The True North Strong and Free
Une Epopee Des Plus Brillants Exploits



A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south across an unfortified border. Canada faces the political challenges of meeting public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services, as well as responding to the particular concerns of predominantly francophone Quebec. Canada also aims to develop its diverse energy resources while maintaining its commitment to the environment.



Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US
Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 95 00 W
Map references: North America
Area: total: 9,984,670 sq km
Land Boundaries: total: 8,893 km
border countries: US 8,893 km (includes 2,477 km with Alaska)
Coastline: 202,080 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: varies from temperate in south to subarctic and arctic in north
Terrain: mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast
Elevation Extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
Natural Resources: iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 4.57%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 94.78% (2005)
Natural hazards: continuous permafrost in north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains, a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific, and North American interior, and produce most of the country's rain and snow east of the mountains
Environment - current issues: air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting lakes and damaging forests; metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions impacting on agricultural and forest productivity; ocean waters becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities

Geography Note:

second-largest country in world (after Russia); strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the US border



33,487,208 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.1% (male 2,761,711/female 2,626,836)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 11,633,950/female 11,381,735)
65 years and over: 15.2% (male 2,220,189/female 2,862,787) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.817% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
Birth rate: 10.28 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
Death rate: 7.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
Net migration rate: 5.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Canadian(s)
adjective: Canadian
Ethnic groups: British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%
Religions: Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3% (including United Church 9.5%, Anglican 6.8%, Baptist 2.4%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other and unspecified 11.8%, none 16% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official) 58.8%, French (official) 21.6%, other 19.6% (2006 Census)


Country name: Canada
Government Type: a parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy
Capital: Ottawa
National holiday: Canada Day, 1 July (1867)
Independance 1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK)
Administrative Divisions 10 provinces and 3 territories*; Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories*, Nova Scotia, Nunavut*, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory*
Constitution: made up of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions; the written part of the constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867, which created a federation of four provinces, and the Constitution Act of 17 April 1982, which transferred formal control over the constitution from Britain to Canada, and added a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as procedures for constitutional amendments
Legal system: based on English common law, except in Quebec, where civil law system based on French law prevails; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Executive branch: head of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Michaelle JEAN (since 27 September 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Stephen Joseph HARPER (since 6 February 2006)
cabinet: Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister usually from among the members of his own party sitting in Parliament
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Commons is generally designated prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (105 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and serve until reaching 75 years of age) and the House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (308 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve a maximum of five-year terms)
elections: House of Commons - last held 14 October 2008 (next to be held no later than 15 October 2012)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative Party 37.6%, Liberal Party 26.2%, New Democratic Party 18.2%, Bloc Quebecois 10%, Greens 6.8%, other 1%; seats by party - Conservative Party 145, Liberal Party 77, New Democratic Party 37, Bloc Quebecois 48, other 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Canada (judges are appointed by the prime minister through the governor general); Federal Court of Canada; Federal Court of Appeal; Provincial Courts (these are named variously Court of Appeal, Court of Queen's Bench, Superior Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Justice)
Political parties and leaders: Bloc Quebecois [Gilles DUCEPPE]; Conservative Party of Canada [Stephen HARPER] (a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party); Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]; Liberal Party [Michael IGNATIEFF]; New Democratic Party [Jack LAYTON]
International organization participation: ACCT, ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ESA (associate), ESA (cooperating state), FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Gary DOER
chancery: 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
telephone: [1] (202) 682-1740
FAX: [1] (202) 682-7701
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson
consulate(s): Anchorage, Houston, Philadelphia, Princeton (New Jersey), Raleigh, San Jose (California), Tucson
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador David C. JACOBSON
embassy: 490 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8
mailing address: P. O. Box 5000, Ogdensburg, NY 13669-0430; P.O. Box 866, Station B, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5T1
telephone: [1] (613) 688-5335
FAX: [1] (613) 688-3082
consulate(s) general: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Flag description: two vertical bands of red (hoist and fly side, half width) with white square between them; an 11-pointed red maple leaf is centered in the white square; the maple leaf has long been a Canadian symbol; the official colors of Canada are red and white


