Canada became The Dominion of Canada on July 1st, 1867. We officially became a country in 1982.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a federal state with a democratic parliament.
The Parliament is in Ottawa and is comprised of the House of Commons (Lower House) and the Senate (The Upper House - whose members are appointed)
Members of Parliament are elected approximately every 4 years. Elections may be called early or terms can be as long as 5 years. A vote of non-confidence in the government (where the government no longer has the support of 50 percent of the House) may also force an election. This occurred in 1979 when PM Joe Clark's government lost the support of the House and an election was called within a year of that government coming to power. Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister and hold their positions until they are 75.
Right now there are currently 5 officially recognized parties in the House of Commons: The Liberals, Canadian Alliance, Bloc Quebecois, Progressive Conservatives and the New Democratic Party.
Canada currently sits on the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent representative.
Canada is a member of many international organizations including NATO, OSCE, OAS and APEC.
Canada's land mass is 9 970610 km2 (The world's second largest country)
Ottawa is the Capital of Canada (located in Ontario)
Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. (For more info - see Regions page)
There are more than 100 national parks and historic sites in Canada. (Many Provincial too)
Mountain Ranges include: Torngats, Appalachians, Laurentians, Rocky, Costal, Mackenzie, Mt.St. Elias and the Pelly Mountairs.
At 6050 m above sea level, Mount Logan in the Yukon is Canada's tallest peak.
Great Bear lake is the largest lake in Canada with an area of 31 326 km2
The longest river is the Mackenzie River flowing 4241 km through the NWT.
Canada has six time zones. In NFLD the time zone is 3 hours and 30 minutes past Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) The other time zones are full hours behind GMT. The farthest west is the Pacific at 8 hours behind GMT.
Canada's capital, Ottawa, has the coldest average temperature of any capital city in the world. (I was there in January, 2000 and can talk about this from experience... although it's more like ranting....)
National Symbols Facts
The National emblem is the maple leaf and has been associated with Canada since the 1700's.
The flag of Canada has two red bars and a white center - within there being a maple leaf. It was adopted as the National Flag in 1965. (Before hand Canada used the Union Jack - the British Flag for its flag.)
The National Anthem for Canada is "O Canada" - proclaimed on July 1st 1980 - a century after being sung for the first time. (Before hand Canadians sang God Save the Queen/King)
Canadian Money and Economic Facts
The Canadian dollar is divided into 100 cents (like the American dollar)
In Canada $1 and $2 are represented by coins. Nicknamed the "loonie" (because there is a loon on it) and the Twonie (I guess because it rhymes with loonie.)
Principle Natural Resources are: natural gas, oil, gold, coal, copper, iron ore, nickel, potash, uranium, and zinc along with wood and water.
The GDP for Canada in 1992 (recession year) was (in Canadian Dollars) $668.5 Billion.
Leading Industries: automobile manufacturing, pulp and paper, iron, steel work, machinery and equipment manufacturing, mining, extraction of fossil fuels, forestry and agriculture.
Leading exports are: automobile vehicles and parts, machinery and equipment, high technology products, oil, natural gas, metals and forest farm products.
Imports are: machinery and industrial equipment, (communications and electronic equipment, vehicles and automobile parts, industrial materials (ie: metal ores, iron, steel, precious metals, chemicals, plastics, cotton, wool and other textiles) along with manufactured products and food.
Canadian Population Facts
The population of Canada as of October 1996 was 30 000 000 (30 million)
The largest city in Canada is Toronto followed by Montreal, Vancoucer, Ottawa-Hull, and Edmonton
76.6 per cent of Canadians live in cities and towns while 23.4 per cent live in rural areas.
31 per cent of the population live in the largest cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver
The life expectancy of a Canadian woman is 80 years and a Canadian man is 73 years
The size of the average family is 3.1 people (including 1.3 children
Multiculturalism (as opposed to the melting pot ideology) was officially recognized in 1988 with the Multiculturalism Act.
Majority of Canadians are Christians 54.2 percent of Canadians are Roman Catholic, other religions in Canada include: Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism
In 1991: 16.1 Canadians had a mother tongue of English, 6.5 million had a mother tongue of French (many Canadians had another mother tongue but spoke one or both official languages.
The largest ethnic groups in Canada are: British, French, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Polish, Chinese, South Asian, Jewish, West Indian, Portuguese and Scandinavian
Canada has one of the world's highest living standards. In 1991: 83 percent of households had 1 car, 97.5 had color televisions and 1 out of 5 had a computer. (surely that has increased by now)
All Canadian have free access to health care with the exception of dental services. Most people over 65 receive their prescriptions for free.
Canada has an extensive social safety network with old age pensions, family allowance, unemployment insurance and welfare.
Popular sports in Canada include Ice Hockey, swimming, cross-country and alpine skiing, baseball, tennis, basketball, soccer and golf. Many would suggest that the most preferred spectator sports are Ice hockey and Canadian Football.
First Nations Facts
In 1991 there were 533 000 status or non-status Indians and over one million claimed to be of native descent. Of these 783 980 were NA Indians, 212 650 were Metis and 49 255 were Inuit
295 032 natives lived on reserves in 1991.
The only indigenous culture in Canada is that of the Native peoples since all other Canadians were originally immigrants.