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 (243,042 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 on multiculturalism.
    • Canada embraces diversity.
    • It is home to people from over 250 ethnic origins (2016 data-Canadian Multiculturalism, Parliament of Canada).
      • 6.2 per cent of the total Canadian population reported an Aboriginal identity (2016 Census)
      • 22.3 per cent of the total population belong to a visible minority(2016 Census).
    • The largest groups among these visible minorities come from:
      • Asia (including the Middle East)
      • Africa
      • Europe
    • The largest individual source of immigrants is India, followed by China and the Philippines (2020 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration).

  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 this word 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 (Read 5 amazing facts about the creation of the National Flag of Canada to know the full story).
    • 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.
    • Hear the anthem 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.
Updated June 22, 2022
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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