GETTING TO KNOW CANADA
Canada is the second largest country in the world (after Russia) by land mass.
Canada has a total area of 9.9 million sq. km. and touches the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans, making it the country with the longest coastline. It is comprised of 10 provinces and three territories with Ottawa as its capital. The provinces are: Alberta (Edmonton), British Columbia (Victoria), Manitoba (Winnipeg), New Brunswick (Fredericton), Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s), Nova Scotia (Halifax), Ontario (Toronto), Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown), Quebec (Quebec City), and Saskatchewan (Regina). The three territories are composed of the Northwest Territories (Yellowknife), Nunavut (Iqaluit), and Yukon (Whitehorse).
Canada is the first country in the world to adopt a policy of multiculturalism, embracing diversity and pluralism. Today, of Canada’s total population of more than 35 million, a fifth are immigrants. Canada has adopted a mosaic culture meaning that a mix of ethnic groups, languages and cultures coexist in one place. Around 4.3 per cent of the total Canadian population reported an Aboriginal identity and 19.1 per cent belong to a visible minority. The largest groups among these visible minorities are South Asians, Chinese and Africans, followed by Filipinos, Latin Americans, Arabs, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese.
Canada is a Parliamentary Democracy headed by a Prime Minister. However, it is also a constitutional monarchy with executive authority vested in the Queen. This means that the Queen is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government. A parliamentary democracy has three parts: the Sovereign (Queen), the Senate, and the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the government has three levels: federal, provincial and municipal.
Canada means “village”
The country’s name is derived from “Kanata”, a Huron-Iroquois word meaning village or settlement. Two Indigenous youths used this word to describe the settlement of Stadacona (now Quebec City) to European explorer Jacques Cartier.