country in North America

Canada is a country in North America. Its land reaches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. The Arctic Ocean is to the north of Canada. Canada's land area is 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles). It is the world's second largest country by total area, but only the fourth largest country by land area. It has the world's longest coastline (a border with water). Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Most parts of the country are cold or severely cold in the winter. Areas in the south of Canada are warm in the summer. Much of the land is covered in forest or tundra. Most of the people in Canada live in urban areas, near the southern border with the US. This border is the longest between any two countries in the world. The national capital is Ottawa, and the largest city is Toronto. Other large cities include Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg and Hamilton.

Motto: A mari usque ad mare (Latin)
"From Sea to Sea"
Anthem: "O Canada"
A projection of North America with Canada highlighted in green
45°24′N 75°40′W / 45.400°N 75.667°W / 45.400; -75.667
Largest cityToronto
Official languages
Ethnic groups
List of ethnicities
List of religions
GovernmentFederal parliamentary
constitutional monarchy[4]
• Monarch
Charles III
Mary Simon
Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
July 1, 1867
December 11, 1931
April 17, 1982
• Total area
9,984,670 km2 (3,855,100 sq mi) (2nd)
• Water (%)
11.76 (as of 2015)[5]
• Total land area
9,093,507 km2 (3,511,023 sq mi)
• Q1 2021 estimate
Neutral increase 38,131,104 [6] (37th)
• 2016 census
• Density
3.92/km2 (10.2/sq mi) (185th)
GDP (PPP)2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.979 trillion[8] (15th)
• Per capita
Increase $51,713[8] (20th)
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.883 trillion[8] (9th)
• Per capita
Increase $49,222[8] (18th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 30.3[9]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.929[10]
very high · 16th
CurrencyCanadian dollar ($) (CAD)
Time zoneUTC−3.5 to −8
• Summer (DST)
UTC−2.5 to −7
Date formatyyyy-mm-dd (AD)[11]
Driving sideright
Calling code+1
ISO 3166 codeCA

The name "Canada" comes from the Huron-Iroquois word "Kanata," meaning "village" or "settlement." In 1535, two Aboriginal youths told an explorer from France, named Jacques Cartier, about the route to Kanata. They were actually referring to the village named Stadacona, which is near present-day city of Québec.

Aboriginal people lived in the places (that are now Canada) for a long time. In 1537, the French started a colony. The British Empire soon followed. The two empires fought several wars. In the late 18th century, only British North America remained with what is more or less Canada today. The country was formed from several colonies with the British North America Act on July 1, 1867. Over time, more provinces and territories became part of Canada. In 1931, Canada achieved nearly total independence with the Statute of Westminster 1931, and became completely independent when the Canada Act 1982 removed the last remaining ties of legal dependence with the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with King Charles III as its head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. That means that citizens have the right to communicate with the government in two languages: English or French. Immigration to Canada has made it one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. Its economy is the eleventh largest in the world, and relies mainly on natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada's relationship with its neighbor and biggest trading partner, the U.S., has a big impact on its economy and culture.

Canada is a developed country and has the tenth highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the sixteenth highest ranking in the Human Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. Canada is a Commonwealth realm member of the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie, and part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.



By total land and water area, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. It is only smaller than Russia. By land area alone, Canada ranks fourth.[12] It has the longest border with water (coastline) of any country in the world. It is next to the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans. It is the only country in the world to be next to three oceans at once. It has six time zones.[13][14]

Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories. The provinces are between the 45th and 60th parallels of latitude, and the territories are to the north of the 60th parallel of latitude. Most large cities in Canada are in the southern part of the country, including Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Very few people live in the northern part of Canada.

Canada extends from the west coast to the Atlantic provinces. In the north, there are three territories: Yukon in the west, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. They make up 16% of the Earth's fresh water. The Saint Lawrence Seaway joins the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing vessels in the ocean to travel as far inland as Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada.

Canada shares land and sea borders with the USA (the lower 48 states and Alaska), Greenland, and France (St. Pierre and Miquelon, a small group of islands off the southern coast off the island of Newfoundland).

The geography of Canada is very different in each region. Canada's geography features high alpine areas in the west, flat grasslands and prairies in the middle, and ancient shield rocks in the east. Canada has some of the very last untouched boreal forest in the world.

The Canadian Shield is a vast area of ancient Pre-Cambrian rocks lying in an arc around Hudson Bay, covering more than one third of Canada's land area. This is a unique land of lakes, bogs, swamps, trees, and rocks. It is a terrain that is very dangerous and difficult to traverse cross country because of the lakes, bogs, swamps, trees, and rocks. Canada has 60% of the world's lakes.



