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These variations have had important social and cultural effects.
The largest segment of the population resides in the central Carolinian region, which has the richest and most varied agricultural land and, because the Great Lakes waterway system dominates the central portion of the country, is also where most of the major manufacturing is located.
Between the southern Carolinian forest of the central regions of the country lies a region in Ontario and Quebec characterized by numerous lakes and expanses of exposed rock known as the Canadian Shield, an area left exposed after the most recent glacial retreat.
Across the northernmost portion of the country from east to west lies a region dominated by tundra and finally at its most northern reach, an arctic eco-zone (in northern Ontario and Quebec and in the territories of Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon).
As of 1996, the proportion of Canadians reporting English as their mother tongue was just under 60 percent while those reporting French as their mother tongue was slightly less than 24 percent.
This slowing of growth has been offset somewhat by an increase in immigration over the last two decades of the twentieth century, coupled with a slowing of emigration.The savanna or prairie region is more sparsely populated, with several large urban centers in a network across the region, which is dominated by grain farming, cattle and other livestock production, and more recently, oil and natural gas extraction.The two coastal regions, which have some agricultural production, are best characterized by the dominance of port cities through which import and export goods move.In contrast, Ontario, which accounts for more than 30 percent of the total population of Canada, had an English-French bilingualism rate of about 12 percent.This is in part a result of the immigration patterns over time, which sees the majority of all immigrants gravitating to Ontario, and in part because all official and commercial services in Ontario are conducted in English, even though French is available by law, if not by practice.
The central portion of the country, in its southern areas, is primarily boreal forest (the provinces of Ontario and Quebec).