Facts of Canada

The official name of the country: is Canada, located in North America
Formation: 1867 / 1949
Capital city: Ottawa
Population: 33.9 million people / 4 people per sq km  (10 people per sq mile)
Total land area: 9,984,670 square km (3,855,171 square miles)
Spoken languages: English (official), French (official), Chinese, Italian, German, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Inuktitut, Cree
Religions: Roman Catholic 44%, Protestant 29%, Other and nonreligious 27%

Canada location map
Location map of Canada


Ethnic mix: European 87%, Asian 9%, Amerindian, Métis, and Inuit 4%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Canadian dollar = 100 cents
Literacy rate: 99%
Average daily calorie consumption: 3530 kilocalories.

The National Flag of Canada
The National Flag of Canada

Map of Canada

Canada's map
Map of Canada

Canada is the second-largest country globally, and with only about one-tenth of its land area inhabited, it is one of the most sparsely populated. The total surface area of Canada is only 510 million km2. That’s less than two percent of the Earth’s surface. Canada occupies 6.1% of the Earth’s land and is 148.9 million km2. Without their lakes, Canada would be smaller than the USA. The United States has a greater land area than Canada, but not when you factor in their lack of water mass.

Canada became a confederation in 1867, though Newfoundland did not join until 1949. As a founding member of the UN and the Commonwealth, Canada has played an essential role in international affairs.

Despite its size, Canada is sparsely populated and has an incredible landscape. As a result, it has an identity that stems from the wilderness. In 1837, Irish-born writer Anna Brownell Jameson explored Ontario and said in a triumphant tone, “the seemingly endless line of trees before you; the boundless wilderness around you; the mysterious depths amid the multitudinous foliage, where the foot of man hath never penetrated…the solitude in which we proceeded mile after mile, no human being, no human dwelling within sight”.

Canadians are few, but they have the quality of a model multicultural society by welcoming immigrants from other countries, and they have natural resources that can be found nowhere else.

Canada is officially bilingual and holds its history as ground once contested by two of Europe’s great powers. Canada is derived from the Huron-Iroquois Kanata, meaning a village or settlement. The name was used in the 16th century to refer to the area around the settlement that would become Quebec City. After Britain conquered New France, Quebec was sometimes used instead of Canada. The name was fully restored and holding its history as ground once contested by two of Europe’s great power after Canada became entirely self-governing within the British Empire in 1931.

With no military force posted on the border, Canada shares the longest border with the United States. Most of its population lives within 185 miles of the border. The countries share many similarities, but their differences are also profound.

A constitutional crisis focused on the French-speaking Québécois, Inuit, and Native American land rights dominated politics in the 1990s. In 1999, part of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, became a self-governing homeland.

Canada has memberships in the Commonwealth and was a leader of La Francophonie. They were also a part of the UN and contributed to many UN agencies. Canada is currently part of the Free Trade Agreement with the US, superseded by NAFTA.

Canada was a founding member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and is part of the Group of Seven.

The national capital is Ottawa, Canada’s fourth-largest city. It lies some 250 miles northeast of Toronto and 125 miles west of Montreal. In population, these are Canada’s first and second cities. The third-largest city is Vancouver, which does business with countries on the Pacific Rim, and is the principal western gateway to Canada’s developing interior. Other major metropolitan areas include Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, Quebec City in Quebec, and Winnipeg in Manitoba.



Natural Geography

The northern and central parts of the country are covered by lake country; the surface is gently undulating and very rich in rivers. The Prairie Plateau in the southwest and the Appalachian Mountains in the southeast. The Rocky Mountains and the Coastal Mountains are a range of deep valleys to the west.

Highest point: Logan 5959 m.
Significant rivers include the St. Lawrence River, Peace, Mackenzie, Churchill, Nelson, Columbia, Athabasca, and Yukon.
Largest lakes: Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Winnipegosis, Upper Lake, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Athabasca, Reindeer Lake, and Lake Erie.

Canada has an extensive border, including thousands of islands and the land in all 8 provinces. Canada borders The Arctic Ocean, another country’s Greenland to the northeast, and The United States to the south and west.

