Also known as the Great White North, Canada is an extensive country that occupies much of North America. With 3.85 million square miles of lush lands, Canada takes home the title of the second-largest country in the world – only trailing Russia by a little under 3 million square miles.
1. Canada’s name comes from a tribal word meaning ‘village.’
The country’s name is said to come from the word “Kanata,” which in the St. Lawrence Iroquoian language means ‘village’ or ‘settlement.’ The indigenous people of modern-day Quebec first used this term to describe Stadacona, a village that Jacques Cartier visited during the height of French exploration. He eventually referred to the area as “Canada,” as did the other European authors and historians who followed him.
Throughout its colonial history, the country was divided as Upper and Lower Canada by the British. It also became a ‘dominion’ until it became its ‘own’ sovereign in 1982.
2. It is home to 2,000,000 lakes.
Although Canada is the second-largest country in the world, it only ranks fourth by land area. This is because the country is home to the planet’s largest proportion of lakes – more than 2,000,000 to be exact, an interesting Canada fact. 563 of these lakes span more than 39 square kilometers. With these numbers, Canada plays home to much of the world’s freshwater sources.
3. Canada is the largest English- and French-speaking country in the world.
With the country spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, Canada is truly one of the biggest territories in the known world. With that being said, it is also the largest English- and French-speaking country on the planet, due to its rich colonial history. Canada officially became bilingual in 1969.
4. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries.
Canada is proud of having one of the highest immigration rates in the world. This is attributed to the nation’s good economy, as well as the promise of family reunification. As such, approximately 1 of 5 Canadians were born abroad.
In 2016, Canada admitted a record-high of more than 290,000 permanent residents, a fun Canada fact. More than half of these were economic migrants, a group that includes skilled workers and businessmen.
The most number of migrants came from India, followed by China and the Philippines. Surprisingly, the British and Americans account for the 4th and 5th largest groups that have migrated to Canada.
5. Despite its high number of immigrants, Canada has one of the world’s lowest population densities.
Canada is home to approximately 37.8 million people. Although it has a lot of inhabitants, it has a big territory. Such explains its low population density of 4 people per square kilometer. It is tenth on the list, sharing the same population density figure with Guyana and Libya.
Since most of its lands have frigid temperatures, 95% of Canadians live south of the 55th parallel. Four-fifths of the population can be found within 93 miles of the US-Canada border. Almost half live in the area of Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The 30%, on the other hand, reside in the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor and the Lower Mainland, respectively.
6. Its’ advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the planet.
With a Gross Domestic Product of more than $1.7 trillion, Canada owns the tenth-largest economy in the planet. Its GDP boasts of exponential growth, with only a slight decrease in 2009 before taking off again, an interesting fact about Canada.
Because of its booming economy, Canada scores a high Human Development Index (HDI). It is currently ranked 13 with an HDI score of 0.922. It has a high life expectancy at 82.3 years, which is the same as Norway, the number 1 country in the list. The average schooling length is at 13.3 years, which is comparably more than the top 9 countries stated. As of recent standings, the United Nations puts the country’s Gross National Income at $43,602 per capita.
7. The border Canada shares with the United States is the world’s longest land boundary.
The dividing line between the two North American countries spans 5,525 miles, making it the longest land border in the face of the earth. About 1,538 miles of this border is shared by Canada with Alaska. Much of the border traverse through forests, mountains, even parts of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
It also takes the title of the world’s longest undefended border, but only in the military sense. It is technically illegal to cross the boundary, and officers are present to enforce such a law.
8. Canadians have a high literacy rate.
Since literacy rates have been historically documented in the 1990s, Canada has scored an almost-perfect score of 99.99%, an interesting fact about Canada. As such, it is heralded by the World Population Review as the most educated nation on the planet. Of its 37.8 million citizens, 56.71% have attained tertiary-level education. About 34.41% of Canadians have finished upper secondary education, while 8.87% listed their studies at below upper secondary education level.
9. The famous Maple Leaf Flag only came to be in 1965.
For the longest time, the country of Canada was without its own symbol. It used the British Union Jack flag until 1964 when former Prime Minister Lester Pearson thought of adopting the nation’s ‘own’ flag. The winning design was that of the modern-day Maple Leaf Flag, which was designed by George Stanley. The red-and-white flag was inspired by the Royal Military College of Canada. It officially debuted on February 15, 1965, which is known to the Canadians as “National Flag Day”.
10. Canada attained complete sovereignty in 1982.
For centuries, Canada was under the British flag. Although it was self-governing, it was legally still a colony. Because of this, the United Kingdom still had the right to legislate for Canada. This all changed with the passing of the Canada Act of 1982, where provincial rulings can only be amended by the country. This eventually paved the way for Canadian sovereignty, which became effective after Queen Elizabeth signed the said constitution act.
From being a French then British colony, Canada has progressed into one of the world’s richest countries. It also takes the title of the world’s most educated nation, which speaks volumes about the nation’s pursuit of development.
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