Canada from A to Z

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The beautiful country we all call home is turning 150 years young this summer (2017). We’d like to spread our excitement and share some amazing facts about Canada, its history and its people. Enjoy!

A is for Awesome

In 1943, the Canadian government temporarily proclaimed a hospital room in Ottawa Civic Hospital to be extraterritorial (international) ground, so that a Dutch princess, baby Margriet, could be born a full Dutch citizen and keep her princess title. To show their gratitude to Canada, the Royal family donated 100,000 tulip bulbs to the City of Ottawa in 1945 when they returned back to the Netherlands. Read more…

B is for Bilingual

Canada is a bilingual country where English and French enjoy official language status. According to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, both languages have equal status in respect of all Government of Canada services. New Brunswick is the only province that officially recognizes the equal status of French and English at the provincial level. Quebec is the only all-French province. Read more…

C is for Churchill

Churchill is a town in northern Manitoba, approximately 1,000km north of Winnipeg. The town is widely known as a polar bear capital of the world. Frequently called “Lords of the Arctic”, polar bears are the planet’s largest land carnivores. About a thousand polar bears pass by or through Churchill in the summer and fall waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze, so that they can start hunting.

Hungry bears are dangerous and can create problems to people living in the town. If you are in Churchill during the bear season, do not walk the streets at night, never lock your car (if anyone runs into a bear, they can use it as a shelter) and when you hear horns, go inside and let bear catchers from the Polar Bear Alert program do their job. Read more…

D is for Diversity

The country’s long history of migration has made Canada a welcoming home for people from all around the globe. Today, every fifth person in Canada is foreign-born. It’s the highest proportion among the G8 countries.

Canada’s inclusive society, where everyone is valued and has equal opportunities to succeed, is often compared to a beautifully arranged mosaic every single piece of which contributes to Canada’s diverse identity. Read more…

E is for Education

Canada maintains its leadership as one of the world’s most educated countries. Ninety percent of Canadian adults aged 25 to 64 have completed upper secondary education (high school) and 64% of adults within the same age group have completed post-secondary education.

In 2015, approximately 20,000 Canadian 15-year-old students set for the international assessment exam (PISA, Programme For International Assessment) which covered reading, math and science. Among the 72 participating countries and economies, only one (Singapore) outperformed Canada in reading, three (Singapore, Japan, Estonia) – in science and six (Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Macau-China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, BSJG-China) – in mathematics. Read more…

F is for Flag

The Maple Leaf Flag (l’Unifolié in French) didn’t exist until 1964. On February 15, 1965, it was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The Peace Tower flag (2.3 m x 4.6 m) is changed every working day by the designated flag master who climbs 33 meters of stairs and ladders to reach the top of the tower.

As a courtesy, flags that have flown on Parliament Hill are donated to Canadian residents. You can place your name on the waiting list for a flag by completing an online form on Public Services and Procurement Canada website. BUT, there’s a 50-60 year wait to get one… Read more…

G is for Gravity

The Hudson Bay area and surrounding regions (including Quebec) are “missing” gravity. This phenomenon was first identified in the 1960s. Gravity there is lower than it is in other parts of the world. Though the difference is slight (3 grams for a 68-kilogram person), scientists have been trying to find out what’s causing it for years. Read more…

H is for Hockey

Being an integral part of Canada’s identity, hockey is the country’s official national winter sport. Every year, more than 500,000 men and women, girls and boys register in minor hockey and hit indoor and outdoor arenas across the country with a passion to win. Read more…

I is for Innovation

Canadians are responsible for dozens of inventions that have improved the lives of millions in many different ways. You’ve probably heard that insulin (1922) and the IMAX Movie System (1968) were invented by Canadians.

