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Coordinates : 48°36′N 61°24′W / 48.600°N 61.400°W / 48.600; -61.400 The Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
on a Canada map.

The GULF OF SAINT LAWRENCE (French : Golfe du Saint-Laurent) is the outlet of the North American Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
. The gulf is a semienclosed sea, covering an area of about 236,000 square kilometres (91,000 sq mi) and containing about 35,000 cubic kilometres (8,400 cu mi) of water, which results in an average depth of 148 metres (486 ft).

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Outlets * 1.2 Extent * 1.3 Protected areas * 1.4 Undersea features

* 2 Cultural importance * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links

GEOGRAPHY

Gulf shore at Pleasant Bay, NS

The Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
is bounded on the north by the Labrador Peninsula and Quebec
Quebec
, to the east by Saint-Pierre and Newfoundland , to the south by the Nova Scotia peninsula and Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
, and to the west by the Gaspe Peninsula
Gaspe Peninsula
, New Brunswick
New Brunswick
, and Quebec
Quebec
. As for significant islands the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
contains Anticosti Island
Island
, PEI
PEI
, Îles-de-la-Madeleine , Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
, Saint Pierre Island
Island
, and Miquelon-Langlade .

Half of the ten provinces of Canada adjoin the Gulf: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
, and Quebec.

Besides the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
itself, significant streams emptying into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
include the Miramichi River
Miramichi River
, Natashquan River
Natashquan River
, Romaine River , Restigouche River
Restigouche River
, Margaree River , and Humber River .

Branches of the Gulf include the Chaleur Bay , Fortune Bay
Fortune Bay
, Miramichi Bay
Miramichi Bay
, St. George\'s Bay , Bay St. George , Bay of Islands , and Northumberland Strait .

OUTLETS

The gulf flows into the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
through the following outlets:

* The Strait of Belle Isle between Labrador
Labrador
and Newfoundland: between 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) and 60 kilometres (37 miles) wide and 60 metres (200 feet) deep at its deepest. * The Cabot Strait
Cabot Strait
between Newfoundland and Saint-Pierre and Cape Breton Island: 104 km (65 mi) wide and 480 m (1,570 ft) deep at its deepest. * The Strait of Canso
Strait of Canso
between Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
and the Nova Scotia peninsula : 1.0 km (0.6 mi) wide and 60 m (200 ft) deep at its deepest. Due to the construction of the Canso Causeway
Canso Causeway
across the strait in 1955, it no longer permits exchange of water between the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
and the Atlantic Ocean.

EXTENT

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The limits of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
vary between sources.

The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
defines the limits of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
as follows:

On the Northeast. A line running from Cape Bauld
Cape Bauld
(North point of Kirpon Island
Island
, 51°40′N 55°25′W / 51.667°N 55.417°W / 51.667; -55.417 ) to the East extreme of Belle Isle and on to the Northeast Ledge (52°02′N 55°15′W / 52.033°N 55.250°W / 52.033; -55.250 ). Thence a line joining this ledge with the East extreme of Cape St. Charles (52°13'N) in Labrador
Labrador
.

On the Southeast. A line from Cape Canso (45°20′N 61°0′W / 45.333°N 61.000°W / 45.333; -61.000 ) to Red Point (45°35′N 60°45′W / 45.583°N 60.750°W / 45.583; -60.750 ) in Cape Breton Island
Island
, through this Island
Island
to Cape Breton and on to Pointe Blanche (46°45′N 56°11′W / 46.750°N 56.183°W / 46.750; -56.183 ) in the Island
Island
of St. Pierre , and thence to the Southwest point of Morgan Island
Island
(46°51′N 55°49′W / 46.850°N 55.817°W / 46.850; -55.817 ).

On the West. The meridian of 64°30'W, but the whole of Anticosti Island
Island
is included in the Gulf.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada places the western limit at Pointe-des-Monts.

PROTECTED AREAS

Bathymetry
Bathymetry
of the gulf, with the Laurentian Channel visible Basque settlements and sites dating from the 16th and 17th centuries

St. Paul Island, Nova Scotia , off the northeastern tip of Cape Breton Island, is referred to as the "Graveyard of the Gulf" because of its many shipwrecks. Access to this island is controlled by the Canadian Coast Guard
Canadian Coast Guard
.

Bonaventure Island
Island
on the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula, Île Brion and Rochers-aux-Oiseaux (Bird Rock) northeast of the Magdalen Islands are important migratory bird sanctuaries administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service.

The Federal Government of Canada has national parks along the Gulf of Saint Lawrence at Forillon National Park on the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula, Prince Edward Island
Island
National Park on the northern shore of the island, Kouchibouguac National Park
Kouchibouguac National Park
on the northeastern coast of New Brunswick, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland, and a National Park Reserve in the Mingan Archipelago on the Côte-Nord
Côte-Nord
of Quebec.

The five provinces bordering the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
also have several provincial parks apiece, some of which preserve coastal features.

UNDERSEA FEATURES

The Laurentian Channel is a feature of the floor of the Gulf that was formed during previous ice ages , when the Continental Shelf
Continental Shelf
was eroded by the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
during the periods when the sea level plunged. The Laurentian Channel is about 290 m (950 ft) deep and about 1,250 km (780 mi) long from the Continental Shelf
Continental Shelf
to the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
. Deep waters with temperatures between 2 and 6.5 °C (36 and 44 °F) enter the Gulf at the continental slope and are slowly advected up the channel by estuariane circulation. Over the 20th century, the bottom waters of the end of the channel (i.e. in the Saint Lawrence estuary) have become hypoxic .

CULTURAL IMPORTANCE

The gulf has provided a historically important marine fishery for various First Nations
First Nations
that have lived on its shores for millennia and used its waters for transportation.

The first documented voyage by a European in its waters was by the French explorer Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
in the year 1534
1534
. Cartier named the shores of the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
"The Country of Canadas", after an indigenous word meaning "village" or "settlement", thus naming the world's second largest country.

At just about the same period, Basques came to frequent the area for whale-hunting and trade with the First Nations
First Nations
people of the modern Canadian Atlantic and Quebec
Quebec
provinces.