Oh, Canada! Gorgeous Canada is as famous for its stunning natural landscapes – evergreen forests, great lakes, mountain ranges – as it is for the friendliness of its people. From the endless refrains of “eh” and “sorry,” to the adorable accent on “out” and “about,” everyone loves a Canadian.
But there’s more to this fascinating country than snow-capped greenery and quirky Canadian slang. If you’re interested in learning more about Canada before your visit, here are some fascinating facts about Canada, including fun Canada facts for kids, Canadian history and geography facts, as well as some bizarre things you just won’t believe about Canada and its Canucks.
General Facts About Canada
1. Canada is the second biggest country in the world, after Russia
It’s also the biggest country in the western hemisphere, covering 9,984,670 square kilometers (which makes Canada bigger than the entire European Union).
2. Canada is spread out over 10 provinces and three territories
The 10 provinces are: Alberta (capital: Edmonton), British Columbia (capital: Victoria), Manitoba (capital: Winnipeg), New Brunswick (capital: Fredericton), Newfoundland and Labrador (capital: St. John’s), Nova Scotia (capital: Halifax), Ontario (capital: Toronto), Prince Edward Island (capital: Charlottetown), Quebec (capital: Quebec City), and Saskatchewan (capital: Regina).
The three territories are Northwest Territories (capital: Yellowknife), Nunavut (capital: Iqaluit), and Yukon (capital: Whitehorse).
The difference between a province and a territory is that provinces receive power and authority from the 1867 Constitution Act, whereas territories have power delegated by the Parliament of Canada. Therefore, territories have a little less power than provinces, don’t have their own provincial governments, and cannot vote on changes to the constitution.
3. 90% of Canadians live less than 200 kilometers from the border with the United States
Despite being one of the largest nations on Earth by landmass, the vast majority of the 37 million Canadians live in the south of the country, close to the country’s nearest neighbor.
4. Canada’s motto is “From Sea to Sea”
Who knew that countries have mottos? Considering that Canada touches the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic Oceans, it’s no wonder that these are the words that resonate most with the nation.
Canadian Food Facts
5. Canadians are big, big, BIG beer drinkers
Combined, the nation drinks more than 22,700,000 hectoliters of beer annually! This means the average Canadian drinks 79 liters every year. In the Yukon, the average rises to 128 liters every year.
6. Canada has the most donut shops in the world
There are more donut shops in Canada per capita than anywhere else on Earth.
7. Canada’s greatest theft was of maple syrup
Between 2011 and 2012, 3,000 tons of maple syrup was stolen in Quebec, with a total value of C$18.7 million. This made the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist the most valuable theft in the country’s history.
8. The Yukon’s Sourtoe cocktail has a real human toe in it
In the Yukon’s Dawson City, you can find the unique Sourtoe cocktail, the ingredients of which include whiskey and a real human toe.
The first toe belonged to a miner, who had his toe amputated in 1920 and kept it in a jar, preserved in alcohol. In 1973, the jar was discovered, taken to the Sourdough Saloon, and the liquid poured into the glasses of those who were brave enough to drink it.
Since the original, seven more toes have been donated to the bar, though three have been swallowed whole with the drink (two by accident, one on purpose). The rule of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club is: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slowly, but the lips have got to touch the toe!”
9. Canadians Love Poutine
The traditional story is that poutine was invented by a Canadian. It originated in the 1950s in Warwick, Quebec when a trucker asked Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries. “Poutine” is Quebec slang for “a mess”.
10. Canadians eat the most mac and cheese in the world
In particular, Kraft’s macaroni and cheese has been nicknamed Canada’s national dish (sorry, poutine). Often, Canucks will simply call it “Kraft Dinner” or “KD.”
11. The Hawaiian pizza was actually invented by a Canadian
The winning (and controversial) combination of cheese, pineapple, and ham was concocted by Greek-Canadian Sam Panopoulos from Ontario, who was inspired by the sweet and savory flavors of Chinese cuisine.
Canadian Culture Facts
12. Canada is the most educated country in the world
56% of Canada’s population have a degree or other higher qualification. That’s 6% more than the country in second-place – Japan. Canada also has an impressive literacy rate of 99%.