Here’s a list of some other Canada’s gifts to the world: peanut butter (1884) and Hawaiian Pizza (1962), the Walkie-Talkie (1942) and the pager (1949), the wheelchair accessible bus (1947) and the electric wheelchair (1952), the snowmobile (1937) and the snow blower (1927), the garbage bag (1950) and the egg carton (1911). Read more…

J is for Joy

Every year, more than a million children send letters to Santa Claus at the North Pole via Canada Post. A few thousand volunteers help Santa respond to each and every letter (if a return address is included). What a great way to spread joy and make this world a little bit brighter! Read more…

K is for Kayak

Have you ever tried kayaking in Canada? Go for it! It’s so much fun. The fact that the Inuit have used kayaks for over 2,000 years will make your experience even more fascinating. Modern kayaks are equipped with comfy seats and even cup holders, they are easy to maneuver and are rather stable. Read more…

L is for Linguistic Misunderstanding

The country’s name is derived from “Kanata”, a Huron-Iroquois word meaning village or settlement. Two Indigenous youths used this word to describe the settlement of Stadacona (now Quebec City) to European explorer Jacques Cartier. Cartier then used “Canada” to describe a bigger area beyond Stadacona. This soon spread throughout the entire region, surpassing its former name, New France. Read more…

M is for Maple Syrup

Maple syrup, everyone’s favourite pancake topper, is loaded with antioxidants, as well as high levels of zinc and manganese. It helps keep your heart healthy and boosts your immune system.

Did you know that there is a strategic reserve of maple syrup in Quebec? The reserve helps control global maple syrup prices and supply. Currently, it has 91,496 barrels of this natural sweetener in stock. Read more…

N is for National Parks

From the majestic mountains and turquoise glacial lakes of Banff National Park (1885) to the remote terrain of Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve (2012), and from the prairies of Grasslands National Park to the Arctic tundra of Ivvavik National Park, Canada’s natural heritage is priceless. The system of 39 national parks helps preserve the nation’s natural jewels and share them with our future generations. Read more…

O is for One-Fifty

Canada 150 marks the sesquicentennial (if you are not sure how to pronounce it, try to break it down to sesqui- (one and a half) and centennial (100 years) anniversary of Canadian Confederation, when 4 provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were united into one Dominion of Canada.

Did you know that the official Canada 150 logo was designed by a 19-year-old university student? The logo consists of 13 diamonds forming a maple leaf. Each of the diamonds represents a province or a territory: 4 diamonds at the base symbolize the original provinces that formed confederation and the rest represent the provinces and territories that joined later. Read more…

P is for Poutine

Being one of the country’s culinary gems, poutine is sometimes referred to as Canada’s national dish. It’s believed ‘poutine’ is slang for “a mess” in Quebec. Crispy French fries and fresh cheese curds drowned in light meat gravy might look messy, but the taste is absolutely phenomenal. Read more…

Q is for Quality

Dairy Farmers of Canada take milk quality control seriously. That’s why all milk from Canada is steroid-, growth hormones- and antibiotics-free. In case of a cow’s illness, the farmer must discard her milk until her antibiotic treatment is over and the animal’s system has cleared the medication.To increase their cows’ milk production, Canadian farmers choose to keep them healthy and well-nourished instead of giving them hormones. Moreover, artificial growth hormones are illegal for use with Canadian dairy cows. But they are legal in the USA and other countries. So, when you go grocery shopping next time, make sure you look for a Dairy Farmers of Canada logo on dairy products. Read more…

R is for Rights

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a document that summarizes the rights and freedoms Canadians believe are necessary in a free and democratic society. It is an integral part of the country’s constitution. The charter protects and recognizes these fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, mobility rights, legal rights, right to equality, and language rights. Read more…

S is for Sorry

Eight Canadian provinces (including Manitoba) and one territory have an “Apology Act” according to which saying sorry expresses sympathy and regret rather than admission of fault and liability, and cannot be admissible in court. Read more…

T is for Treaties

Winnipeg is located in Treaty 1 territory. What is a treaty? Being negotiated agreements between Indigenous people and the federal and provincial governments, treaties set out rights, responsibilities and promises to encourage peaceful relations between First Nations and non-Indigenous people. Read more…

We know that there are more letters to the alphabet. Watch this space. We will continue adding more amazing facts about Canada until we reach Z!

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