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Canada i/ˈkænədə/ is a country in North America consisting of 10 provinces and 3
territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic to the
Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. At 9.98 million square kilometres in total,
Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the
United States is the world's longest land border shared by the same two countries.
The land that is now Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various Aboriginal peoples.
Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French colonial expeditions explored, and
later settled, the region's Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North
America to the United Kingdom in 1763 after the French and Indian War: the Seven Years'
War's theatre of war in North America. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades,
the territory was explored and additional self-governing Crown colonies were established. On
July 1, 1867, three colonies federated, forming a federal dominion that established Canada
under the British North America Act of 1867.
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen
Elizabeth II as its head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. It is
one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of largescale immigration from many countries, with a population of approximately 35 million as of
December 2012. Its advanced economy is one of the largest in the world, relying chiefly
upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed trade networks. Canada's long and
complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy
Canada is a developed country and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the eighth
highest per capita income globally, and the eleventh highest ranking in the Human
Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of education,
government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, and economic freedom. Canada is a
recognized middle power and a member of G7, G8, G10, G20, International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, NATO, North American Free Trade Agreement , Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Uniting for
Consensus, Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, Organization of American States,
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the United Nations.
2.1 Aboriginal peoples
2.2 European colonization
2.3 Confederation and expansion
2.4 Early 20th century
2.5 Modern times
4 Government and politics
4.2 Foreign relations and military
4.3 Provinces and territories
5.1 Science and technology
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Main article: Name of Canada
The name Canada comes from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village"
or "settlement". In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region
used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona.
Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but the entire
area subject to Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps
had begun referring to this region as Canada.
Motto: "A Mari Usque Ad Mare" (Latin)
"From Sea to Sea"
Anthem: "O Canada"
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Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Official languages English · French ·
1.2% Latin American
- Governor General
- Prime Minister
- Chief Justice
- Upper house
- Lower house
House of Commons
Establishment from the United Kingdom
- Constitution Act
July 1, 1867
- Statute of
December 11, 1931
- Canada Act
April 17, 1982
- Water (%)
- 2013 estimate
- 2011 census
9,984,670 km2 (2nd)
3,854,085 sq mi
8.92 (891,163 km2 /
Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country,
and the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. However, as Canada
asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government
increasingly used simply Canada on state documents and treaties, a change that was
reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day in
Main article: History of Canada
$1.518 trillion (13th)
- Per capita
$1.825 trillion (10th)
medium · 103rd
very high · 11th
Canadian dollar ($) (CAD)
- Summer (DST)
(UTC−3.5 to −8)
(UTC−2.5 to −7)
Drives on the
In the 17th and early 18th centuries, "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay
along the St. Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes. The area was
later split into two British colonies, Upper Canada and Lower Canada. They were reunified
as the Province of Canada in 1841.
- Per capita
ISO 3166 code
Further information: List of years in Canada
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Archaeological studies and genetic analyses have indicated a human presence in the northern Yukon region from 24,500 BC, and in
southern Ontario from 7500 BC. The Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest
sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal societies included permanent settlements,
agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks. Some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European
explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The aboriginal population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million,
with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health. As a consequence of the European
colonization, Canada's aboriginal peoples suffered from repeated outbreaks of newly introduced infectious diseases such as influenza,
measles, and smallpox (to which they had no natural immunity), resulting in a forty- to eighty-percent population decrease in the
centuries after the European arrival. Aboriginal peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The
Métis are a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers.
In general, the Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during the colonization period.
The first known attempt at European colonization began when Norsemen settled briefly at
L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around 1000 AD.  No further European exploration
occurred until 1497, when Italian seafarer John Cabot explored Canada's Atlantic coast for
England. Basque and Portuguese mariners established seasonal whaling and fishing
outposts along the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century. In 1534, French explorer
Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River, where on July 24 he planted a 10-metre
(33 ft) cross bearing the words "Long Live the King of France", and took possession of the
territory in the name of King Francis I.
িব ু ি য়া মিণপু রী
In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed St. John's, Newfoundland, as the first North American
English colony by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I. 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. Among the French colonists of New France,
Canadiens extensively settled the St. Lawrence River valley and Acadians settled the presentday Maritimes, while fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi watershed to
Louisiana. The Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade.
