Living in Canada Today

While Canada and the U.S. share many similarities in language, landscape, and culture, there are also significant differences. One major difference is the social safety net that exists in Canada. Programs like universal healthcare and higher education subsidies mean Canadians enjoy a higher quality of life than their American counterparts. In terms of politics, the Canadian system is more consultative and less polarized than the American system, which can be seen as more adversarial. Canadians often take pride in their country’s reputation for being polite and reasonable. Compared to the United States, they see themselves living in a peaceful society with minor crimes. They value their close relationship with nature, which is reflected in popular outdoor activities like camping and hiking. In general, Canadians seem to be more concerned with the quality of life issues than Americans, who tend to focus more on individualism and personal achievement.

Living in Canada Today
Living in Canada Today

Everyday life in Canada is filled with a wide variety of activities, both cultural and environmental. From the remote northern territories to the bustling streets of Toronto, there is always something new to explore. Understanding Canadian life’s diversity can help us appreciate all this country offers.

Comparison chart of Canada and the United States

CountryCanadaUnited States
FlagFlag of CanadaFlag of the United States
CurrencyCanadian Dollar ($) (CAD)United States Dollar ($) (USD)
GovernmentParliamentary democracy (federal constitutional monarchy)A federal presidential constitutional republic
Time zone(UTC-3.5 to -8)(UTC−5 to −10)
Population38,142,273 (38th)329.5 million (2020 census)
Calling code+1+1
DemonymCanadianAmerican
MonarchQueen Elizabeth IINone
CapitalOttawa, OntarioWashington, D.C.
Drives on theRightRight
National AnthemGod Save the Queen (Royal Anthem), O Canada (National Anthem)Star-Spangled Banner
Date formatsDD/MM/YYMM/DD/YYYY
ReligionsChristianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, BuddhismChristianity, Islam, Judaism
Flag ColorsRed and whiteRed, blue, and white
National languageEnglish, French (Official)English (De Facto)
Literacy rate99%99%
PresidentNoneJoe Biden
Christian population (%)67.3%72%
Upper HouseSenateSenate
ContinentNorth AmericaNorth America
Introduction (from Wikipedia)Canada (IPA: /ˈkænədə/) is a country occupying most of northern North America, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Read more here.The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States, America, and sometimes the States is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. Read more here.
International abbreviationCAUSA
Space OrganisationCanadian Space AgencyNASA
Official NameCanadaThe United States of America (USA)
Description of FlagRed and White. Red Maple Leaf in the centerRed and white stripes and 50 white stars on a blue background in the upper left corner.
Lower HouseHouse of CommonsHouse Of Representatives
Regional Divisions10 Provinces and 3 Territories56 political divisions (50 States, 1 Federal District, and 5 major overseas territories)
Measurement systemMetric / Imperial (legacy)Customary
Current constitutionAdopted and made active in 1867 (authority Parliament of Great Britain) – Constitution Act 1982 (Canada gains total sovereignty)BNA was adopted on September 17, 1787, and made active on March 4, 1789 – Queen Elizabeth signed off C.A. on April 17, 1982
Preceded byBritish CanadaThirteen Colonies
Head of StateHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth IIJoe Biden
Most used languageEnglishEnglish
Largest cityToronto (2.8 M) – Metro Area app. 6 MillionNew York City (8.538 M) – Metro Area 19 – 20 Million
Written LanguageCanadian English, Canadian / Quebec FrenchEnglish
FlagThe Maple Leaf – February 15, 1965Star Spangled Banner, Old Glory
Official languagesCanadian English, Canadian FrenchNone
Internet TLD.ca.us .gov .mil .edu
Department of DefenseDepartment of National DefenceU.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security
LegislatureParliament of CanadaCongress of the United States of America
Speaker of the HouseThe Hon. Andrew Scheer, M.P.Nancy Pelosi
NavyRoyal Canadian NavyU. S. Department of the Navy, U. S. Department of the Marine Corps, U. S. Department of the Coast Guard
ArmyCanadian ArmyU.S. Department of the Army
Air ForceRoyal Canadian Air ForceU.S. Department of the Air Force
Language(s)English, FrenchEnglish (De Facto), Spanish
Political LeaderJustin TrudeauJoe Biden
Muslim population (%)3.2%2.1%
National AnimalBeaverBald Eagle
Special ForcesCANSOFCOMUS Special Operations Command (not naming groups, tasks, or training)
Current LeaderJustin Trudeau (Prime Minister)Joe Biden (President)
Intelligence AgenciesCanadian Security Intelligence Service or CSISCentral Intelligence Agencies or CIA
Official scriptLatin/RomanLatin/Roman
IndependenceConfederation July 1, 1867; 1931 Statute of Westminster (From British Empire to Commonwealth Nation)from Great Britain (July 4, 1776)
Independence: RecognizedJuly 1, 1867 (Canada created subject to British law – British North America Act)September 3, 1783
Life expectancy8279
Highest PointMount Logan, 5,959 m (19,551 ft)Mt. McKinley 6,914m (20,308 ft)
LanguagesEnglish, French (mainly in Quebec)English
Recognized regional languagesInuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Dëne Sųłiné, Cree, Gwich’in, Hän, Inuvialuktun, Slavey, Tłįchǫ YatiìNavajo, Central Alaskan Yup’ik, Dakota, Western Apache, Keres, Cherokee, Zuni, Ojibwe, O’odham
Hindu population (%)1.5%0.4%
General political conditionsIt is a democratic, independent nation that is part of the Commonwealth of Nations and thus has close ties to the United Kingdom. Over time, the United States has become Canada’s major international relation.It is an independent nation, a republic.
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean, Sea LevelBadwater Basin (−85.5 m)
MottoA Mari Usque Ad Mare (Latin for “From Sea to Sea”)In God We Trust
Buddhist population1.1%0.7%
Nobel laureates25331
Flag NicknameThe Maple LeafStar-Spangled Banner
The total length of the land border8,893 km12, 034 km
Urban population (%)80%82%
Total internet users85.8%%254,295,536 (81%)
Tallest BuildingC.N. Tower (446.5 m) 1,464.9 ft.One World Trade Center (541.3 m) 1776 ft.
Weather agenciesEnvironment and Climate Change CanadaNational Weather Service
Area9,984,670 km² (2nd) 3,854,085 sq mi9,857,348 km²
Further informationCanadaUnited States
Last update: 11/2022

