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Canada-Essential Informstion
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Welcome to the New Canada Information Page! This page has been newly updated.
Click on a link below to view a description of that topic, or scroll down to read
everything. The main areas that will be covered are: Canada's Geography/Location,
People, Economy and Political System. Updated 16/06: These links now work with all Netscape and other browsers. The problem has been fixed.
Canada's Anthem Listen to Canda's National Anthem!
To hear, click on the picture at the
left--RealAudio Format
I.     Introduction
II.   Geography-Location, Provinces
III. People-Languages, Origins, Major Cities
IV.
 Economy-International, Domestic
V.    Political System/Governement
VI.  Quick Facts & Conclusion
                Interactive Quiz Coming Soon!
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Introduction:

         Occupying the northern half of the North American continent, Canada's land mass is 9 093
507 km2, making it the second-largest country in the world after Russia. From east to west,
Canada encompasses six time zones. Moreover, Canada with over 31 081 people, is made up of
10 provinces and 3 territories. In addition to its coastlines on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans,
Canada has a seacoast on the Arctic Ocean, giving it the longest coastline of any country. To the
south, Canada shares an 8 891 kilometres boundary with the United States. To the north, the
Arctic islands come within 800 kilometres of the North Pole. Nevertheless, due to its harsh
climate, Canada is mostly populated in the south, with major metropolitan areas such as Toronto,
Montreal and Vancouver. More information on these cities will appear soon.


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Geography:

Canada is a vast nation with a wide variety of geological formations, climates, natural resources and ecological systems. In fact, it has been estimated that Canada has one-seventh of the world's fresh water. In addition to the Great Lakes, which it shares with the United States, Canada has a vast hydrographical system with many large rivers and lakes, such as the Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake and the Hudson Bay. Especially in the Province of Quebec, hydroelectricity is a major economic factor, thanks to the numerous waters that can be found.

There are 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada: (from east to west) Newfoundland (capital is St. John's); Prince Edward Island (capital is Charlottetown); Nova Scotia (capital is Halifax); New Brunswick (capital Fredericton); Quebec (capital is Canada); Ontario (capital is Toronto); Manitoba (capital is Winnipeg); Alberta (capital is Edmonton); British Colombia (capital is Victoria), Northwest Territories (Territory, capital is Yellowknife); Yukon (Territory, capital is Whitehorse) and finally Nunavut (Territory, capital is Iqualuit).


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People:

More than three-quarters of Canadians live in metropolitan areas, the largest of which are Toronto, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; Hull, Québec; and Edmonton, Alberta. The two offical French and English languages are spoken by more than half of the population; in fact, at one time most Canadians were of French or English descent. However, diversity increased with a wave of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that brought in people from many other European nations. This trend continues into the 21st century: Canada is one of the few countries in the world that still has significant immigration programs. Since the 1970s most immigrants have come from Asia, increasing still further the diversity of the population.

Canada's affluence and diversity have encouraged a variety of artistic pursuits. Most major cities have symphony orchestras, opera companies, classical and modern dance groups, and live theater. Canadian popular musicians have built highly successful careers both in Canada and in the world at large. Canadian writers have also gained worldwide recognition, as have painters, sculptors, filmmakers, and architects.


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Economy:

Canada has an advanced economy, and the majority of its citizens enjoy a high quality of life by world standards. It has even been recognized by the United Nations as one of the most safe and enjoyable countries to live, in the world. Historically, much of this wealth has been generated through the extraction and processing of natural resources, especially fish, furs, timber, minerals, and farm produce. Increasingly, however, manufacturing and service activities have been added, and Canada now has one of the most complex economies in the world.
The Canadian economy is also very strong. Since 1994, growth, low inflation, stable unit labour costs, improved cost competitiveness, record exports, and a healthy level of business investment have characterized Canada's economic performance. Among the G-7 countries - the most developed economies in the world - Canada ranks highly in per capita purchasing power. In addition, Canada exports as many products as importing from other countries, thus its revenue is substantial. This is due to improvements in cost competitiveness and strong productivity growth. Moreover, Canada continues to maintain one of the lowest inflation rates in the world.

Domestic business confidence is greater today than at any time since 1979. With a positive economic forecast and good prospects for consumer spending, overall demand in the Canadian consumer and industrial markets should continue to be increase. In fact, Canadians currently spend nearly $500 billion each year on consumer goods and services, with services now accounting for more than half of Canadian household expenditures. Consumer spending has also risen rapidly on items related to information technologies. Average family income continues to increase and labour market conditions continue to improve, provoking governments to reduce tax rates - a process that has already started in some provinces.


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Government/Political System:

Canada is a parliamentary democracy, and the federal, provincial, and territorial legislatures are all elected. However, Canada's sovereign is a monarch, the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The queen is represented in Canada by the governor-general and ten lieutenant governors. Canada's constitution guarantees equality under the law to all of its citizens. Powers of the federal and provincial governments are spelled out separately under the constitution, but over the past 50 years they have increasingly cooperated in programs that provide a wide range of social services-often called the "welfare state"-to the public.


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