The Atlantic is the second largest ocean and, at 200 million years of age, the youngest.
The Atlantic Ocean borders five provinces in Canada:
- Newfoundland & Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador’s jagged shoreline is approximately 19,300 km long. If it were straightened out, it would stretch almost halfway around the globe.
The Atlantic Ocean has a wider continental shelf than our other oceans. In some places, such as the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, it stretches over 300 km past the coastline. This unique feature of the Atlantic means it is capable of supporting a major offshore fishing industry.
The Atlantic influences major current systems (such as The Gulf Stream) and, in the Bay of Fundy, is home to the largest tides in the world. These tides result in a unique feature in Canada: the Reversing Falls in Saint John New Brunswick.
There is extensive marine traffic in the Atlantic and this ocean is a focus of Canadian oil and gas interests. To protect these interests, Canadian Waters are patrolled by Maritime Forces Atlantic (MFA), a military formation tasked with controlling all Canadian Armed Forces assets on the east coast.
The Port of Halifax is the largest port on the east coast of Canada, shipping over 14 million tons of cargo each year. The Port of Saint John and Port of St. John’s are also strategic transportation hubs and powerful economic engines.
Atlantic waters are the most historically significant for Canada, as they carried the first explorers to Canada, around 1000BC. Several hundred years later, the area was explored by John Cabot. This led to further voyages of discovery by Samuel de Champlain and others.
The Atlantic Ocean was also the site of the longest battle of the Second World War, The Battle of the Atlantic. This Battle lasted the duration of World War II, spanning six years and costing Canada the lives of approximately 2,000 sailors, 15,000 merchant seaman and 22 Naval Vessels.