Celebrations and traditions

Canada celebrates some of the same holidays as the United States, especially religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. In May, Canadians can also celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday with parties organized by friends and family. This memorial day has been celebrated since 1845 in honor of then-reigning Queen Victoria of England and is viewed as the first of the summer holidays.

Canada is a wonderful place to live, and we like to celebrate the holidays throughout the year. One of the most well-known celebrations is Canada Day on July 1. This holiday commemorates the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Another well-known public holiday is the August Civic Holiday, which lasts three days. Canadians often enjoy the luxury of their mountains, beaches, lakes, and other natural beauty during this time.

Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated much as it is in the United States, except for an earlier date. When Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28, Canadians will celebrate a day earlier on Monday, October 24. There are also some differences in what people have their dinner before the football game on Thursday or the speech and dinner on Friday. It is a time to enjoy the harvest with family and friends after working hard all year. Learn more about Canada’s nations and provincial holidays here.

Influences of heroes

Canada is home to a wide variety of heroes, past and present. Canadians seem to naturally offer unassuming pride rather than elevating these individuals to superhero status. Learning about Canada’s heroes will help you better understand the factors that have helped shape this country. Creating a Canadian identity is a dynamic process that relies on people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

Take the life of Terry Fox, a Canadian man who lost his leg to cancer. Terry wanted to do something serving his vision, so he decided to run across Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia. This 1980 “Marathon of Hope” was a mission for Terry to raise funds and increase awareness for cancer research. Even though Terry died before he could complete his task, his memory lives on in this annual September event that raises more than $300 million (Canadian Dollars). Students, fellow Canadians, and even people worldwide participate in this event.

