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Canada


Canada is the second largest country in the world in area (after Russia) but one of the most sparsely populated. Canada occupies roughly two-fifths of the North American continent. Its totalCanadian Flag area, including the Canadian share of the Great Lakes, is 3,849,675 square miles (9,970,610 square kilometers), of which 291,576 square miles (755,180 square kilometers) are inland water; also included are its adjacent islands, except Greenland, a self-governing part of the Danish kingdom, and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, parts of the French Republic. Canada is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by 12 states of the United States, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean and the U.S. state of Alaska. The national capital for the 10 provinces and three territories of Canada is Ottawa.

Canada shares a 5,527-mile (8,895-kilometre) border with the United States. In longitude Canada extends from approximately 52 W to 141 W, a distance that spans six time zones. In latitude it extends from approximately 42 N to 83 N. With its vast Arctic and subarctic territories, Canada is often considered a country only of the far north. It can be noted, however, that the peninsula of southern Ontario juts deeply into the heartland of the United States, its southernmost point, Lake Erie's Middle Island, being south of 11 states of the United States. Canada has a strategic global locMt. Assiniboine - Albertaation. It lies on great circle routes (the shortest line joining any two places on the globe) between the United States and Europe and, to a lesser degree, Asia. For this reason many international commercial air flights track across Canada.

Most of Canada's farmland and densely populated areas are located along a narrow strip that rims the U.S. border. In the highly urbanized areas of southern Ontario and Quebec, the population density compares with the more densely populated areas of the United States and Europe. More than 75 percent of Canada's population lives in urban centers.

Canada shares the largest sector of the North American continent with the United States, and there is considerable U.S. influence in Canada. It is apparent, in fact, to travelers crossing the border that the two countries are similar in many ways. The landscape does not change, and the buildings, farms, and dress are all comparable. Neither is there much variation in foods and the kinds of products available. Some differences do stand out, however. The type of government, the political organization, and the judiciary all display some marked contrasts, resembling British institutions rather than American. Education in Canada reflects both British and U.S. influence, although Quebec in particular shows some French adaptations. The French presence in Canada is a uniPolar Bear Passque characteristic. More than three-fourths of Quebec's people have French as their primary language. The French character in Quebec is reflected in the architecture as well as the language. Throughout most of the rest of the country, the French influence is apparent in the dual use of French for place-names, product labeling, and street signs, in schools that teach in French, and in French-language radio and television programs. In addition, increased immigration from other European countries, Southeast Asia, and Latin America in the latter part of the 20th century has made Canada even more broadly multicultural. Added to the spectrum are the cultures of the native Indians and the Inuit, the former being far greater in number. Inuit, rather than Eskimo, is the name preferred by the latter and is the term of common use in Canada.

The name Canada, which is the official name of the country, is spelled the same in the country's two official languages, English and French. The word Canada is a derivation of the Huron-Iroquois kanata, meaning a village or settlement. The explorer Jacques Cartier used the name Canada to refer to the area around the settlement which is now Quebec city. Later, Canada was used as a synonym for New France, which included all the French possessions along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. After the British conquest of New France, the name Quebec was used for a while instead of Canada. The name Canada was restored after 1791, when Britain divided Quebec into the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. In 1867 the British North America Act created a confederation of colonies called the Dominion of Canada. The word Dominion fell into disuse, but the name Canada has stood the test of time.

Canada has long been an influential member of the Commonwealth and has played a leading role in the organization of French-speaking countries known as Francophonie. Canada is a founding member of the United Nations (UN) and has been active in a number of major UN agencies and other worldwide operations. In 1989 it joined the Organization of American States (OAS).Click to Enlarge

The combination of physical geography and discontinuous settlement has led to a strong sense of regionalism in Canada, and popular regional terms often overlap. The Atlantic Provinces refers to all of the Appalachian region except the Quebec portion. If Newfoundland is excluded, the three remaining east-coast provinces are called the Maritimes. Quebec and Ontario are usually referred to separately but sometimes together as Central Canada; the West usually means all of the four provinces west of Ontario, but British Columbia may be referred to alone and the other three collectively as the Prairies, or Prairie Provinces; the Yukon and Northwest Territories are referred to as the North.

Our adventures in Canada so far have been limited to Southwestern British Columbia and Alberta, but we aspire to more.  Canada is gorgeous and the people are friendly.  For now, check out our British Columbia site, but Alberta is on its way!!



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