Environmental History: Diversity of Northern Ontario Essay

Submitted By marcopolo101
Words: 829
Pages: 4

“Diverse” is a term that comes to mind when describing Northern Ontario; diversity in terms of its geography, climate, and culture. Illustrating the true essence of the region is an arduous task. In order to disassemble the cultural mosaic that is Northern Ontario, one needs to determine what characterizes a specific territory. The true fabric of any territory lies within its land and resources, its climate, and the citizens that inhabit the area. Northern Ontario is truly unique in all of these regards. It is undeniable that the climate of a region has an affect not only on the resources of an area but also on the psychological attitudes of the people. This is certainly true for Northern Ontario. Due to its location which is predominantly on the Canadian Shield the climate is extremely different than it is in the southern portion of the province. According to Zaslow the Climate, too, is more severe than in the South, with longer, colder winters, cool summers, and shorter frost-free intervals._ As a result, burdens are imposed on activities such as construction and the maintenance of structures. Also, certain industries that require a warmer climate have a shorter life span than if they were in the southern region of Ontario. More specifically, agriculture is an industry that takes a hit in Norther Ontario due to the unaccommodating conditions. The combination of all these factors puts a significant amount of pressure on the individuals of Northern Ontario. The geography of the land is the primary reason why there are inhabitants in Northern Ontario. The minerals that exist in the area provide an economic boost for the region. Technological advancements led to the discovery of the minerals in the region. During the construction of the CPR through the Sudbury Basin, a surveyor named Salter recognized the rusty hue of nickel-iron ore._ This in turn led to the construction of roads, airplanes, and steamships. As time passed these technological advances allowed the mineral industry to excel into what it is today. The mineral industry remains the primary economic motor for Northern Ontario. The majority of the products of labour are extractive which means they are going elsewhere. The main problem with these industries is that when the supply is exhausted than the company will have no use stay in the north. This, similar to the climate, has a psychological effect on the people. There is this constant sense of uncertainty that comes with the idea of the mineral industry dictating the flow of the economy. Especially considering there were many instances in the past where ghost towns have formed, this feeling of uncertainty is certainly warranted.

Another fascinating matter that defines Northern Ontario are social attitudes that exist in the area. Resentment is a common theme that resonates between neighboring townships. Towns that reap the benefits of the mining industry grow stronger while neighboring townships who do not benefit become bitter. This resentment have shown to have political effects in various elections in the past. Don Scott discusses how in the 1971 provincial election, the NDP won the INCO company towns of Lively and Levack however, they lost the significantly less manicured towns of Chelmsford and Chapleau._ This can create a significant amount of tension between communities.

Another element of Northern Ontario that is