Many different aspects of Canadian society and culture make it what it is. One of these essential parts is the character and achievements of specific individuals, which have helped shape Canada’s identity over the years.

Leisure time

Canadians have come up with many ways to stay busy during the year’s cold months, from its long winters to its frozen temperatures. One way is with the pursuit of ice-based games, which evolved into hockey many years ago and has become a popular sport in Canada today. The first public hockey exhibition was played in 1875 by the founder of hockey, James Creighton. This year marks 150 years since the game began and 49 long decades Canada has spent cheering on their favorite players. “Hockey Night in Canada” has become a widely viewed Saturday evening event for many Canadian families during hockey season; it often airs after weeks of anticipation. But many more winter sports have also become popular, such as speed skating, figure skating, skiing, snowboarding, and curling.

Pop culture

Canada has some of the most well-known musicians in the world. Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Loreena McKennit, Bryan Adams, and the Tragically Hip are just a few.

Jim Carrey, Michael J. Fox, Donald, Kiefer Sutherland, and Dan Akroyd have become famous American actors with their work in Hollywood. However, many movies and television shows are now being produced in Canada. Financially encouraged by government policies, Canada has attracted some U.S. movie productions to the country. The Canadian Rocky Mountains and cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montréal are becoming more popular shooting locations for these films. This new trend is an indication that Canadians are making an impact on a traditionally American-dominated industry.

Canada’s youth

With so much positive news about Canada’s youth, it’s important to know that there are also some worrisome trends. The good news is that most of the country’s teens are in school, enjoying access to computer technology, and experiencing a decline in crime rates. But the research suggests that at a certain point, working more than a moderate number of hours has a negative effect on their performance in school.

A digital divide is forming on home fronts related to family income and access to technology. Widening gaps in Canadian youth are emerging due to growing inequality. Youth who are economically and socially at risk are increasingly being left behind. Increased user fees for participation in quality recreation areas have become an enormous barrier for those with limited income or who live in impoverished neighborhoods. As these recreational programs, such as art and music programs, swimming, or team sports, significantly contribute to health and optimal physical and emotional well-being, this becomes a significant issue.

Poor educational services are a growing problem in rural areas. Because these regions often don’t have good funding, they don’t get the necessary resources. This can be true for people with special needs children and educational systems.

Whether or not you believe him as Prime Minister, it’s clear that Justin Trudeau is committed to investing time and resources into youth programs. The Canadian government has said it will try to ensure all young Canadians have the same opportunity. This means creating investment timetables and improving grassroots (local) programs, so they make a difference for everyone. Even though there’s been some progress, more work needs to be done before we can turn around the worrisome trends in our communities.

Being “Canadian”

You’ve read about many of Canada’s traits in this post. So, what are common global perceptions of Canada’s people? Many think Canadians are tolerant, friendly, peace-loving, modest, and polite.

Canada’s population is growing due to immigrants and refugees coming to the country. Previous generations of immigrants welcome the next generation of their family with open arms. The country is also home to those fleeing oppression and persecution in volatile countries. This increasing population shows that Canadians appreciate our diverse population. Canadian rights are guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadians say what they mean and aren’t afraid to voice their opinion, but they are always polite and keep an open mind when listening to other ideas. If you respect people’s differences and educate them about them, you can improve Canadian society as a whole. Canada is a diverse country with much regional variation, which provides examples of this “tradition of tolerance” approach everywhere in Canada.

Regional distinctions

Each of the regions in Canada has a uniqueness that is good for describing the people who live there.

Living in the North

People living in the territories of northern Canada today continue to live traditions from modern times. Children live in modern, wood-framed houses, watch T.V., use the internet, and attend school. Over the past decades, people have come to the North for work in the oil, gas, and mining industries. Instead of settling there, they return to more populated areas after a short time at a high-paying job.

Living in British Columbia

Mild winters and wonderfully scenic landscapes are vital attractions for the nature-oriented residents of the highly populated lower mainland, coastal islands, and mountainous interior of British Columbia. A source of both beauty and wealth for the people, the forests of this region present conflict among the residents. Those who want to protect the original forests for future generations clash with the logging companies that log the forests for income. The fishing industry is also a source of conflict among the residents (Aboriginal vs. non-Aboriginal) of British Columbia, as are the “salmon wars” with the United States.

