Ottawa,Capital Of Canada, Why Geography Matters


As of 2017, the nation of Canada will be 150 years old. With that said, let’s do a little quickfacts.

Capital: Ottawa.

Anyone could memorize the capitals of nations and provinces. However, there is more to a capital city than that.

Ottawa isn’t the largest city in Canada. It’s not even the largest city in Canada’s most populated province, Ontario. Both titles are reserved for Ontario’s capital and largest city, Toronto. What would give Ottawa the title, Capital of Canada?

Well, geography matters. In Ottawa’s case, very much so. Look at where Ottawa is located. It is in Ontario, but it straddles the border with Quebec. It sits between an English speaking province and a French speaking province. Ottawa metro itself is a bilingual area. French and English are spoken here. It is roughly equidistant between Windsor,ONT, on the border with Detroit,USA, and Quebec City, Quebec. This is the most densely populated area in Canada, with metropolitan areas such as Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Hamilton,etc.

Now lets take a trip further back. Ottawa was founded as Bytown in 1826. At the time, Canada was Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Ottawa was in Upper Canada. The capital was York, now called Toronto. Quebec City was the capital of Lower Canada. In 1841, the Province of Canada was founded. Kingston (not to be confused with Jamaica’s capital city) was the first capital. Then it was Montreal. Next was Toronto. After that, the capital switched between Quebec and Toronto until 1866. In 1857, Queen Victoria (this was before Canada became a sovereign nation) ordered the capital be built and moved to Ottawa. Why Ottawa?

Ottawa, at that time, located around woodlands and relatively remote. And yet, this was chosen for capital city. It was further away from border with the USA. It is located on the Ottawa River, giving access to Montreal. The Rideau Canal would given Ottawa access to Kingston. Ottawa is also centrally located relative to Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, and Kingston.


Geography matters in why Ottawa is the capital of Canada. It mattered in 1866, and it matters now. Movement played a factor. Place as well. Capitals aren’t just randomly placed.


Nashville, Why Geography Matters.

Nashville today, the capital, and second largest city in Tennessee. It is known as the epicenter for country music in the USA. However, one thing has not been considered about Nashville, GEOGRAPHY.

Why geography matters for Nashville. Consider the reason it was founded. Many do not know that the Cumberland River was and is a big part of Nashville’s raison d’etre. Nashville’s location along the Cumberland River allowed for riverboat travel. The Cumberland is a tributary of the Ohio River. This means goods from Nashville could be shipped to markets in the Upper South/Lower Midwest USA. Nashville is close to Tennessee’s geographic center, and being on the Cumberland, it was on a major trading route.

Nashville today is still an important center for barge travel. Barges still traverse the Cumberland River today. Goods still travel by river to, through, and from Nashville. Of course, nowadays, airplanes and trucks travel in and out of Nashville as well. However, the river is still an important, though not always appreciated, part of Nashville’s geography. The Riverfront has become a place of recreation, thus, geography continues to shape Nashville. The barges remain, but now, recreation, from walking trails, to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium, are along the Cumberland’s waterfront. Many do not know how important the Cumberland is and has been for Nashville. It isn’t located on more prominent rivers like the Ohio(like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati area) or the Mississippi(with St. Louis, New Orleans, and Minneapolis are located on). However, it is a river city, and the river shapes Nashville, just as much as country music and Greek Revival architecture does.

Portland’s Chances of Getting Major League Baseball


Photo by Brian Halvorsen

Today, the Seattle Mariners exist as the most remote Major League Baseball team. It is the only MLB team in the Pacific Northwest. This presents some travel problems. The Mariners fly more miles than any other baseball team because the nearest team is 700 miles away, in Oakland,CA.

Seattle-Tacoma-Everett metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest USA, with 3.4 million people.

With 2.3 million people, Portland’s metropolitan area is the 2nd largest in the PNW. This is larger than other MLB markets, such as Cincinnati, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. An MLB team could create a geographic rivalry in the Pacific Northwest.

The question is, could an MLB team flourish in Portland, Oregon,USA?

Consider the geography. The Seattle Mariners don’t have much a rivalry with other teams. Part of its TV market it is Oregon. In theory, Portland metro has a population size necessary to support a team. Portland metropolitan area has grown in population close to 9% between 2010 and 2016. Portland came close to getting the then-Montreal Expos in 2003. The Expos relocated to Washington,DC in 2005 instead. Portland, however, had the stadium available, Providence Park. Between 2006-2007, the Florida Marlins had a possibility of relocating to Portland. There was doubt about whether the Marlins would get a new stadium or not. The Marlins would get a new stadium and were renamed the Miami Marlins.

In a financial climate where corporate support is needed, Portland might have an issue. However, it certainly has the population, and the growth needed to support an MLB team. And with the Portland Trail Blazers and Portland Timbers FC being the two professional teams in Portland, there is still room for another sports team. A stadium capacity of 37,000 would be adequate in the beginning. However, Providence Park would have to be used as a temporary home, where the Portland Timbers FC play. This would be an issue for having a soccer specific stadium.

