About Canada [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Canada; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US

Climate

Varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north

Terrain

Mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast

Elevation

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m

Geo Notes

Second-largest country in world (after Russia); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Canada

Capital City

name: Ottawa
geographic coordinates: 45 25 N, 75 42 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
note: Canada is divided into six time zones

Administrative Divisions

10 provinces and 3 territories*; Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories*, Nova Scotia, Nunavut*, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory*

Natuaral Hazards

Continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country's rain and snow east of the mountains
volcanism: the vast majority of volcanoes in Western Canada's Coast Mountains remain dormant

Environmental Issues

Air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions impacting on agricultural and forest productivity; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities

Life Expectancy

total population: 81.29 years
male: 78.72 years
female: 84 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.056 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

English (official) 58.8%, French (official) 21.6%, other 19.6% (2006 Census)

Religions Practiced

Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3% (including United Church 9.5%, Anglican 6.8%, Baptist 2.4%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other and unspecified 11.8%, none 16% (2001 census)

Legal System

Based on English common law, except in Quebec, where civil law system based on French law prevails; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

National Holiday

Canada Day, 1 July (1867)

Illicit Drugs

Illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic drug market and export to US; use of hydroponics technology permits growers to plant large quantities of high-quality marijuana indoors; increasing ecstasy production, some of which is destined for the US; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering because of its mature financial services sector

Telephone System

general assessment: excellent service provided by modern technology
domestic: domestic satellite system with about 300 earth stations
international: country code - 1; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean, and 2 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2007)

Broadcast Media

2 public television broadcasting networks each with a large number of network affilates; several private-commercial networks also with multiple network affiliates; overall, about 150 TV stations; multi-channel satellite and cable systems provide access to a wide range of stations including US stations; mix of public and commercial radio broadcasters with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the public radio broadcaster, operating 4 radio networks, Radio Canada International, and radio services to indigenous populations in the north; roughly 2,000 licensed radio stations in Canada (2008)

Background

A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across an unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services, as well as responding to the particular concerns of predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.

Economy Overview

As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and affluent living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US, its principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs nearly 80% of Canadian exports each year. Canada is the US's largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007. Buffeted by the global economic crisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada's major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the country's tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.

National Anthem

name: "O Canada"
lyrics/music: Adolphe-Basile ROUTHIER [French], Robert Stanley WEIR [English]/Calixa LAVALLEE
note: adopted 1980; originally written in 1880, "O Canada" served as an unofficial anthem many years before its official adoption; the anthem has French and English versions whose lyrics differ; as a Commonwealth realm, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)

Canada location map
Size

total: 9,984,670 sq km
land: 9,093,507 sq km
water: 891,163 sq km

Canada flag
Population

33,759,742 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian

Ethnic Groups

British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%

HIV/AIDS Rate

0.4% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK)

Government Type

A parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

25.086 million (2008)

Internet Hosts

7.77 million (2010)

Internet Country Code

.ca

Number Airports

1,404 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 514
over 3,047 m: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 20
1,524 to 2,437 m: 148
914 to 1,523 m: 249
under 914 m: 79 (2010)

Number Heliports

12 (2010)

Railways

total: 46,688 km
standard gauge: 46,688 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)

Roadways

total: 1,042,300 km
paved: 415,600 km (includes 17,000 km of expressways)
unpaved: 626,700 km (2008)

Inland Waterways

636 km
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Fraser River Port, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Port-Cartier, Quebec City, Saint John (New Brunswick), Sept-Isles, Vancouver

National Budget

revenues: $516.6 billion
expenditures: $585.2 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

-$38.08 billion (2009 est.)
$6.476 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

Canadian dollars (CAD) per US dollar - 1.1548 (2009), 1.0364 (2008), 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005)

Inflation Rate

0.3% (2009 est.)
2.4% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas

Agricultural Products

Wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish

Labor Force

18.39 million (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 2%
manufacturing: 13%
construction: 6%
services: 76%
other: 3% (2006 est.)

Unemployment Rate

8.3% (2009 est.)
6.2% (2008 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$1.277 trillion (2009 est.)
$1.31 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.304 trillion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$38,100 (2009 est.)
$39,400 (2008 est.)
$39,600 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 24.8% (2000)

Family Income Gini

32.1 (2005)
31.5 (1994)

Below Poverty

10.8%; note - this figure is the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), a calculation that results in higher figures than found in many comparable economies; Canada does not have an official poverty line (2005)