Benjamin West's The Death of General
Wolfe (1771) dramatizes James Wolfe's
death during the Battle of the Plains of
Abraham at Quebec in 1759.
The English established additional colonies in Cupids and Ferryland, Newfoundland, beginning in 1610. The Thirteen Colonies to the
south were founded soon after. A series of four wars erupted in colonial North America between 1689 and 1763; the later wars of the
period constituted the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the 1713
Treaty of Utrecht; the Treaty of Paris (1763) ceded Canada and most of New France to Britain after the Seven Years' War.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 created the Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia.
St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769. To avert conflict in Quebec, the British passed the
Quebec Act of 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. It re-established the French language, Catholic
faith, and French civil law there. This angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to
the 1775 outbreak of the American Revolution.
The 1783 Treaty of Paris recognized American independence and ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States.  New
Brunswick was split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate Englishspeaking Loyalists in Quebec, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada (later Quebec) and
English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.
The Canadas were the main front in the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain.
Following the war, large-scale immigration to Canada from Britain and Ireland began in
1815. Between 1825 and 1846, 626,628 European immigrants reportedly landed at
Canadian ports. These included Irish immigrants escaping the Great Irish Famine as well
as Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances. Between one-quarter and
one-third of all Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891 died of infectious
The desire for responsible government resulted in the abortive Rebellions of 1837. The Durham
Robert Harris's Fathers of Confederation
Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French
(1884), an amalgamation of the
 The Act of Union 1840 merged the Canadas into a united
Charlottetown and Quebec conferences of
Canadians into English culture.
Province of Canada. Responsible government was established for all British North American
provinces by 1849. The signing of the Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in
1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies
on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858).
Confederation and expansion
Following several constitutional conferences, the 1867 Constitution Act officially
proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces
– Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Canada assumed
control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest
Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the
creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870. British Columbia and
Vancouver Island (which had been united in 1866) joined the Confederation in
1871, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.
ने पाल भाषा
An animated map showing the growth and change of
Canada's provinces and territories since Confederation in
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and his Conservative government established
a National Policy of tariffs to protect the nascent Canadian manufacturing
industries. To open the West, the government sponsored the construction of
three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway), opened
the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act, and established the
North-West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory. In
1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, the Canadian
government created the Yukon Territory. Under the Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid
Laurier, continental European immigrants settled the prairies, and Alberta and
Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.
Early 20th century
Norfuk / Pitkern
Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the Confederation
Act, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought Canada into World War I. Volunteers
sent to the Western Front later became part of the Canadian Corps. The Corps played a
substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major engagements of the war. Out of
approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, around 60,000 were killed and
another 173,000 were wounded. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when conservative
Prime Minister Robert Borden brought in compulsory military service over the vehement
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Српски / srpski
objections of French-speaking Quebecers. The Conscription Crisis, coupled with disputes over
French language schools outside Quebec, deeply alienated Francophone Canadians and
temporarily split the Liberal Party. Bordon's Unionist government included many Anglophone
Liberals, and it swept to a landslide victory in the 1917 elections. In 1919, Canada joined the
League of Nations independently of Britain, the 1931 Statute of Westminster affirmed
Canadian soldiers and a Mark II tank at
the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917
The great depression in Canada during the early 1930s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country. In
response to the downturn, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a welfare
state (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas) in the 1940s and 1950s. Canada declared war on Germany independently during World War II
under Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, three days after Britain. The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in
Canadian troops played important roles in many key battles of the war, including the failed 1942 Dieppe Raid, the Allied invasion of Italy,
the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy, and the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944. Canada provided asylum for the Dutch
monarchy while that country was occupied, and is credited by the Netherlands for major contributions to its liberation from Nazi
Germany. The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China,
and the Soviet Union. Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec in 1944, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong
The Dominion of Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador) was unified with Canada in
Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal
governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the
current Maple Leaf Flag in 1965, the implementation of official bilingualism (English and
French) in 1969, and the institution of official multiculturalism in 1971. Socially
democratic programs were also instituted, such as Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and
Canada Student Loans, though provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta,
opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions.
Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the 1982 patriation of Canada's
constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. In 1999, Nunavut became Canada's third territory after a series of
negotiations with the federal government.