Living in Alberta

The oil and natural gas industries and agriculture are critical components of Alberta’s economy. They are the economic engines that have fueled many of the economic successes in Alberta, particularly in Edmonton and Calgary. Many Albertans live in cities or towns, but ranching roots are still quite prevalent today. The Calgary Stampede is a ten-day ride-day festival of rodeos, parades, and celebrations showcasing cowboy culture to the city of Calgary.

Living in Saskatchewan

The province of Saskatchewan is where most people live on farms. Wheat, canola, barley, and rye are the main crops grown in the fertile plains of Saskatchewan. Over half of the province has a boreal forest that provides another renewable natural resource for Saskatchewan. The capital city of Regina is home to the training academy for the RCMP, which is located in the only province with entirely manmade boundaries.

Living in Manitoba

Manitoba is a unique Canadian area with significant transportation links between East and West—major railways, highways, and airways pass through Manitoba. Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba and has more than one-half the province’s population. Manitoba has the second-lowest population density in Canada, but it’s home to many ethnic groups. One significant Ukrainian settlement outside of Ukraine is in Manitoba. Important Icelandic, Métis, and Mennonite communities also enrich the culture and economy in this province.

Living in Ontario

Ontario‘s population mostly lives in cities, and they work in either the service or manufacturing industry. The automobile industry of the Golden Horseshoe region produces billions of U.S. dollars in exports annually. Northern Ontario is a mirror image of the heavily populated southern part. Here, small airplanes provide transportation for people and supplies from one forested location to another, as highways don’t exist in this rugged landscape. People living near Moosonee, on the southern end of James Bay, can access rail links from Southern Ontario!

Living in Québec

French-speaking Quebec has significantly impacted Canada’s politics, while hydroelectric power in James Bay has similarly shaped the lives of people and wildlife. With the damming of rivers, exploitive repression has been enacted by Canadian corporations. Natural hot springs were also disturbed by the extensions of nearby ski resorts.

Living in the Atlantic Maritimes

Once the most important industry for this region, fishing has fallen on hard times. As the people here depend heavily on precious natural resources, any shift in resource supplies significantly affects their standard of living. That’s why fishing communities have seen an economic downturn with the discovery of oil off the Grand Banks. The high cost of extracting the oil from beneath the sea caused significant restrictions to its usefulness as an economic resource. However, not all hope is lost for those who live in this amazing region. There are many job opportunities in tourism for locals thanks to picturesque coastal towns and villages bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

The movement of people, goods, and ideas in Canada

Understandably, geography is not limited to studying physical features and political boundaries. It also encompasses the consideration of human activity. Some elements that fall under human geography are how people live, where they choose to live, and how they react to and adapt to their physical surroundings.

The federal government says that this plan is a way to connect Canadians. This movement hopes to make Canada the most Internet-connected country in the world, and by becoming a leader in this area, Canada can also benefit from its population growth.

Environment

Whether or not the population is increasing, an environment that is healthy and balanced is essential for a positive quality of life. Caring for Canada’s forests, grasslands, tundra, and wildlife is part of this delicate balance. Air and water quality are also important in sustaining health and prosperity. Canada’s high life expectancy rate of 79 years is connected to the continuation of Canada’s healthy environment.

Canadians are working hard to improve the environment and protect wildlife. New federal initiatives and international efforts have already helped reduce pollution in Canada, such as plans for improved treatment of municipal wastewater, reductions in the discharge of industrial pollutants, and declines in fish and wildlife contaminants.

Conclusion

Overall, Canadians are proud of their diverse heritage and achievements. The country is constantly evolving and adapting to the ever-changing world around them, which is evident in its celebrations, traditions, and leisure activities. While they may appear similar to Americans at first glance, the two cultures have many distinct differences. With its rich history and beautiful landscape, Canada is a truly unique place that is definitely worth exploring.