Canada is the second largest country in the world. Canada is situated in northern North America (constituting 41% of the continent’s area). Canada spans a vast, diverse territory between the North Pacific Ocean to the west and the North Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Arctic Ocean to the north (hence the country’s motto “From sea to sea”), with the United States to the south (contiguous United States) and northwest (Alaska). Although because of its climate, there are no permanent settlements in close 90 percent of the country. The population of Canada, some 34,980,000 as of November 2012, is concentrated in the south in proximity to its border with the contiguous U.S.; with a population density of 3.5 people per square kilometer, it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Most people live in highly urbanized centers in the south, within 300 kilometers of the border with the United States.
The Geography of Canada
You cannot talk about the geography of Canada without talking about the climate. Canada has a diverse climate. The climate varies from temperate on the west coast of British Columbia to a subarctic climate in the north. Extreme northern Canada can have snow year round with a Polar climate. Landlocked areas tend to have a warm summer continental climate zone with the exception of Southern Ontario which has a hot summer humid continental climate. Parts of Western Canada have a semi-arid climate, and parts of Vancouver Island can even be classified as cool summer Mediterranean climate.
Refer to Canada’s map here
The Canadian Culture
Canadian culture is a term that explains the artistic, musical, literary, culinary, political and social elements that are representative of Canada and Canadians, not only to its own population, but people all over the world. Canadian culture has historically been influenced by European culture and traditions, especially British and French, and by its own indigenous cultures. Over time, elements of the cultures of Canadian immigrant populations have become incorporated into mainstream Canadian culture. It has subsequently been influenced by American culture because of its shared language, proximity and migration between the two countries. The country is highly diverse culture, with more than 200 ethnic origins and 200 first languages reported in the 2006 census. There are two major linguistic groups and two generally accepted languages, English and French. In the year 2006, over 57 percent of the population submitted English as their first language and almost 22 percent submitted French as their first language. The wide majority of the French speaking people in Canada live in Quebec, where at least 79 percent have French as their mother tongue.
Canada has the eleventh largest economy in the world (measured in US dollars at market exchange rates), is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, and is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Group of Eight (G8). As with other developed nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians. Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada’s most important. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector, centered in Central Canada, with the automobile industry and aircraft industry especially important. With a long coast line, Canada has the 8th largest commercial fishing and seafood industry in the world.
Inclusively, Canada’s economic freedom score is 79.4, making its economy the 6th freest in the 2013 Index. Canada is also the freest economy in the North America region. The foundations of economic freedom in Canada remain strong and well supported by solid protection of property rights and an independent judiciary that enforces anti-corruption measures effectively. While many large advanced economies have been struggling with the heavy burden of government and fiscal constraints that result from years of unrestrained public spending, Canada’s public finance management has been comparatively prudent, with efforts to downsize government made on a continuing basis. Canada’s economy has been resilient, benefiting from a strong commitment to open-market policies that facilitate global trade and investment flows. Efficient regulations are applied evenly in most cases, encouraging dynamic entrepreneurial activity in the private sector. Steady reduction of the standard corporate tax rate has also contributed to global competitiveness.
Life in Canada
Most people who have been to Canada would say; there is no other Country in the World like Canada! Canada lies to the North of the United States of America and it is one of the World’s largest Countries with 9,971,000 square kilometers of land; that is approximately 10,000 Miles. Canada constitutes of ten provinces and three territories. It is a Country renowned for its Diversified and High standard of living, Quality Education and amazing economic growth.
Canada has traditionally been a Country of Immigrants and has a policy of encouraging multicultural differences and this creates an exciting setting where different perspectives are respected and learning is highly encouraged.
Almost entire world’s ethnic groups are represented in Canada. Due to that, most ethnic foods and recreational activities associated with specific cultures are available in Canada to aid social interactions. Informal clubs and associations representing a multitude of ethnic backgrounds are also easily accessible. International Students Advisers at schools can help students get in touch with such groups.
The reliable annual survey conducted by The Economist and Mercer ranks three Canadian cities within the top five best cities in the World. (Vancouver is ranked as no. 1 best city in the world with Toronto as no. 4 and Calgary as no. 5) Cities in Canada are also consistently ranked in the top ten best cities in the world by the United Nations and other countries.
English or French is essential
Canada is an English and French speaking country, so speaking either English or French can help you adapt to life in Canada by making it easier to get a job, communicate with other people living in Canada. You will also need to be able to speak English or French fluently to become a Canadian citizen. It is a good idea to learn both languages. Depending on where you decide to live in Canada, being bilingual can make it easier for you to communicate with people in your new community and get a job.
English is the most common language spoken everywhere in Canada excluding the province of Quebec, where French is the official language. French is also spoken in many communities in other provinces, especially New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba. New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province. Canada is officially a bilingual country and there are Anglophone and Francophone communities in every province and territory of Canada.
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Some few facts about Canada:
- Canada ranks higher than the United Sates in statistics such as life expectancy (80.22 years in Canada versus 77.85 in the United States) and infant mortality (4.75 Canadian deaths per 1000 versus 6.50 in the States). Both countries rank highly with a 99% literacy rate
- Toronto has the highest cost of living in Canada, followed by Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Ottawa respectively.
The survey found that Canadian cities have lower living costs than many other locations in the developed world.
Further detail figures from the survey showed that;
- The cost of living in Toronto province is 30 percent lower than in London or UK.
- The cost of living in Vancouver is 12 percent lower than in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
- The cost of living in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is 5 percent lower than in Glasgow, United Kingdom
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world’s second-largest country by area. Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territories. It can be divided into five regional areas:
- The East, also called the Atlantic region, includes the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
- The Central region includes the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
- The Prairies includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan and some parts of Alberta.
- The West includes most of Alberta and British Columbia.
- The North is made up of the three territories—Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Each province and territory has its own capital city where the provincial or territorial government is permanently located. The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces are jurisdictions that receive their power and authority directly from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates and powers from the federal government. In modern Canadian constitutional theory, the provinces are considered to be co-sovereign divisions, and each province has its own “Crown” represented by the lieutenant-governor, whereas the territories are not sovereign, but simply parts of the federal realm, and have a commissioner.
Though there are many similarities in the provincial and territorial educational system across Canada, there are significant differences in the prospectus, assessment, and accountability policies among the jurisdictions that express the geographical spectrum, history, language, culture, and corresponding specialized needs of the populations served. The comprehensive, spread, and widely accessible nature of the educational system in Canada reflects the societal belief in the importance of education in the country.