At Rideau Hall, Governor General the
Viscount Alexander of Tunis (centre)
receives the bill finalizing the union of
Newfoundland and Canada on March 31,
At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the
Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, giving birth to a modern nationalist movement. The radical Front
de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1970, and the sovereignist
Parti Québécois was elected in 1976, organizing an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to
accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990. This led to the formation of the Bloc
Québécois in Quebec and the invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West. A second referendum followed in 1995, in
which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that unilateral secession
by a province would be unconstitutional, and the Clarity Act was passed by parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from
In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These
included the explosion of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, the largest mass murder in Canadian history; the École Polytechnique
massacre in 1989, a university shooting targeting female students; and the Oka Crisis of 1990, the first of a number of violent
confrontations between the government and Aboriginal groups. Canada also joined the Gulf War in 1990 as part of a US-led coalition
force, and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the 1990s, including the UNPROFOR mission in the former Yugoslavia.
Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001, but declined to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2009, Canada's economy
suffered in the worldwide Great Recession, but it has since rebounded modestly. In 2011, Canadian forces participated in the NATOled intervention into the Libyan civil war.
Main article: Geography of Canada
Canada occupies a major northern portion of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south (the
longest border between two countries in the world) and the US state of Alaska to the northwest. Canada stretches from the Atlantic
Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. Greenland is to the northeast, while Saint
Pierre and Miquelon is south of Newfoundland. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world,
after Russia. By land area alone, Canada ranks fourth. The country lies between latitudes 41° and 84°N, and longitudes 52° and 141°
Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60° and 141°W
longitude, but this claim is not universally recognized. Canada is home to the world's
northernmost settlement, Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere
Island – latitude 82.5°N – which lies 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole.
Much of the Canadian Arctic is covered by ice and permafrost. Canada has the longest
coastline in the world, with a total length of 202,080 kilometres (125,570 mi);
additionally, its border with the United States is the world's longest land border,
stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi).
Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest
A satellite composite image of Canada. Boreal
regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield. Canada has around
forests prevail on the rocky Canadian Shield, while
31,700 large lakes, more than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh
ice and tundra are prominent in the Arctic. Glaciers
are visible in the Canadian Rockies and Coast
water. There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies and the Coast
Mountains. The flat and fertile prairies facilitate
Mountains. Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially
agriculture. The Great Lakes feed the St.
active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley, and the Mount
Lawrence River in the southeast, where lowlands
 The volcanic eruption of the Tseax Cone in 1775 was among
Edziza volcanic complex.
host much of Canada's population.
Canada's worst natural disasters, killing 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village
in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia. The eruption produced a 22.5kilometre (14.0 mi) lava flow, and, according to Nisga'a legend, blocked the flow of the Nass River. Canada's population density, at 3.3
inhabitants per square kilometre (8.5 /sq mi), is among the lowest in the world. The most densely populated part of the country is the
Quebec City – Windsor Corridor, situated in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence
Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the
country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are
near −15 °C (5 °F), but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In noncoastal regions, snow can cover the ground for
almost six months of the year, while in parts of the north snow can persist year-round. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate,
with a mild and rainy winter. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while
between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), with temperatures in some interior
locations occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).
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Government and politics
Main articles: Government of Canada and Politics of Canada
Canada has a parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy, the
monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial
branches. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who also serves as head of state
of 15 other Commonwealth countries and each of Canada's ten provinces. As such, the
Queen's representative, the Governor General of Canada (at present David Lloyd Johnston),
carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.
The direct participation of the royal and viceroyal figures in areas of governance is
limited. In practice, their use of the executive powers is directed by the Cabinet, a
committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and
chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada (at present Stephen Harper), the
Parliament Hill in Canada's capital city,
head of government. The governor general or monarch may, though, in certain crisis situations
 To ensure the stability of government, the
exercise their power without ministerial advice.
governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the person who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the
confidence of a plurality in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is thus one of the most powerful institutions in
government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, besides the
aforementioned, the governor general, lieutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations and
government agencies. The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal
Opposition (presently Thomas Mulcair) and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check.
