1. Location Canada is the second-largest country in world after Russia, area is 9,984,670 sq km. Location is Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north. Canada is the northernmost country in North America, bordered by the United States in the south (the world's longest undefended border) and northwest (Alaska). Canada is also bordered by Greenland, in the northeast, which is a territory of Denmark and French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Canada a has the world's longest coastline. The name Canada derives from the Huron-Iroquois word Kanata, which means village or settlement. The term was used to describe Stadacona (the current site of Quebec city) by two Amerindians who accompanied Jacques Cartier on his 1535 return voyage from France. 2. Flag and Coat of arms The National Flag of Canada was replaced by the red and white maple leaf flag on February 15, 1965. Well before the coming of the first European settlers, Canada's aboriginal peoples had discovered the food properties of maple sap, which they gathered every spring. According to many historians, the maple leaf began to serve as a Canadian symbol as early as 1700. Red and white were approved as Canada's official colours in the proclamation of the royal arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V. The present design The Coat of arms of Canada was approved in 1994 and shows a ribbon behind the shield with the motto of the Order of Canada. The motto is „A Mari Usque Ad Mare“, meaning "from sea to sea." It is taken from Psalm. Beneath the motto is a wreath of roses, thistles, shamrocks, and fleurs-de-lis, the floral emblems of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France.( the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the French fleur-de-lis and the Irish shamrock.) The crest is a crowned gold lion holding a maple leaf. This is used by the Governor-General of Canada . , representing the Queen of Canada. At the top is St. Edward's Crown, the style of royal crown preferred by Her Majesty. The figures that stand on either side of the shield are known in heraldry as "supporters" and are often depicted in a ferocious manner. The King of England chose two lions while Scotland chose two unicorns. Scottish unicorn The English lion and hold spears from which fly the Union Jack and the three fleurs-de-lis of royal France. The gold helmet facing forward represents royal sovereignty; the mantling is in Canada's national colours, red and white. The shield contains five coats: the three gold English "leopards" or lions passant, the Scottish lion and royal tressure, the Irish harp of Tara, the gold fleurs de lis of royal France, and a sprig with three red maple leaves representative of Canadians of all origins. On top of the "achievement of the arms of Canada" is the imperial crown which is indicative of the presence of a monarch as Canada's Head of State. 3. Population The population is 32,207,113 (July 2003 est.)persons. The vast north of the country is mainly arctic lowlands with a polar climate, and is therefore extremely sparsely populated; for example, fewer than 30,000 people live in the territory of Nunavut, which is the size of Western Europe. Most of the major cities are located in the more temperate south, with largest concentration in the east.Nearly 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the Canada-US border. About 40% of the Canadian population are of British descent, while 27% are of French origin. Another 20% are of other European background, about 10% are of E or SE Asian origin, and some 3% are of aboriginal or Métis (mixed aboriginal and European) background. In the late 1990s, Canada had the highest immigration rate of any country in the world, with more than half the total coming from Asia. Over 75% of the total population live in cities. Canada has complete religious liberty. About 45% of the people are Roman Catholics, while some 40% are Protestant (the largest groups being the United Church of Canada, Anglicans, and Presbyterians). English and French are the official languages, and federal documents are published in both languages. In 1991, about 61% of Canadians cited English as their mother tongue, while 24% cited French. 4. Government Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 (National holiday: Canada Day, 1 July) while retaining ties to the British crown. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, the head of state being a monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952). The monarch's representative in Canada is the Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson (since 7 October 1999), who fills the role of approving bills, and other state functions. The Governor-General appoints the Prime Minister Paul Martin (since 12 December 2003) generally the leader of the political party that holds the most seats in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister in turn appoints the Cabinet. The legislative branch of government consists of the Parliament, including the elected House of Commons (next elections to be held by 2005) and the appointed Senate. Legal system based on English common law, except in Quebec, where civil law system based on French law prevails . It should be noted that the province of Quebec has refused to ratify the Constitution Act, 1982, which contained procedures for amending the Constitution. 