2Canada Fact file Official symbols Geographical position History timelinePolitical structureSights and citiesFamous peopleNatural worldEntertainmentLinks
3Fact File Official name: Canada Size: 3,855,103 square miles (9,984,670 square kilometers); slightly larger than the United StatesPopulation: 33,212,696 as of July 2008Capital: OttawaOfficial Languages: English and FrenchClimate: Temperate in the south, arctic and subarctic in the northCurrency: Canadian dollarProducts: Wheat, barley, maple syrup, fish, dairy, motor vehicles, wood, paper, natural gas
5Geographical Position Canada is located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area. Canada's common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.Canada is a vast and rugged land. From north to south it spans more than half the Northern Hemisphere. From east to west it stretches almost 4,700 miles (7,560 kilometers) across six time zones. It is the second largest country in the world, but it has only one-half of one percent of the world's population.5
6Canada has an extremely varied topography Canada has an extremely varied topography. In the east, the mountainous maritime provinces have an irregular coastline on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic. The St. Lawrence plain, covering most of southern Quebec and Ontario, and the interior continental plain, covering southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and most of Alberta, are the principal cultivable areas.6
7LandscapeCanada features black-blue lakes, numerous rivers, majestic western mountains, rolling central plains, and forested eastern valleys. The Canadian Shield, a hilly region of lakes and swamps, stretches across northern Canada and has some of the oldest rocks on Earth. Canada's far north lies in the frozen grip of the Arctic, where ice, snow, and glaciers dominate the landscape. Few trees grow here, and farming is not practical. Native Canadians, called First Nations people, live in this region by hunting and fishing.
8History Timeline30,000–15,000 B.C.: The first people arrive in the area. They had crossed a land bridge from northeast Asia to North America.A.D. 1000: The Vikings explore what is now Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and New Brunswick.1497: Explorer John Cabot sails to Canada's east coast and claims it for England.1534: Explorer Jacques Cartier claims the area now known as Quebec for France. He uses the Huron-Iroquois word for village or community, "kanata," to describe it.1763: The Treaty of Paris ends seven years of fighting between France and England. France gives its Canadian settlements to England.1867: Colonies now known as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec join to create the Dominion of Canada. Its government is similar to Britain's and includes a governor-general, who represents Britain's royalty.1873: Canada creates the North-West Mounted Police, now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Mounties, to help keep order.
91896: Gold is discovered in the Klondike region of western Canada. 1959: The St. Lawrence Seaway opens, allowing cargo ships to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.1965: Canada flies its red and white maple leaf flag for the first time.1969: English and French become Canada's official languages.1976: Montreal hosts the Summer Olympics.1982: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms becomes the law of the land. It outlines rights for all Canadians.1988: Calgary hosts the Winter Olympics.1994: Canada, Mexico and the U.S. sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under the treaty, certain goods traded between the countries are tax-free.1999: Nunavut becomes a self-governing Inuit territory. It is the first territory to have a majority native population.
10Political StructureCanada is a federation of ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut). 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.
11EconomyBritain's Quebec Act of 1774 granted Quebec its own legal and religious rights. Despite this concession, many Quebec citizens have long sought independence. In votes held in 1980 and 1995, Quebec decided to stay in Canada. But the second vote was very close, and the debate is still alive. Canada has provided fish, furs, and other natural resources to the world since the 1500s. Today, it is a world leader in agricultural production, telecommunications, and energy technologies. The vast majority of Canada's exports go to the United States.
12Official LanguagesCanada's two official languages are English and French. Official bilingualism is defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French, and official-language minorities are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories
14Quebec CityQuebec City was founded in 1608 by French settlers. They enclosed the colony with walls to protect it from invasion. Today, the city has outgrown its walls, but its quaint winding streets, old stone houses and rich French culture remain. The city overlooks the St. Lawrence River, one of the world's great waterways. The river is home to rare marine wildlife such as minke whales.
15MontrealFounded by French explorers in 1642, this city in the province of Quebec is one of the oldest in North America. It is also Canada's second largest city. The name Montreal comes from the French form of the name of the mountain, Mont-Royal, which looms above city skyscrapers. Montreal's French roots remain strong. Most of its residents speak French!
16VancouverThe city of Vancouver is located in the province of British Columbia. The largest city in western Canada, Vancouver's downtown area has views of the mountains and is surrounded by water on three sides! About an hour and a half ferry ride from Vancouver takes visitors to Vancouver Island, where Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located. Known for its beautiful gardens, Victoria was founded as a trading post in 1843.
17The Niagara FallsThis thundering natural wonder is located on the Niagara River and is shared by both Canada and the United States. It actually consists of two waterfalls. Ontario's Canadian Falls, (also called Horseshoe Falls) is actually bigger than the American Falls and sends nine times more water crashing down its edge. Both are more than 180 feet high. Millions of people visit the Falls every year.
18Banff National Park/Canadian Rockies Banff National Park was founded in It is Canada's first and most famous national park. Tourists are likely to make stops to see the emerald-green waters of Lake Louise, take a dip in natural pools fed by hot springs and go hiking or skiing in the surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountains. The park is also home to many wild animals, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, caribou and mountain goat.
19NunavutLocated in the eastern Canadian Arctic, Nunavut is the country's largest and newest territory. It is the homeland of native Canadians called the Inuit, who make up nearly 85 percent of Nunavut's population. In 1999, Nunavut became a self-governing Inuit territory. It is the first territory to have a majority native population. Nunavut means "our land" in the language of the Inuit.
20Famous peopleThomas John Thomson was an influential Canadian artist of the early 20th century. He directly influenced a group of Canadian painters that would come to be known as the Group of Seven.)
21Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts, was a Canadian poet and prose writer. Besides his own body of work, Roberts is known as the "Father of Canadian Poetry" because he served as an inspiration for other writers of his time.
22Natural WorldCanada's remote north and extensive forests are home to wildlife, from bears, wolves, beavers, deer, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep to smaller animals like raccoons, otters, and rabbits. The country's lakes and rivers, which contain about 20 percent of all fresh water on Earth, are full of fish such as trout and salmon.
23Natural WorldCanada's prairies in the south are home to bison and pronghorn antelope. Farther north are Canada's sprawling evergreen forests, which have lots of wildlife, including moose and black bears. Even farther north is the cold, bare tundra, where herds of caribou and musk ox live. Canadians work hard to protect the native wildlife. Canada has 41 national parks and three marine conservation areas. Nevertheless, species like wolves, lynx, and Atlantic fish have been overhunted and overfished.
24People and CultureIn some ways Canada is many nations in one. Descendents of British and French immigrants make up about half the population. They were followed by other European and Asian immigrants. First Nations peoples make up about four percent of the population. Inuit people live mostly in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Many Native Canadians live on their traditional lands, but many others have moved to cities across Canada. First Nations artwork is widely recognized and is seen as a symbol of Canadian culture.
25EntertainmentHockey is a national pastime and the most popular spectator sport in the country. It is also the sport most played by Canadians