Canada (French: [kanadɑ]) is a country located in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million Km2 (3.85 million Sm2), making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with 82 percent of the 35.15 million people concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.
Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century, the British and French established colonies, the first being the colony of Canada established by France in 1535. As a consequence of various armed conflicts, British North America gained and lost territory until, by the late 18th century, it controlled most of what comprises Canada today. On July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were federated to form the semi-autonomous federal Dominion named Canada. This began an accretion of provinces and territories to the Dominion to the present ten provinces and three territories forming contemporary Canada. Canada achieved independence gradually beginning with responsible government in the 1830s and culminating with the patriation of the Constitution in 1982. In 1931, Canada achieved near-total independence from the United Kingdom with the Statute of Westminster, except for the power to amend its constitution.
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.
Canada is a developed country and has the fifteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the tenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. Canada is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie, and part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7 (formerly G8), the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
|Culture & History|
Canada occupies much of the continent of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south, and the U.S. state of Alaska to the northwest. Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. Greenland is to the northeast and to the southeast Canada shares a maritime boundary with the Republic of France's overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the last vestige of New France. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth, the difference being due to it having the world's largest proportion of fresh water lakes. Of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories, only two are landlocked (Alberta and Saskatchewan) while the other eleven all directly border one of three oceans.
Canada is home to the world's northernmost settlement, Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island – latitude 82.5°N – which lies 817Km (508 mi) from the North Pole. Much of the Canadian Arctic is covered by ice and permafrost. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with a total length of 243,042 Km (151,019 mi); additionally, its border with the United States is the world's longest land border, stretching 8,891 Km (5,525 mi). Three of Canada's arctic islands, Baffin Island, Victoria Island and Ellesmere Island, are among the ten largest in the world.
Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield. Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes—563 greater than 100 km2 (39 Sq mi)—which is more than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water. There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains.
Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager massif, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley massif, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex. The volcanic eruption of the Tseax Cone in 1775 was among Canada's worst natural disasters, killing an estimated 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia. The eruption produced a 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi) lava flow, and, according to Nisga'a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River.
Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In noncoastal regions, snow can cover the ground for almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).
|Languages Spoken||English - French|
|Inter. Airports||Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)|
|Religion(s)||67.2% Christianity 23.9% No religion 3.2% Islam 1.5% Hinduism 1.4% Sikhism 1.1% Buddhism 1.0% Judaism 0.6% Other|