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Canada is a federal state in North America and a member of the Commonwealth. The total area of Canada is 9,958,319 km2 of which 755,109 km2 is water. Canada is the largest country in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest country in the world, accounting for 7% of the Earth's total land area.

Canada Landscape Canada LandscapePhoto: Public domain

Characteristic of the enormous size of the country is the fact that Canada borders the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. It is also almost the same size as the whole of Europe (without Russia). The largest distance from east to west is 5514 kilometers and from north to south 4634 kilometers. Canada borders twelve states of the United States to the south and Alaska to the west (8893 kilometers, including 2477 kilometers with Alaska). The total coastline of Canada is 243,791 kilometers. The largest province in Canada is Quebec with approximately 1,650,000 km2 and the smallest province is Prince Edward Island with 5,657 km2.

Canada Satellite Canada Satellite photoPhoto: Public domain

Canada originated from the oldest land masses in the world: the cup-shaped Canadian Shield, which covers a large part of the country, is 1 billion years old. It covers 5 million km2 around Hudson Bay. To the north and west, the continent of Canada is transformed into an archipelago of large, mostly low, islands called the Arctic Archipelago. The largest islands are Baffin, Ellesmere, Victoria, Newfoundland and Vancouver. More than 40% of Canada is north of the tree line (60 ° N.Br.)

Hudson Bay penetrates deep inland with its 1,220,000 km2.
The Canadian Rocky Mountains are the younger part of the Western Cordillera, a wide, mountainous strip running from Mexico to Canada. The mountain range was created between 120 and 20 million years ago and includes some of Canada's highest peaks, the 389 km2 Columbia Icefield and glacial lakes.

Canada has six time zones with a difference of four and a half hours between the east and west coasts. From east to west, the Newfoundland, Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones are known. If it's midnight in Western Europe, it's 4:00 pm in British Columbia, 7:00 pm in Ontario, and 8:00 pm in Nova Scotia.

Size Canadian provincesSize Canadian provincesPhoto: Connormah CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Landscape description per province


Canada Hoodoos Canada HoodoosPhoto: Darren Kirby CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The east side of Alberta still belongs to the prairies, but beyond Calgary the Canadian Rocky Mountains suddenly appear. Here lie four national parks close together: Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho.

Alberta is bordered to the west by British Columbia with its high, expansive Rocky Mountains. To the east, Alberta borders Saskatchewan with its flat prairies. Alberta borders the U.S. state of Montana to the south, the hilly north to the province of Northwest Territories, the west to British Columbia, and the east to Saskatchewan. The greatest distance from north to south is 1220 kilometers, from east to west 650 kilometers.

Located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is also known for its sulphurous hot springs. The water in the Upper Hot Springs Pool at Sulfur Mountain averages 38 ° C. Very remarkable are the 'hoodoos', more than 20,000 year old slate rocks in the form of high tables.

Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly of the four national parks in the Rocky Mountains. It covers an area of 10,878 km2 with mountains, valleys, glacial lakes and the Columbia Icefield, a 400-year-old ice sea with a thickness of approximately 400 meters. Miette Hot Springs has the warmest spring water (up to nearly 54 ° C) of the Rockies with a high mineral content.

The Athabasca Glacier is the largest glacier in the Rocky Mountains, six kilometers long and with a total area of 300 km2. The glacier is an offshoot of the Columbia Icefield, the largest field of ice and snow in North America outside of the polar regions. Elk Island was established in 1906 as Canada's first animal sanctuary. The nature in the park consists of rolling meadows, forests and "wetlands". Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada's largest national park, roughly the same size as Denmark (44,807 km2). Declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO, the park encompasses three types of landscape: a highland, a plateau of swamps and streams, and the Peace and Athabasca river delta, filled with sediments, swamps and shallow lakes.

Located in Calgary, Fish Creek National Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world (1189 hectares).
Outside the valley of the Red Deer River stretches the "badlands" of Alberta, a stone desert with ravines, table mountains, plateaus and rock pillars, the so-called "hoodoos". This lunar landscape is one of the richest dinosaur fossil sites in the world.


Canada Pacific Rim National Park British Columbia Canada Pacific Rim National Park British ColumbiaPhoto: Dbaer in the public domain

British Columbia is Canada's westernmost province, covering nearly 950,000 km2. British Columbia is bordered on the east by the province of Alberta, on the south by the U.S. states of Montana, Idaho and Washington, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the northwest by the U.S. state of Alaska and on the north by the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories. The largest length of the province is 1300 kilometers; the largest width 700 kilometers. It is the third largest province after Quebec and Ontario. Approx. three quarters of this province is mountainous; more than half of the province is above 1250 meters. The only flat area is to the northeast on the Peace River. More than half of British Columbia is covered by forests. On the coast mainly Douglas fir trees and red cedar trees; inland forests with pine trees, firs and conifers. Approx. 10% of British Columbia is grassland or under cultivation; almost 2% of the area consists of rivers and lakes. There are approximately 11,000 rivers and streams and 7,000 lakes along the entire coast of British Columbia.

Just off the southwest coast of British Columbia, Vancouver Island is about the same size as the Benelux. Lengthwise a mountain ridge runs across the island with long mountain fjords on the west coast. The island is also famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and dense forests. In the large Strathcona Provincial Park are the highest waterfalls (440 meters) in North America, the Della Falls. The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve encompasses three areas: Long Beach with its rugged and windy beaches, the West Coast Trail with rainforests and deep gorges, and the Broken Group Islands, an archipelago of approximately 100 islands. The Queen Charlotte Islands are located north of Vancouver Island.

The north of the province is mountainous and the central interior consists of a high plateau with dense forests. A number of mountain ranges run from east to northwest.

Southeastern British Columbia, Kootenay consists of mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains (with the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson at 3954 meters), Purcells, Selkirks, and Monashees. Rivers like the Columbia River and the Arrow Lakes lie between them. Yoho Park is home to one of Canada's highest waterfalls, the 254-meter high Takakkaw Falls. The city of Kimberley is 1117 meters, making it Canada's tallest city. The Kootenay region is known for its many hot springs, but there is also the Glacier National Park (1350 km2) with about 400 glaciers and on the 3390 meter high Mount Dawson there is an average of 23 meters of snow in winter.

The Lower Mainland is a lagoon between the mountains of Vancouver Island and the Coast Mountains on the mainland. The Fraser River, the longest river in British Columbia at 1,368 kilometers, has created a long delta here.
The Okanagan Similkameen region is formed by Okanagan Valley, one of the foothills in a hill country between the Cascade Mountain Range to the west and the Monashee Mountain Range to the east. The Valley extends over a length of 250 kilometers and actually consists of a series of valleys, which are connected by a number of lakes.

In addition to the Fraser River and the Columbia River, the 611 km Peace River and the rivers Skeena, Yukon and Liard also flow in this province. The Liard River Hot Springs are located along the Alaska highway. Surface water seeps through the crevices and breaks to the red-hot rocks of the Earth's crust, which can be as high as 1,000 °C. The Charlotte Islands (approx. 150 islands) are located halfway along the British Columbia coastline; Because of the warm Gulf Currents from Asia, the climate here is always very humid and fog often hangs between the ancient rainforests with thousand-year-old firs and cedars.

