Area 3,851,814 square miles (9,976,140 square kilometers)
Coastline 151,485 miles (243,791 kilometers)
Highest Mountain Mount Logan, 19,551 feet (5,959 meters)
Major Rivers St. Lawrence, Mackenzie, Yukon, Fraser, Red
Provinces (10) British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec,
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island
Territories (3) Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut
Population 31 million
Major Cities Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, Halifax
Official Languages English and French
National Anthem ―O Canada‖
Form of Government Confederation with parliamentary democracy;
Parliament consists of two houses: a 301-member House of Commons, whose members
are elected by the people, and a 104-member Senate, whose members are appointed by
recommendation of the Prime Minister
Head of Government Prime Minister
Chief of State (Head of State) British Crown (now Elizabeth II), represented in Canada
by the Governor General
Cabinet Panel of ministers appointed by the Prime Minister from members of the majority
party in Parliament
Independence July 1, 1867, from the United Kingdom
Currency Canadian dollar (CDN$)
The name Canada comes from a word, kanata, meaning village or settlement. In 1535,
native inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French
explorer Jacques Cartier towards the village of Stadacona. Cartier later used the word
Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but also the entire area; by 1545,
European books and maps had begun referring to this region as Canada.
With a land area of 3.8 million square miles (nearly 10 million square kilometers), Canada
is the world’s second-largest country. It also dominates the northern portion of the North
American continent. Three oceans—the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic— border Canada’s
shores. An undefended land border of 5,524 miles, the longest in the world, is shared with
the continental United States to the south and with the state of Alaska to the northwest.
If you visit Canada, you should try to see Niagara Falls. These beautiful waterfalls, on the
border between Canada and the United States, were once one of the most famous
honeymoon spots in North America.
The nominal head of state is the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, and her
Canadian representative is the Governor-General.
Canada is a federation of ten provinces and three territories. Formally considered a
constitutional monarchy, Canada is governed by its own House of Commons. While the
governor-general is officially the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, in reality the
governor-general acts only on the advice of the Canadian prime minister.
Canada’s national government—Parliament—is run by the Prime Minister. Parliament
includes the House of Commons, the Senate, and the Governor General, who represents
Canada is a bilingual country: It has two official languages: English and French.
The native peoples of the far north were given a name they did not want – ―Eskimo,‖
literally ―eaters of raw meat.‖ Given the history, it is hardly surprising that modern-day
leaders of Canada’s aboriginal peoples have rejected these names in favor of others:
aboriginal, native Canadians, and First Nations are all acceptable, though the people of the
north prefer Inuit (meaning ―the people‖). Included among Canada’s native peoples are the
Métis, mixed race descendants of French fur traders who married First Nations women.
The Métis (a French word meaning ―mixed‖) developed their own distinct culture on the
National symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and First Nations sources.
Particularly, the use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates back to the early 18th
century and is depicted on its current and previous flags, the penny, and on the coat of
arms. Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada Goose, Common Loon, the
Crown, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police Королевская канадская конная
полиция), and more recently the totem pole and Inukshuk.
Canada's official national sports are ice hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer.
Ice hockey is a national pastime and the most popular spectator sport in the country. It is
the most popular sport Canadians play. After hockey, other popular sports include curling
and football, golf, baseball, skiing, soccer, volleyball, and basketball.
Canada celebrates many of the same holidays as the United States, especially religious
holidays such as Easter and Christmas. In May, Canadians can also be found celebrating
Queen Victoria’s birthday, with gatherings of friends and family. This commemorative
day, celebrated since 1845 in honor of then-reigning Queen Victoria of England, is viewed
as the first of the summer holidays.
Celebrations large and small occur throughout Canada on July 1 for Canada Day.
Fireworks, picnics, parades, and patriotic events commemorate the anniversary of the
formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Another public holiday, occurring the first
weekend of August, is known as the August Civic Holiday. This is the next to last (with
Labor Day still to come in September) of summer holidays. During this holiday,
Canadians can often be found enjoying the luxury of the mountains, beaches, lakes, and
beautiful outdoor scenery that the country is blessed with.
Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated much as it is in the United States, except for an
earlier date, reflecting the earlier end to the growing season further north. Celebrated on
the second Monday of October in Canada, this autumnal event truly incorporates a bounty
of harvest to be thankful for.
Incredible shows of leaves changing colors, active harvesting of the land, and plates of
turkey with all the trimmings indicate the presence of Thanksgiving.
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the country's fourth largest municipality. Ottawa is
governed by a 24 member City Council. The members of this council are elected by the
residents of Ottawa. Each councillor represents one ward (sub region) within Ottawa. The
mayor however represents Ottawa as a whole.
The city is situated along the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, opposite Gatineau, Quebec.
1.4 million people live in the City of Ottawa. Unique as a North American capital, the city
is bilingual with the majority of the population speaking English and a significant number
also speaking French. Staff in many stores and restaurants speak both well.
Ottawa is home to many of the world's cultures as thousands of immigrants from around
the world now call Ottawa home. The city is probably best known as the nation's capital
but has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America owing to the booming
high-tech business sector.
Montreal is the cultural capital of Quebec and the main entry point to the province. The
second largest city in Canada, it is a city rich in culture and history, has an inordinate
number of attractive, fashionably dressed people, and a well-deserved reputation as one of
the liveliest cities in North America. Montreal is home to the second-largest population of
native French speakers in the world, behind Paris.
Montreal is home to one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious universities, McGill
University. Concordia University is the city's other English-language university and has
over 30,000 students.
The Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM) and the Université de Montréal cater
mainly to Francophone students. The Université de Montréal is the second largest French-
language university in the world, after the Sorbonne in Paris and is one of the largest
research institutions in Canada.
Calgary is well-known as a destination for winter sports and ecotourism with a number of
major mountain resorts near the city and metropolitan area. Economic activity in Calgary
is mostly centred on the petroleum industry; however, agriculture, tourism, and high-tech
industries also contribute to the city's fast economic growth. In 1988, Calgary became the
first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games, and one of the fastest long track
speed skating ice rinks in the world was built at the University of Calgary to accommodate
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. Ontario known
as the Golden Horseshoe which is home to 8.1 million residents.
As Canada's economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top
financial cities in the world. Toronto's leading economic sectors include finance, business
services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television
production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism and
sports industries. The Toronto Stock Exchange, the world's seventh largest, is
headquartered in the city, along with a majority of Canada's corporations.
Toronto is a cosmopolitan city with a wonderful network of parks, recreational, and
cultural facilities. It is the largest city in Canada, with a population of more than 2.5
million and a metropolitan area consisting of over 5.5 million people. Toronto is the home
of seven professional sports teams and the third largest English-speaking theatre district in
the world, behind New York and London. Toronto has also been labeled a "world city".
Toronto is a great starting point for exploring southern Ontario. The Niagara Region,
including Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake, is about an hour's drive from Toronto
towards the United States border at the Falls.
Edmonton is Canada's second most populous provincial capital (after Toronto) and is a
cultural, government and educational centre. Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta. It is
home to 1.1 million people and is the northernmost metro area with a million people in
North America. It is home to North America's largest mall: West Edmonton Mall,
Canada's largest historic park: Fort Edmonton, and North America's largest urban parkland
network. It has brilliant spectator sports, and is Canada's Festival City, home to a growing
and established retail market, bustling nightlife, and a large number of high end golf
It plays host to a year-round slate of world-class festivals, earning it the title of "The
Quebec City (French: Québec) is the capital of the province of Quebec in Canada.
Located at a commanding position on cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence Seaway, Quebec
City's Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only city in north America,
north of Mexico with its original city walls.
Quebec City is internationally known for its Summer Festival, Winter Carnival and the
Château Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the city skyline.
Among the tourist attractions near the city are Montmorency Falls and the Basilica of
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.