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8 Ways Canadians Connect Across a Continent

The United States is slightly smaller than Canada in terms of land mass, but the two countries have roughly the same amount of land available where people can live. That is where the similarity ends. The United States has about nine times the number of people than Canada’s population.

While residents in the U.S. pack nearly 54 people within one square mile, Canadians have an average of six people per square mile. With all that land available, Canada’s residents live far away from their neighbors. So, if you live in Canada and want to see your in-laws, plan to travel a fair distance to meet up with them. Products like fresh produce and milk must travel many miles to feed people in remote locations.

To put this in better perspective, according to The Weather Network, up to 70 percent of the landmass in Canada is inaccessible by road or railway most of the year. That compares to between 35 and 40 percent of the United States’ land that remains inaccessible by roads. There are approximately three weeks each year when rugged vehicles might reach these remote Canadian areas unscathed. Otherwise, the only way to reach remote communities – and there are people living here – in these areas is by using air transportation or by way of ferries.

Nearly every Canadian province contains at least one area cut off from supplies delivered by truck or railway services. As you may remember from geography class, territories are much larger than states or provinces. There is no road access to one entire territory in Canada! Communities lucky enough to have a doctor handle any medical emergency locally. Otherwise, injured persons must be airlifted out or transported by ferry.

Remarkably, Canada makes it all work. A great effort to advance reliable forms of transportation has paid off for Canadians. Nearly all residents rely on the massive public transportation system developed to receive essentials and for travel within their country.

Curiosity may leave you wondering how Canada transports goods and people in an efficient manner. While some Canadians might disagree the system is efficient, no one can argue how effective it is. Here are a few ways Canada moves within its borders.

Airport Transport Services

An integral part of Canada’s small towns and cities, air transportation plays a major role in carrying people to other regions within Canada. As of 2013, dirt landing strips, waterways cleared for airplanes on pontoons and other unusual airports combined with international hubs for a total of 1,467 airports within the country.

310 airports connect large cities with small islands. 28 airports fall under the National Airport System or NAS. Airports in all province and territory capitals and airports transporting over 200,000 a year make up the 28 airports within the NAS. There are vast territories with remote populations that rely on Air Transport to connect them with people they love and services they need.

Freight Transportation Relies on Railways and More

The largest freight transportation system in Canada is by way of rail transport services. For nearly 30 years freight transportation by rail has increased an average of 2.9 percent every year. There are several reasons for this amazing trend:

  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Improving the infrastructure, like the rails, stations, tunnels and other basics
  • Powerful locomotives that became more efficient
  • Deregulation of the Freight transportation by rail in the 1980s and 90s
  • Improved technology and organization
  • Specialized, better educated workers

Passenger transportation is a big part of railway services throughout Canada. Used far more than their southern neighbors, trains carry passengers and coordinate with local bus services to keep the public transport services system moving in the provinces, islands and cities in Canada.

The trucking industry transports goods throughout Canada and the United States. Canadian trucking services move between the U.S. and Canada more than often than vehicles operated by the U.S. trucking industry. Canada’s trucking industry states there are concerns over the further opportunities for the transfer of goods by trucks to the United States. Canadian representatives report trade conflicts amid President Donald Trump’s stance again NAFTA and the steel trade leaves the outlook of Canada’s trucking services with an uncertain future

Marinas Carry Everything from People to Petroleum

Marinas play an important role for transport throughout Canada. Fuel, crude petroleum, gasoline are marinas like the Port of Vancouver’s bread and butter, so to speak. They also provide freight transportation for grains, wood and minerals. While marinas mainly handle bulk transport services, many small marinas provide vital passenger transportation for people living on the islands off Canada’s coasts.

Although air transportation plays a major role in moving people in and around Canada, watercraft continue to play the important role served by marinas throughout Canada’s history. As the weather up north is notoriously cold and blustery, airplanes and helicopters may not reach an emergency situation as quickly as a boat. Charter boats and fishing craft provide passenger transportation that saves many lives.

Postal Services – from Dog Sleds to Airplanes

Canada Post, the informal name for postal services in Canada, used every method they could find to transport the mail. Everything from dog sleds to airplanes has served the postal services. Air Transportation carries international postal services, but Canada’s trucking and fleet transport services provide the majority of all postal services.

Canada Post relies upon air transportation for much of the mail and postal deliveries to the northern territories. Occasionally, ferries or courier services will deliver mail as well. Canada Post has a good reason for the pride they take in their fleet services. Many alternative fuel vehicles are in use, including electric vehicles, and most postal deliveries happen within two days of posting.

Courier Services – Air Mail Takes on a New Meaning

Courier services such as Federal Express, (FedEx), deliver more documents related to business matters than regular mail. However, eBay and Amazon deliveries to individuals ship packages mainly through FedEx or the United Postal Service, (UPS), and they deliver to homes or a business. Courier services rely on air transportation for the major portion of its journey.

Final delivery to remote areas throughout Canada must take place using a truck or car when they can. When it is not possible, the courier services employee may use a bicycle or travel on foot if the destination is within a reasonable distance. Online business depends upon couriers for e-commerce transport services across Canada.

Passenger Transportation is Critical in Outlying Areas

Canada’s highway infrastructure has undergone upgrades and extensions to provide access to more people traveling throughout Canada. Recently, a gravel road uniting Tuktoyaktuk, which sits on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, and Inuvik was completed. The initial plans for the 85-mile road started in the late 1950s. Previously, the only way to get to or from Tuktoyaktuk was by an ice path for a couple of weeks in the winter or by air during the summer.

Imagine living on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, not exactly a balmy, sandy beach, and knowing you cannot leave for nearly nine months out of the year. The very thought gives “stir crazy” an added meaning. “Tuk”, as residents affectionately call it, and Inuvik are toward the eastern side of Canada. Many of the western territories have inhabitants whose only outside contact with airplanes and ferries is sporadic.

Rail and air transportation are two of the most popular methods of passenger transportation. With taxicabs listed as “prohibitively expensive” by the Canadian Government, public transportation is common. Public transport services provide the way most Canadians connect with each other and receive any supplies they need. Traveling by bus and mini-rails is a widespread practice for people’s transport services.

Canadians living in larger cities travel by car and encourage ride sharing. If you fly into Canada, rental vehicles are available, but you can take a bus or one of the rail transport services to most hotels and popular destinations.

Air Transportation is Canada’s Life Force for Transport Services

Air transportation transformed this country in many ways. Prior to air transport, ferries were the only transport services available for much of Canada. Clearly, airplanes provide essential and life-saving services for all Canadians. The outlying provinces and territories use air transport to connect with people, services and products.

Much of Canada’s communication options would vanish if air transport disappeared. It may be difficult for the average American to understand how remote villages rely on air transportation and ferries for their survival and existence.

Taxicabs are a Presence for Canadian Transport Services

As previously mentioned, taxicabs provide transport services at a relatively high cost. According to the Canadian tourism industry, you should always ask for the total trip cost before using taxicabs.

Taxicabs remain an alternate transport services option in every Canadian city and town. Apparently, a certain segment of society finds taxicabs to be an affordable way to transport themselves to the airports and other destinations.

Looking at a map of Canada, it seems impossible to connect people and goods throughout the country. Canada deserves credit for trudging through the snow, literally, to complete transport services ideas developed long ago. At times, Canadians took 70 years or more while completing roads across the tundra to reach remote locations.