Wells Gray National Park is one of the most beautiful natural areas in British Columbia and is characterized by mountain meadows, waterfalls and high mountains with glaciers. Mount Edziza Provincial Park is made up of volcanic landscapes, including lava flows and basalt plains. About a third of Atlin Provincial Park is covered by ice plains and glaciers.


Map of ManitobaMap of ManitobaPhoto: Kmusser CC 3.0 Unported no changes

Manitoba is 650,000 km2 in size, making it the eighth largest province in Canada. The most central prairie province, Manitoba is located between Saskatchewan and Ontario. To the north, Manitoba borders the Nunavut Territory, to the northeast Hudson Bay, to the south to the U.S. states of Minnesota and North Dakota. The longest length is 1224 kilometers and the largest width is 793 kilometers. The highest point is Baldy Mountain (831 meters).

Manitoba's landscape forms the transition between the Saskatchewan prairies and the rolling hills and forests of Ontario. South Manitoba has mainly flat prairie land with large rivers such as the Red River and the Assiniboine. Important rivers are the Churchill River, the Hayes River, the Nelson River, the Saskatchewan River and the Winnipeg River. On the border with the American state of North Dakota is the International Peace Garden, which is the geographical center of the North American continent. To the north are forests and approximately 10,000 lakes with sandy beaches. In total, about half of Manitoba's area is forested with predominantly pine, aspen, silver birch and spruce trees. The Hudson Bay Lowland around the Hudson Bay is a flat and almost treeless tundra area where only moss, grass and lichens grow. There is an extensive agricultural area around the capital Winnipeg.

Lake Winnipeg is a huge 350-kilometer-long lake that connects southern Manitoba to Hudson Bay via the Nelson River. The northern half of the lake is surrounded by wilderness and the southern half is scattered with long white sandy beaches.

Near the town of Churchill, Canada's northernmost deep harbor lies at the mouth of the Churchill River and Hudson Bay, which was discovered by Henry Hudson in 1610. The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis can be seen here from September to April.


Grand Falls, New Brunswick Grand Falls, New BrunswickPhoto: Benson Kua (CC BY-SA 2.0) no changes made

The very wooded New Brunswick covers almost 75,000 km2 and is the easternmost and largest of the Atlantic maritime provinces. The province is bounded on the north by Chaleur Bay and the province of Quebec; to the east by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Northumberland Strait and the province of Nova Scotia; to the south by the Fundy Bay; to the west by the US state of Maine.

A portion of the seacoast has dangerous cliffs and rocky shores. The coast also consists of dunes, sandy beaches and saltwater marshes. Furthermore, the province consists of agricultural areas and a mountainous interior with impenetrable forests.

New Brunswick is surrounded on three sides by water (2,400 miles of shoreline) and faces major tidal differences. The tides at Fundy Bay near Aukac are among the highest in the world with an ebb and flow difference of ten to sixteen meters. The high tide line is characterized by rugged seaweed-covered cliffs, caves and steep rock formations. The effect of the water has created rock formations in the form of flower pots, the so-called "Flower Pots" in Rocky Provincial Park. Twice a day, more than 100 billion tons of water wash in and out of the bay, the so-called "tidal bore".

New Brunswick is home to Canada's oldest city, Saint John. The River Valley Scenic Drive runs along the 724-kilometer Saint-John River. Along the route are the Grand Falls, hilly arable land, peninsulas and islands.


Canada Gros Morne Fjord Newfoundland and Labrador Canada Gros Morne Fjord Newfoundland and LabradorPhoto: Gilad.rom CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The province of Newfoundland includes not only the island of Newfoundland and Labrador (112,300 km2), but also the much larger Labrador (300,000 km2) on the mainland. The distance between the northernmost tip of Labrador, Cape Chidley, and the southeastern part of Newfoundland, Cape Pine, is approximately 1800 kilometers.

Newfoundland & Labrador is Canada's easternmost province with wild open spaces, high peaks and vast landscapes. The county is made up of the island of Newfoundland and the greater Labrador region on the mainland. The two parts are separated by the fifteen kilometers wide strait Strait of Belle-Isle. The area of this province is just over 400,000 km2.

The 25,000-kilometer coast is rocky with cliffs, fjords and inlets. In the sea to the east and south lies the large continental shelf Grand Banks, the richest fishing area in the world. This is due to the fusion of the cool Labrador Current and the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream. The landscape of Newfoundland & Labrador consists of semi-polar tundra and mountains in Northern Labrador to prairies, low mountains, dense forests, and rugged rocky outcrops in eastern New Foundland. The central plateau is a gigantic forest area, intersected by a number of rivers, the largest of which are the Humber, the Exploits and the Gander. The highest points, up to 814 meters above sea level, are in the western part of Newfoundland.

A World Heritage Site, the Gros Morne National Park is home to spectacular fjords, high cliffs and waterfalls. The coastal mountains are among the oldest in the world. The Long Range Mountains consist of mountainous tundra, covered with polar alpine flora. At Shallow Bay along the Green Gardens Trail are beaches and dunes.

The name of the vast Labrador peninsula comes from the Portuguese Corte Real, which referred to the relatively fertile area as 'terra de laborador'. It forms the extreme northeast of the North American continent, between Hudson Bay in the west, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay in the northeast, and Belle Isle St and St. Lawrence Bay in the south. Most of the country consists of a high plateau, which is 300-700 meters above sea level, with a glacier-like relief and dotted with countless lakes. It is an important part of the Canadian Shield.

Off the coast, at the bottom of Newfoundland, there are two islands that belong to France, St. Pierre and Miquelon. These are the last remnants of the French empire in North America. About 6,000 people live there who have one Member in the French Parliament.


Skyline Northwest-Territories Yellowknife Skyline Yellowknife Northwest-TerritoriesPhoto: Trevor MacInnes CC 1.0 Generic no changes made

The total area of this huge province is 3.3 million km2. The Northwest Territories, commonly referred to as NWT, are therefore ten times the size of Germany and cover more than a third of Canada's total area. The entire province is above the Arctic Circle, north of the 60th parallel. In the north is the unnamed highest peak of the Northwest Territories (2762 meters). A large part of the Territories consists of tundra area or "barren lands" and ice plains. The longest river in Canada, the Mackenzie River, flows through the Northwest Territories at 1,800 kilometers. One of the deepest lakes in the world can also be found here, namely the Great Slave Lake with a depth of over 600 meters. The highest waterfalls in Canada also occur in this province, from almost 90 meters high the water falls in the South Nahanni River.

Both the northern geographic pole and the north magnetic pole are located in this province. The geographic pole (Big Nail) is the place on top of the Earth where all imaginary lines converge. The magnetic pole can only be determined with the compass, and can vary considerably every year.
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are clearly visible here in autumn and winter; due to colliding, electrically charged particles with atoms and molecules outside the stratosphere, dancing lights in various colors can be seen in the sky after sunset.

Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve is an area of glaciers and mountains, but there are also thermal oases.

The Northern Frontier region is located around the northernmost city in Canada, the capital Yellowknife. There are thousands of small lakes in this region.
The main rivers are the Mackenzie River, the Coppermine River, the Back River and the Thelon River.


Grafton, Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia Grafton, Annapolis Valley in Nova ScotiaPhoto: Public domain

Nova Scotia is one of the maritime provinces (Maritime Provinces), a peninsula of over 55,000 km2. Part of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, is an island, separated from the rest of the province by the Strait of Canso. The rest is connected to the mainland by the isthmus of Chignecto. The province is hilly and forms the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains. The coastline is rocky with many coves or coves and islets. There are 400 lakes inland. Central Nova Scotia covers the coastline along the Northumberland Strait, where there are many warm seawater beaches. The coast of the Minas Basin has one of the highest tides in the world with an ebb and flow difference of 15 meters in some places.

Dartmouth is a city with no fewer than four hundred lakes and lakes within its borders. The 330-kilometer Lighthouse Route passes bays, inlets and fjords. Kejimkujik National park is a reserve with beaches, low tides, salt banks, green forests and lagoons. The town of Amherst overlooks the largest wetland area in the world, Tantramar. Cape Breton, the largest island in Nova Scotia, is one of the most impressive in Canada in terms of natural beauty. The park is located across the width of the tip of the island. Between the two coasts is a "highland plateau" of forests, lakes, swamps and river valleys.

Halifax is the province's capital and largest city, located on a huge seaport that is ice-free all year round. Sister city Darmouth is on the other side of the bay; the two cities are connected by two suspension bridges.


Clyde River, Nunavut Clyde River, NunavutPhoto: Ansgar Walk CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

The total area of Nunavut, including all water surfaces, is 1,982,182 km2, which is more than a fifth of the total area of Canada.

On April 1, 1999, Canada's newest territory became a reality: the Inuit country of Nunavut. Nunavut is made up of many islands, some of them the size of England. In Nunavut, the magnetic pole can be found at about 79 degrees north latitude. At 82.5 degrees latitude, Alert is the military base, the northernmost settlement in the world.

Victoria Island is part of the Northwest Territories and part of Nunavut. There are two towns on the island: Inuit Cambridge Bay belongs to Nunavut, Holman to the Northwest Territories. Nunavut has hills up to 500 meters high in the east and north.

Baffin Island has an area of 500,000 km2, making it the fifth largest island on Earth. More than half of the island is above the Arctic Circle. Auyuittuq National park is Canada's third largest national park with 21,470 km2. It is one of the few national parks above the Arctic Circle with many mountains, valleys and fjords. On Baffin Island, mountains occur up to more than 2500 meters.

On the coast at the Beaufort Sea there is a famous series of pingos or frost hills, created by the accumulation of the bottom under the pressure of ice underneath. The Mackenzie Delta pingos, the largest of which are 40 meters high and 300 meters in diameter at the base, are among the most impressive in the entire Arctic.

At Summit Lake, huge perpendicular walls of Mount Asgard can be seen. Mount Thor even has the highest continuous rock face on Earth.


Ontario Niagara falls Ontario Niagara fallsPhoto: Jarek Tuszynski CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Ontario is the southernmost province in Canada and the second largest province in Canada with over one million km2. Ontario is bordered on the north by Hudson Bay and James Bay, on the east by Quebec, on the south by the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the US states of New York, Ohio and Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and to the west by the province of Manitoba. The largest distance from east to west is 1690 kilometers and from east to west 1610 kilometers.

To the south of this province are the great lakes of Lake Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario, which in turn connect the great rivers of St. Lawrence, Niagara, Ottawa and Rideau.

Lake Erie is approximately 400 kilometers long and 60 kilometers wide on average. It is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and separates Canada from the United States. Lake Superior or Bovenmeer is the westernmost of the Great Lakes, and the largest freshwater reservoir in the world at 82,000 km2.

Ontario is home to the most famous waterfall in the world, Niagara Falls, and more than 250,000 lakes, large and small. The Canadian Horseshoe waterfall is 54 meters deep and 675 meters wide; the American waterfall is 56 meters deep and 320 meters wide. Every minute, 115 million liters of water fall into the Horseshoe Falls.

Uninhabited northern Ontario, Algoma land is an area of forests, waterfalls, ravines and mountains. Located in the landscape of the Northern Canadian Shield, the Sudbury Basin is home to many metals and minerals, including gold, silver, platinum, cobalt and especially nickel.
In the St.-Lawrence River lie the Thousand Islands, an area with more than 1000 islands. Prince Edward County Island has 25-meter-high fine sand dunes; they are considered to be one of the most important freshwater dune areas in the world.

The Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest and most famous park in Ontario with an area of 7725 km2 of untouched nature and more than 1000 lakes. Located just off the north shore of Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island is the largest island in a lake in the world with an area of 2,800 km2.

St. Lawrence Islands National Park is located in the river of the same name, where it forms the border with the state of New York. The park consists of 18 wooded islands and some eighty rocky small islands.

Important rivers in Ontario are the Abitibi, the Albany, the Attawapiskat, the Montréal, the Moose, the Niagara, the Ottawa, the Thames, the Trent and the Winisk.


Coastal landscape Cavendish, Prince Edward Island Coastal landscape Cavendish, Prince Edward IslandPhoto: Chensiyuan CC 4.0 International no changes made

Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada with an area of 5657 km2. Prince Edward Island measures approximately 200 kilometers from east to west; the width varies from 6 to 65 kilometers. The island lies in the St. Lawrence gulf and is only connected to the mainland by a bridge, the Confederation Bridge (13 kilometers long). It is the longest continuous arch bridge over the sea in the world. Prince Edward Island has only been an island for about 500 years, when rising sea levels created Northumberland Strait. The Bonshaw Hills are about 120 meters high diagonally across the island. The highest point is 147 meters above sea level. The soil is rusty brown due to the ferrous soil.

Prince Edward Island National Park is Canada's smallest national park, located along the shoreline of the St. Lawrence gulf.

The park spans 40 km2 of rugged dunes that are constantly shifting places due to the stormy winds, and further saltwater swamps, rocks and vast beaches. Prince Edward Island also has huge agricultural areas.


Boreal landscape in Northern QuebecBoreal landscape in Northern QuebecPhoto: Peupleloup CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The largest province in Canada is Quebec with approximately 1.5 million km2. Quebec is bordered on the north by the Hudson Strait, Ungava Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the Province of Newfoundland, on the south by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Province of New Brunswick and the US states of Maine, New Hampshire , Vermont and New York, and to the west by the province of Ontario, James Bay and Hudson Bay. The greatest distance from east to west is 1570 kilometers and from north to south 1970 kilometers. Approx. 90% of the province belongs to the Canadian Shield. Half of the province consists of extensive (maple) forests, tundra, lakes and rivers. Quebec is so long that the northern part is in the polar region and is part of the eternally frozen Canadian Shield. The highest points are in the south with Laurentides Park at 1100 meters and Mont Tremblant at 960 meters.