Canada is one of the most critical topics in Canada’s geography as it ranges from 52° to 141° W and 42° to 83° N. While Canada is often only considered a country of the far north, the southernmost point of Ontario lies at the same latitude as northern California. As a result, many international commercial flights fly through Canada.

Provinces in Canada are divided into regions, which often overlap. Contiguous provinces can be grouped to form a region even if they reside near the Atlantic Ocean. Not including Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritime Provinces are often designated “Maritime” and Quebec, Ontario, and these three provinces are sometimes referred to as “Central Canada”. Western Canada typically means Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia but may refer to these provinces collectively as “Prairie Provinces” or Prairie. Yukon is regarded as part of Western Canada and so are northwestern territories.

Canada has a diverse geography, with high mountains on the border and a hilly interior. It is more mountainous in the west than in the east, and Canada’s characteristic landscape is one of the small low-rolling hills.

Canadians created a large country by linking the east-west US and Canada, using transportation and communication links that go against the grain of the continent. The Canadian North remains one of the least settled and least economically exploited parts of the world.

Canada can be divided into six physiographic regions: the Canadian Shield, the interior plains, and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence lowlands, the Appalachian region, the Western Cordillera, and the Arctic Archipelago.

The Canadian Shield is the country’s largest region, occupying about half of the total area. The mountain-building events and erosion gradually cut down until reduced to a mostly flat, nearly featureless plain. The rim of the shield is warped and folded. Along the St. Lawrence River shore, Quebec and Ontario’s shields are about 2,000 feet (600 meters) in height. In Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, lakes dot the perimeter of the shield edge. The Hudson Bay Lowlands lie at elevations below 2000 feet. As a result, most of the shield contains monotonous landscapes with little to no variation in topography. Glaciers, however, have drastically affected the surface of the area. Without an amorphous top layer of rock and soil, glaciers were able to move and roughen these surfaces. This erosion process left loose “rock knob” hills with hollows or troughs between ridges usually covered in lakes. Glaciers drop till or moraine deposits in other areas and dash across the surface in long erratics that stretch over 100 miles. Here, depositions from old sub-glacial streams give way to clay deposits that are now exposed to air due to a lack of water. The Hudson Bay Lowlands also contain many minerals (such as coal, silver, gold, and nickel), making it an excellent place for mining activity.

The lowlands in Canada are composed of sedimentary rocks. The three largest lakes found in Canada, Great Slave, Great Bear, and Lake Winnipeg, are all located along the boundary of the shield-interior plain.

The Manitoba Lowland region is the flattest land in the interior plains. It is underlaid by lacustrine sediments of Glacial Lake Agassiz and is located in the SE part of Canada. The lowlands are known for their fertile soil and black clay and silt in the south, covered by Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winnipegosis.

The Manitoba lowland is located to the east of the scene depicted in this painting and has an elevation range from 1,500-to 2,100 feet. The Saskatchewan plain is visible on the right side of the image, and the Alberta plain can be seen on the left side. These plains are rolling landscapes with glacial deposits laid over almost horizontal bedrock. Hiking trails cut through these green hills and valleys with vast water bodies created by glaciers. There are flat plains there also. Large potash deposits characterize Alberta. Large coal, oil, and natural gas reserves are located in Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Mackenzie lowlands, extending from the Alberta plains north to the Arctic Ocean, is an area covered in muskegs and swamps that the Mackenzie River drains.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region encompasses the southern Ontario area bounded by a Canadian Shield and three lakes (Huron, Erie, and Ontario). Although relatively minor, the region extends along the Saint Lawrence River to the Atlantic ocean. Despite its small size, this region’s high agricultural productivity, intensive industrialization, and urbanization levels make for a crucial area.

The Great Lakes region is notoriously fertile, with highly cultivated forests and rolling hills of glacial landforms. In southwestern Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment is the only prominent bedrock structure that runs through Niagara Falls to Georgian Bay. This stretches from the Ottawa Valley into Manitoulin Island.

