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Canada -Land of World Records

 

Canada – Land of World Records

Canada consists of ten provinces and three terrotories, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Canada is the second largest country in the world with a total area of 9.976.139 square kilometres, but with a population of only 33 million inhabitants. Canada’s population density, at 3.3 inhabitants per square kilometer is among the lowest in the world. This means rather a lot of space for each inhabitant. It is true that most of the country has a cold, harsh climate and winters last for a long time in the north of the country. Just imagine, 50% of Canada has winter temperatures of -60 degrees Celsius. That is probably why 75% of the people live extremely close to the US border – the longest border in the world between two countries (8892 kilometres). Canada is home to the world’s northernmost settlement, Canadian Forces Station Alert. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with a total length of 202,080 kilometers. The Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls is one of the world’s most voluminous waterfalls.

Niagara – Horseshoe Falls
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Nature has been kind to the Canadians. The country has so much fresh water that it could probably turn the entire Sahara desert into a swamp, had they been able to transport it. It is the country in the world with the largest number of inland lakes. Canada’s forests also stretch for unimaginable distances, providing the inhabitants with employment and a secure income from the exporting of timber. Its mountains rise to 5.951 metres above sea level and it is the world’s number one producer of wheat. With access to two oceans – the Atlantic and the Pacific – Canada actually ranks as one of the world’s biggest exporters of seafood – fish, shrimps, crabs and lobster. 18 of Canada’s islands are bigger than 10.000 square kilometres, and Baffin Island is almost as big as France! Ellesmere Island has a glacier the size of Switzerland. The Canadian prairie covers more land than India, Nepal and Pakistan together! They have maple syrup, eaten on pancakes in the United States; there are oil fields, and such produce as beef, fruit and vegetables. Believe it or not – Canada even has its own production of high quality red and white wine! Since Canada is so sparsely populated, there is still enough room for all the animals, of which there certainly is abundance! There is the black bear, grizzly bear, bison, racoon, caribou, moose, bighorn sheep, wolf, musk ox, puma and lynx. Not to mention the polar bear in the north, of course! The rivers and lakes are full of fish.

Baffin Island
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Canada is one of the few countries in the world that are net exporters of energy.  There are vast offshore deposits of natural gas and in certain areas large oil deposits are found. The immense Athabasca Oil Sands give Canada the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. The Canadian Prairies are one of the most important global producers of different grains.  Canada is a major producer of zinc and uranium, and is a leading exporter of many other minerals, such as gold, aluminum, nickle and lead. And of course, there is timber. Vast forests with no people for miles and miles. These forests have given incomes to millions of people.

Taiga Landscape in Canada
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Canada has one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world, driven by opportunities in the  economic policy and family reunification. In 2010, a record 300.000 people immigrated to Canada. New immigrants settle mostly in major urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver. Canada also resettles as many as 15 % of the world’s refugees.

 

Canada’s ethnic mosaic

The racial and ethnic structure of Canada is somewhat diverse. Roughly 34% of the population is made up of people of British origin. People of French origin make up a total of 25% and the vast majority of these reside in Quebec, where they make up 80% of the population. Large numbers also live in Ontario and New Brunswick. The only official language in Quebec is French, whereas New Brunswick has two official languages – English and French. In Nunavut, Eskimo and English are used and in the remaining provinces and the territories, English is the only official language.

There have been many conflicts between the French and the English-speaking Canadians. The French are afraid of drowning in the large English-speaking majority in Canada and the USA. Since World War II, there have been discussions as how to preserve the French language and the French-Canadian culture. In the late 1960s Pierre Trudeau became the first French-speaking president of Canada, and he was in favour of a united Canada. Did you know that after him, many Quebecois have fought for independence – Quebec Libre! The last referendum took place in 1995. The result was a small majority in favour of remaining part of Canada. 49.6% voted for full independence. Since 20% of the citizens of Quebec speak English, this actually means that a large majority of the French-speakers voted in favour of independence. Steps have been taken to give Quebec as much autonomy as possible, and to keep up the “Frenchness” of the province. The French language is encouraged all over Canada, and every product sold in the country has to have both a label and a user’s manual in both languages. According to the latest Census over six million people in Canada listed a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include one million Chinese first-language speakers, German 500.000, Italian approximately 400.000 and Punjabi 350.000 French are the most-spoken home languages, being spoken at home by 68.3 and 22.3 percent of the population respectively.

Canadian nationality – What is really Canadian?

The former Canadian Prime Minister, Lyon Mackenzie, once said; “While some countries have too much history, Canada has too much geography.” The population density is as sparse as 2 people per square kilometre. In the first novel ever written about the national identity of the Canadians, Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes, the protagonist yells;” Oh my God! Is all this ours?!” About 730.000 square kilometres of scenic area has been preserved as national parks. Banff National Park can boast 4.0 million visitors a year. Canada sets another world record in the tourist industry: No other country is visited annually by as many Americans. Approximately 40 million tourists visit Canada each year. 91% are from their neighbour in the south, and they spend 7 billion US dollars annually in the country. Europeans have yet to discover the wonders of Canada. The author Richard Gwyn wrote: “In European newspapers, Canada and Iceland are on equal terms. Nobody writes about us”. So, while we are in the process of searching for the Canadian nationality; what is specifically Canadian? Perhaps the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – the Mounties – of western Canada. These policemen are particularly good at catching criminals. As for sport – Canadians excel! Ice hockey was invented in Canada in the 1870s, and is now Canada’s national sport. Skiing, skating, sailing, canoeing and land hockey are also popular sports. Curiously enough, the British Queen is also a symbol of Canada. She is still the Head of State, and her profile is to be found on coins, dollar bills and postage stamps! The maple leaf, a true Canadian national emblem, is also to be found on Canada’s flag.

 

In search of the Canadian soul

This may well prove to be rather difficult. If you were to meet a Canadian, would you feel that you knew enough about his country’s special features, or would you still consider him to be half American? Any Canadian taken for being a citizen of the United States would not be terribly happy about it. Canadians feel that they have their own nationality, their own traditions and their own culture. They can be proud of their standard of living, which is always among the three highest in the world on international rankings. Does Canada have a soul of its own – or is it just the 51st state in the US? If we take a closer look at the cities, they are more or less American in style and architecture. Toronto, with over 3 million inhabitants, has as many skyscrapers as New York, and is a modern business centre. Vancouver on the west coast is surrounded by beautiful scenery and has such a large population of Asians that the people have re-named it Hong Couver. Maybe the French-style city of Quebec distinguishes Canada from the US? All the signs are in French, and the architecture is more French than in France.

Quebec City

A Canadian author once claimed that the only reason why Canada is not part of the US is the French-speaking Quebecois. While the US is now turning into a bi-lingual country (English and Spanish), Canada keeps to English and French. The fact that the population is different from that of the US, the fact that the Inuit and the Indians have more rights, Germans still speak German, and most Canadians spend their holidays at their cottages, just as in Scandinavia; all these things prove that there is a Canadian soul! While on the subject of leisure – Scott Abbott and Chris and John Haney are the brains behind the popular board game Trivial Pursuit. Their board games are sold all over the world, and they are now zillionaires.