Canada is the second-largest country in the world by land area, extending from the Arctic Ocean in the north to its southern border with the United States along the 49th parallel. Unified under British rule in 1763, Canada’s development and expansion attracted large-scale immigration from various parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The country’s diverse population has influenced its culture, language, cuisine, and traditions.
Canada is known for its natural beauty, with vast forests, lakes, mountains, and wildlife, its modern cities, advanced economy, and high standard of living. Throughout its history, Canada has been involved in numerous international conflicts, including both World Wars and the Cold War. It has played a prominent role in peacekeeping efforts around the world. Despite its challenges, Canada remains a strong, prosperous, and welcoming country with a bright future.
Jump to Introduction, Geography, Climate, People & Society, Economy, Insight, Google Maps, Facts, and Did You Know about Canada. Or visit the driving directions page for routing instructions.
Canada is the world’s second-largest country, stretching over 9.9 million square kilometers from Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island in the far north to Lake Erie in the south. It spans six time zones from the Pacific coast to Newfoundland, and its geography is incredibly diverse, ranging from the Arctic tundra and islands in the far north to forests, lakes, and rivers further south.
The vast Canadian Shield covers over half of Canada and is a geological formation stretching across much of North America. Ancient rocks, forests, and thousands of freshwater lakes characterize it.
To the west of the Canadian Shield lies the Rocky Mountains, part of the larger North American Cordillera mountain range. Beyond the Rockies are the Coast Mountains and numerous islands and fjords that make up the rugged terrain of British Columbia’s coastline.
In the east of Canada, fertile lowlands support agriculture and human settlements, including the St. Lawrence River Valley and the Great Lakes region. These areas are home to some of Canada’s largest cities, including Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Overall, Canada’s geography is stunningly beautiful and incredibly diverse, making it a unique and fascinating place to explore.
Canada’s climate ranges from polar and subpolar in the north to more continental in the south. This means there is a great deal of variation in temperature and weather depending on where you are in the country.
In general, the winters in Canada are long and cold, particularly in the interior regions where temperatures are well below freezing, and heavy snowfall is common. Summers are warmer and more pleasant but still quite short. However, there are regional differences in climate, with the Pacific coast having the mildest winters due to the moderating effects of the ocean.
The Atlantic Ocean moderates temperatures along the east coast, making for milder winters than in the interior. However, the region can be prone to seasonal storms, including heavy snowfall, strong winds, and coastal flooding.
In the far north of Canada, particularly in the Arctic regions, temperatures are extreme, with long, dark winters and short, bright summers. These regions are known for their harsh yet beautiful landscapes, vast expanses of ice and snow, and unique wildlife, such as polar bears and narwhals.
Overall, Canada’s climate is varied and can present challenges during certain times of the year, but it also offers stunning natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation throughout the seasons.
People & Society
Canada is a diverse country with a population of over 38 million people. Two-thirds of the population live in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence lowlands, which spans southeastern Ontario and Quebec, as well as parts of New York and Michigan in the United States. The region shares some cultural values with its neighboring US but significantly differs in welfare provision and Commonwealth membership.
The French-speaking Québécois, who make up a significant portion of the population in Quebec, are particularly proud of their distinct society and seek to preserve their culture and language amid concerns about Anglicization. The Canadian government has adopted policies that promote multiculturalism and encourage each immigrant group to maintain its culture, including sizable communities of Chinese, Italians, Germans, Ukrainians, and Portuguese.
In recent years, the Canadian government has taken significant steps to address land claims by Indigenous peoples, who have suffered centuries of discrimination and marginalization. The creation of Nunavut, an Inuit-governed territory that covers nearly a quarter of Canada’s land area, in 1999 was a major milestone in this effort.
Women are well-represented at most levels of business and government in Canada, with a strong commitment to gender equality and diversity. While challenges remain, Canada’s commitment to multiculturalism and inclusion has helped build a vibrant and dynamic society that welcomes people from all backgrounds.
Canada’s wide-ranging resources, including primary exports like oil, minerals, and raw materials for manufacturing, have enabled the country to maintain a high standard of living with smaller wealth disparities than in the US. The prices for primary exports can be volatile, but the high oil price has driven the development of Alberta’s vast oil fields, significantly boosting the economy.
