DISCLOSURE: This effort got started a short time ago, when we resolved that we should write a brief verse about a town in every state in the USA. Shortly after the project's inception, we decided that we would extend the purview simultaneously to include the provinces and territories of Canada. The Canadian inception, with seven fun-packed verses, is presented here. (Click THIS LINK if you want to see how the American branch of the project is going.)
Gander, population 12,000, located on the island north of the capital of St John's, had been founded in the 1930s as a refuelling stop for the expanding number of commercial transatlantic flights. It recently became famous as the recipient town for diverted passenger aircraft during the 9/11 debacle.
The town of Goose Bay, population 8,000, now administratively known as Happy Valley - Goose Bay, is the largest settlement in the icy northern portion of the province. Founded in 1941, it was selected for its potential as a military airbase, and served that function throughout World War Two.
A terse story about "dangerous": A recent novice visitor from France, flying overnight to Toronto, sleepily noted the key towns on the plane's route-map, and wondered why "Danger" was prominently displayed near the country's east coast.
If you want to know more about the Canadian province of Alberta, consult our verse on Red Deer, AB, or ask speedysnail, author of the OEDILFian poem Alberta.
In each of the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, administrative rearrangements resulted in a handful of "cities" and "regional municipalities" with extensive areas that had low population densities, contrary to the usual expectation for urban centres. In this regard La Tuque heads up the pack, its central town surrounded by a vast forested area of 28,000 km2 giving it a population density of 0.4/km2, compared to Montreal, QC, and Quebec City, QC, with densities of 2,700 and 1,600/km2 respectively.
Prior to the arrival of European settlers, aboriginals had called a local stream "Elk River". European settlers renamed it as "Red Deer River" after the more familiar Eurasian species, and founded a village there in 1894, at a river crossing used by Fort Normandeau, a stockade stronghold in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. The town of Red Deer expanded dramatically during the 1940s owing to the discovery of major Albertan oil and natural gas reserves.
Prior to European settlement, the site was the shared territory of the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations. Trappers and prospectors were gradually attracted, but completion of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in 1914 provided easy access from Vancouver, and brought logging and escalating tourism. The resort-city is named for the call of the hoary marmot, a ground squirrel dwelling at high elevations. The Whistler-Blackcomb area served as a major venue for "Vancouver 2010", the twenty-first Olympic Winter Games.