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What Should I Know About Canada?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 23, 2024
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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).

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a CulturalWorld.org writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon154141 — On Feb 19, 2011

The thing to remember about Canadian weather is that the extreme cold in the winter in places like where I live, Edmonton, creates the a cultural climate that spends a large part of the time in private indoor spaces.

Also too, the weather creates seclusion as it is literally painful to be outside for approx 150-200 days out of the year, but the springtime changes create a wonderful uplifting emotional experiences because it is a complete change.

Picture a dusty and dry frozen barren tundra turning into a north american leafy forest in less then 5 weeks in some cases. As well, chinook winds throughout the winter will cause frequently warm days of 0-14 degrees celsius, literally 14 hours after a week of minus 35 degrees celsius. This makes it a little more bearable, but must keep in mind that a lot of the days between december and the end of march, the harsh weather will literally kill you in less then a few hours if you are not properly prepared and are stranded from a building.

I once lost the skin on the tip of my fingers because I had no mittens and got my fingers wet, and was trapped outside for ten minutes.

By anon122374 — On Oct 27, 2010

Not sure where your information comes from, but for those who are interested in hearing from a Canadian, keep reading.

The information on summer temperatures is a little off. Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Regina, as well as some areas of Alberta and B.C. can get up into the high 30's (Celsius). What is really incredible is how the temperatures in Ft. McMurray (Northern Alberta) can go from the high -50's in the winter (not taking wind chill into account) to +40's in the summer. Also of note, wind chills often cause temperatures to be even colder, at times by more than -10 degrees in the winter. For example, Winnipeg and Edmonton were both in the -30's last winter, but with the wind chill, -50's!

By anon70656 — On Mar 15, 2010

anon10647, there are six in total. Pacific, Rockies, Central, Eastern, Maritimes and Newfoundland. They should have also said that the Natives lived in "Canada" for thousands of years and in the 10th-11th century, the Vikings came and settled Newfoundland but were kicked out by the Natives living there.

They should also say that Canada is home to the second largest French-speaking city, Montreal.

Mainly, the settlers were Northern French, followed by English Protestants, English (other), Irish and Scottish, although there are a lot of other ethnicities there too.

By anon58905 — On Jan 05, 2010

I love the Americans who show up in toronto and say, "which way to Vancouver?"

By surreallife — On Apr 03, 2008

I have never visited Canadian Rockies, and I hear and read that it is one of the must visit places. I have put it on my list of spots to visit along with Alaska and Niagara Falls.

By anon10647 — On Mar 31, 2008

One thing you failed to mention was how may time zones Canada had .. i believe it's 5 or 6?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a CulturalWorld.org writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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