Manufacturing exports have also flourished in Canada, benefiting from growing global competition and the creation of the NAFTA free trade area in 1994. However, reliance on the US market makes the Canadian economy vulnerable to US slowdowns and other external economic factors.
During the 2009 recession, unemployment in Canada rose sharply, but the economy rebounded relatively quickly compared to other countries. The government implemented measures to stimulate growth and support job creation, including infrastructure investments and tax cuts.
Canada’s economy is diverse and well-managed, making it one of the wealthiest and most stable in the world. The country’s commitment to free trade, innovation, and sustainable development has helped to ensure continued growth and prosperity, even in the face of global challenges.
The Magnetic North Pole is a location in the far north of Canada where the Earth’s magnetic field lines are perpendicular to the surface, causing the dipping needle of a compass to point straight down. Unlike the geographic North Pole, a fixed point on Earth’s surface, the Magnetic North Pole constantly moves and shifts.
The Magnetic North Pole is located in the Arctic Ocean, about 600 kilometers northwest of Resolute Bay in Nunavut. It has been migrating across northern Canada at about 55 kilometers per year, moving closer to Russia and farther from Canada and the United States.
Scientists have been studying the movement of the Magnetic North Pole for many years, as it has important implications for navigation and communication systems that rely on accurate magnetic measurements. While the reasons for the movement of the Magnetic North Pole are still not completely understood, it is thought to be caused by changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, driven by complex processes within the planet’s molten core.
Name: Canada (none)
Languages: English (official language) 58.7%, French (official language) 22%, Punjabi 1.4%, Italian 1.3%, Spanish 1.3%, German 1.3%, Cantonese 1.2%, Tagalog 1.2%, Arabic 1.1%, other 10.5% (2011 estimate)
ISO code: ca, internet: .ca
Capital city: Ottawa, GPS: 45 25 N, 75 42 W
Time: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time) (+1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November)
Population: 38,516,736 (2023 estimate) (Canadian / Canadian(s))
Urban population: 81.7% (2021) – 6.255 million, Toronto, 4.247 million, Montreal, 2.606 million, Vancouver, 1.581 million, Calgary, 1.491 million, Edmonton, 1.408 million, Ottawa (capital city) (2021)
Location: Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, the North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US. Canada is a North American country. You may find 4 other countries on this continent.
Coordinates: 60 00 N, 95 00 W
Bordering countries: (3 nations): US 8,891 km (includes 2,475 km with Alaska)
Land area: 9,093,507 sq km
Water area: 891,163 sq km
Total area: 9,984,670 sq km – Slightly larger than the US.
Terrain: Mostly plains with mountains in the west, lowlands in southeast
Highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
Lowest point: Atlantic/Pacific/Arctic Oceans 0 m
Major rivers: Mackenzie – 4, 241 km, Yukon River source (shared with the US m) – 3,185 km, Nelson – 2,570 km, Columbia River source (shared with the US) – 1,953 km, Churchill – 1,600 km, Fraser – 1,368 km, Ottawa – 1,271 km, Athabasca – 1,231 km, North Saskatchewan – 1,220 km, Liard – 1,115 km
Natural hazards: Continuous permafrost in the 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.
National holiday(s): Canada Day, 1 July (1867)
Did you know about Canada?
- Canada is home to the world’s longest coastline, stretching over 202,000 km (125,567 miles).
- The Canadian government implemented a policy called “Indian Residential Schools” from the 1870s until the 1990s. It forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and cultures and forced them to attend residential schools where they were subjected to abuse and cultural assimilation.
- Canada is home to more than 20% of the world’s freshwater, with over 2 million lakes across the country.
- Canada has the longest highway in the world, the Trans-Canada Highway, which stretches over 7,821 km (4,860 miles) from Victoria, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Newfoundland.
- As many people believe, Canada’s national sport is not hockey but lacrosse. It was declared the national sport of Canada in 1994.
You may also be interested in the United States.
Do you like this Canada-related maps & fact page? Please don’t forget to share with others!