Aboriginal people


Indigenous people lived in what is now Canada for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. The indigenous groups that live in Canada are the First Nations, the Inuit, and the Métis.[15] The Métis are people that come from both First Nations and European families.[15] Together, these three groups are called "Indigenous," "Aboriginal," or "First Peoples." They used to be called "Indians" by the Europeans, but this is now considered rude.

Many people think the first people to live in Canada came from Siberia at least 14,000 years ago, using the Bering land bridge. The land bridge connected Asia and North America.[16][17]

When European people first settled in Canada, the number of Indigenous people living in Canada was between 200,000 and two million.[18][19]

European colonization


The Vikings were the first Europeans to land in Canada, in what is now Newfoundland. The exploration was led by the Viking explorer Leif Erikson. They did not stay for a long time. In the early 16th century, Europeans started exploring Canada's eastern coast. The first of these explorers was John Cabot from England, in 1497, and later Jacques Cartier from France, in 1534. Alexander Mackenzie later reached the Pacific coast over land, where captains James Cook and George Vancouver went by sea. The Europeans also traded beaver furs to the First Nations.

Some parts of Canada were settled by France. Other parts of the country were settled by Great Britain. In 1605, Port-Royal was built in Acadia (today called Nova Scotia) by the French, led by Samuel de Champlain. In 1608, he settled in Quebec. The British took control of the French areas after a battle of the French and Indian War on the Plains of Abraham, near Quebec City, in 1759.

Thousands of people came north to Canada and settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. They were called United Empire Loyalists.

Confederation and expansion


On July 1, 1867, Canada was united under a federal government. At first, Canada was only made up of the provinces Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Sir John A. Macdonald was the first prime minister. Manitoba, the Yukon territory, and the Northwest Territories became part of Canada in 1870. British Columbia joined in 1871, and Prince Edward Island in 1873.

There were two Red River Rebellions, in 1869-70 and 1885, both led by Louis Riel. He fought for more rights for the Métis people, a mix between French and First Nations. A railroad across the country, the Canadian Pacific Railway, finished in 1885, making it easier for Canadians to move to the west. Many Europeans came to the prairies, so Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.

Early 20th century


Canadian soldiers fought in World War I for the British Empire. More Canadians died in this war than any other war. Canada became better known as a country after its success in capturing Vimy Ridge from the Germans in France in 1917. Women were given the right to vote by the end of the war, partly because of the help they gave making weapons while the men fought in Europe. In 1931, Canada became fully independent. The government of Canada made all the decisions about Canada.

A Canadian crew during the battle of Normandy in June 1944.

Canadians also fought in World War II. The Dieppe Raid, in 1942, went very badly. Most soldiers were killed, wounded, or imprisoned. Canadians helped capture soldiers at Normandy in 1944. They also liberated the Netherlands from Germany.

Modern times


In 1949, Newfoundland and Labrador became the 10th province of Canada. In 1956, Canadian Lester Pearson, who later became prime minister, helped end the Suez Crisis. Because of this, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1965, Pearson helped change the design of Canada's flag. This design is known as the Maple Leaf today. Before that, the Red Ensign was Canada's flag. In 1982, Canada changed its constitution. The change introduced a new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The main part of the Constitution is the 1867 Constitution Act.

Some French Canadians today wish to form their own country, separate from the rest of Canada. The province of Quebec held a referendum (vote) in 1980, but only about 40% wanted to separate. Another referendum was held in 1995, with almost 50% voting in favour of leaving Canada. Since then, fewer people in Quebec have wanted to leave Canada, but it is still important to Quebec politics.

Today, about 25% of Canadians speak French as their first language. Many people in Canada speak both French and English. Although most French Canadians live in the province of Quebec, there are French-speaking communities and people all across Canada. For example, 40% of the people in the province of New Brunswick and 20% of those in Manitoba have a strong French background, as some people do in Ontario, mainly along its border with Quebec.

In 1999, Nunavut was created as Canada's third territory, out of the eastern Northwest Territories, in an agreement with the Inuit people.


Parliament Hill.

Canada has a government called a constitutional monarchy.[20] It has a monarch (meaning a king or queen is the head of that country), and is a democracy (meaning the people of that country rule it). The head of state is King Charles III, who is officially the King of Canada. He appoints a Governor General to represent him in the country, however, the choice of Governor General is made by the prime minister.

The King’s powers are mostly exercised by the Governor General, currently Mary Simon. The Governor General, like the Canadian sovereign (King/Queen of Canada), is not political and remains above politics, and because of that they do not usually use their powers without the advice of the Prime Minister or other ministers.

The head of government is the Prime Minister. The current prime minister is Justin Trudeau,[21] who replaced Stephen Harper in October 2015. Each province and territory has a premier to lead its government. The day-to-day operations of the government are run by the cabinet. The cabinet is usually formed from the largest party in Parliament.