13. Canada’s aboriginal population includes the Métis, Inuit, and First Nations People
Around 1,673,780 Canadians identify as aboriginal, which is about 4.9% of the country’s population. This can be broken down to 977,230 First Nations, 587,545 Métis, and 65,025 Inuit.
Canada History Facts
14. Vikings were the first explorers to reach Canada from Europe
Tools found in caves on the Bluefish River in northern Yukon reveal that Canada was inhabited as early as 20,000 years ago. However, the first recorded explorers from Europe were Vikings, who arrived around 1000 AD. Famous Italian explorer John Cabot didn’t reach Canada until 1497.
15. The name “Canada” means “settlement” or “village”
The name Canada comes from the word “Kanata” which means “settlement” or “village” in the language of the indigenous St. Lawrence Iroquoians.
Canada Geography Facts
16. Canada is home to the longest coastline in the world
The coastline of Canada stretches 202,080 kilometers. If you attempted to walk the whole length, averaging 12 miles a day, it would take more than 30 years to complete the task.
17. Three of Canada’s islands rank in the top 10 largest islands in the world
The islands are Baffin Island (5th place – 507,451 square kilometers), Victoria Island (8th place – 217,291 square kilometers), and Ellesmere Island (10th place – 196,236 square kilometers).
18. Canada is home to more than half of the planet’s lakes
Canada has a whopping three million lakes in total and 563 lakes are larger than 100 square kilometers, which is bigger than most countries. Canada’s largest lakes are Lake Huron in Ontario, Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories, Lake Superior also in Ontario and Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba.
It may come as no surprise then that Canada houses 20% of the world’s freshwater.
19. Canada is the world leader for uranium mining
Uranium is a naturally occurring metallic element found in the Earth’s crust, which provides nuclear fuel used to generate electricity at nuclear power plants.
20. Half of Canada is forest
And Canada’s forest makes up 10% of the total forest on the planet. No wonder timber is one of Canada’s biggest exports.
21. Canada and the US share the world’s longest border
The international border stretches for 8,891 kilometers.
22. 90% of Canada is uninhabited
Because of this low population density, there are only three people living per square kilometer of Canada. Also, Canada is very welcoming to immigrants and almost half of the people living in Canada were born in another country (Canada’s most common surnames are Smith, Lee, Wong, and Chan).
23. Calgary’s Chinooks are a weather phenomenon
The Chinooks are warm, dry winds that rise in temperature as they drop down eastern slopes. This means that you can be suddenly taken aback by a 10-degree rise in temperature in just minutes.
According to native legends, the Chinooks are messages sent to warn people. The word “Chinook” means “snow eater,” which is also the name for a native community that lives on the north of the Columbia River, where the winds originate.
24. Canada’s national parks are bigger than some countries
Nahanni National Park Reserve covers an incredible 30,050 square kilometers, which makes this national park larger than countries such as Rwanda and Israel.
Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park is even bigger, with a size of 44,807 square kilometers, which makes it larger than the Netherlands and Taiwan.
25. Areas of Canada are “missing” gravity
Large parts of Canada around the Hudson Bay area have lower gravity than other parts of the world.
Theories as to why this is the case include the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which left a deep indentation in the Earth, or the convection of magma under the planet’s surface dragging continental plates down, which decreases both mass and gravity.
Fun Canada Facts for Kids
26. Canada has the world’s largest population of wild bears
Canada is the perfect habitat for its 15,000 polar bears (50% of the world’s polar bears live in Nunavut), as well as other species, such as black bears, Kermode bears, and grizzly bears.
27. Canada’s national animal is the beaver
Although the bear or the moose might seem more appropriate, Canada’s official national animal is the beaver. This is due to the historic beaver fur trade, which helped cement Canada’s place in the colonial economy.
28. Canada has its own version of the “Loch Ness Monster”
The story goes that Ogopogo, a dragon- or snake-like monster, inhabits Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. The lake monster was allegedly first seen by First Nations people in the 19th century, but this was likely misinterpreted as the “spirit of the lake,” rather than a physical animal.
29. Canada’s national sports are hockey and lacrosse
Hockey, or ice hockey, is the national winter sport of Canada, whilst lacrosse is the national summer sport. Modern ice hockey dates back to 1875, when the first indoor ice hockey game took place in Montreal, whereas lacrosse is a First Nations game.
