in the world (http://www.pc.gc.ca/amnc-nmca/on/super/index_e.asp).
  • Fathom Five National Marine Park: The park, located at the mouth of Geogrian Bay in Ontario, preserves some of the most pristine waters of the Great Lakes as well as a rich cultural legacy that includes 22 shipwrecks and several historic lighthouses (http://www.pc.gc.ca/amnc-nmca/on/fathomfive/index_E.asp).
[Back to top]
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
  • Send us your tips

  • Please enter the code pictured below into this field:*

    captcha
    reload image
  • * Required information

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.