Canada is the sovereign nation that occupies the northern region of North America. In 1867 Canada became an independent nation from the United Kingdom, but remains to this day part of the British Commonwealth. Canada is the second largest country in the world (second to Russia) and is home to roughly 33 million people. It is bordered by three oceans—Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic—and the United States of America (in the south and northwest (Alaska)). Canada holds ten provinces—British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Saskatchewan (SK), Manitoba (MB), Ontario (ON), Quebec (QC), Newfoundland and Labrador (NF), Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick (NB) and Prince Edward Island (PE)—and three territories—Yukon (YT), Northwest Territories (NT) and Nunavut (NU).
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and holds the British monarchy (currently Queen Elizabeth II) as the head-of-state. Prior to European explorers, what is known as Canada, was and continues to be home to a general people now known as First Nations or Aboriginal people. Beside First Nations people, Canada has become home to immigrants from every nation across the world and Canadians pride Canada on being a multicultural nation. The first Europeans to permanently settle in Canada were English and French and because of this Canada has two official languages: English and French.
Provinces & Territories
Canada is home to ten provinces and three territories. Throughout the nation there is diversity in everything.
British Columbia is one of the oldest provinces in Canada being the sixth to join confederation. Victoria is the capital city of the province and is located on Vancouver Island. British Columbia is the warmest province in Canada as it is located on the west coast and the warm Pacific air is trapped by the Rocky Mountains. Vancouver, BC’s largest city, will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Alberta sits east of British Columbia on the other side of the Rockies. The capital of Alberta is Edmonton and is a hotspot for Alberta’s cultural scene and one of the biggest malls in North America—West Edmonton Mall. Alberta is known for being rich in natural resources, specifically oil and gas (including the oil sands). Calgary, Alberta’s largest city, is the hub of the oil/gas industry in Canada and in 1988 Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics.
Saskatchewan has traditionally been the breadbasket of Canada, situated between Alberta and Manitoba. The capital city is Regina and the other large metropolitan centre is Saskatoon. Though farming has been a rich part of Saskatchewan’s heritage, similar to Alberta, is rich in resources. Though the southern portion of the province is mainly flat prairie—due to the glaciers of the ice age—northern Saskatchewan is a wonderland of lakes, trees, parks and pristine untouched land.
Historically known as the “postage stamp” province, Manitoba started as a very small province (and on the map it looked like a postage stamp). However, Manitoba covers a vast amount of space and includes more lakes than other province. Winnipeg is the capital city of Manitoba which rests upon the shoulders of the mighty red river, which turns into the Mississippi river. Manitoba has a rich history, starting as a hub for the fur trade and early Canadian settlers, as well as having a large Metis population.
Ontario is the province that is home to the hub of the original English colonials and holds the capital city of Canada, Ottawa. Though Ottawa is the capital of Canada, Toronto is the capital of Ontario. Ontario hugs the Great Lakes and is home to a large percentage of Canadians. Toronto is Canada’s biggest city and is a major centre for both corporations and cultural programs. Similar to the rest of Canada’s provinces, it has an amazing northern region, situated on the Canadian Shield, which is both breathtaking and inspiring.
If Ontario is the historical centre for English colonials, then Quebec is the same for French settlers. Quebec City, the capital of Quebec, is certainly a stronghold for French Canadian culture. It remains almost entirely a French speaking population; whereas, Montreal, the largest city in Quebec, is a tourist hotspot and—though still a majority French population—bilingualism is more common. Quebec formed, initially, along the banks of the St. Lawrence River as a major source of food, transportation and economy.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador joined the confederation of Canada in 1948 after a much heated referendum. The capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is St. John's.Newfoundland and Labrador have many interesting things to see and do. The rugged natural beauty of the place, the extraordinary friendliness and humour of the local people, the traditional culture, and the unique dialect all add to the charm of the province.
Nova Scotia is Canada's most southern province and is second smallest in area. The province also includes Cape Breton Island, a large island to the northeast of the Nova Scotia mainland, and Sable Island, a small island roughly 175 km from the province's southern coast. The capital of Nova Scotia is Halifax. There is no place in Nova Scotia that is more than 67 km from the ocean.
New Brunswick has the honour of being the only constitutionally bilingual province in Canada. The capital of New Brunswick is Fredericton. New Brunswick has some fantastic tourism destinations that tourists should take in. These include Fundy National Park, magnetic hill, Saint John Reversing Falls, and Parlee Beach.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada both in size and in population. The capital of Prince Edward Island is Charlottetown. While there are many things to do in Prince Edward Island the most famous exports from the island is Anne of Green Gables. You can take tours to visit the sights of Anne of Green Gables and the locations where Lucy Maud Montgomery based the book.
Canada currently has three territories in the north. The Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut territory created in 1999. All three territories are situated in the north of Canada. The territories are very diverse in landscape and people and offer tourists many adventures. If you are looking for adventure you will find it in the territories. From discovering the gold rush to the thrill of canoeing or rafting down the most majestic rivers in the world.