The northern peninsula of Gaspé or popularly called La Gaspésie is 240 kilometers long and lies at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River (French: Fleuve St. Laurent) and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is a rugged area with wooded mountain ridges of the Monts Chic-Choc, with the highest peaks Mont Richardson (1173 meters) and Mont Jacques Cartier (1268 meters).

In the Gulf of St. Lawrence are the Îles de la Madeleine (Magdalen Islands), an archipelago consisting of twelve islands. In summer, the water sinks so far that the islands of Ile de l'Est, Ile du Havre-aux-Maisons, Ile du Capaux-Meules and Ile-du-Havre-Aubert are connected by dunes. Ile d'Anticosti is the largest island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and also a nature reserve.

The Laurentians are part of the Canadian Shield whose hilly area of the Saint-Laurent Lowlands contains many lakes and mountains. The highest mountain of the Laurentians is Mont Tremblant with 978 meters.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway (completed in 1959), which connects Canada's major industrial area (Ontario) to the Atlantic Ocean, is the most heavily inland waterway used for transportation and of great importance to the economy. The Seaway is the longest inland waterway in the world at 553 kilometers. Other important rivers are the Ottawa, the Saint Maurice, the Saguenay and the George River.

The maple forests turn beautifully red and orange in autumn; in the spring the famous maple syrup is harvested. The maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada and has also been on the flag since 1965.

Chute Montmorency is Quebec's most famous waterfall, higher than Niagara Falls at 86 meters. The Charlevoix coast is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve because of the boreal (northern or arctic) forest that grows here. Nearby is the Jardin des Grands Jardins with a complex of lakes and an evergreen taiga forest.

Central Quebec is characterized by a rocky, fir-covered wasteland. In 1984, the islands of the Mingan Archipelago became Canada's first national island park. The islands have become known for the bizarre limestone monoliths that have the shape of flower pots, among other things.

At Charlevoix, a meteorite with a diameter of more than two kilometers hit 350 million years ago. In less than a minute, he hit a 5-kilometer-deep crater with a 55-kilometer diameter, making the Charlevoix crater one of the largest on Earth.


Saskatchewan Landscape Saskatchewan LandscapePhoto: Public domain

One of the prairie provinces, Saskatchewan is flat, characterized by many forests, lakes and almost endless wheat fields, which account for much of Canada's grain and bread production. The total area of this province is nearly 650,000 km2 and the Saskatchewan River flows right through it. Saskatchewan is bordered on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, on the south by the U.S. states of North Dakota and Montana, and on the west by Alberta.

The north is flat, virtually uninhabited and is part of the Canadian Shield. The Cypress Hills form the highest point in the province at 1386 meters. The Prince Albert Provincial Park contains approximately 10,000 lakes. Yesterday is also good to see the transition from Southern to Northern Canada. The southern part is made up of birch and prairie forests, the northern part is wetter, with lakes, pines and spruces, the beginning of the vast forests of Northern Canada. In the southwest is Cypress Hills Provincial Park, a mountain range of 1389 meters high in a desert-like environment with many dunes and sand creeks. From the Diefenbaker Lakes to the eastern border of the province we only encounter flat prairie land.

In the southwest of the province lies Grasslands National Park with one of the last authentic grasslands in North America. The temperature in the park varies widely, from 40 °C in summer to -40 °C in winter.

Just north of Regina, the Qu'Appelle River valley is attractive. The river separates the flat meadows to the south of the more hilly grassland north of the river. Major rivers are the Churchill River, the North Saskatchewan River and the South Saskatchewan River.


Yukon River Landscape Yukon River LandscapePhoto: Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The province covers an area of 483,450 km2 and is the province with the highest mountains in Canada. Yukon Territory borders the Beaufort Sea to the north, from Northwest Territories to the east, and British Columbia to the south, and part of the US state of Alaska. The greatest length from north to south is 1050 kilometers, from east to west 930 kilometers. In the southwest of Yukon is Kluane National Park, with twenty peaks higher than 4,200 meters and Canada's highest mountain, Mount Logan, at 5,959 meters. Said national park is again part of the St. Elias Mountains.

The Hubbard and Lowell Glaciers are the largest non-polar ice fields in the world with an area of approximately 8,500 km2 in 1.6 kilometers thick. Drainage of most of the Yukon Territory takes place through the immense river system of the 3,185-kilometer Yukon River and its side arms.

Northeast of the capital Whitehorse is the Carcross Desert, the smallest desert in the world. The presence of the rare Lazulite crystal is remarkable.

Rivers and lakes

Canada's rivers and lakes are one of the largest inland water areas in the world. The Mackenzie River system is the longest in Canada at approximately 4,250 km and drains about a quarter of Canadian territory into the Arctic Ocean. The drainage of the Canadian Shield area and the Interior Plains is largely via Hudson Bay on the Atlantic Ocean. Of this area, the Nelson River system is the largest, with rivers such as the Saskatchewan, Assiniboine, Red Deer and the Bow.

The waters of the Maritime Provinces and of Southeastern Quebec are largely oriented towards Canada's largest river, the Saint Lawrence, which drains into the Atlantic Ocean. The Rocky Mountains form the watershed between the Shield area and the Pacific drainage basin, and the main rivers here are the Yukon in northwestern Canada and the Columbia and Fraser in the southwest.

The many lakes, about two million, are remnants from the post-glacial period and often connected by rivers. The largest lakes in Canada are the four Great Lakes, namely Lake Superior or Upper Lake, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, as well as Lake St.-Clair and Lake Winnipeg.

In the south, the rivers and lakes are covered with ice for about five months of the year; in the north, on the other hand, only the largest rivers are ice-free for one to two months.

Climate and Weather


Consequences of a Blizzard in Ottawa,Canada Consequences of a Blizzard in Ottawa,CanadaPhoto: John Talbot (CC BY 2.0) no changes made

Canada is known for its long cold winters, but in reality it has a very varied climate. Southern Ontario and the southern and central coasts of British Columbia are the warmest, Central and Northern Canada have the coldest winters.

The climate of Canada is determined by the following factors:
a) the relatively warm Koero Shiwo current along the west coast, giving Western Canada a temperate climate reminiscent of that of northwestern Europe.
b) the Rocky Mountains, which are an obstacle to moderate western maritime air currents but, on the other hand, cannot penetrate cold polar air to the west coast either.
c) the great plains east of the Rocky Mountains, to which cold, high-latitude air currents have free access.
d) presence in the north of the Arctic Ocean.
e) the cold Labrador current, which flows south along the east coast, making it much colder there than along the west coast.

The lowest winter temperatures are found in the Northwest Territories and Yukon and in the areas east of the Rocky Mountains, where the cold Arctic air can penetrate unhindered. The west coast (including Vancouver) has a much softer climate than the east coast, even in places located on the same or even lower latitude (including St. John's and Halifax).

Precipitation levels are roughly the same on both coasts, with a slightly more even distribution over the year on the east coast due to depressions migrating along the coast. There is relatively little rainfall in the center and north of the country, partly due to the natural barrier that forms the Rocky Mountains.

