Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada is in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million miles). Various indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization.
The world's longest unprotected border is between Canada and the United States. It is known as the International Boundary. It is 5,525 miles long, including 1,538 miles between Canada and Alaska. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world at 243,977 kilometres - 151,600 miles.
Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Ottawa is the second coldest capital in the world after Moscow.
Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield; 42 percent of the land acreage is covered by forests, which is approximately eight percent of the world's forested land, mostly of spruce, poplar, and pine. Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes, 563 of which are greater than 100 km2 (39 miles), which is more than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water. There are fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Mountains, and the Arctic Cordillera.
Canada is geologically active, having several earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes. The volcanic eruption of the Tseax Cone in 1775 was among Canada's worst natural disasters, killing an estimated 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia.
Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate.
In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground for nearly six months each year. In parts of the north snow can be yearlong. Coastal British Columbia has a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winters.
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister serving as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government. Canada has among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education.
Canada is described as a full democracy, with a tradition of liberalism, and an egalitarian, moderate political ideology. Social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada's political culture. Peace, order, and good government, alongside an implied bill of rights are founding principles of the Canadian government.
Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
As of 2018, Canada has produced fourteen Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, and medicine. The country was ranked fourth worldwide for scientific research quality in a major 2012 survey of international scientists. It is headquarters for several global technology firms. Canada has one of the highest levels of Internet access in the world, with over 33 million users, equivalent to approximately 94 percent of its 2014 population.
Canada is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, with extensive immigration from numerous countries. In modern day times it places emphasis on equality and inclusiveness. Multiculturalism is frequently cited as one of Canada's significant accomplishments, and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity.
According to the 2016 Canadian Census, the country's ethnic origin is Canadian (32 percent of the population), English (18.3 percent), Scottish (13.9 percent), French (13.6 percent), Irish (13.4 percent), German (9.6 percent), Chinese (5.1 percent), Italian (4.6 percent), First Nations (4.4 percent), Indian (4.0 percent), and Ukrainian (3.9 percent). There are 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands, encompassing a total of 1,525,565 people. The population of Canada in 2019 was 37.59 million people.
Canadians speak numerous languages, with English and French being the official first languages. As of the 2016 Census, approximately 7.3 million Canadians listed a non-official language as their first language, including Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, German, and Italian.
There are 11 sub-species of Canada geese. Many people jokingly say Canada's third official language is goose. Canadian geese have their own language and as many as 13 distinct animal calls.
Canada is religiously diverse. The country has no official church, and the government is committed to religious pluralism. In modern day times freedom of religion in Canada is a constitutionally protected right, allowing individuals to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. The practice of religion is generally considered a private matter throughout society and the state.
According to a 2019 report by the OECD, Canada is one of the most educated countries in the world. The country ranks first worldwide in the number of adults having tertiary education, with over 56 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree. Canada's literacy rate is over 99 percent.
Healthcare in Canada is delivered through the provincial and territorial systems of publicly funded health care, informally called Medicare. It is universal. Canadians often consider universal access to publicly funded health services as a fundamental value that ensures national health care insurance for everyone. However, 30 percent of healthcare is paid for through the private sector. This mostly addresses services not covered or only partially covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs, dentistry, and optometry.
Approximately 65-75 percent of Canadians have supplementary health insurance, many through employers or through secondary social service programs to extended coverage for families receiving social assistance or vulnerable demographics, such as seniors, minors, and those with disabilities.
Canada's national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Indigenous sources. The use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada's current and previous flags, and on the Arms of Canada.
Literature: Canadian literature is often divided into French and English language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain. By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed as some of the best in the world. Canada's ethnic and cultural diversity is reflected in its literature, with many of its most prominent modern writers focusing on ethnic life. The best-known living Canadian writer (especially since the deaths of Robertson Davies and Mordecai Richler) is Margaret Atwood, a prolific novelist, poet, and literary critic.
Numerous Canadian authors have accumulated international literary awards; including Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, who has been called the best living writer of short stories in English; and Booker Prize recipient Michael Ondaatje, who is known for the novel The English Patient, which was adapted as a film of the same name that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Visual Arts: Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures such as Tom Thomson - the country's most famous painter - and by the Group of Seven. Thomson painted Canadian landscapes for a decade until his death in 1917 at the young age of 39.
The Group of Seven were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Though referred to as having seven members, five artists - Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley - were responsible for articulating the Group's ideas.
They were joined briefly by Frank Johnston, and by commercial artist Franklin Carmichael. A. J. Casson became part of the Group in 1926. Associated with the Group was prominent Canadian artist, Emily Carr, known for landscapes and portrayals of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Since the 1950s, works of Inuit art have been given as gifts to foreign dignitaries by the Canadian government.
Music: The Canadian music industry is the sixth largest in the world producing internationally renowned composers, musicians, and ensembles. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences present Canada's music industry awards, the Juno Awards, which were first awarded in 1970.
The Canadian Music Hall of Fame established in 1976 honours Canadian musicians for lifetime achievements. Patriotic music dates back over 200 years as a distinct category from British patriotism, preceding the Canadian Confederation by over 50 years. The earliest, The Bold Canadian, was written in 1812. The national anthem of Canada, "O Canada", was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Théodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony, and was officially adopted in 1980. Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was only in French before being adapted into English in 1906.
Sports: Organized sports in Canada dates back to the 1770s, culminating in the development and popularization of the major professional games of ice hockey, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, and football. Canada's official national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. Golf, soccer, baseball, tennis, skiing, badminton, volleyball, cycling, swimming, bowling, rugby union, canoeing, equestrian, squash, and the study of martial arts are enjoyed at youth and amateur levels.
Canada shares several major professional sports leagues with the United States. Canadian teams in these leagues include seven franchises in the National Hockey League, three Major League Soccer teams, and one team in each of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Other professional sports in Canada include Canadian football, which is played in the Canadian Football League, National Lacrosse League lacrosse, and curling.
Canada has participated in almost every Olympic Game since its Olympic debut in 1900, and has hosted several international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics, the 1988 Winter Olympics, the 1994 Basketball World Championship, the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Canada staged the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 Parapan American Games, the former being the largest sporting event hosted by the country.