- Population: 35,750,000
- Area: 2nd largest country in the world with 3,850,000 square miles
- Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- History: British and French colony
- Currency: Canadian dollar
- Cities: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa
- Sports: Ice hockey, lacrosse, curling
- Olympic Games: 3 (1976 Summer Olympics, 1988 and 2010 Winter Olympics)
- Calling Code: +1
Canada’s Independence Came in 3 Waves
Canada facts show that the historical development of Canada as an independent, sovereign state occurred in three waves.
Canada was a French and British colony for centuries, but its first step towards independence came in 1867 with the British Constitution Act (also known as the British North America Act, 1867), which transformed the British Province of Canada into the Canadian Confederation, establishing the Government of Canada, but leaving the control of foreign affairs to Britain.
The Act’s entry into force on July 1, 1867 is celebrated each year on the same day as Canada Day. In 1931, the parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Statute of Westminster, which confirmed Canada’s sovereign status and gave it the right to legislative independence, but at the same time bound Canada to the British Crown.
The full sovereignty of Canada was realised only five decades later in 1982, when Canada’s legal dependence on the British parliament ceased with the Canada Act.
Canada Has 2 Official Languages
Canada facts reveal that this big northern country has two official languages: English and French, a consequence of its history as both a French and British colony.
Both languages have equal status and are thus both used in all federal institutions. French is the official language in the province of Quebec in the southeast of Canada, while other parts are mostly English speaking.
In total, 60% of Canadians have English as their first language and 23% French as their first language, the rest of the population (about 6 million people) have other first languages, including Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, German and Italian. Both official languages are frequently spoken by Canadians – 17% of Canadians speak both English and French.
Queen Elizabeth II Is the Current Monarch of Canada
Despite the fact that Canada achieved full sovereignty with the 1982 Canada Act, Queen Elizabeth II is still the official monarch of Canada (as well as 15 other member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, including Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom, of course).
But her actual role as monarch is very limited; most of her duties are performed by the Governor General of Canada, a position traditionally rotating between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. The current Governor General of Canada (as of August 2015) is David Lloyd Johnston, serving from October 2010.
Canada Is One of the Most Developed Countries in the World
Canada facts show that Canada is one of the most developed countries in the world, just like its southern neighbour, the USA. It has the 10th highest nominal per capita income and is a member of various international economic groups, such as G8, G-10, G20, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation).
It is also the 8th highest ranked country by the State of Liberty Index and the Human Development Index, 6th by the Index of Economic Freedom, 7th by Global Peace Index, 8th by the Democracy Index and the 5th happiest country in the world according to the 2015 World Happiness Report (behind only Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and Norway). Given all this, it’s probably no surprise that Canada has one of the highest immigration rates (per capita) in the world…
Indigenous Peoples of Canada Are Inuit, Métis and So-Called First Nations
Canada facts reveal that 32% of inhabitants of Canada identify themselves as Canadians, 20% as English, 15% as French, 14% as Scottish, 14% as Irish, 10% as German and so on.
But the original inhabitants of Canada were of course not modern Canadians, French, British or German, but Inuit, Métis and those who belonged to the First Nations. Indigenous peoples of Canada are sometimes also known as Eskimos and Indians, but these terms are rarely used, since they are considered to be pejorative.
About 1,400,000 people living in Canada nowadays are considered to be members of indigenous peoples; about 850,000 of them are members of First Nations, about 450,000 are Métis and about 60,000 are Inuit. The Inuit (formerly Eskimos) are probably the best-known to the rest of the world as they live in the very demanding conditions of the Arctic region.
Canada Consists of 10 Provinces and 3 Territories
Canada consists of ten provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, with the first four being the original provinces that were established as a part of the Canadian Confederation in 1867.
The three Canadian territories are the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nanavut. And what is the difference between provinces and territories?
Provinces are co-sovereign divisions, given their power by the 1867 Constitution Act and each of them governed by the lieutenant governor. Territories are simply a part of the federation and get their powers delegated by the federal government.
The biggest province by population is Ontario (capital Toronto) with nearly 14,000,000 inhabitants, and the biggest territory is the Northwest Territories with around 41,000 inhabitants.
Canada Does Not Have a President
According to Canada facts, Canada is a monarchy and a parliamentary democracy, so it has a parliament and a monarch, but it does not have a president.