The central provinces of Canada have a clear continental climate with an average maximum temperature of 26 °C even in the width of Florence. In the Northwest Territories, the annual difference between summer and winter temperatures tends to be above 45 °C. Furthermore, the annual differences in temperature along the west coast are significantly smaller than along the east coast.

According to the Köppen climate system, most of Canada has a boreal (arctic) or snowforest climate. The tundra climate prevails in the north of the country, especially on the Canadian islands. Furthermore, a steppe climate sometimes occurs east of the Rocky Mountains. Finally, along the west coast there is a narrow strip with a moderate rainforest climate.

The air over Canada is usually of polar or arctic origin. Between these two air types there is a sharp transition along which depressions can develop, which then travel across the country from west to east. In the summer, maritime tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico sometimes penetrates into Canada. Many depressions also develop along the front between this air and the polar air. These then migrate along the east coast of the United States to the northeast and give a lot of rainfall in the east of Canada (including St. John's). The above-mentioned depressions migrating from west to east usually produce less rainfall, due in part to the descending movement of the air on the east side of the Rocky Mountains.

Powerful descending blow dryer winds are called chinooks here. The effect of these chinooks is clearly reflected in the temperatures, eg Banff in Alberta at 1378 m altitude with an average January temperature of -11 °C, against the lower but further away from the mountains Winnipeg with -17 °C.

Other special weather phenomena are the blizzards or barbers, as they are called in Eastern Canada. These are snow storms that occur at very low temperatures in winter during and after arctic air inflow at great speed. This air then even penetrates into the Gulf of Mexico and is called "cold waves" there. A blizzard is also called 'poudrerie' because it blows the powder snow.

Fog often occurs along the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland, especially during the summer months, due to the low temperature of the water of the Labrador Current. Ice fog occurs quite frequently in the winter months. Ice fog are atmospheric ice crystals that form at very low temperatures.

Climate description by province


Chinook wind Chinook windPhoto: Surrealplaces CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Alberta has an extreme continental climate. The north has cool summers and the south warm summers. The average annual temperature ranges from 3.5 °C in the north along the border with the Northwest Territories to 7.0 °C along the border with the United States.

Due to the "Chinook", a strong descending blow dryer blow from the west, the climate in Southwest Alberta is dry and sunny in summer. During a chinook, the temperature can shoot up tens of degrees in a short time. On average, the Chinook occurs about six times every winter. Alberta has cold winters in the north, where the first snow often falls at the end of October and in January the temperature drops to -30 °C. In the south of the province this is even more -10 °C.

Summers are short but warm, with little rainfall in the Southeast as the natural barrier of the Rocky Mountains. During the summer, the temperature in Alberta is between 22 and 25 °C. The number of sunshine hours is 1900 in the north to 2300 in the vicinity of Lethbridge in the south.

Precipitation ranges from 300mm in the southeast to 400-450mm in the north. 550-600 mm falls at the foot of the hills.


Winter landscape from Elk Mountain in British Columbia Winter Winter landscape from Elk Mountain in British ColumbiaPhoto: Tim Gage CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

British Columbia has a varied climate due to the influences of the Pacific Ocean with its warm wave currents and the high mountains.

Summers on the south coast are warm and sunny, up to a maximum of approx. 25 °C. The temperature is pleasantly tempered by sea breeze. In winter it rains regularly and minimum daytime temperatures are around freezing. In the summer there are rainstorms and in the winter it can snow for a long time in Vancouver or on Vancouver Island. Every year there is about 2000 mm of rainfall in this area.

The climate in the Okanagan Valley is heavily influenced by the mountainous coast, which separates this region from the Lower Mainland. The mountains ensure that cool air from the valley does not penetrate in summer and cool air is supplied from the polar region in winter. In summer there is therefore little rainfall (average 310 mm per year) and it is very warm. The extreme temperatures are between -18 °C in winter and 32 °C in summer. Some parts are so dry that one can speak of desertification, complete with cacti and rattlesnakes.

The climate in Southeast British Columbia is determined by mountain ranges. The valleys have a humid, mild climate in winter and in the summer it is warm during the day and cool at night. Locally, large precipitation amounts fall here up to 4000 mm per year.

Central and Northern British Columbia have temperature differences that are becoming increasingly extreme. For example, the Peace River district has extremes between -29 °C and 27 °C. The arctic influences in the northeast are clear, cold winters with a lot of snow and short, cold and wet summers. In winter there is an average of 55 centimeters of snow here.


Summer landscape in Winnipeg Manitoba Summer landscape in Winnipeg ManitobaPhoto: Shahnoor Habib Munmun CC3.0 Unported no changes made

The climate in Manitoba is generally characterized by warm, sunny summers and cold winters. In July and August the temperature rises to approx. 25 °C, but in the middle of winter the temperature remains below freezing point. The average temperatures in some places are as follows:

Average January minimumAverage July maximum
The Pas-22.7°C17.7°C

In Manitoba it is warmer in the south and cooler in the north than, for example, in the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.

The reason for this is that the Hudson Bay creates a less extreme land climate. The highest temperature ever recorded is 33.9 °C. In 1964 the temperature dropped to -45.4 °C.

The climate in Manitoba can vary a lot: from 30 °C in summer to -40 °C in winter. On average, especially in the south of the province, more than 100 cm of snow falls annually (Winnipeg 126 cm, Brandon, 117 cm). Most snow falls in northeastern Manitoba, east of the Bissett-Churchill line, and in the Duck and Riding Mountains, approximately 160 cm per year. More than half of all rainfall falls in the summer, often in brief heavy showers. The south of Manitoba has an average of many hours of sunshine per year, which is normal for a prairie area.


Grande-Anse New Brunswick Grande-Anse New BrunswickPhoto: New Brunswick Tourism CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

New Brunswick has warm summers and cold winters. January is the coldest month and July the warmest. Along the Fundy coast, the temperature in summer is between 20 and 22 °C. These temperatures are reached around eleven o'clock in the morning. Then the sea breeze rises and the temperature drops considerably.

Inland, the influence of the sea gradually decreases and the temperatures in summer rise to above 25 °C, incidentally to about 35 °C. The highest temperature ever recorded was 39.4 °C in 1935.

In winter, temperatures drop significantly, from an average -12.2 °C in January in Edmunston, to -7.5 °C along the southeast coast. In the northwest, temperatures above -30 °C are no exception. The lowest temperature ever recorded in this county was −47.2 °C near Plaster Rock in 1955.

As far as winter temperatures are concerned, it is noteworthy that these can vary a lot per day. This is due to the varied, fast-moving weather systems every two or three days.

The number of frost-free days also differs considerably. 140-160 frost-free days per year along the Fundy coast, fewer than 90 frost-free days per year in the central highlands of Miramichi.

New Brunswick is the snowiest Maritime province. In the northwest, between 300 and 400 cm of snow falls annually, in the east and south between 200 and 300 cm. The snow stays on average 160 days in the northwest. Spring and early summer are the driest periods, but there is a lot of rainfall during the growing season. Inland, in the higher areas, 1200 mm fall annually, especially during the summer period. Elsewhere in the province, an average of about 1000 mm falls annually.

