On the west coast, warm moist pacific air currents create temperate rainforest conditions in Canada’s warmest climatic zone. Its southeastern edge rises dramatically above its neighbouring Interior Plains, with the tilted, folded, and faulted sedimentary rocks of the Canadian Rockies thrust thousands of feet into the sky. As impressive as the Rockies are, further north as the Cordillera passes through the southwest corner of the Yukon, Canada’s highest point, Mount Login (6050m above sea level), rises through the largest ice cap south of the Arctic Circle.
With a land mass comprising 16% of Canada’s total area (1.6 million km2), the Cordillera contains a tremendous variety of climates and elevations as it traverses westward from the Rockies, through the Interior Mountain ranges characterized by snow covered plateaus and deep valleys with desert like conditions, to the Pacific Coast. The Coast Mountain range still contains sporadic volcanic activity, as reflected in the legends of the First Nations peoples.
Geologically, Vancouver Island and the Haida Gwaii share the most in common with the Interior Mountain ranges. Shielding the mainland from the warm moist pacific air currents, these islands receive an exceptional amount of rain and the most moderate climate in Canada. This temperate rain forest habitat nurture’s Canada’s tallest (Douglas Firs 90m) and oldest trees (Western Red Cedars 1,300 years old).