We already established in one of the previous Canada facts that Queen Elizabeth II serves as the current monarch of Canada, and David Lloyd Johnston as her representative in Canada, the Governor General of Canada.
The third important political position in Canada is that of the head of the government – the Prime Minister of Canada, currently (as of August 2015) The Right Honourable Stephen Harper.
Canada Has 2 Official Flags
The first flag, the one that represents only Canada, has a red-white pattern with a red maple leaf and is known as the Maple Leaf (or l’Unifolié in French). Why a maple leaf? Because it has been a symbol of Canada since the 1700s and it has been a traditional element in various historical coats of arms, anthems and coins.
The other official flag is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada, but is known as the Union Jack in most of the world – the national flag of the United Kingdom. There are protocols that require the use of the Royal Union Flag in addition to the Maple Leaf on certain occasions, for example Commonwealth Day, Victoria Day, and the anniversary of the Statute of Westminster and various other ceremonies. The Royal Union Flag is also a part of the provincial flags of Ontario and Manitoba.
In addition to these two officially recognised national flags, certain parts of Canada have several other flags that can be considered official flags – the provincial flag of Quebec, the Acadian flag of the three Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) and various flags of indigenous peoples.
Canada Is the Holder of Various Size-Related Records
Canada is huge. It is the second largest country in the world by total area (after Russia), as it spreads between the latitudes 41° and 84°N and longitudes 52° and 141°W.
This gives Canada six different time zones and a distance of more than 6,000 miles from its western to eastern shore. In addition to all this, Canada also has the longest coastline in the world (125,000 miles) and the longest street in the world (Yonge Street, at almost 1,200 miles long).
Canada Was Invaded by the USA Twice
The first invasion of Canada started in June 1775 and lasted until October 1775. It was the first major military action of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. The main goal of the invasion was to conquer the British Province of Quebec and convince the French-speaking population to join the war on the side of the Thirteen Colonies. The invasion was a failure.
The second invasion of the Canadian lands by the USA was during the War of 1812 in which the USA fought against the United Kingdom of Great Britain, its North American colonies and its allies. The invasion was a failure again and is considered to be the beginning of the development of Canadian identity.
Winnie-the-Pooh Was Inspired by a Canadian Bear
Winnie-the-Pooh is a famous fictional teddy bear, the hero of countless stories and cartoons, and was created by English author A. A. Milne in 1926. The author had a son, named Christopher Robin, who loved to visit London Zoo, especially a bear named Winnipeg (or Winnie for short), who had been exported from Canada to London Zoo in 1915.
The boy’s love for the Canadian bear inspired the stories his father wrote in subsequent years and created one of the best known (and most loved) fictional bears in the world in Winnie-the-Pooh.
Canada Is the Home of the Biggest Sony Big Screen TV
Rogers Centre, originally known as the Sky Dome, is a big stadium in Toronto and the home stadium of the Toronto Blue Jays MLB team, Toronto Argonauts football team and an-ex home stadium of the Toronto Raptors NBA team.
As if this impressive list of sports teams is not enough to make the Rogers Centre really great, the stadium is also the home of the biggest Sony big screen TV, which measures 33 feet in height and 110 feet in length. That is more than 3600 square inches of spectacular video image to enjoy…
Many Past and Present Celebrities Are Canadians
Canada facts reveal that a lot of famous celebrities came from this huge northern country, including showbiz stars like Pamela Anderson, Jim Carrey, Avril Lavigne, Keanu Reeves, Leonard Cohen, Bryan Adams, Paul Anka, Justin Bieber, Alex Trebek, Daniel Negreanu, Michael Buble, Michael J. Fox, Shania Twain and Celine Dion, sports stars like Wayne Gretzky, Donovan Bailey, Sydney Crosby, Jacques Villeneuve and Steve Nash, inventors like Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Ahearn, Abraham Pineo Gesner and Sydney Altman, entrepreneurs like Guy Laliberte, Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, Isadore Sharp and many, many others…
Basketball Was Invented by a Canadian, but Not in Canada
Basketball, one of the most popular team sports in the USA and worldwide, was invented by a Canadian teacher and sports coach by the name of James Naismith. He was born in Canada and studied physical education in Montreal but later moved to the US.