The Senate chamber within the Centre
Block on Parliament Hill
Each of the 308 members of parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple
plurality in an electoral district or riding. General elections must be called by the governor
general, either on the advice of the prime minister, within four years of the previous election, or
if the government loses a confidence vote in the House. The 105 members of the Senate,
whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve until age 75. Five parties had
representatives elected to the federal parliament in the 2011 elections: the Conservative Party
of Canada (governing party), the New Democratic Party (the Official Opposition), the Liberal
Party of Canada, the Bloc Québécois, and the Green Party of Canada. The list of historical
parties with elected representation is substantial.
Canada's federal structure divides government responsibilities between the federal government
and the ten provinces. Provincial legislatures are unicameral and operate in parliamentary
fashion similar to the House of Commons. Canada's three territories also have legislatures, but these are not sovereign and have
fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces. The territorial legislatures also differ structurally from their provincial
Main article: Law of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the country, and consists of written text and unwritten conventions. The Constitution
Act, 1867 (known as the British North America Act prior to 1982), affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided
powers between the federal and provincial governments. The Statute of Westminster 1931 granted full autonomy and the Constitution Act,
1982, ended all legislative ties to the UK, as well as adding a constitutional amending formula and the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms that usually cannot be over-ridden by any government—though a
notwithstanding clause allows the federal parliament and provincial legislatures to override certain sections of the Charter for a period of
Although not without conflict, European Canadians' early interactions with First Nations and
Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. The Crown and Aboriginal peoples began
interactions during the European colonialization period. The Indian Act, various treaties and
case laws were established to mediate relations between Europeans and native peoples.
Most notably, a series of eleven treaties known as the Numbered Treaties were signed
between Aboriginals in Canada and the reigning Monarch of Canada between 1871 and
1921. These treaties are agreements with the Canadian Crown-in-Council, administered by
Canadian Aboriginal law, and overseen by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development. The role of the treaties and the rights they support were reaffirmed by Section
Thirty-five of the Constitution Act, 1982. These rights may include provision of services
such as health care, and exemption from taxation. The legal and policy framework within
which Canada and First Nations operate was further formalized in 2005, through the First
Nations–Federal Crown Political Accord.
The Indian Chiefs Medal, presented to
commemorate the Numbered Treaties of
Canada's judiciary plays an important role in interpreting laws and has the power to strike
down Acts of Parliament that violate the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the
highest court and final arbiter and has been led since 2000 by the Chief Justice Beverley
McLachlin (the first female Chief Justice). Its nine members are appointed by the governor
general on the advice of the prime minister and minister of justice. All judges at the superior
and appellate levels are appointed after consultation with nongovernmental legal bodies. The
federal Cabinet also appoints justices to superior courts in the provincial and territorial
The Supreme Court of Canada in
Ottawa, west of Parliament Hill
Common law prevails everywhere except in Quebec, where civil law predominates. Criminal
law is solely a federal responsibility and is uniform throughout Canada. Law enforcement,
including criminal courts, is officially a provincial responsibility, conducted by provincial and
municipal police forces. However, in most rural areas and some urban areas, policing responsibilities are contracted to the federal
Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Foreign relations and military
Main articles: Foreign relations of Canada and Military history of Canada
Canada currently employs a professional, volunteer military force of 68,250 active personnel
and approximately 47,081 reserve personnel. The unified Canadian Forces (CF) comprise
the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force. In 2011, Canada's
military expenditure totalled approximately C$24.5 billion.
Canada and the United States share the world's longest undefended border, co-operate on
military campaigns and exercises, and are each other's largest trading partner. Canada
nevertheless has an independent foreign policy, most notably maintaining full relations with
Cuba and declining to officially participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Canada also maintains
historic ties to the United Kingdom and France and to other former British and French colonies
through Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and the Francophonie.
Canada is noted for having a positive relationship with the Netherlands, owing, in part, to its
contribution to the Dutch liberation during World War II.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meeting
President of the United States Barack
Obama in 2009
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Canada's strong attachment to the British Empire and Commonwealth led to major participation in British military efforts in the Second
Boer War, World War I and World War II. Since then, Canada has been an advocate for multilateralism, making efforts to resolve global
issues in collaboration with other nations. Canada was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and of NATO in 1949.
During the Cold War, Canada was a major contributor to UN forces in the Korean War and founded the North American Aerospace
Defense Command (NORAD) in co-operation with the United States to defend against potential aerial attacks from the Soviet Union.
