1. Canada is the second largest country in the world (after Russia) in terms of land mass.
Canada has a total area of 9.9 million square kilometres. and touches the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans (hence the motto “from sea to sea” makes perfect sense), making it the country with the longest coastline (243,791 km. long). It consists of 10 counties and three territories with Ottawa as its capital. The counties are: Alberta (Capital: 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 (Quebec City) and Saskatchewan (Regina). The three areas are: Northwest Territories (Yellowknife), Nunavut (Iqaluit), and Yukon (Whitehorse).
2. Land of lakes
Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. At the last count, there could be as many as two million, with 563 lakes larger than 100 square kilometres. Canada’s largest are Lake Huron (Ontario), Great Bear Lake (Northwest Territories), and Lake Superior (Ontario). Lake Winnipeg, Canada’s fifth and the world’s 11th largest, is located in Manitoba.
3. Multicultural population
Canada is the first country in the world to pursue a multicultural policy, embracing diversity and pluralism. Today, according to the Canadian Multiculturalism Report from the Parliament of Canada, the country is home to people of more than 250 ethnic origins. About 6.2 percent of the total Canadian population reported an Aboriginal identity, and 22.3 percent belong to a visible minority (2016 census). The largest groups among these visible minorities come from Asia (including the Middle East), Africa and Europe. The largest individual source of immigrants is the Philippines, followed by India and China (source: Statistics Canada).
4. Democracy / monarchy
Canada is a parliamentary democracy led by a prime minister. However, it is also a constitutional monarchy with executive power over the Queen. This means that the Queen is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government. A parliamentary democracy consists of three parts: the sovereign (queen), the senate and the House of Commons.
Meanwhile, the government has three levels: federal, provincial, and municipal. The federal government is based in Ottawa and is headed by the Prime Minister. Provincial and territorial governments are led by prime ministers, while municipal governments are led by mayors (read Canada’s three levels of government for more information).
5. Canada means village
The country’s name is derived from ‘Kanata’, a Huron-Iroquois word meaning village or settlement. Two native youths used this word to describe the settlement of Stadacona (now Quebec City) to European explorer Jacques Cartier. Cartier then used “Canada” to describe a larger area outside of Stadacona. Use of this name soon spread across the region, surpassing its old name, New France.
6. The maple leaf and other symbol
Did you know that it took 40 years for the Canadian Parliament to finally decide on a Canadian flag? The red and white flag with the prominent maple leaf was officially launched on February 15, 1965 (creating the national flag of Canada on February 15) after much debate and rigorous study (read 5 amazing facts about the creation of the national flag of Canada at know the full story). But have you ever wondered why the maple leaf is so identified with Canada?
Well, years before the arrival of European settlers, indigenous peoples used maple sap as a food staple. Throughout history, the image of the magazine has made its way into Canadian coins, emblems and coats of arms. The maple is also very important to Canadians and is the official tree emblem. Today, Canada continues to produce three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup production.
Meanwhile, the beaver as a national emblem dates back to the 18th century, when the lucrative trade in beaver hides (for fur hats) put Canada on the map. The Hudson’s Bay Company honored the animal by putting it in its weapon. Another Canadian symbol is the Maple Leaf Tartan, designed by David Weiser, which became an official symbol in 2011.