The Parliament of Canada passes the laws of the country. The governor general, acting on behalf of the monarch, has the right to veto a law (meaning the law cannot go into effect) but this right has not been used for some time. There are five main parties in the Canadian Parliament: the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party. In addition to the five parties with MPs in Parliament, there are fourteen other smaller parties registered with Elections Canada and several MPs who sit as Independents.

Provinces and territories


Below is a list of provinces and territories. They are listed by population.


Name Capital Largest city Entered
  Ontario Toronto Toronto 1867 13,678,700 1,076,395 English
  Quebec Quebec City Montreal 1867 8,214,700 1,542,056 French
  British Columbia Victoria Vancouver 1871 4,631,300 944,735 English
  Alberta Edmonton Calgary 1905 4,121,700 661,848 English
  Manitoba Winnipeg Winnipeg 1870 1,282,000 647,797 English
  Saskatchewan Regina Saskatoon 1905 1,125,400 651,036 English
  Nova Scotia Halifax Halifax 1867 942,700 55,284 English
  New Brunswick Fredericton Moncton 1867 753,900 72,908 English and French
  Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's St. John's 1949 527,000 405,212 English
  Prince Edward Island Charlottetown Charlottetown 1873 146,300 5,660 English
  Northwest Territories Yellowknife Yellowknife 1870 41,462 1,346,106 multiple
  Yukon Whitehorse Whitehorse 1898 33,897 482,443 English and French
  Nunavut Iqaluit Iqaluit 1999 31,906 2,093,190 multiple

Climate and its influence

Northern mountains in Canada. Because of it's northern geography, most of Canada is very cold, making it unlivable for humans. For this reason it has a small population which live in limited areas of the south that have less severe temperatures that humans and infrastructure can survive in.[22]

Because Canada is very far north, and most people cannot survive the conditions, most Canadians live in the southern parts, where the weather is much milder.[23] In some cities, the temperature gets very cold in the winter, especially inland.[24] Warm air systems, moving in from the Pacific Ocean, bring more rain than snow to the Pacific coast. The colder temperatures further inland result in snow. Parts of Canada can get quite hot in the summer, often over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).[25]

Canadians are known to play winter sports, such as ice hockey and skiing and snowboarding, as well as enjoy many summer sports and games.

Natural resources

Peyto Lake in Alberta.

Canada has lots of natural resources. Its large amounts of fish have been used for centuries for food and money. Hydroelectric power (electricity by water) is abundant because of Canada's many rivers.[26] Forests in the west are used for wood. Besides these renewable resources, Canada has metal ores and oil deposits. Canada is the leading exporter of zinc, uranium, gold, nickel, aluminum, steel and lead.[27]



Around 38 million people live in Canada. About 90% of the Canadian population live within 100 mi (160 km) of the border with the United States.[28] This is because of climate and trade with the US. This means that over 60% of Canadians live south of Seattle, Washington.[29]

Many immigrants, who come from almost every part of the world, live in Canada.[30] One example is the former Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, who came to Canada as a young child with her family from Haiti in 1968. Today, up to 1/5th of the population is an immigrant of Canada.



The Canadian government provides universal health care. The provinces are responsible for health insurance. Five provinces prohibit all extra-billing, while Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland allow it in a small number of circumstances, and Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick do not restrict it at all.[31]

In 2020, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that there were not enough hospital beds in Ontario. Ontario is Canada's largest province, and is home to Canada's largest city, Toronto. The number of hospital beds available in Ontario is 1.4 per every 1,000 people.[32]


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  11. The Government of Canada and Standards Council of Canada prescribe ISO 8601 as the country's official all-numeric date format: Public Works and Government Services Canada Translation Bureau (1997). "5.14: Dates". The Canadian style: A guide to writing and editing (Revised ed.). Dundurn Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-55002-276-6. The dd/mm/yy and mm/dd/yy formats also remain in common use; see Date and time notation in Canada.
  12. "World Factbook: Canada". CIA. May 16, 2006. Archived from the original on April 30, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
  13. Standard Time Zones (Map) (6923 ed.). 1:20000000. Atlas of Canada, 6th Edition. Natural Resources Canada. 2007. Archived from the original on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2020-09-15.{{cite map}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
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  16. Dillehay, Thomas D. (2008). The Settlement of the Americas: A New Prehistory. Basic Books. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7867-2543-4. Archived from the original on April 13, 2016.
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  19. Thornton, Russell (2000). "Population history of Native North Americans". In Haines, Michael R; Steckel, Richard Hall (eds.). A population history of North America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 13, 380. ISBN 978-0-521-49666-7.
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  29. Jacobs, Frank. "Most Canadians live south of Seattle and other mental map surprises". Retrieved 2023-10-14.
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  32. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-01-22. Retrieved 2020-01-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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