10 more facts you should know about Canada

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  1. Canada has 6 time zones

    Canada is so vast that it has six time zones: Pacific Standard (PST), Mountain Standard (MST), Central Standard (CST), Eastern Standard (EST), Atlantic Standard (AST), and Newfoundland Standard (NST). To give you an idea of which time zone is observed per area, here are sample cities: Vancouver (PST), Edmonton (MST), Winnipeg (CST), Eastern Standard Time (Toronto), Halifax (AST), St. John’s (NST). For a complete map of regions/areas and their time zones, go to: WorldTimeZone.

  2. Official weights and measures

    Officially, Canada uses the Metric System. While its use was legalized as early as 1871, the switch from imperial to metric only began in the 1970s, backed by Canadian government policy. However, you will notice that even today, some imperial units are still preferred. For instance, a person’s height is still mentioned in feet and inches, bulk foods sold in pounds, houses quoted in square feet, and fabric sold by the yard.

  3. Official languages

    Canada declared English and French as its official languages in 1969 (Official Languages Act). Because of this, all federal institutions must provide services in English or French on request. This is also why it is a requirement for anybody immigrating to the country to be proficient in either English or French. A greater percentage of Canadians speak English, with about 17% able to speak English and French. A vast majority of Francophones live in Quebec but New Brunswick is the only province that is officially bilingual.

  4. Capital city

    Canada’s capital city is Ottawa in Ontario. This is where the seat of government is located. But why Ottawa? According to historical records, Queen Victoria chose the city in 1857 because it was centrally located between Montreal and Toronto and it was along the border of Ontario and Quebec (the centre of Canada at that time). She also chose Ottawa because it was far from the American border, making it safe from attacks (Parliament of Canada).

  5. Total population

    Estimated counts for July 2019 places the population at 37.5 million (Statistics Canada). This is a 1.4% increase compared to July 2018, the highest among G7 countries. This growth is largely attributed to immigration, as Canada welcomed more than 300,000 immigrants and more than 170,000 non-permanent residents from all over the world. Historically, Canada has always been culturally diverse. It has been welcoming immigrants since the 1890s. This is why, aside from the Indigenous Peoples (who were the original residents), most Canadians are descended from immigrants, many coming from France and the UK. In 2016, Statistics Canada reported that one in five Canadians are foreign-born, representing over one-fifth (21.9%) of Canada’s total population (Statistics Canada).

  6. Canadian taxes

    Canadian residents pay income and sales taxes at both the provincial and federal levels. Income taxes are progressive, meaning the rate depends on your income. Meanwhile, everyone pays a Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) for merchandise and services. GST is set at five per cent of the purchase price, while PST rates vary per province/territory (Sales Tax rates per province). This may sound like you have to pay a lot of taxes, but considering the country’s efficient social services (think Medicare, Canada Child Benefit, newcomer settlement services, and others), you may think otherwise.

  7. The longest coastline in the world

    Canada’s coastline borders on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. The length of its coastline is 243,791 kilometres, the longest coastline of any country. It is estimated that at a pace of about 20 km a day, it would take a person 33 years to finish strolling Canada’s shorelines.

  8. Source of rare chemical elements

    The country is the largest producer of natural uranium in the world. This mainly comes from the province of Saskatchewan. Over 80% of this element is exported for electricity generation. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of the world’s reserves of cesium are found in Bernic Lake, Manitoba. Cesium is used in building highly precise atomic clocks.

  9. UN founding member

    Canada has always been known as a peace-loving, humanitarian nation. It is a founding member of the United Nations. In fact, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was written in large part by Canadian law professor, John Humphrey.

  10. Cleanest air

    In a recent World Health Organization study, Canada placed third in the list of countries with the cleanest air on the planet. With 30% of the country’s total landmass occupied by lush forests, it is not surprising that it has an abundance of fresh air as well as breathtaking natural scenery.

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia, J.J’s Complete Guide to Canada, Canada Facts.org, Statistics Canada, National Geographic.

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