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About Canada

Canada is the world's second-largest country. It is a vast and varied nation, both in terms of geography and people. Rich with natural resources, Canada is technologically advanced and home to many different cultures. It stretches over 7,000 kilometres from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. Canada has beautiful landscapes with snow-capped mountains, plentiful wildlife and vast, untouched wilderness.

Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations, a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Group of Eight (G8).

Around 32.5 million people live in Canada, with most population growth coming from immigration. About three-quarters of Canada's population lives within 160 kilometres of the U.S. border. Most Canadians live in urban areas such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.

A multicultural society

Many Canadians value multiculturalism and many see Canadian culture as being inherently multicultural. Canada’s first inhabitants were aboriginals. The first European settlers were English, French, Irish, and Scottish: all influenced Canada’s culture.

France, and later England, created colonies in Canada. In the 18th century, the British took over the French colony. In an arrangement, unusual for the time, the British allowed French language and culture to flourish in “Lower Canada,” now known as Quebec.

Some of these colonies joined together to become the country of Canada in 1867; Canada achieved full independence in 1931. Today, Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories. Canada is a bilingual and multicultural nation; both English and French are official languages.

In later years, people have migrated to Canada from every continent in the world. Toronto, Ontario is one of the most multicultural cities on the planet. According to the 2001 census, 18.4 per cent of Canada's population was born outside the country.

Canada’s culture

Many Canadians are world-famous, including poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen, hockey athlete Wayne Gretzky, singers Shania Twain, Nelly Furtado, Celine Dion and Bryan Adams, comedians Mike Myers and Jim Carrey, actors William Shatner, Keanu Reeves, Matthew Perry and Kiefer Sutherland, and novelists Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, both winners of the Man Booker Prize. Canadians have made important scientific discoveries (such as insulin) and created world-changing inventions (such as the telephone).

Canada's official national sports are ice hockey (winter) and lacrosse (summer). Soccer, football, curling, golf, basketball and baseball are widely played as well, and Canada has several professional football and basketball teams. Canada hosted the world at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.

Canada is a country with incredible resources, and excellent health and education systems. It is a democratic and open society where newcomers are welcome to share in the country's success. The country prides itself on the tolerance between people of different backgrounds. The country and its laws allow freedom for all to maintain their ethnic and cultural heritage, while encouraging everyone to participate in Canadian society.

Links of interest

Organization Description and related links
International Students logo

Canadian Bureau for International Education

Provides information for students interested in studying in Canada and runs an International Student Reception Service from mid-August to mid-September at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario

Canadian flag

The Canada Site

Maps of Canada, facts and history, information about visiting Canada, landmarks and tourist attractions

Citizenship and Immigration Canada logo

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Information about Canada, visas, immigration, etc.

Ontario logo with trillium

A look at Ontario

Maps of Ontario, geography, cities and towns, special attractions, climate, symbols

The City of Waterloo logo

City of Waterloo

Information on the City of Waterloo

Canada logo with Canadian flag

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Information about Canada

 globe with red maple leaf

International Education and Youth

Awards, exchanges, funding, embassies, etc.

International council for Canadian Studies logo

International Council for Canadian Studies

Information about Canada, visas, immigration, etc.

Bank of Canada logo

Bank of Canada Exchange Rates

Convert your currency into Canadian funds


Canadian flag

Canada, by the record book:

  • It is home to the world's tallest freestanding structure, Toronto's 553-metre-tall CN Tower.
  • With the United States, it shares the world's longest undefended border.
  • At nearly 500,000 square metres, the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta is the world's largest shopping mall.
  • Canada is also the world's leading producer of lumber exports, wood pulp, zinc, potash, and uranium.
  • The Trans-Canada Highway is 7,820 kilometres, the longest highway in the world.