While teaching at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield he developed a new team sport, which he called “Basket Ball”, in 1891. He wrote the 13 basic rules of basketball while analysing popular sports of the era such as hockey, baseball, rugby and football.
The first game of Naismith’s “Basket Ball” was played in December 1891 between two teams of nine players that tried to throw a soccer ball into a peach basket.
One of the Lowest Temperatures Ever Recorded Occurred in Canada
It was February 3, 1947. A small sleepy village of about 30 inhabitants (10 First nation people and 20 airport personnel) by the name of Snag, located near Beaver Creek in the Yukon territory of Canada, witnessed the cruel power of nature when the temperature dropped to − 81.4 °F. No wonder that the village has now been abandoned for decades…
However, the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in North America still stands as even Alaska isn’t capable of offering temperatures lower than that.
Canadians Are Forced to Take Extreme Measures to Keep Polar Bears Away
Canada is one of just five countries in the world that are homes to various populations of polar bears. While polar bears seem all cute and cuddly when we see them on TV, Canadians actually have to take a few unusual measures to protect themselves from these carnivorous and potentially very dangerous animals.
Inhabitants of a small town in northern Manitoba, named Churchill (known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World), thus have a special polar bear jail where polar bears that wonder too close to the town are being held after being tranquillised. Polar prisoners are fed with nothing but water during their short stay in the jail to discourage them from ever returning, and are released to the wild.
Residents of Churchill also all leave their cars on the streets unlocked in case somebody encounters one of these white beasts and needs to hide or make a quick escape.
This is an unusual tactic that would probably not work in many other places, since unlocked cars would be too great a temptation to potential thieves. But it is true, though, that in most other places, the locals don’t need protection from polar bears…
Canada Is the Most Educated Country in the World
Canada facts reveal that this cold country in North America is the most educated country in the world. An impressive 99% of Canadians over 15 years of age can read and write, and 50% of the adult population of Canada has completed tertiary education (for comparison, in the US, which is the 4th most educated country in the world, the share of tertiary education among adults is 41%).
Great education levels of Canadians are without a doubt a consequence of both the government and private sector investing heavily in education. Each year, about 2.5% of GDP is invested in education in Canada!
Canada Is Named after a Village
Canada facts reveal that the country is not named after any specific village, but after the Iroquoian term for village, kanata. Knowing that Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area, has over 35 million inhabitants and more than 30 cities with population over 100,000, the name seems a bit misplaced.
The truth is that Canada got its name due to a misunderstanding – when French explorer Jacques Cartier visited what is today the Quebec region, he and his men were referred to the nearby village by indigenous inhabitants using the term kanata, which they mistakenly took for the name of the entire land.
Most of the World’s Caesium Supply Comes from Canada
Caesium is a chemical element (an alkali metal) of period 6 with atomic number 55 and atomic weight of roughly 133. We use caesium for drilling fluids, atomic clocks, photoelectric cells, high-energy lasers, sterilisation and various other industrial purposes – and guess what? Most of our planet’s caesium comes from Canada.
Two-thirds of the world’s caesium is produced in the Tanco Mine near the Bernic Lake in Manitoba. And the price of pure caesium these days? Around $280 per ounce. But beware – caesium is mildly toxic…
Canada Could Be Home to Santa Claus
Canada facts reveal that Canada is the home of Santa Claus. He lives on the North Pole, in the part under the Canadian postal jurisdiction, so if you want to write to him, use the postal code H0H 0H0. Seriously.
Thousands and thousands of letters for Santa are sent to this address each year. The only problem is that the US also claims to gather mail for Santa (in an Alaskan town with the postal code 99705) and so does Sweden (in Tomteboda in Stockholm), Finland (in Korvatunturi), Norway (in Drøbak) and Denmark (in Uummannaq in Greenland). The safest choice would be to send your Santa letter to all these places this year…
Canada Facts — Facts about Canada Summary
Canada is a country in North America, the second largest country in the world by total area. Due to being both a French and British colony for a long time, Canada has two official languages: French and English.
As with many other Commonwealth countries, Queen Elizabeth II is the current monarch of Canada, but her duties are performed by the Governor General of Canada.
Canada is divided into 10 provinces and three territories, of which the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have the largest populations. Canada is also one of the most developed countries in the world and a popular destination for many immigrants from various parts of the world.