Overview: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and affluent living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US, its principal trading partner. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs nearly 80% of Canadian exports each year. Canada is the US's largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007. Buffeted by the global economic crisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada's major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the country's tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.287 trillion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
$1.319 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.313 trillion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP -real growth rate: -2.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
0.4% (2008 est.)
2.5% (2007 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP): $38,400 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$39,700 (2008 est.)
$39,900 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 2%
industry: 28.4%
services: 69.6% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line: 10.8%; note - this figure is the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), a calculation that results in higher figures than found in many comparable economies; Canada does not have an official poverty line (2005)
Labor force: 18.4 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 13%
manufacturing: 76%
construction: 6%
services: 76%
other: 3% (2006)
Unemployment rate: 8.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
6.2% (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $514.5 billion
expenditures: $547.2 billion (2009 est.)
Agriculture: wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables; dairy products; forest products; fish
Industries:  transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas
Export commodities:: motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum
Exports: $298.5 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$459.1 billion (2008 est.)
Imports: $305.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$415.2 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods
Debt - external: $833.8 billion (30 June 2009)
country comparison to the world: 12
$781.1 billion (31 December 2008)
Exchange rates: Canadian dollars (CAD) per US dollar - 1.1548 (2009), 1.0364 (2008), 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005)


Telephones - main lines in use: 18.25 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 17
Telephones - mobile cellular: Telephones - mobile cellular:
21.455 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 37
Telephone System: general assessment: excellent service provided by modern technology
domestic: domestic satellite system with about 300 earth stations
international: country code - 1; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean, and 2 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 245, FM 582, shortwave 6 (2004)
Television broadcast stations: 148 (2007)
Internet country Code: .ca
Internet hosts: 7.193 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 14
Internet users: 25.086 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 13


Airports: 1388 (2009)
Airports - with paved runways: over 3,047 m: 19
2,438 to 3,047 m: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 148
914 to 1,523 m: 251
under 914 m: 79 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 873
1,524 to 2,437 m: 73
914 to 1,523 m: 373
under 914 m: 427 (2009)
Heliports: 12 (2009)
Railways: total: 46,688 km
country comparison to the world: 5
standard gauge: 46,688 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
Waterways: 636 km
country comparison to the world: 78
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States (2008)
Merchant Marine: total: 175
country comparison to the world: 38
by type: bulk carrier 60, cargo 13, carrier 1, chemical tanker 10, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 64, petroleum tanker 12, roll on/roll off 6
foreign-owned: 17 (Germany 3, Netherlands 1, Norway 3, US 10)
registered in other countries: 206 (Australia 9, Bahamas 84, Barbados 9, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 2, Denmark 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 44, Liberia 7, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 6, Norway 10, Panama 18, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Spain 4, Taiwan 2, Vanuatu 5) (2008)
Ports and Terminals: Fraser River Port, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Port-Cartier, Quebec City, Saint John (New Brunswick), Sept-Isles, Vancouver
Roadways: total: 1,042,300 km
country comparison to the world: 6
paved: 415,600 km (includes 17,000 km of expressways)
unpaved: 626,700 km (2008)

Military: Land Forces Command (LFC), Maritime Command (MARCOM), Air Command (AIRCOM), Canada Command (homeland security) (2010)
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  


O Canada!

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

French Translation
Notre hymne national

O Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Extra verse (not part of the anthem)

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow,
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow,
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea!
Thou land of hope for all who toil!
Thou True North strong and free!

Sous l'æil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant,
Le Canadien grandit en espérant.
Il est né d'une race fièere,
Béni fut son berceau,
Le ciel a marqué sa carriére,
Dans ce monde nouveau.

Favourite Local Cuisine:

Canadians have a variety of foods which vary from region to region.  The English and French heritage, location and time of year have all had an influence on types and flavors. Famous are their maple syrups and fiddleheads (the new sprouts of ferns)
Government website: