ction In Canadas EcThe Relevancy of the Heartland – Hinterland Distinction in Canada’s EconomicGeographyUntil the early 20th century, Canada was primarily an agricultural nation. Since then it has become one of the most highly industrialized countries in theworld as a direct result of the development of the heartland’. To a largeextent the manufacturing industries present in the heartland are supplied withraw materials produced by the agricultural, mining, forestry, and fishingsectors of the Canadian economy, a region known as the hinterland’.
The heartland-hinterland’ concept in Canada describes patterns of economic power,namely, where economic power and control resides within the nation. Thus, theheartland-hinterland concept distinguishes raw-material and staple-producinghinterlands from the capital service industrial heartland and reveals themetropolis or dominating city of the system. At a national scale, the Canadianmetropolis is Toronto, and the region with the most influence is the GreatLakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands. But while immense influence radiates outward fromthe metropolis located in the heartland, the relationship between hinterland andheartland is one of intimate mutual dependency.Order now
In modern Canadian economics,neither region can exist without each other, and the well-being of one directlyaffects the other. These two regions show remarkable contrasts, yet they are toa large extent interdependent on each other, clearly suggesting that theheartland-hinterland distinction is quite relevant in terms of Canada’s economicgeography. Upon discussing the importance of the heartland-hinterland in Canada, it isnecessary to discuss what each term refers to. According to McCann theheartland is an area ” which possesses favourable physical qualities and grantfood accessibility to markets; they display a diversified profile of secondary,tertiary, and quaternary industries; they are characterized by a highlyurbanized and concentrated population which participates in a well-integratedurban system; they are well advanced along the development path and possess thecapacity for innovative change.
” Literally, hinterland means the land behind’,the area from which a heartland draws its raw materials and which, in turn,serves as a market for the heartland’s manufactured goods. The demographic and economic characteristics of Canada’s heartland are that itcontains over 50% of the nation’s population and 70% of its manufacturingindustries in only 14% of the nation’s area. Canada’s heartland is southernOntario and Quebec stretching from Quebec City to Windsor. This heartland,occupying the Great Lakes-St.
Lawrence Lowlands, coincides with severalfavourable physical characteristics such as fertile Class 1 and 2 soils inaddition to humid continental climate for optimal agricultural conditions. However, the “hinterland regions display harsher or more limiting physicalcharacteristics. The Cordillera, Interior Plains, Canadian Shield, andAppalachian regions yield tremendous resource wealth, but their soils,vegetation, and climatic patterns do not favor wide distributions of populationand concentrated development. ” Canada’s heartland is illustrated on the mapbelow. With the overwhelming presence of the above-mentioned features, this regiondominates Canada’s economy due to diverse agricultural production as well as itsaccessibility to the heartland of its major international trade partner, theUntied States, which is focused around New York City.
“It is the heartlandthat creates the demand for staple commodities, supplying the hinterland, inturn, with capital, labour, technology, and entrepreneurship, those factors ofproduction which are so essential for the initial growth and sustaineddevelopment of the hinterland. “The relationship between the hinterland and heartland is complex. Resourcesflowing from hinterland areas largely go directly to other countries withoutpassing through the heartland. Yet, it is from the heartland that an economy’sorganization, financial means, equipment, and technical services arise and arepaid for by the sale of the resources. Thus, it can be said the hinterlandcontributes to the support and development of the heartland.
The hinterlandalso benefits from the interaction of its well-developed internal linkages and alarge and concentrated workforce that provides a manufacturing core andspecialized services. Another important aspect of the heartland-hinterland distinction is with respectto regional structure, which involves the interaction of both regions. “Locational forces and even policy decisions of a political nature drawsecondary manufacturing and service activities, as well as skilled labour force,to core areas. ” The concentration of corporate headquarters and financialinstitutions in the core also causes a flow of profits from the hinterland tothe heartland, ultimately causing difficulty for the generation of capitalwithin the periphery. These circumstances which arise from the root of thehinterland underdevelopment problem are difficult to overcome without politicalinvolvement.
Although government assistance by means of transfer payments anddevelopmental projects helps the underdeveloped hinterland, it can by no meansresolve the apparent disparities present among the core and periphery regions inCanada. “If the disparities are to be diminished, it seems more likely thathinterland areas must develop generally according to the ways in which heartlandareas have developed, although the specific growth factors need not, nor wouldthey likely, be the same. ” A hinterland region, wishing to achieve heartlandstatus, must be capable of innovating change and wielding power, whileprogressing beyond the staple production phase for the heartland. In terms of merchandise trade, Canada is an importer of end-products while theexport of crude materials indicate the staple nature of the export economy. Thehinterland dominates the export trade in crude materials such as oil, naturalgas, and forest products. Fabricated materials are largely produced in the core,and most of the products (steel, copper wire, refined nickel, and rolledaluminum) are exported.
Canada’s exports therefore are primarily staples fromthe hinterland, and as the amount of processing increases the role of theheartland becomes more dominant. In terms of imports, crude materials, largely crude oil to eastern Canada andsubtropical foods, are the main imports. Fabricated materials and end-productsimported from the United States were predominantly motor vehicles and auto parts,and the exports from Canada also involved the motor vehicle sector. Thus, thehinterland clearly dominates exports of crude materials and foods, while theheartland is the centre of both exports and imports of fabricated products. The economic emphasis of the ‘heartland-hinterland’ distinction is quitepronounced in Canada.
Various aspects of the Canadian economy dictate theundoubted relevance between the core and periphery of this vast nation. At oneextreme, the heartland is a thriving economic region, with the Golden Horseshoeregion acting as the collective metropolis, whereas the hinterland, the rest ofCanada’, is characterized by primary resource production, scattered populationand a limited innovative capacity. Despite the interdependency of these tworegions, they are nonetheless separated by both economic and physical factors,thereby preventing the union of a common region. Therefore, there is anunquestionable heartland-hinterland’ distinction present in Canada in terms ofits economic geography. BIBLIOGRAPHYMatthews, G.
1995. Canada and the World, An Atlas Resource, 2nd Edition. Scarborough: Prentice Hall Canada Inc. McCann, L. D. 1987.
Heartland and Hinterland. Scarborough: Prentice-HallCanada Inc.