North of the Frontenac Axis, this lowland area extends into the Ottawa and St. Lawrence valley, nearly as far as Quebec City. This was at one point inundated by seawater during a glacial period, and it has left a very flat plain. The Monteregian Hills interrupt this otherwise level landmass – with the last of them being the Mont-Royal in Montreal, which is about 820 feet high.

Appalachia is a region that includes the Eastern townships of Canada and stretches northeastward to the Gaspé Peninsula and the Maritime Provinces. This region contains ancient rock formations eroded into low, rounded mountains dissected by valleys, interrupted by lowland areas developed on weaker rock formations. The highest mountains are found in southern Quebec at about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). The hills have also been dissected from north-central New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. There are more dissected highlands than lowlands in Newfoundland, with the inland part of Newfoundland being plateau upland. Along the coast of Newfoundland’s west side, there is a range of high mountains called the Long Range Mountains, approximately 2,000 feet in elevation.

The Cordillera region, which spans from Canada to Northern Mexico, is made up of mountain ranges. Many of these are very young, and some are still active. Valleys have deep glacial activity in some areas, with snow-capped and sharp peaks. The view from an overhead perspective shows the entire landscape as a series of mountain ranges that run south-north.

The eastern portion is shared between Canada and the US in the Rocky Mountains. This area holds some of North America’s most rugged and picturesque landscapes. More than 30 peaks in this mountain range exceed 10,000 feet, including Mount Robson, which rises to 12,972 feet. There are national parks like Banff in Canada, established in 1885. Three major passes also cut through these mountains: Yellowhead, Kicking Horse, and Crowsnest Pass. The Trans-Canada Highway is routed through Kicking Horse Pass.

The Rocky Mountain Trench is the valley in the West of the Canadian Rockies, and from there, there are mountains to both its East and West. They then continue their range north until they run into the Coast Mountains. These mountains are steep, snowy, and full of diverse wildlife.

The Saint Elias Mountain group is home to Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan. On the coast region off the coast are a series of cliffs that rise over 7,000 feet from the water. The area is a significant source of lead, zinc, copper, and gold. Eastern fringes contain coal deposits.

The Arctic Archipelago comprises thousands of islands north of the Canadian mainland. The southeastern islands are an extension of the Canadian Shield. There are two distinct landform regions for the balance: The Arctic lowlands to the south and the mountains of the Innuitian Region to the north. The Innuitian ranges are geologically young mountains similar to Western Cordillera, with some peaks and ridges reaching 10,000 feet (3,000 meters). For much of the Innuitian Region, snow and ice cover most parts permanently covered with snow. There are also parts where mountaintops will occasionally protrude when exposed to direct sunlight.

National economy and role in the world economy

One of the wealthiest and most developed countries on earth. Its development has been based on its rich natural resources, especially its vast land area, fish, fur, timber, and mineral wealth. Although agriculture has declined in importance in its economy, it remains the most crucial sector in many regions. It is a significant exporter of agricultural products due to its significant production and low population. It is one of the largest wheat producers globally and has a significant production of vegetables, fruit, maize, tobacco, and soya. Livestock and fisheries are also prominent. Forestry continues to be an important sector of the rural economy. The mining of nickel, platinum, gold, uranium, copper, titanium, cobalt, molybdenum, petroleum, natural gas, coal, and iron ore is also significant globally. Its petroleum reserves are the third-largest after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia (highlighted by the vast oil sands in the province of Alberta). The country’s advanced metallurgy is based on its mineral resources and cheap energy. The country’s manufacturing industry is dominated by chemicals, wood, machinery, and transport equipment (the latter accounting for nearly a quarter of exports, with the US and Japanese automotive companies accounting for a significant share).

The 1989 Free Trade Agreement with the US and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have led to a significant increase in trade with the US and Mexico. The economy grew moderately between 1993 and 2007, with a 2.5% decline in 2009 due to the global economic crisis, but has grown again since 2010, at 2-3%.

Main exports: transport equipment, machinery, chemicals, timber, lumber, crude oil, natural gas, aluminum, and electricity.