Thunderstorms with strong winds occur throughout New Brunswick about 10-20 days a year. Tornadoes are rare and cause little damage. Storms due to passing low pressure areas can occur all year round, but more frequently in the winter period. These storms are often accompanied by a lot of rain or snow. Freezing rain falls on about 12 days a year. Summer and fall storms are common in Fundy Bay and the Northeast.

New Brunswick is home to some of the sunniest places in Atlantic Canada: Chatham records an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, St. John counts nearly 100 hours of sunshine in December, more than anywhere else in Eastern Canada. In July, on the other hand, St. John has the lowest number of hours of sunshine in all of Canada! On average, all of New Brunswick has 75 sunless days and between 140-160 sunny days.

Fundy Bay is one of the most foggy areas in the world. Due to the great contrast between the sea temperature and the passing air, it is foggy in St. John for about 90 days a year, in July even about ten days.


Sunset Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada Sunset Newfoundland & Labrador, CanadaPhoto:Michel Rathwell CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Newfoundland and Labrador also have a varied climate, although the climate is generally colder than in the other provinces on the east coast. Newfoundland has a moderate maritime climate while Labrador has a cold and dry continental climate. Newfoundland's east and south coasts are often foggy. The ordinary fog in Newfoundland is often so heavy that the fog lingers despite a strong wind. Another fog phenomenon is the so-called arctic sea smoke, oversaturated cold air in which condensation occurs. This fog layer can reach a thickness of several meters and is very common. Fog at very low temperatures is called ice mist.

Despite its location by the sea, the weather can vary greatly from day to day in winter. Fierce cold raids alternate with short thaw periods, and this is usually accompanied by heavy snowfall (tens of centimeters in a short time), sleet and strong winds, often even blizzards or blizzards. Every year there is almost twice as much rainfall as in the Netherlands, in the coastal area of Newfoundland often in the form of black ice. Freeze disasters are no exception in Newfoundland. Freezing rain with strong winds is called "ice storm".

The average summer temperatures in Newfoundland are between 15 and 22 °C, the average winter temperatures from -5 to 0 °C, with occasional peaks upwards. The average summer temperatures in Labrador are between 10 and 15 °C, the average winter temperatures between -10 and -25 °C. In February, the mean minimum temperature is -8.7 °C and the maximum temperature is -1.4 °C.


Ice road on Great Slave Lake, North West Territories, Canada Ice road on Great Slave Lake, North West Territories, CanadaPhoto: Hyougushi CC 2.0 Generic no change

The NWT have a harsh climate. About seven months a year the temperature drops below freezing and at the height of winter it freezes an average of 32 degrees.

It is of course the coldest in the north. In Melville at 76 degrees north latitude, near the magnetic north pole, the annual temperature averages -17.7 °C. In the winter it freezes on average 38 degrees and in the summer it is around 6 °C.

It can also get very hot in the NWT; temperatures of 36 °C have been measured at Fort Providence and Fort Simpson. The lowest measured temperature has been measured in Shepard Bay with -57 °C, but this is also an exception.

The soil is frozen all year round, the so-called permafrost. Summer snow occurs, but is not common. To the north, the amount of precipitation decreases sharply, on the north coast only 60 mm fall annually.


Snow wall Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia, Canada Snow wall Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia, CanadaPhoto: Public domain

The maritime climate of Nova Scotia is of course strongly influenced by the St. Lawrence Gulf in the north, Fundy Bay in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the south and west.

The water of the Atlantic Ocean and Fundy Bay is relatively cold (8-12 °C), keeping it cool in the southwest in the summer. In January, the temperature is tempered by the same water. The east, south and southeast has to do with the Warm Gulf Stream (16 °C). From January through March, the waters of the St. Lawrence Gulf and Northumberland Strait are covered with ice.

The average temperature along the coast in January is -4 to -6 °C. Summers are relatively cool, around 20 °C along the coast and inland to 25 °C.
The wettest place in Nova Scotia is Cape Breton Island with approx. 1600 mm of precipitation per year. The southern coastal region also receives approx. 1550 mm of precipitation per year. The north coast of the Northumberland Strait receives less than 1000 mm of rainfall annually.

Precipitation falls a little more often in late autumn and early winter. Approx. 15% of all precipitation falls as snow in Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island 30%. Along the warm Atlantic coast and around Fundy Bay, a total of about 150 cm falls in winter, about 250 cm inland. The higher elevations such as the Cobequid Mountains and the Cape Breton Highlands receive more than 300 cm of snow per year. The snow periods (period with more than 2.5 cm of snow) differ considerably: 110 days along the south coast and 140 days inland.

Snowfall extremes:
in one winter: 653 cm in Cheticamp, 1964-1965
in one month: 224 cm in Cheticamp, 1961
in one day: 69 cm in Yarmouth, 1885

Halifax has a deserved reputation for being a foggy city. Halifax International Airport has approximately 122 fog days per year. Other "foggy" cities are Yarmouth (118 days), Canso (115) and Sydney (80). Mid-spring to early summer is the foggiest time.

Due to the many fog days, the number of sunny hours is of course disappointing, between 1700 and 1969 hours per year. July is the sunniest month inland, August on the coast. The number of sunless days (less than 5 minutes per day) is 75-90 per year, especially in the period November-February. The number of sunny days is 130-160 per year, especially in the period July-October.


Nunavut Tundra Nunavut TundraPhoto: ADialla CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Nunavut has a tundra climate. The tree line separates the continental climate from the Northwest Territories. This tree line also roughly coincides with the permafrost line.

In winter it freezes in Nunavut between 30 and 40 °C, and in summer the temperature rises to 11 degrees in the south. On average, there is a frost-free period of about 50 days, but sub-zero temperatures remain possible every day. The city of Eureka has an average of 271 ice days per year, Alert even about 287 per year (the temperature does not rise above freezing during the day). Most snow falls in October and November and for about eight months the ground in Nunavut is covered with snow.

Most precipitation falls in the summer in the form of wet snow and rain. In the south the quantities are about 400 mm per year, in the northern tundra around Eureka only about 68 mm per year.

It is noteworthy that Alert has 0.03 storm days per year on average, which means that there has only been one thunderstorm in the past thirty years.


Climate Graphic OttawaClimate Graphic OttawaPhoto: Hedwig in Washington CC 3.0 Unported no changes

Southern Ontario has a humid climate with long, warm summers and mild winters due to the moderating influence of the Great Lakes.

In the north of the province there are cold winters and sunny, warm summers with cool nights.

The average annual temperature ranges from 2-3 °C in the south to about -4 °C in the far north of the province. Several locations share the record for maximum temperature, 42.2 °C (Atikokan, Fort Frances and Biscotasing). In the south, summer temperatures of over 35 °C are no exception.

On the other side of the thermometer are places like Central Patricia, Hornepayne, White River and Geraldton with minima below -50 °C. Iroquois Falls holds the record with -58.3 °C.

