11 basic facts about Canada

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  1. Canada is the second largest country in the world

    • It is the second largest country after Russia.
    • Canada has a total area of 9.9 million sq. km.
    • Canada touches the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans. It is the country with the longest coastline (243,791 km. long).
    • It has 10 provinces and three territories. Ottawa is its capital.
    • The provinces are:
      • Alberta (capital: Edmonton)
      • British Columbia (Victoria)
      • Manitoba (Winnipeg)
      • New Brunswick (Fredericton)
      • Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s)
      • Nova Scotia (Halifax)
      • Ontario (Toronto)
      • Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown)
      • Quebec (Quebec City)
      • Saskatchewan (Regina)
    • The three territories are:
      • Northwest Territories (Yellowknife)
      • Nunavut (Iqaluit)
      • Yukon (Whitehorse)

  2. It is a land of lakes

    • There are more than two million lakes in Canada.
    • It has 563 lakes larger than 100 square kilometres.
    • Canada’s largest lakes include:
      • Lake Huron (Ontario)
      • Great Bear Lake (Northwest Territories)
      • Lake Superior (Ontario)
    • Lake Winnipeg is Canada’s fifth largest lake. It is in Manitoba.

  3. It has a Multicultural population

    • Canada is the first country to have a policy of multiculturalism.
    • Canada embraces diversity.
    • One-fifth of Canada’s population are immigrants.
    • It is home to people from over 200 ethnic origins (2011 National Household Survey).
      • 4.3 per cent of the total Canadian population reported an Aboriginal identity
      • 19.1 per cent belong to a visible minority.
    • The largest groups among these visible minorities are:
      • South Asians
      • Chinese
      • Africans
      • Filipinos
      • Latin Americans
      • Arabs
      • Southeast Asians
      • West Asians
      • Koreans
      • Japanese
    • Learn more about Canada’s multiculturalism from this link.

  4. Democracy/Monarchy

    • Canada is a Parliamentary Democracy headed by a Prime Minister.
    • It is also a Constitutional Monarchy. Executive authority is vested in the Queen.
    • The Queen is the head of state.
    • The Prime Minister is the head of government.
    • Parts of a parliamentary democracy:
      • Sovereign (Queen)
      • Senate
      • House of Commons
    • The government has three levels:
      • federal
      • provincial
      • municipal
    • The federal government is in Ottawa. The Prime Minister leads the government.
    • Premiers head provincial and territorial governments.
    • Mayors head municipal governments.

  5. Canada means “village”

    • The name Canada is from Kanata. It is a Huron-Iroquois word that means village.
    • Two Indigenous youths used Kanata to describe the settlement of Stadacona (now Quebec City). They were speaking to European explorer Jacques Cartier.
    • Cartier used the word Canada to describe a bigger area beyond Stadacona.
    • Canada used to be called New France.

  6. The maple leaf and other symbols

    • It took 40 years for the Canadian parliament to decide on a Canadian flag.
    • The flag was launched on February 15, 1965. Flag Day is February 15 each year.
    • The maple leaf is an important symbol for Canada.
      • Maple sap is a food staple for Indigenous peoples. They have used it for many years before the coming of European settlers.
      • The maple leaf has been used as a symbol in Canadian coins, emblems and coats of arms.
      • The maple tree is the official arboreal emblem.
      • Canada produces three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup output.
    • The beaver has been a national emblem since the 1700s.
      • Canada was a top beaver pelt trader. Beaver pelts are used for fur hats.
      • The Hudson’s Bay Company honoured the beaver by putting it in its coat of arms.
    • The Maple Leaf Tartan became an official symbol in 2011. It was designed by David Weiser.

  7. Canada Day

    • Canada Day is celebrated every July 1st.
    • It honours the signing of the British North America Act (Constitution Act of 1867).
    • This act created Canada.
    • It is the anniversary of the joining of three British colonies. They are now called provinces.
    • The provinces are:
      • The United Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec)
      • New Brunswick
      • Nova Scotia.
    • See Canada Day celebrations all over the country: Canada Day.

  8. “O Canada”

    • “O Canada” is Canada’s national anthem.
    • Calixa Lavallee composed the music.
    • Sir Adolphe Basile-Routhier wrote the lyrics.
    • Watch a rendition of the anthem with lyrics below
      (Youtube video by Canada Immigrant):

  9. National dish: Poutine


  10. Canadian inventions

    • Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith. He was a Canadian PE instructor in Massachusetts.
    • The pacemaker was invented by electrical engineer John Hopps.
    • IMAX (for Image Maximum) was created by Toronto-based Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr and William Shaw.
    • The Blackberry cellphone is a product of Research in Motion (RIM). It is in Waterloo, Ontario.
    • Read: 19 things you might not know were invented in Canada.

  11. National pastime

    • Hockey is the national winter sport of Canada.
    • Lacrosse is the national summer sport.
    • Canadians love hockey:
      • The most watched television broadcast in Canadian history was the Canada-US Men’s Gold Hockey Game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. (NHL.com).
      • The women’s hockey team has been dominating the Olympics. The team won a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Sources: Government of Canada site, canadafacts.org., Environment Canada, aboutnews, Canadian Heritage(at the Government of Canada site), montrealpoutine, Historica Canada, National Research Council of Canada, IMAX.com, and brighthub.com.

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