Archive for the 'Canada' Category

More on Islands on Islands on Islands

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Boing Boing is having another discussion of triple islands — islands on an island on an island.

They restate Volcan Point’s claim inaccurately; it is not the largest (as I’ve noted), but is the largest — and only — volcanic triple. We should also note that Taal is regularly active, and will destroy this whole geographic construction some day, possibly soon.

My (very) small claim to fame in this regard is that I have probably been to more triple islands than anyone, on Glover Island, the large island in Grand Lake, Newfoundland. I carried an inflatable boat with which to explore the islands on it, and camped on one of the 17 or so in that lake. (I’ve never heard of another person actually sleeping on an island on an island on an island; the one in the Philippines is unsuitable, and the other Canadian ones are even more isolated.)

People like to say that Ryan Island on Isle Royale is the “largest island on the largest lake on the largest island on the largest lake in the world.” With all those qualifiers, this statement seems to be true.

Paugnang Island, Nuvavut

Monday, June 29th, 2009

A photographer on Flickr wondered about this little Canadian island:

View Larger Map

This is Paugnang Island, a small, barren island east of Padloping Island, off southeast Baffin Island. It is about 7.5 sq km / 2.9 sq miles.

Despite its small size, it rises some 667 m / 2,188 feet. It is steep-sided except at the south end, but has a relatively flat top.

Source: Toporama, Natural Resources Canada; area measurements by

Update: the largest island on an island on an island

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

This summer I noted the debate about the largest island on an island on an island; I placed it in Canada.

It is in Canada, but I have confirmed my suspicions that the strongest candidate is not on Newfoundland but on Victoria Island, in Nunavut.

View Larger Map

This island in a lake on an island in a lake in south-central Victoria Island, at 69.7928° north, 108.2411° west, is 4 acres / 1.6 hectares, easily beating its rivals in size.

Canadian island superlatives

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Canadian flagI’ve added more material on Canadian geography to a page of Canadian island superlatives.

These include Canada’s:

  • largest island
  • largest lake island
  • largest island on an island
  • most populous island
  • tallest island
  • tallest lake island
  • most common island name

A larger island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

There is some confusion over the identity of the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. has long had a nice piece on recursive islands and lakes, but they get the final one wrong, saying that the island in Taal’s Volcano Island’s crater lake is the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.

That Filipino “triple island” is only about 1 acre / 0.4 hectare.

The largest known island of this sort (subject to further exploration; some Arctic areas are poorly mapped) is the largest island in the largest lake on Glover Island, in Grand Lake on Newfoundland.

Glover Island, the world’s second-largest island on an island, has a many lakes on it, and the largest has about 17 islands. The largest of these is 2 acres / 0.8 ha. When I visited it, it supported its own little patch of woods.

Goodbye Herschel Island?

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

The Yukon’s largest island is washing away, the CBC reports.

Uninhabited Herschel Island is eroding due to rising sea levels brought on by global warming, the island’s historic sites manager says.

Recursion: islands on islands

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

A reader comments:

Here’s a recursive island story, probably not unique. When I was 13, I went to a Sea Scout camp on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, Ontario. We wilderness camped there for 2 weeks, and one day, we climbed a steep hill/mountain behind our camp, to find a lake, which was quite warm, and good for swimming. Darned if there wasn’t an island in that lake. I looked around for a body of water on the island, but no luck. Perhaps in a torrential downfall…  Do you know of many examples of this?

Manitoulin has several nice double islands, relatively large for a lake island.

Their are several thousand such recursive islands in the world, concentrated in Canada, the British Isles, Scandinavia, and a few other places.

The largest is Samosir, on Sumatra, followed by Glover Island, on Newfoundland.

Glover is one of the few places in the world where there are islands on an island on an island — triple islands.  I once spent a week there, and camped on a small triple in the center of the island, alone except for the seagulls, and moose that came to feed at the edge of the lake.  It is possible that I am the only person to have slept on a triple island, as they are all quite out of the way.

Facts about Teresa Island, Atlin Lake, BC

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

There is some debate about Teresa Island in Atlin Lake.

Teresa Island is indeed the 2nd tallest lake island on the planet, the highest being Isla Ometepe in Nicaragua.

As for its ranking among “inland islands,” it is the 22nd largest lake island in the world, and thus ranked lower for overall “inland islands.”

Canadians, learn from my shower curtain!

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

I received this email today:

“I noticed on your site as number eight (8) you have it as ‘Victoria Island’. That should read ‘Vancouver Island’. Thought you should be aware.”

That is the single most commonly recurring email people send me.

My reply: ” Thanks for writing. Vancouver Island is 42nd; Victoria is in another part of Canada — please see the attached view of my shower curtain:”

Victoria I. in Canada's Arctic

That’s not soap scum, by the way. It’s, uh, pack ice. In any case, the curtain did not survive my getting married. [Canadian geography]

Query: islands, peninsulas, and artificial islands

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

A reader had some questions:

“Where do we draw the line between island and peninsula with regard to man made structures?”

There is no clear line, as many parts of land have manmade water cutting them off.

“Prince Edward County on Lake Ontario was a peninsula, but did construction of the Murray Canal 100 years ago make it an island? (It has a couple of swing bridges over the canal and a high fixed bridge from Belleville, Ontario.)”

Probably not. Ratios are important, and the canal is very narrow compared to the peninsula. Indeed, it cannot even be discerned on this view that takes in the whole land mass.

“Prince Edward Island was connected by a long high bridge to the mainland 7 years ago. Should it be considered a peninsula?”

Bridges do not change the fact that an island is surrounded by water, so they do not erase an island’s fundamental nature. It is more a sort of domestication.

“Cape Breton Island is connected by a causeway to the rest of Nova Scotia.”

A solid causeway is more of a threat, but the Canso Causeway is broken by locks.

“Does the Corinth Canal in Greece make the Peloponnesus an island?”

Opinion is also important, and people have not decided that this is the case. Also, on a full view of the Peloponnesus it does not appear to be an island.

“Does the causeway to Singapore make it a peninsula?”

The Johor-Singapore Causeway is very small compared to the size of the island. Still, if it is solid all the way through, it does compromise Singapore’s status as a true island.

“Or is the natural state of the land mass the arbitrator of the land mass? I think you mentioned a former island in the Aral Sea or the Caspian as a peninsula due to the drop in water level. But was that not the result of irrigation?”

Human actions create and destroy islands all the time — what matters is whether a body of land surrounded by water results.

“Rene Lavasseur in Quebec exists as an island only because of the damming of the Manicaguan Reservoir.”

René-Levasseur is nonetheless a real island, as this view of the Manicouagan Reservoir shows. It is, incidentally, the largest island created by human action.

geography, geographic