Ontario has more rainfall than the western states. Every year in the east of the province falls about 800 mm. The precipitation is spread over the whole year. Around Hudson Bay it is less sunny with 1700 hours of sunshine every year due to the easy formation of fog and low-hanging clouds.

The amount of rainfall varies greatly from year to year and from place to place. In general it can be said that the amounts of precipitation from the northwest to the southeast increase. For example, the Big Trout Lake area receives approx. 600 mm of precipitation per year, the Marathon / White River region approx. 900 mm and Thunder Bay just over 700 mm. Most precipitation falls in the months of May to September. A period of long-term drought does not actually occur. Winters with more than 400 cm of snow in some areas are quite normal. Searchmount, east of the Upper Lake or Lake Superior, easily reaches 430 cm.

Thunder Bay is the sunniest place in Ontario and even all of eastern Canada with just over 2,200 hours of sunshine a year.

Toronto is located relatively south and is influenced by the lakes in the area, which means that the average temperatures are not too bad. In winter, Toronto usually has a thin layer of snow and temperatures drop an average of 10 degrees below zero; in summer it is around 27 °C daily, making Toronto one of the warmer places in Canada, along with Montreal in the province of Quebec.


Winter in Charlottetown, Canada Winter in Charlottetown, CanadaPhoto: Public domain

Prince Edward Island is surrounded by water, which of course has a major influence on the climate of this province. Winter is often boisterous in character, but milder than in the rest of Canada. Spring is cool and summer is moderately warm with a lot of wind. There are hardly any height differences, so that does not affect the climate.

The waters around Prince Edward Island freeze from January to late April, and drift ice occurs until May.

Prince Edward Island has the most varied day-to-day weather in all of Canada. This is due to the different weather systems that rarely last long. These weather systems alternate between polar, sea, continental and tropical air. These air currents come from the Arctic Pacific, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Due to clouds, fog and mists, the number of hours of sunshine is slightly lower than in the rest of the country. Fog is especially common in spring and summer, the rest of the year is virtually fog-free, unlike counties such as Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Summers are quite cool with an average July temperature of approx. 18.5 °C and daily maximum temperatures of up to approx. 25 °C. Temperatures above 30 °C are rare and the highest temperature ever recorded is 37.8 °C.

Winter temperatures are affected by the ice that surrounds Prince Edward Island in the winter. However, temperatures above -15 °C are rare. The frost-free period is between late May and early October, and lasts no longer than 130 days.

There is precipitation all year round, on average about 1000 mm per year in the southeast and 1100 mm in the middle of the island. Most precipitation falls from late autumn to early winter. The island has between 130 and 160 rainy days per year, of which 30% with snow. Prince Edward Island is one of the snowiest areas in Canada. After St. John and Québec-City, Charlottetown is Canada's third "snow city" with approximately 330 cm of snow a year.

The wind blows harder on average than in the other Maritime Provinces, especially in the winter months, when it often storms. Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and hail storms are rare.

The island often suffers from Atlantic storms, which cause tidal waves, strong winds and heavy rainfall. Sometimes a tail from a passing hurricane causes the island and then brings a lot of rainfall. On September 22, 1942, 163.8 mm of rain fell in Charlottetown, a record on Prince Edward Island.

Winter storms approaching the hurricane level (+ 100 km / h) and causing heavy rain or snow can plague the island for days. Freezing rain and snow can easily shut down public life on the island for days.


Autumn colours in Montréal, Quebec Autumn colours in Montréal, QuebecPhoto: AnnaKucsma CC 2.5 Unported no changes made

Quebec has warm summers, but spring and fall are the best time to visit Quebec. Winter in Quebec can be very cold, especially in the exposed countryside in the east, where even ice storms can occur.

The climate has many outliers, especially in winters. The weather can then vary greatly from day to day. In the north of Quebec there is a tundra climate with average maximum temperatures of 15 °C in summer, and average minimum temperatures of 20 °C below zero in winter.

Most of the precipitation falls in summer, but in winter it falls only a few tens of millimeters, usually in the form of snow. Annually, an average falls between 400 and 500 millimeters.

More to the south, in winter the average maximum temperature is 10 °C below zero. The rainfall here is significantly higher than in the north, about 800 mm per year.

Montreal is located far inland and clearly benefits from its southern location in summer with average maximum daytime temperatures of 26.4 °C in summer.


Winter landscape Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Canada Winter landscape Lumsden, Saskatchewan, CanadaPhoto: Victor D in the public domain

Saskatchewan has an extreme continental climate that is not affected by seas or oceans. In the boreal north this is accompanied by cool summers, in the southern prairie climate with warm summers. Due to the large temperature differences in winter and summer, the average annual temperature varies from 3.5 °C in the north to 7.0 °C in the south against the border with the United States.

Saskatchewan is one of the counties with the least rainfall and the most hours of sunshine. The south of Saskatchewan has 2300 hours of sunshine a year and is therefore significantly sunnier than the Dutch De Bilt with 1477 hours. In winter, temperatures can drop as low as -50 °C, while in short summers, temperatures can rise to 30 °C again, with peaks reaching 40 °C in the south of the province. Normally, the daily values during the summer months are between 22 and 25 °C. Due to these large temperature differences, the average annual temperature is lower than anywhere else in the world at the same geographical latitude.

Both in the north and in the south there is little rainfall, although in the prairie region even less than in the northern arctic region. The Pacific air is already dry when it arrives in Saskatchewan. The air from other directions is also dry. As a result, Saskatchewan not only has little rainfall, but also a lot of sunshine. Estevan is the "Sunshine Capital" of Canada with an average of 2540 hours of sunshine per year.

No description of the climate in Saskatchewan is complete without the blizzards, prairie storms that last about six hours and often occur in February. Public life is often disrupted.


Yukon Territory Whitehorse Sled Dogs

Yukon Territory Whitehorse Sled DogsPhoto: Public domain

Yukon has a very dry climate. It rains little (about 300 mm per year) and there is an average of 28 centimeters of snow per year. In the hot summers, Yukon has long days with lots of sun; in the northern part of Yukon, the sun never even completely sets in the month of June.

Average temperatures in the hottest month of July range from 14 °C in the southern Whitehorse to 16 °C in the northern Dawson City. Outliers above 30 °C remain possible in this province as well.

In winter it averages -16 °C in Whitehorse and -27 °C in Dawson City. Outliers down to -51 °C are possible in the winter period. Whitehorse has an average of 120 ice days per year (days when the temperature does not rise above freezing). In December, both cities have less than six hours of daylight.

The south of Yukon is affected by the warm Gulf Stream. Humid air and warmth from the ocean then regularly penetrate to the center of Yukon. The northern Inuvik on the Beaufort Sea is just as warm in summer as in the Netherlands. In July it is around 20 °C here.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -63 °C at Snag on February 3, 1947.