Here is the geographic issue. Territory rights. Portland metrpolitan are includes Clark County,Washington. This is where Vancouver,Washington(not Vancouver, Canada) is located. Seattle is 180 miles north of Portland, along Interstate 5. One the one hand, the proximity could be an advantage for Portland, as it can create a rivalry. On the other hand, this could cause some territory issues. There would be concerns of the Mariners losing exclusive territory rights in Oregon, and part of its own state. The Mariners have been adamant that Oregon is part of their territory. The Mariners also share territory rights with the Toronto Blue Jays, as the state of Washington borders the Canadian province of British Columbia. With Victoria,BC being a 3 hour ferry ride from Seattle, this leaves to consider. British Columbia, being in Canada, is more likely to give priority to the Blue Jays.

There is another factor to consider. The San Francisco Giants cast a shadow into Oregon as well. The Giants have territory rights in Oregon, mostly outside of the Portland area. It certainly covers a larger area than the Mariners currently have.

Another territory issue is Idaho. Idaho borders both Oregon and Washington, as well as British Columbia in Canada. The Mariners have territory rights in much of Idaho, including Boise, the capital and largest city. Part of Idaho is in Colorado Rockies territory. The Mariners would have plenty of reason to fight for Idaho. Boise is located closer to Oregon than to Washington state. If Portland gets a team, territory rights for southwest Idaho would go to a Portland MLB team. The Mariners’ territory rights in Idaho could be reduced to the Pandhandle region.

Portland certainly has the population to support a team. It would spark a geographic baseball rivalry. It can also spark other issues. Two teams might have issues with territory rights in terms of the fan base and broadcasting games over television and radio. Demographics certainly favor Portland. It could also spark a geographic challenge. Currently, no teams are seeking relocation, and expansion is not in the current future. Portland will likely not get a team unless one team decides to move. However, Portland still has a chance.

Buffalo Could Have Gotten Major League Baseball

Buffalo_Skyline_Viewed_From_Coca-Cola_FieldThe city of Buffalo stands as the 2nd largest city in New York state. A very distant second when it’s considered that New York City and Buffalo are in the same state. A city of over 8 million people vs a a city of 258,703 people according to 2014 estimates. And that figure could be lower considering the drop in population every decade since 1960.

Buffalo metropolitan area is home to an NFL and NHL teams, the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres specifically. Major league sports has a presence in upstate New York. However, in terms of baseball, there are minor league baseball teams. There is no Major League Baseball in Buffalo. Could there have been Major League Baseball in Buffalo? Does is still have a chance?

Before those questions can be asked, lets take a look at baseball in Buffalo and Buffalo itself. And at Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball in Buffalo was given 3 attempts. The Buffalo Bisons were in the National League starting in 1879. The team was disbanded in 1885. In 1890, the Players League formed and Buffalo had another team called the Bisons. The league folded at the end of the 1890 season. Between 1914-1915, the Buffalo Blues played in Federal League. It is important to note that Major League Baseball banned its players from playing in the Federal League. After 1915, the Federal League disbanded.

The National League was formed in 1878. The American League was formed in 1901. Both would merge into Major League Baseball in 1903, while still operating as separate entities.

Between 1903-1952, Major League Baseball’s reach included these cities: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington(DC), Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis.

The 20 largest cities in the USA(1900)

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis
  • Boston
  • Baltimore
  • Cleveland
  • Buffalo
  • San Francisco
  • Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh
  • New Orleans
  • Detroit
  • Milwaukee
  • Washington,DC

Of the cities with teams, the 5 largest cities had at least 2 teams. One of those cities, New York City, had 3 teams. 5 of the nations cities were home to 11 of the leagues teams. Of the 15 largest cities mentioned, 5 did not have MLB teams: Baltimore, Buffalo, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Milwaukee. In 1900, Buffalo had 352,387. Considering that Buffalo had a population larger than Pittsbucgh, Detroit, Cincinnati, or Washington,DC, the city of Buffalo could have had MLB in 1903.

In 1913, the Federal League formed. Buffalo would get a team in that league. The Federal League was short lived.

Fast forward to 1953. The Boston Braves move to Milwaukee and become the Milwaukee Braves. By then, these were the 20 largest cities in the USA in 1950, 1960, and 1970.