During the Suez Crisis of 1956, future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson eased tensions by
proposing the inception of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, for which he was awarded
the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize. As this was the first UN peacekeeping mission, Pearson is
often credited as the inventor of the concept. Canada has since served in 50 peacekeeping
missions, including every UN peacekeeping effort until 1989, and has since maintained
forces in international missions in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere; Canada has
sometimes faced controversy over its involvement in foreign countries, notably in the 1993
Canadian Army soldiers from the Royal
22nd Regiment deploying during UNITAS
exercises in April 2009
Canada joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1990 and hosted the OAS
General Assembly in Windsor, Ontario, in June 2000 and the third Summit of the Americas in
Quebec City in April 2001. Canada seeks to expand its ties to Pacific Rim economies
through membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).
In 2001, Canada deployed troops to Afghanistan as part of the US stabilization force and the
UN-authorized, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. In all, Canada lost 158
soldiers, one diplomat, two aid workers, and one journalist during the ten year mission,
which cost approximately C$11.3 billion.
In February 2007, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Russia announced their
joint commitment to a $1.5-billion project to help develop vaccines for developing nations, and
called on other countries to join them. In August 2007, Canada's territorial claims in the
Arctic were challenged after a Russian underwater expedition to the North Pole; Canada has
considered that area to be sovereign territory since 1925. Between March and October
2011, Canadian forces participated in a UN-mandated NATO intervention into the 2011 Libyan
The Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina,
a warship of the Royal Canadian Navy, near
Hawaii during the 2004 RIMP exercises
Provinces and territories
Main article: Provinces and territories of Canada
See also: Canadian federalism
Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories. In turn, these may be grouped into four main regions: Western
Canada, Central Canada, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada ("Eastern Canada" refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada
together). Provinces have more autonomy than territories, having responsibility for social programs such as health care, education, and
welfare. Together, the provinces collect more revenue than the federal government, an almost unique structure among federations in the
world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas, such as the Canada Health Act;
the provinces can opt out of these, but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure that
reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.
A clickable map of Canada exhibiting its ten provinces and three territories, and their capitals.
Main article: Economy of Canada
The Bank of Canada is the central bank of the country and
governed by Stephen Poloz. In addition, the Minister of
Finance and Ministry of Industry utilize the Statistics Canada
system for financial planning. The Toronto Stock Exchange is
the seventh largest exchange in the world having 1,577
companies listed in 2012. Canada is the world's eleventhlargest economy, with a 2012 nominal GDP of approximately
US$1.82 trillion. It is a member of the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G8,
and is one of the world's top ten trading nations, with a highly
Nations that have Free Trade Agreements with Canada as of 2009 are in dark
globalized economy. Canada is a mixed economy,
blue, while nations in negotiations are in cyan. Canada is green.
ranking above the US and most western European nations on
the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom,
experiencing a relatively low level of income disparity. In 2008, Canada's imported goods were worth over $442.9 billion, of which
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$280.8 billion originated from the United States, $11.7 billion from Japan, and $11.3 billion from the United Kingdom. The country's
2009 trade deficit totalled C$4.8 billion, compared with a C$46.9 billion surplus in 2008.
Since the early 20th century, the growth of Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a
largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one. Like many other developed nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the
service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country's workforce. However, Canada is unusual among developed
countries in the importance of its primary sector, in which the logging and petroleum industries are two of the most prominent
Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Atlantic Canada possesses vast offshore deposits of
natural gas, and Alberta also hosts large oil and gas resources. The vastness of the Athabasca oil sands and other assets results in
Canada having 13% of the global oil reserves, the world's third-largest, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Canada is additionally one
of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products; the Canadian Prairies are one of the most important global producers of wheat,
canola, and other grains. The Ministry of Natural Resources in Canada provides statistics regarding their major exports, zinc and
uranium, and is a leading exporter of many other minerals, such as gold, nickel, aluminum, steel, iron ore, Coking Coal, and
lead. Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustainable because of nearby mines or sources of
timber. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics
representing particularly important industries.
Representatives of the governments of
Canada, Mexico, and the United States sign
the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) in 1992.
Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since World
War II. The Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened Canada's borders to trade
in the automobile manufacturing industry. In the 1970s, concerns over energy self-sufficiency
and foreign ownership in the manufacturing sectors prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's
Liberal government to enact the National Energy Program (NEP) and the Foreign Investment
Review Agency (FIRA). In the 1980s, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Progressive
Conservatives abolished the NEP and changed the name of FIRA to "Investment Canada", to
encourage foreign investment. The Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of
1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico in 1994. In the mid1990s, Jean Chrétien's Liberal government began to post annual budgetary surpluses, and
steadily paid down the national debt.
The global financial crisis of 2008 caused a major recession, which led to a significant rise in
unemployment in Canada. By October 2009, Canada's national unemployment rate had reached 8.6 percent, with provincial
unemployment rates varying from a low of 5.8 percent in Manitoba to a high of 17 percent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Between
October 2008 and October 2010, the Canadian labour market lost 162,000 full-time jobs and a total of 224,000 permanent jobs.
Canada's federal debt was estimated to total $566.7 billion for the fiscal year 2010–11, up from $463.7 billion in 2008–09. In addition,
Canada's net foreign debt rose by $41 billion to $194 billion in the first quarter of 2010. However, Canada's regulated banking sector
(comparatively conservative among G8 nations), the federal government's pre-crisis budgetary surpluses, and its long-term policies of
lowering the national debt, resulted in a less severe recession compared to other G8 nations. As of 2013, the majority of the
Canadian economy has stabilized, although the country remains troubled by slow growth, sensitivity to the Eurozone crisis and higherthan-normal unemployment rates. The federal government and many Canadian industries have also started to expand trade with
emerging Asian markets, in an attempt to diversify exports; in 2011, Asia was Canada's second-largest export market, after the United
States. Widely debated oil pipeline proposals, in particular, are hoped to increase exports of Canadian oil reserves to
Science and technology
Main articles: Science and technology in Canada and Telecommunications in Canada
In 2011, Canada spent approximately C$29.9 billion on domestic research and
development. As of 2012, the country has produced fourteen Nobel laureates in physics,
chemistry and medicine, and was ranked fourth worldwide for scientific research quality in
a major 2012 survey of international scientists. It is additionally home to a number of
global technology firms. Canada ranks seventeenth in the world for Internet users as a
proportion of the population, with over 28.4 million users, equivalent to around 83 percent of its
total 2012 population.
The Canadian Space Agency operates a highly active space program, conducting deep-space,
planetary, and aviation research, and developing rockets and satellites. Canada was the third
country to launch a satellite into space after the USSR and the United States, with the 1962
Alouette 1 launch. In 1984, Marc Garneau became Canada's first astronaut. As of 2013,
nine Canadians have flown into space, over the course of fifteen manned missions.
The Canadarm robotic manipulator in
action on Space Shuttle Discovery during
the STS-116 mission in 2006.
Canada is a participant in the International Space Station (ISS), and is a pioneer in space robotics, having constructed the Canadarm,
Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators for the ISS and NASA's Space Shuttle. Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has
designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1 and 2, ISIS and MOST. Canada has also produced a
successful and widely used sounding rocket, the Black Brant; over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since the rocket's
introduction in 1961.
Main articles: Canadians and Demographics of Canada
The 2011 Canadian census counted a total population of 33,476,688, an increase of around 5.9 percent over the 2006 figure. By
December 2012, Statistics Canada reported a population of over 35 million, signifying the fastest growth rate of any G8 nation.
Between 1990 and 2008, the population increased by 5.6 million, equivalent to 20.4 percent overall growth. The main drivers of population
growth are immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth.
About four-fifths of the population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the United States
border. Approximately 80 percent of Canadians live in urban areas concentrated in the Quebec
City–Windsor Corridor, the British Columbia Lower Mainland, and the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor
in Alberta. Canada spans latitudinally from the 83rd parallel north to the 41st parallel north,
and approximately 95% of the population is found below the 55th parallel north. In common with
many other developed countries, Canada is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older
population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. In 2006, the average age was 39.5
years; by 2011, it had risen to approximately 39.9 years. As of 2013, the average life
expectancy for Canadians is 81 years.
