Canada is a country occupying most of northern North America. It is the world's second largest country by total land area and shares land borders with the United States to the south and northwest. The Capital is Ottawa.
History[edit | edit source]
Europeans first arrived when the Vikings settled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows around AD 1000; following the failure of that colony, there was no further attempt at North American exploration until 1497, when John Cabot explored Canada's Atlantic coast for England, followed by Jacques Cartier in 1534 for France.
French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal in 1605 and Quebec City in 1608.
The English established fishing outposts in Newfoundland around 1610 and colonized the Thirteen Colonies to the south. A series of four Intercolonial Wars erupted between 1689 and 1763. Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713); the Treaty of Paris (1763) gave Canada and most of New France to Britain following the Seven Years' War.
Canada was the main front in the War of 1812 between the United States and the British Empire. The defence of Canada contributed to a sense of unity among British North Americans. Large-scale immigration to Canada began in 1815 from Britain and Ireland.
Geography[edit | edit source]
By total area, Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. Canada also has the longest coast line in the world 243,000 kilometers (151,000 miles).
Canada is a federation made up of ten provinces and three territories; in turn, these may be grouped into regions. Western Canada consists of British Columbia and the three Prairie provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Central Canada is made up of Quebec and Ontario. Atlantic Canada consists of the three Maritime provinces: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, along with Newfoundland and Labrador. Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together. Three territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut make up Northern Canada. Provinces have more authority than territories. Each has its own provincial or territorial symbols.
Average winter and summer high temperatures vary depending on the locations. Winters tend to be harsh in many regions of the country. Daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F) but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground almost six months of the year (more in the north)
Canada is geologically active having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes. Some notable volcanoes include: Mount Meager, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley and the Mount Edziza Volcanic complex.
People[edit | edit source]
Canada's two official languages are English and French. Ninety-Nine percent of Canadians speak English or French. Sixty-Seven percent speak only English, thirteen percent speak only French, and eighteen percent speak both languages. Other languages spoken in the country include Mandarin Chinese, Italian, German, and Punjabi.