Canada is known for its beautiful scenery, Ice Hockey, the Mounties and Ryan Gosling but what else do we know about Canada, apart from it being not only one of the wealthiest countries in the world but also a country with one of the highest standards of living on the planet.
Canada is the Northern part of the continent of North America. It is a vast country reaching the Arctic Ocean to the north and the United States of America to the south. The Canadian/US border is the longest land border in the world shared by two countries.
Canada extends east to west from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean
Canada has ten provinces
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland & Labrador
And three territories
North West Territories
The total area of Canada is 9.98 million square kilometers which makes Canada the second largest country in the world after Russia.
Put into perspective, the UK can fit into Canada 41 time and Taiwan about 277 times.
The 2014 estimate for the population of Canada is 35,344,962.
In 2006 31% of the population classed themselves as Canadians followed by:
- English 21%
- French 15.8%
- Scottish 15.1%
- Irish 13.9%
- German 10.2%
- Italian 4.6%
- Chinese 4.3%
- First Nation 4.0%
- Ukrainian 3.8%
- Dutch 3.3%
The vast majority of Canadians, about 95% of the population, live less than 100 miles from the border with the United States.
The main population concentrations are Toronto, Ontario (5.5 million), Montreal, Quebec (3.8 million) and Vancouver, British Columbia (2.3 million).
Ottawa- Gatineau, Calgary and Edmonton are the only other cities with populations over 1 million
Above the 55th parallel north, the rest of the vast expanse of Canada is sparsely populated by mostly native aboriginal people that have been living in what is now Canada for over 25,000 years.
There are two official languages in Canada, English, first language to 59.7% of the population and French which is first language to 23.2% of the population.
There are eleven aboriginal languages with over 65 regional dialects.
Chinese (mostly Cantonese) is listed as being spoken by over 1 million people as a first language
The first known European colonization attempt was around 1000 AD when Norsemen briefly settled in the northern tip of Newfoundland. However it was centuries later when, on behalf England, the Italian John Cabot explored the Canadian Atlantic coast 1497.
In 1534 Jacques Cartier explored the St Lawrence River and claimed the territory for France.
1553 saw Sir Humphrey Gilbert claim St John’s, Newfoundland as the first English colony.
French explorer Samuel De Champlain established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal, in what is now Nova Scotia, in 1605 and Quebec City in 1608
In 1610, the English then established settlements in Newfoundland.
After the Seven Years’ War - 1754 – 1763, New France was ceded to Britain. Mainland Nova Scotia had already been ceded in 1713 but in 1763 Britain annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia and St John’s Island (Now Prince Edward Island).
In 1791, to accommodate English speaking loyalists in Quebec, the province was divided in to Upper Canada (now Quebec) and Lower Canada (now Ontario)
After the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States there was mass immigration to Canada from Britain and Ireland and the two Canadas were merged to form a united Province of Canada.
The end of the Oregon boundary dispute with the USA in 1846 paved the way for the opening of new British colonies of Vancouver Island in 1849 and British Columbia in 1858.
1867 saw the four original provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick proclaimed the Canadian Federation.
The new province of Manitoba joined in 1870 and British Columbia and Vancouver Island (united in 1886) joined in 1871.
Prince Edward Island joined the federation in 1873, the last two provinces to join were Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905.
Canada Joined the League of Nations in 1919 independent from Britain but full independence was finally affirmed in 1931.
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state as Canada is member of the commonwealth, a group of countries that were once part of the British Empire. The head of the government is the prime minister, currently Stephen Harper, the leader of the conservative party.