5. History Archaeology tells us that aboriginal people have lived in the Maritimes provinces of Canada for at least 11 000 years, in Labrador for over 9000 years and on the island of Newfoundland for at least 6000 to 7000 years and probably longer. The first inhabitants of Canada were native Indian peoples, primarily the Inuit (Eskimo). Canada was first visited by Europeans around 1000, when the Vikings briefly settled at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. The history of the white man in the country actually began in 1497, when John Cabot, an Italian in the service of Henry VII of England, reached Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. More permanent European visits came in the 16th and 17th century, as the French settled here. Canada was taken for France in 1534 by Jacques Cartier. The actual settlement of New France, as it was then called, began in 1604 at Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia; in 1608, Quebec was founded. In 1763, at the end of the Seven Years' War, France decided to keep its Caribbean Islands and leave its North American colony, New France, to Britain. Thousands of British colonists emigrated to Canada from the British Isles and from the American colonies. In 1849, the right of Canada to self-government was recognized. Canada became a self-governing dominion on July 1, 1867. By the Statute of Westminster in 1931 the British dominions, including Canada, were formally declared to be partner nations with Britain, ―equal in status, in no way subordinate to each other,‖ and bound together only by allegiance to a common Crown. 1949, Canada also includes two territories—the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories. On July 7, 1969 French was made equal to English throughout the Canadian national government. Full control over its affairs came in 1982 with the patriation of Canada's constitution. In the second half of the 20th century, some citizens of the French- speaking province of Quebec have sought independence in two referendums held in 1980 and 1995. In both cases, the referendums were defeated with 60% and 50.6% opposed to independence, respectively. In 1992 voters in the Northwest Territories authorized the division of their region in two, creating a homeland for Canadian Eskimos, the Inuits, who make up 85% of the area's population, which in April 1999 became the territory of Nunavut. Canada-U.S. relations were strained in 2003 when Canada refused to join Washington's coalition supporting the war in Iraq. Despite Canada's opposition to the war in Iraq, it had contributed $240 million to reconstruction efforts in Iraq and sent 2,000 soldiers to Afghanistan. Relations with the United States improved in Jan. 2004 after President Bush reversed the policy. 6. Provinces and territories. Canada is a federation of ten provinces and three territories.The provinces have a reasonably large amount of autonomy from the federal government, while the territories have somewhat less. The provinces are: Alberta (the capital is 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 (Québec) Saskatchewan (Regina) And the territories: Northwest Territories (Yellowknife) Nunavut (Iqaluit) Yukon (Whitehorse) 7. Geography Canada - a land of vast distances and rich natural resources. Eastern Canada is divided between boreal forest and the barren Canadian Shield in the north and the highly fertile Saint Lawrence River Valley in the south, where most of the country's population is concentrated. Ontario, and Quebec is located on the vast rocky Canadian Shield which cannot support agriculture but does have large mineral reserves.Large parts of south central Canada are covered by plains and prairies. The west of Canada mostly consists of rolling terrain on either side of the Rocky Mountains. The Hudson Bay sea arm cuts deep into the country. The Pacific border of the coast range is ragged with fjords and channels. The highest point in Canada is Mount Logan (19,850 ft; 6,050 m), which is in the Yukon. The two principal river systems are the Mackenzie and the St. Lawrence. The Mackenzie River is Canada's longest river and the 3rd largest in the world, behind the Amazon and the Missouri-Mississippi. Canada's longest river flows patiently, steadily, solemnly north. , the Mackenzie river system totals almost 4,200 kilometres. The St. Lawrence (3 058 kilometres long) is Canada's most important river, providing a seaway for ships from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. There are some two million lakes in Canada. The largest lake situated entirely in Canada is Great Bear Lake (31 328 km2) in the Northwest Territories. Great Bear Lake is the largest lake in Canada and the fourth largest in the Americas. Great Bear Lake contains many fish . The lake probably got its name because of its size and because of the bears that lived on its shores. The deepest lake is Great Slave Lake, 614 metres. Great Slave Lake covers 11,030 square miles (28,568 square kilometers) in Canada's Northwest Territories. Yellowknife, the capital and largest city of the Northwest Territories, and several small settlements lie on or near the lake's shores. Yellowknife is a gold-mining center. Great Slave Lake is famous for severe and unpredictable storms. Ice covers Great Slave Lake eight months a year. The lake was named for the Slavey Indians, who lived in the area. The Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario - are the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. The world's largest lake inside a lake, Manitou Lake, is located on the world's largest lake island, Manitoulin Island, which is located on Lake Huron. Manitoulin Island, in Lake Huron, is the largest freshwater island in the world. 