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Canada is a country in North America. It is positioned just above the United States and takes up most of the northern position in North America. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and by the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Its Southern border touches the United States, as does its Northwest border that touches Alaska. To the North, the country is bordered by the Arctic Ocean.
Canada’s largest city is Toronto and its capital is Ottawa. The country spans about 3,854,085 square miles (9,984,670 square kilometers). It has two official languages: French and English. Its government is considered a parliamentary democracy and includes a monarch, governor general, and a prime minister. The country takes its name from an Iroquoian word that means village.
There are ten Canadian provinces and a total of three territories. Each of these is grouped into regions. Though provinces are under the umbrella of the country’s federal government, they enjoy a certain level of self-government. Territories enjoy some autonomy as well, but to a lesser extent.
Generally, provinces have the responsibility of providing for health care and education for the country’s residents. They handle the country’s welfare program as well. The federal government does have the right to create national policies in the provinces, but it cannot strictly impose them. However, though the provinces have the option of refusing national policies, they usually do not refuse.
Canada is considered one of the richest countries in the entire world, boasting a very high per capita income. The country’s economy has free-market status, with little intervention from its federal government. The Canadian market-oriented economy is said to resemble that of the United States. Its economy includes, but is not limited to, mining, oil drilling, logging and manufacturing. It is also largely based in service-related sectors.
In the 1400s, parts of Canada were settled by the British and the French. However, France relinquished its hold on Canada in 1763, following the Seven Years War, when it pulled out of most of its North American colonies. In the late 1860s, the country became a federal dominion, a status that resulted from the combining of three British colonies. However, Canada was not done with change, and in 1982, it grabbed hold of independence, issuing the Canada Act 1982.
With Canada’s northern position, it is not surprising that its winters can be rather harsh. This is particularly true in the country’s interior provinces, as well as those that are referred to as Prairie Provinces. In such areas, winter temperatures average at about five degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) and have been known to dip lower than –40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius). The east and west coasts of Canada see average high temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Summer temperatures are quite different, with some areas, particularly those in the south, seeing temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the political system of Canada?
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, which means it recognizes the monarch as the official head of state, while the actual governance is carried out by elected officials. The country has a federal system, dividing powers between the federal government and the provinces. The Prime Minister is the head of government, and the role is currently held by Justin Trudeau, as of the knowledge cutoff in 2023.
What are the official languages of Canada?
Canada has two official languages: English and French. This bilingualism is reflected in the country's federal institutions, product labeling, and public services. According to the 2016 Census by Statistics Canada, approximately 56.9% of Canadians speak English as their first language, while around 21.3% consider French their mother tongue. The province of Quebec is predominantly French-speaking, with significant English-speaking communities in Montreal.
What is the cultural diversity like in Canada?
Canada is known for its cultural diversity, with a rich mosaic of ethnic backgrounds and traditions. As of the 2016 Census, over 250 ethnic origins were reported by Canadians, with 21.9% of the population being immigrants, the highest percentage among the G7 countries. This diversity is celebrated through various festivals and events, and multiculturalism is considered a cornerstone of Canadian identity.
What is the economic landscape of Canada?
Canada boasts a strong and diverse economy, being one of the world's wealthiest nations with a high per capita income. It is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G7. The economy is largely service-oriented, with the service sector employing three-quarters of Canadians, according to the Government of Canada. Key industries include natural resources, manufacturing, and technology, with a growing emphasis on sustainable practices and innovation.
What are some must-see natural attractions in Canada?
Canada's vast and varied landscape offers numerous natural attractions. The Canadian Rockies are renowned for their stunning mountain scenery and outdoor activities. Niagara Falls, straddling the border between Ontario and New York, is a spectacular sight. Additionally, Canada has an extensive system of national parks, such as Banff and Jasper in Alberta, and Gros Morne in Newfoundland, which showcase the country's natural beauty and biodiversity.