According to the 2006 census, the country's largest self-reported ethnic origin is Canadian
(accounting for 32% of the population), followed by English (21%), French (15.8%), Scottish
(15.1%), Irish (13.9%), German (10.2%), Italian (4.6%), Chinese (4.3%), First Nations (4.0%),
Ukrainian (3.9%), and Dutch (3.3%). There are 600 recognized First Nations governments or
bands, encompassing a total of 1,172,790 people.
Canada's aboriginal population is growing at almost twice the national rate, and four percent of
Canada's population claimed aboriginal identity in 2006. Another 16.2 percent of the population
belonged to a non-aboriginal visible minority. In 2006, the largest visible minority groups were
Ethnic origins of people in Canada (selfreported 2011 Census)
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Latin American (1.2%)
South Asian (4.0%), Chinese (3.9%) and Black (2.5%). Between 2001 and 2006, the visible
minority population rose by 27.2 percent. In 1961, less than two percent of Canada's
population (about 300,000 people) could be classified as belonging to a visible minority group, and
less than one percent as aboriginal. By 2007, almost one in five (19.8%) were foreign-born,
with nearly 60 percent of new immigrants coming from Asia (including the Middle East). The
leading sources of immigrants to Canada were China, the Philippines and India. According to Statistics Canada, visible minority
groups could account for a third of the Canadian population by 2031.
Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world, driven by economic
policy and family reunification. In 2010, a record 280,636 people immigrated to Canada. The
Canadian government anticipated between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in
2013, a similar number of immigrants as in recent years. New immigrants settle mostly in
major urban areas like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Canada also accepts large numbers
of refugees, accounting for over 10 percent of annual global refugee resettlements.
Canada is religiously diverse, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and customs. According to
the 2011 census, 67.3 percent of Canadians identify as Christian; of these, Catholics make up the
largest group, accounting for 38.7 percent of the population. The largest Protestant denomination
is the United Church of Canada (accounting for 6.1% of Canadians), followed by Anglicans (5.0%),
and Baptists (1.9%). In 2011, about 23.9 percent declared no religious affiliation, compared to
16.5% in 2001. The remaining 8.8 percent are affiliated with non-Christian religions, the largest
of which are Islam (3.2%) and Hinduism (1.5%).
Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for education. The mandatory school age
ranges between 5–7 to 16–18 years, contributing to an adult literacy rate of 99 percent. As
of 2011, 88 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree,
compared to an OECD average of 74 percent. In 2002, 43 percent of Canadians aged 25 to 64
possessed a post-secondary education; for those aged 25 to 34, the rate of post-secondary
education reached 51 percent. According to a 2012 NBC report, Canada is the most educated
country in the world. The Programme for International Student Assessment indicates that
Canadian students perform well above the OECD average, particularly in mathematics, science,
Largest metropolitan areas in Canada by population (2011 Census)
3,824,221 St. Catharines–Niagara
477,160 St. John's
Religion in Canada (2011 National
Other religions (0.6%)
view· talk· edit·
Main article: Languages of Canada
See also: List of endangered languages in Canada
Canada's two official languages are English and French, pursuant to Section 16 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the
Federal Official Languages Act. Canada's federal government practices official bilingualism, which is applied by the Commissioner of
Official Languages. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the
right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French, and official-language minorities
are guaranteed their own schools in all provinces and territories.
English and French are the first languages of 59.7 and 23.2 percent of the population
respectively. Approximately 98 percent of Canadians speak English or French: 57.8
percent speak English only, 22.1 percent speak French only, and 17.4 percent speak
both. The English and French official-language communities, defined by the first
official language spoken, constitute 73.0 and 23.6 percent of the population
Approximately 98% of Canadians can speak
English and/or French.
English – 56.9%
The 1977 Charter of the French Language established French as the official language of
Quebec. Although more than 85 percent of French-speaking Canadians live in
Quebec, there are substantial Francophone populations in Ontario, Alberta, and southern
Manitoba; Ontario has the largest French-speaking population outside Quebec. New
Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, has a French-speaking Acadian minority
constituting 33 percent of the population. There are also clusters of Acadians in
southwestern Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, and through central and western
Prince Edward Island.
