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Activity Number 17 - Mapping


To show how the climate varies across a country with the size and geography of Canada.


  • Copies of the blank map of Canada
  • The list of locations with climatic data (page 79)
  • An atlas

Method - part 1

  • Using the list, have your students write the average daily high temperature for July for each location beside the appropriate dot on the map. They may need to use the atlas to locate communities correctly.
  • As an optional exercise, you might ask your students to analyse this map to reinforce the differences between various parts of the country. To help you with the analysis, here are 4 common meteorological terms.
    • Isopleth -- a general term describing a line that joins points of equal value.
    • Isotherm -- a line which joins points of equal temperature.
    • Isohyet -- a line which joins points of equal amounts of precipitation.
    • Isobar -- a line which joins points of equal pressure - this is the type of line normally drawn by forecasters on a weather map.
  • To analyse the map using temperatures, have your students draw isotherms at 5° intervals. Again, an isotherm joins points of equal temperature. For example, if 1 community has an average daily high of 23°C and the neighbouring community has an average of 17°C, then you know that at some point between them, the average is 20°C.

Method - part 2

  • To analyse the map using the amount of snowfall take a second blank map, and still using the list, have your students plot the average annual snowfall for each community. They could analyse this map as well by drawing isohyets at intervals of 100 centimetres (cm), 200 cm, and so on. For instance if 1 community has an average annual snowfall of 139 cm and the next closest community has an average of 228 cm, then you know that somewhere between the 2 lies a point with 200 cm. When your map is complete, it will resemble a contour map, the kind atlases contain showing elevations. (See sample p.125)
  • When the maps are complete, have your students find the community that has, on average, the hottest summer days (Kamloops and Windsor) and the community that has the snowiest winters (Churchill Falls). Invite them to compare figures for different parts of the country and encourage them to discuss the roles that elevation, latitude, land forms, and large bodies of water may have on the climate. For example, Mayo in the Yukon has the same average high in July as does Lynn Lake in Manitoba. Halifax, Nova Scotia, gets twice as much snow on average as Baker Lake in the Northwest Territories.
  • If you would like to do a similar plot of climatic information for more locations in your province or territory, visit the web site . and select Climate Data from the menu on the left. Print the climatic values you wish to use and then have your students plot them on the appropriate provincial or territorial map.

Tips: It will be easiest to begin with the 100 cm isohyet in the north and then work southward.

Climactic Information by Province and Territory
Province/TerritoryCommunityAverage High Temperature July (°C)Average Annual Snowfall (cm)
 Watson Lake21219
Northwest TerritoriesFort Smith23154
 Fort Simpson23164
 Norman Wells22149
 Baker Lake16130
 Cambridge Bay1280
 Clyde River8197
 Coral Harbour14135
 Hall Beach9120
British ColumbiaCranbrook26148
 Fort Nelson23191
 Fort St. John22198
 Prince George22234
 Prince Rupert16143
 Medicine Hat27108
 Fort McMurray23172
SaskatchewanSwift Current25128
 Cree Lake21180
 La Ronge23155
 Prince Albert24117
 Lynn Lake22206
 The Pas23170
OntarioBig Trout Lake21233
 Thunder Bay24196
 Sault Ste Marie24316
 Sept Iles20415
 Baie Comeau21362
 Val d'Or23318
 Quebec City25337
New BrunswickFredericton25241
Prince Edward IslandCharlettetown23339
Nova ScotiaHalifax23261
NewfoundlandSt. John's20322
 Daniels Harbour18427
 Happy Valley-Good Bay21464
 Churchill Falls19481
 Port Aux Basques16316
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