8. Economy As a high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Natural resources: iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower. Canada is known for its the world's second largest oil reserve. Industries: transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products; wood and paper products; fish products, petroleum and natural gas. Agriculture: wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish. Major trading partners are US, Japan, China. Exports - partners: US 84.6%, Japan 2.2%, UK 1.6%, other EU 2.2% (2000) Exports – commodities motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum Imports - partners: US 72.7%, UK 3.4%, other EU 3.2%, Japan 3.0% (2000) Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods. Currency: Canadian dollar (CAD) 9. Cities and sights Canada's capital is Ottawa and its largest city is Toronto . Other important cities include Montreal , Vancouver , Edmonton , Calgary , Winnipeg , Hamilton , and Quebec . Capital: OTTAWA Ottawa proper was founded in 1827 by Col. John By. In 1858, Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital of the United Provinces of Canada, and in 1867 it became capital of the Dominion of Canada. The Parliament Hill grounds cover an area of 88,480 m2 (290,289 ft2).They are the settings for a wide range of political demonstrations, public ceremonies and celebrations. Few symbols are as evocative of Canada as the Parliament Buildings. Flanked by the East and West blocks, the Centre Block of Parliament — with its distinctive Peace Tower and Library — is familiar to Canadians and people around the world. The Chamber in 1935 in the Centre Block. Senate Chamber . The current Centre Block was built between 1916 and 1927 to replace the original building destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1916. The Centre Block is only one of the magnificent Gothic Revival buildings gracing Parliament Hill, but it is probably the one most quickly recognized by Canadians coast to coast. Home to the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament, the Centre Block is an integral part of our heritage and a symbol of Canada's highly regarded parliamentary system. The Peace Tower, so named to honour the thousands of Canadian men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country in World War I, stands at the front of the Centre Block. At the end of the Hall of Honour is the Library of Parliament - the only portion of the original Centre Block to survive a disastrous fire in 1916 - will undergo work to restore its original glory inside and out. A white marble statue of the young Queen Victoria dominates the circular dome topped reading room. The West Block houses offices of ministers and Members of Parliament. The West Block, like the other Parliament Buildings, is an impressive heritage building. Officially opened in 1866, The East Block contains many senators' offices, as well as some rooms re-created in the style of the early years of Confederation. TORONTO, city (1998 est pop. 2,400,000), provincial capital on Lake Ontario. The Mohawk descriptive phrase tkaronto Literally translated as "where there are trees standing in the water", the name was noted by Champlain in 1615. In 1834 the city was incorporated as Toronto. Skyline from Gardiner Expressway Downtown Toronto Toronto is the largest city in Canada and since the 1970s has been one of the fastest-changing cities in North America. In 1998, the cities of Metropolitan Toronto (Toronto, York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough) were merged as Toronto, instantly becoming the continent's fifth largest city. Toronto has many parks and historic buildings. Exhibition Park is the site of the annual Canadian National Exhibition. The Toronto city hall is a modernistic structure completed in 1965. City Hall MONTREAL, Fr. Montréal , city (1991 pop. 1,017,666), on Montreal island. The city lies at the foot of Mt. Royal, which is the source of its name and around which extends a large wooded park in the center of the city.The city of Montreal takes up approximately 60 square miles of the island. . Montreal is the second largest metropolitan area in Canada, after Toronto, and is a cultural, commercial, financial, and industrial center. It is one of the largest French-speaking cities in the world, though most of its inhabitants also speak English. To the south fronting the river is the area of Old Montreal, which draws visitors to the boardwalk on the site of the Old Port and to Place Jacques-Cartier, St. Sulpice Seminary (1685), the Château de Ramezay (1705), and the Gothic Church of Notre Dame (c.1820). Montreal City Hall The Catedral Biodome at Montreal Olympic Park VANCOUVER, city (1991 pop. 471,844), SW British Columbia. Aerial View of Vancouver Vancouver was settled before 1875 and originally called Granville. It was incorporated in 1886, after a rail link was built, and named in honor of Capt. George Vancouver. It is the largest city on Canada's Pacific coast, the center of the third largest metropolitan area in Canada, and the nation's chief Pacific port, with an