1950                                               1960                                                   1970

  • New York City                     New York City                                      New York City
  • Chicago                                 Chicago                                                 Chicago
  • Philadelphia                        Los Angeles                                          Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles                         Philadelphia                                         Philadelphia
  • Detroit                                  Detroit                                                   Detroit
  • Baltimore                             Baltimore                                              Houston
  • Cleveland                             Houston                                                 Baltimore
  • St. Louis                                Cleveland                                              Dallas
  • Washington,DC                   Washington,DC                                    Washington,DC
  • Boston                                   St. Louis                                                 Cleveland
  • San Francisco                      Milwaukee                                            Indianapolis
  • Pittsburgh                            San Francisco                                       Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee                           Boston                                                    San Francisco
  • Houston                                Dallas                                                     San Diego
  • Buffalo                                  New Orleans                                         San Antonio
  • New Orleans                        Pittsburgh                                             Boston
  • Minneapolis                         San Antonio                                          Memphis
  • Cincinnati                             San Diego                                              St. Louis
  • Seattle                                    Seattle                                                   New Orleans
  • Kansas City,MO                    Buffalo                                                  Phoenix

Buffalo’s population peaked in 1950, at 580,132 people. Large enough to field a Major League Baseball team. Buffalo’s population would drop to 328,123 by 1990. Why? A shift in the economy. Buffalo’s geography lent itself to trade thanks to the Erie Canal, railroads, and Lake Erie. The Niagara River generated hydroelectric power for the local mills. By the 1940s and 50s, Buffalo was a major producer of steel and automobiles. Geography has also hurt Buffalo. After the Welland Canal was built, ships could bypass Buffalo while traversing the St. Lawrence Seaway. In combination with the decline of the American steel industry, this meant massive job losses. Many people left the great Buffalo area as well as other cities in what is known as the Rust Belt. Changes in technology also meant less people were needed to produce more steel.

However, let’s look to 1969. Buffalo’s population was around 462,000 in 1970. Buffalo lost a bid for a Major League Baseball team. That bid would go to the cities of Seattle, Kansas City, Montreal, and San Diego. Buffalo would lose another bid in 1991. Denver and Miami were awarded MLB franchises.

This post will not attempt to go into the details of team ownership entry fees (it did play a big role). There is another factor to consider. Buffalo’s population will be the big factor. Currently, Milwaukee metropolitan area is the only MLB market with a population under 2 million. Milwaukee metro has 1.57 million people. Buffalo metropolitan area has 1.13 million, and dropping. The Cleveland Indians are struggling with attendance considering it has a larger(albeit declining) population and a decent team. Could Buffalo, in a climate where money is everything, and things such as luxury press boxes and television deals, sustain an MLB team, considering the population dropping?


Shells, Now And Later

shellsIf one ever goes to the beach, one can find many shells. This is assuming that said persons are looking for shells. Shells can be found in other places such as rivers and lakes. Anywhere a mollusk can inhabit, so can shells be found. However, there is more.

Fossils of shells have been found in many places. Fossils tell alot about what kinds of animals and plants existed in the past. Sit and thing about this. One can kind shells. Those shells were not there by accident. Someone once lived in that shell. Either the animal left that shell, or it was extracted from that shell. The shells that we see today could be the fossils some scientists find thousands of years from now. The earth’s physical processes can turn today’s shells into fossils. Think about the fossils we find today. They were once living things a long time ago.

All of that is in the future. However, looking towards the future is important in the earth sciences. This in addition to looking at the past and at today.

Tourism Boom In Cuba Coming?


Travel restrictions to Cuba have been loosening up over the last year for American travels. There are less restrictions in traveling to Cuba. Americans can technically travel to Cuba. However, tourism cannot be listed as the reason for going. It would have to go under

family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

So technically, an American can’t go to Cuba for touristic reasons. However, there are other reasons an American can go to Cuba.

However, booking a flight to Cuba is not hard. If tourism is ever listed as a legitimate reason for Americans to travel to Cuba, this is the scenario that COULD take place. Air travel and cruise ship travel will take off. In particular, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta,USA will become even busier than it is now, and it’s the world’s busiest airport. Atlanta is two hours flight from 80% of the U.S. population. It takes about two hours to fly from Atlanta to Havana. Geography is on Atlanta’s side, as having a large airport will facilitate more flights to Cuba. More people out of the Atlanta area, with its, population of 5.5 million people, is just one factor to consider. People flying from locales such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, will want to fly to Cuba. Changing flights in Atlanta can be considered a factor because Atlanta is a major established air travel hub.

If Cuba becomes a major tourist destination for Americans again, there would likely become a major boom in tourism for Cuba. Cuba’s geography is to its advantage. 90 miles from Miami, Florida,USA, Cuba is close by. There is the possibility for ferry travel from Miami to Havana. There are nearby places that attract visitors with its cruise ships. Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico, are among them. Cuba has coast line on the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Something to consider. Cuba can be served by cruise ships on both sides. And then Cuba’s own physical geography has much to consider. Cuba is more than just coastline. Cuba is a mountainous island, so this is good opportunity for hikers and adventure types. Pinar del Rio province is home to the mogotes of Vinales Valley. Mogotes are limestone hills.

Cuba has alot to discover. It leaves even more to imagine if it becomes a major tourist destination for Americans.