Other provinces have no official languages as such, but French is used as a language of
instruction, in courts, and for other government services, in addition to English. Manitoba,
Ontario, and Quebec allow for both English and French to be spoken in the provincial
legislatures, and laws are enacted in both languages. In Ontario, French has some legal
status, but is not fully co-official. There are 11 Aboriginal language groups, composed of more than 65 distinct dialects. Of these,
only the Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibway languages have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the
long term. Several aboriginal languages have official status in the Northwest Territories. Inuktitut is the majority language in
Nunavut, and is one of three official languages in the territory.
English and French (Bilingual) – 16.1%
French – 21.3%
Sparsely populated area ( < 0.4 persons per km2)
In 2011, nearly 6.8 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official
first languages include Chinese (mainly Cantonese; 1,072,555 first-language speakers), Punjabi (430,705), Spanish (410,670), German
(409,200), and Italian (407,490).
Main article: Culture of Canada
Canada's culture draws influences from its broad range of constituent nationalities, and
policies that promote multiculturalism are constitutionally protected. In Quebec, cultural
identity is strong, and many French-speaking commentators speak of a culture of Quebec that
is distinct from English Canadian culture. However, as a whole, Canada is in theory a
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cultural mosaic – a collection of several regional, aboriginal, and ethnic subcultures.
Government policies such as publicly funded health care, higher taxation to redistribute
wealth, the outlawing of capital punishment, strong efforts to eliminate poverty, strict gun
control, and the legalization of same-sex marriage are further social indicators of Canada's
political and cultural values.
Historically, Canada has been influenced by British, French, and aboriginal cultures and
Bill Reid's 1980 sculpture Raven and The
First Men. The Raven is a figure common to
traditions. Through their language, art and music, aboriginal peoples continue to influence the
many of Canada's Aboriginal mythologies.
Canadian identity. Many Canadians value multiculturalism and see Canada as being
 American media and entertainment are popular, if not dominant, in
English Canada; conversely, many Canadian cultural products and entertainers are successful in the United States and worldwide.
The preservation of a distinctly Canadian culture is supported by federal government programs, laws, and institutions such as the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson. Oil on
canvas, 1916, in the collection of the
National Gallery of Canada.
Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures such as Tom Thomson – the country's
most famous painter – and by the Group of Seven. Thomson's career painting Canadian
landscapes spanned a decade up to his death in 1917 at age 39. The Group were painters
with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920.
Though referred to as having seven members, five artists – Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson,
Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley – were responsible for articulating
the Group's ideas. They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston, and by commercial artist
Franklin Carmichael. A. J. Casson became part of the Group in 1926. Associated with the
Group was another prominent Canadian artist, Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and
portrayals of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Since the 1950s,
works of Inuit art have been given as gifts to foreign dignitaries by the Canadian
The Canadian music industry has produced internationally renowned composers, musicians
and ensembles. Music broadcasting in the country is regulated by the Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Canadian Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences presents Canada's music industry awards, the Juno Awards, which were first awarded in 1970. Patriotic music in
Canada dates back over 200 years as a distinct category from British patriotism, preceding the first legal steps to independence by over
50 years. The earliest, The Bold Canadian, was written in 1812. The national anthem of Canada, O Canada, was originally
commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Théodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony,
and was officially adopted in 1980. Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet
and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French, before it was translated to English in 1906.
The roots of organized sports in Canada date back to the 1770s. Canada's official national
sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. Seven of Canada's eight largest metropolitan areas –
Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg – have franchises in
the National Hockey League (NHL). Other popular spectator sports in Canada include curling
and Canadian football; the latter is played professionally in the Canadian Football League
(CFL). Golf, tennis, baseball, skiing, cricket, volleyball, rugby union, soccer and basketball are
widely played at youth and amateur levels, but professional leagues and franchises are not
widespread. Canada does have one professional baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Canada has participated in almost every Olympic Games since its Olympic debut in 1900,
and has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer
Olympics in Montreal, the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, the 1994 Basketball World
Championship and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Canada was the host nation for the 2010
Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.
Canada's ice hockey victory at the 2010
Winter Olympics in Vancouver
Canada's national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Aboriginal sources. The use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol
dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's current and previous flags, on the penny, and on the Arms of
Canada. Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada Goose, Common Loon, the Crown, the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police, and more recently, the totem pole and Inuksuk.
Index of Canada-related articles
Outline of Canada
Topics by provinces and territories
Canada at Wikipedia books
North America portal
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A Guide to the Sources
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