excellent year- round harbor. Vancouver is surrounded by water on three sides. Vancouver is a major port and probably leads the world in grain exports. As the main western terminus of Canada's transcontinental highway and rail routes, it is the primary city of western Canada, as well as one of the nation's largest industrial centers. Stanley Park-Fall Totems in Stanley Park Stanley Park (900 acres/364 hectares), the largest of the city's more than 170 parks, has a zoo, a marine science center, and famous gardens with outstanding specimens of native trees. Vancouver and its unique skyline City Hall Downtown Vancouver The city will host the 2010 Winter Olympics. EDMONTON, ´ (ĕd´menten) , city (1991 pop. 616,741), provincial capital, central Alberta, on the North Saskatchewan River. Name taken from Fort Edmonton, built in 1795. Edmonton, known as the ―Gateway to the North,‖ is located in the center of the province between the fertile valleys of the south and the rich resources of the north. It is a major market center for farm and petrochemical products, and has an economy based on the production of oil, coal, and natural gas. Edmonton and the North Saskatchewan River City hall and the CN tower Edmonton's National Hockey League team, the Oilers, was the dominant team in the 1980s, winning five championships (1984-85, 1987-88, 1990) under the leadership of Wayne Gretzky . From June through September this city pulses with non-stop festival fever beginning with June's annual Jazz Festival and ending with one of North America's top Folk Festivals, which occurs in August Edmonton is well-known for West Edmonton Mall the largest mall in the world. The lake inside the massive West Edmonton Mall CALGARY, (kăl´gerē) , city (1991 pop. 710,677) at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers. The largest city in Alberta and the fastest- growing major city in Canada. The city began (1875) as the second post of the Northwest Mounted Police and expanded with the arrival (1883) of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Calgary is a transportation and financial center for Canada's oil and natural gas industries. Calgary is the site of the University of Calgary, the Glenbow Museum, and the second largest zoo in Canada. The Jurassic Park style dinosaur w The Jurassic Park style dinosaur- world recreated at Calgary Zoo. Canadian Pacific railroad engine East towards the zoo and Bow River WINNIPEG(wĬn´Ĭpĕg) , city (1991 pop. 616,790). Capital city of Manitoba. This name is from the Cree Winnipi and may be freely translated as "dirty water" or "murky water". It is the province's largest city and one of the world's largest wheat markets. A railroad, commercial, industrial, and distribution center. The Forks Don't miss The Forks where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet, or test your luck at the marvelous Crystal Casino, set on the seventh floor of the Hotel Fort Garry, one of Winnipeg's grandest historical landmarks. Fort Garry Hotel HAMILTON, city (1991 pop. 318,499), at the western end of Lake Ontario. It is situated on a narrow plain between its harbor (connected by canal with the lake) and the Niagara escarpment. Hamilton is an important port, transportation center, and manufacturing city. It is Canada's leading producer of iron and steel. One of Hamilton's most-recognized landmarks is Dundurn Castle . Dundurn Castle was constructed over a three-year period, and completed by 1835. QUEBEC, Fr. Québec, city (1991 pop. 167,517), provincial capital at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and St. Charles rivers. Quebec City is the oldest extant European settlement in Canada. It was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608 on the site of a First Nations settlement called Stadacona. Quebec City was capital of Canada from 1859 to 1865, the last before Ottawa. View of Quebec City with the Château Frontenac at upper left Quebec's Old Town , the only fortified city in North America whose walls still exist, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Quebec City is a taste of old France in the new world. The population is largely French speaking, and the town is at the ideological core of French Canada. Quebec is an important port (on the Saint Lawrence) and is an industrial, cultural, service, and tourist center. The chief industries are shipbuilding and tourism. View of the fortifications of the Citadelle with the National Assembly behind Part of the city is built on the waterfront and is called Lower Town. Upper Town is on Cape Diamond, a bluff rising c.300 ft (91 m) above the St. Lawrence. Quebec City's skyline is dominated by the massive Château Frontenac hotel, perched on top of Cap Diamant. Near the Château Frontenac is Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral. It is the first cathedral and first basilica to have been built in the New World, and is the primate church of Canada. Chateau Frontenac Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral . The Upper Town is linked by stairways and a funicular to the Lower Town, which includes such sites as the ancient Notre Dame de la Victoire church, the historical Petit Champlain district, the port, and the Musée de la Civilisation. Rue du Petit Champlain Notre Dame de la Victoire church The world's largest winter carnival in Quebec City - Carnaval de Quebec. The race begins Canada's entry in the snow sculpture contest .