Imports are dominated by various consumer durables, machinery equipment, and textiles. The USA is its most important partner, accounting for 3/4 of its exports and half of its imports. Other important trading partners are China and Mexico. Foreign capital investment plays a vital role in the country’s economy. Most of this comes from the US (in manufacturing, mining, and services), but there are also European (German, French, British) and Japanese investors. However, the country also participates as an investor in international capital flows, with total working capital worth USD 1,130 billion.

Transportation and industry of Canada

Abundant energy in coal, oil, natural gas, and hydroelectric power underpins the Canadian industry. Over 75% of the manufacturing is concentrated in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region, including prospering aerospace, transportation, and hi-tech industries. Across Canada, manufacturing has developed around a diversified, high-quality resource base and a wide range of metallic and nonmetallic minerals.

Using the land and sea

Most of Canada’s agricultural land is found in the prairies, covering 140 million acres (57 million ha) and supporting wheat and grain-fed cattle. More specialized crops, such as fruit and vegetables, are grown in pockets of agricultural land in the east and west. Of Canada’s many islands, only Prince Edward Island has notable farmland. Further north, boreal forests, exploited for timber, run in an almost unbroken arc, giving way to uncultivable tundra and ice sheets in the far north.

The landscape of Canada

The massive Rocky Mountains form a continental divide between eastward and westward rivers. The interior plains lie east of the mountains, stretching from the Arctic Circle south into the US. Covered with glacial deposits from the last Ice Age, these are interspersed with hilly regions and long, steep escarpments.

Capital cities of Canada

Province/TerritoryCapital City
CanadaOttawa
Newfoundland & LabradorSt. John’s
Prince Edward IslandCharlottetown
Nova ScotiaHalifax
New BrunswickFredericton
QuebecQuebec City
OntarioToronto
ManitobaWinnipeg
SaskatchewanRegina
AlbertaEdmonton
British ColumbiaVictoria
YukonWhitehorse
North West TerritoriesYellowknife
NunavutIqaluit

Interesting facts about Canada

  • Mount Logan rises 5959 m (19,551 ft). It is the highest peak in Canada.
  • The Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains is the source of two major rivers, the Athabasca and the North Saskatchewan.
  • The badlands of Alberta were created when east-flowing rivers, swollen by meltwater at the end of the last Ice Age, cut deep, vast canyons producing eroded, barren landscapes.
  • The Nelson and Churchill rivers drain northward across the Canadian Shield to Hudson Bay. The shield covers three-fifths of Saskatchewan.
  • The Rocky Mountain Trench is the longest linear fault in the world. It has formed a straight, flat-bottomed valley between 4–15 km (2–9 miles) wide and up to 1000 m (3280 ft) deep.
  • Hundreds of islands dot the fjord-indented coast of British Columbia; the largest is Vancouver Island.
  • Three significant passes cut through the Rocky Mountains: Yellowhead, Kicking Horse, and Crowsnest. They are all used as transportation routes through the mountains.
  • The Cypress Hills rise to 1465 m (4806 ft) above the surrounding plain. Having escaped the last glaciation, they contain unique plant and animal life. The silvery lupine, bunchberry, and lodgepole pine all grow in the cool, moist climate of the hills.
  • The Alberta and Saskatchewan plains bear strong testament to past glaciations. The Assiniboine, Saskatchewan, and Qu’Appelle rivers occupy flat-bottomed, steep-sided valleys eroded by glacial meltwater during the last Ice Age.
  • The lowlands of Manitoba are a basin that once held the vast post-glacial Lake Agassiz, remnants of which include Lake Winnipeg, Lake Winnipegosis, and Lake Manitoba.
  • The Nelson and Churchill rivers drain northward across the Canadian Shield to Hudson Bay. The shield covers three-fifths of Saskatchewan.
  • Across the tundra of northern Manitoba, widespread permafrost inhibits water from permeating the soil. This causes rivers like the Churchill to flow in many channels, frozen for up to six months during the winter.
  • Ancient granite outcrops, part of the Canadian Shield, rise above the surface of Setting Lake, which was initially formed by meltwater from the last Ice Age.

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