30. You can send a letter to Santa Claus’s Canada address and get a reply
If you’re looking to get in contact with Santa, you can send a letter to the North Pole, H0H oHo, Canada. No matter which language you write in, you’re guaranteed a response.
Picture of Canada’s Flag
31. Canada’s flag is only 55 years old
Up until 1965, Canada’s flag was the Canadian Red Ensign, a British red ensign with the UK’s flag in the canton and adorned with the coat of arms of Canada. Then, it was replaced with the current Maple Leaf Flag.
The Biggest Cities in Canada
32. Toronto is Canada’s biggest city
Canada’s capital city is Ottawa, but the largest city in the country is Toronto, followed by Montreal and then Vancouver (Ottawa is only the sixth-largest city in Canada). Interestingly, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
Funny Canada Facts
33. Some number plates in Nunavut are shaped like polar bears
Up until 2012, Nunavut was known for its iconic polar bear number plates. However, these were sadly discontinued as the Northwest Territories has the trademark to the design (and Nunavut became its own territory in 1999). The old polar bear number plates are now collectors’ items.
34. “Eh” is listed in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary
The famous interjection is defined as: “ascertaining the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons, addressed.”
35. Canadians had to pass a law on apologizing
Everyone knows how much Canadians love to apologize, but this often led to complications in court cases, where apologies were misinterpreted as admitting guilt. Therefore, in 2009, Canada passed the Apology Act, which meant apologies could be admissible in court.
36. Canada’s official phone number is 1-800-O-Canada
You can call this number to get general information on government programs and services.
37. In British Columbia, it’s illegal to kill a Sasquatch
One of Canada’s more bizarre laws dictates that hunting and killing a mythical Bigfoot is illegal, and anyone who kills wildlife life unauthorized in the province of British Columbia (even if that wildlife is fictional) can face a fine of $250,000.
38. Comic books depicting a crime are illegal in Canada
This law is quite obscure, considering that comic books have strong roots in Canada. Superman was co-created by Toronto-born graphic artist Joe Shuster, whilst Wolverine also hailed from north of the border.
Map of Canada
This map of Canada shows all the Canadian Provinces and their capitals.
Canadian Actors: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Reynolds, Ellen Page, Evangeline LilyEllen Page, Cobie Smulders, Jason Priestly, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Oh, Anna Paquin
Canadian Music Artists: Drake, Justin Beiber, The Weekend, Michael Buble, Shawn Mendes, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morisette, Avril Lavine, Shania Twain, Sarah Mclachlan, Rush, Neil Young, Celine Dion, Ann Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Nelly Furtado, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, K.D. Lang, Paul Anka, Carly Rae Jepsen, Corey Hart, Jann Arden, Oscar Peterson, Alessia Cara, Kardinal Offishall
Canadian Comedians: Russel Peters, Howie Mandel, Seth Rogan, Jim Carey, Mike Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Martin Short, Dan Akroyd, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara
General Facts About Canada
Here are some general Canada Facts about Canada if you are interested in the population of Canada, the official language of Canada, the Canadian Currency, Canadian Time Zone, etc.
- Total Population in Canada:37,308,624 as of August 4, 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates.
- Canada’s Capital: Ottawa.
- Biggest City in Canada: Toronto
- Highest Mountain: Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada at 5959 meters above the sea.
- Largest Canadian Lake: Great Bear Lake (Largest lake entirely within Canadian territory)
- Canadian National Day: 1 July.
- Canadian Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- Canadian Prime minister: Justin Trudeau
- Canadian Currency: Canadian Dollars (CAD)
- Official language: English and French.
- Member of Nato: Yes.
- Canadian National Anthem: “O Canada”
- Canada’s Official website: Canada.ca
- Canadian Time zones: From UTC -03:30 to UTC -08:00 (six time zones in total)
- Canadian Country Number/Prefix: +1
- Canada Country Code: CA
More Interesting Canada Facts
So, what do you think? Did you know all of these fun facts about Canada already, or did you learn something new? Were there any weird and wonderful Canada facts that took you by surprise? Let us know your favorite fact in the comments below (or add your own).
Enjoy your travels to Canada!
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