Second largest country in the world covering most of the northern part of the North American continent, Canada has an extremely varied topography. In the east, the mountainous maritime provinces have an irregular coastline
on the Gulf of St.Lawrence and the Atlantic.The St.Lawrence plain, covering most of southern Quebec and Ontario, and the interior continental plain, covering southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and most of Alberta, are the principal cultivable areas.In the west rises the so famous Canadian Cordillera stretching
from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
Lying north on the border of the United States, Canada is the second largest country in the world in regards to total area. Extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, Canada also boasts of having one of the largest economies due to its abundance of natural resources that include oil, minerals, fisheries and forestry. It is considered a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a prime minister and Queen Elizabeth as the head of state. Canada ranks high among other global countries in human development, civil liberties, education, economic freedom and quality of life. In addition, it is a member of the United Nations, NAFTA, G8, NATO, WTO, APEC and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Because Canada has vast areas of heavily forested land, it has a population density of about three people per eight square miles (one kilometer). This demographic is one of the lowest in the world, comparable to parts of the North and South Poles, Russia and the Amazon jungle. Alternately, Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario contain the most densely populated regions of Canada, along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.
Three territories and ten provinces comprise the federation of Canada. Provinces are more autonomous than territories in regards to welfare, health care and education, with provinces collecting additional revenue from the government. However, the federal government can implement national policies such as the Canadian Health Act in provinces. Although provinces have the right to decline initiation of federal policies, they usually chose to accept them.
Essential Facts about Canada
- The capital of Canada is Ottawa, located in the province of Ontario.
- Canada has two official languages--English and French. Nearly 60 percent of Canadians speak English while 20 percent speak French. Other languages commonly spoken in Canada due to its high level of multicultural diversity are Cantonese, German, Punjab and Italian.
- The legal system in Quebec is based on a system of civil laws supported by French law;the rest of Canada adheres to the English common law system.
- Canada contains an estimated two million lakes which covers around eight percent of its total landmass.
- The maple leaf is Canada's national symbol and is displayed prominently on the country's flag.
- Canada offers free basic health care to its citizens;however, dental service fees remain the responsibility of the person receiving such services. Prescription medications are mostly free to senior citizens over 65 as well as recipients of social aid.
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (colloquially called"The Mounties"") are both a national and federal police force that is known for riding decorated horses as they patrol areas of Canada.
Average summer and winter temperatures vary widely from territory to territory. While southern parts of Canada experience weather conditions similar to that of the U.S., the Prairie and interior provinces have continental climate conditions where daily temperatures in winter can vary from
5 degree Fahrenheit to -30°
F (-15 to -35°C) on average. All areas of Canada are susceptible to large amounts of snow and rain. Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa present average summer temperatures of 78 degrees (25°C) Fahrenheit and average winter temperatures of 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-10°C).
The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar, indicated by the symbols $ or C$, or the code CAD. Like the American dollar, the Canadian dollar is divided into 100 cents. Canada also produces coins that come in 1¢
, 1$, and 2$
denominations, although the 1 cent and 50 cent coins are
rarely seen in circulation. Currency notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100