Plants and Animals


Canada Maple Leaves Canada Maple LeavesPhoto: Ian Muttoo (CC BY-SA 2.0) no changes made

Given the vast area of the country, the flora of Canada is relatively poor: 7000 to 7500 species of vascular plants on approx. 9,960,000 km2 and in the relatively rich province of Québec still only 2,200 species on 1,480,000 km. For comparison: France has 3900 species, Spain 4500 species, and both on only about 540,000 km2. This is due to the severe climate and the even natural condition. The northern half of Canada is occupied by virtually tree-free tundra vegetation. The tundra is dominated by permafrost, on which only the strongest flora grow, such as lichens and very tough flower and grass varieties. These extend on the east and west coast to far south; Southeast Labrador, for example, lies on the width of England, still north of the tree line; in contrast, the forest in the continental center extends above the Arctic Circle. The arctic vegetation is certainly not monotonous and poor in species. Especially in the north and further in dry and continental climates and on lime soil, a field of many colorful flowering plants is considering; in the southern Arctic, dwarf shrubs predominate and in sheltered gorges, you will find groves of birch species.

Practically the entire southern half of Canada consists of boreal pine forests with pine, spruce and life trees. Large expansive forests gradually turn into peat bogs, which are distinguished from European bogs by, among other things, a shrub floor of mainly heather species, usually called 'Indian tea'.

The western coastal area and the southeast deviate from this pattern. In the western coastal area, in addition to the same vegetation in the United States of America, up to 100 m high forests of the spruce Picea sitchensis and, higher on the mountains, the alasac cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis). In the relatively warm southeast, near the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, there are also real deciduous forests via a wide zone with coniferous and deciduous trees. It is special that in addition to many boreal species, there are also many genera known mainly from the tropics, such as the whip tree and millet. The most species-rich forest type, growing on the richest soils, is the beech maple forest with beech and the white maple or maple, very similar to the European oak hornbeam forests. American oak grows on poorer and drier soil, and ash forests on moist and fertile soils. The southern Canadian forests are especially famous for their beautiful autumn colors, the 'Indian Summer'. Where these forests have been cleared, hedge landscapes were created, in which hawthorn has become increasingly common during the past centuries.


Canada Moose Canada MoosePhoto: Public domain

Canada belongs to the animal geographic realm Arctogaea in which one can distinguish again: the arctic fauna and the nearctic fauna. The boundary between the two is the tree line, which runs north to the north of the Arctic Circle, but more to the east to Labrador. One species endemic to the Arctic is the musk ox, which is still quite common in the larger Canadian islands, but also found on the mainland and protected in some reserves. The polar bear also occurs here. The tundra is inhabited by the gray wolf, the arctic fox, the caribou (the American reindeer), the snow hare and the lemming. Also birds such as snow bunting, linnet, pipits and alpine lark.

In the nearctic part of Canada we see predators such as the cougar, the lynx, the grizzly bear, the black bear or baribal, the raccoon, the wolf and foxes; and furthermore martens, wolverine and otter. The ungulates may mention the forest bison, the bighorn sheep, the deer deer in many places in the west, as well as the mule deer; the white-tailed deer lives in southern Canada. The moose or "moose" still has a large distribution area.

Found only in the Southwest, the gaff antelope is the only antelope species remaining in North America. The mountain sheep, like the snow goat, inhabits only the far west of Canada. The rodents are represented by prairie dogs, lemmings, squirrels, flying squirrels, porcupines, muskrat and the beaver, the national symbol of Canada.

Of the birds, the trumpet crane and the ice diver deserve special mention. In the rivers and lakes live pike and trout; the Atlantic salmon pulls up the rivers in Labrador.

The coasts of the Atlantic provinces provide a rich, varied habitat for coastal and marine animals. Countless terrestrial and marine mammals and hundreds of species of seabirds live here, such as the pipit plover, a small endangered riparian bird, otters, beavers, bottlenose dolphins, raccoons, blue whales, puffins, Atlantic salmon, razorbill cormorants and the fuly petrel.

The first national park, Banff, was established in 1885. Now there are 40 national parks, approx. 1200 provincial parks and about 100 natural history monuments. Some parks have a huge area, Wood Buffalo National Park covers an area larger than Switzerland.

Details by province


Alberta Wild Rose Alberta Wild RosePhoto: Walter Siegmund CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Southeast of Drumheller, UNESCO established Dinosaur Provincial Park in 1955. This World Heritage Area contains the richest fossil beds in the world. More than 300 important discoveries have been made here.

Elk Island National Park is home to large mammals such as the wapiti, the steppe bison and the endangered forest bison.

Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada's largest national park and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO because of its rare wildlife like the forest bison. Peregrine falcons and the bald eagle are also found here and it is the only natural breeding ground in the world for the rare trumpet crane.

The Waterton Lakes National Park is home to the richest wildlife of all Canadian parks, from bears to bighorn sheep and from waterfowl to saplings.
In Banff National Park, many animal species can be seen in their natural environment: mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, black bears, grizzly bears, and elk. The lower slopes are covered with dense forests of pine, silver fir, and some Douglas fir. At higher altitudes, these species are supplanted by fir trees and the Engelmann fir. At 2135 meters altitude there is a semi-arctic climate where many colorful alpine flowers still bloom.

The flora in Banff and Jasper National Park include 996 vascular plants (trees, grasses and flowers), 407 lichens, 243 mosses and 53 liverwort.

Saskatoon Island Provincial Park is one of the nesting areas of the rare Trumpeter Swan.

The Alberta plant symbol has been the wild rose (Rosa acicularis) since 1930. The wild rose, which can grow up to 1.5 meters, blooms in Alberta from late May to early August. The flowers of the wild rose are pink in color, with a diameter between 3-5 centimeters.


White-tailed eagle White-tailed eaglePhoto: Littleisland lighthouse CC 2.0 Generic no changes

In the temperate climate British Columbia, more plant and animal species live together than in the rest of the country, especially in the coastal region. The province also includes the driest and wettest areas of Canada.

Beacon Hill Park on Vancouver Island features rare oak trees of the Quercus garriana species, some of which are over 400 years old.

Black temperate deer, mule deer, black bears, the related silver bears, and cougars are found in the temperate rainforest, with Douglas firs that can grow to over 90 meters high and 500 years old. Trumpeter swans live in the swamps, lakes and rivers.

The sea around the Queen Charlotte Islands is home to the largest population of bald eagles in all of British Columbia. The Queen Charlotte Islands are ecologically very rich and there are many so-called relics, including "deer mouse" (Peromyscus maniculatus), Lairy woodpecker and black bear. Howser, on the north side of Kootenay Lake is home to North America's largest colony of ospreys, about 100 pairs. Kootenay National Park has a wide variety of habitats. In the valley of the Kootenay River lie alpine meadows and moist coniferous forests, while cacti and disc cacti grow in the warm Rocky Mountain Trench.

The small and shy harlequin ducks can be found in fast-flowing rivers and in the surf of the ocean. The George C. Reifel Waterfowl Refuge on Westham Island overwinters Canada's largest population of waterfowl, more than 240 species, including snow geese.

There are five types of salmon in the Pacific Ocean near British Columbia: chinook (max. 55 kg), chum (max. 5 kg), coho (max. 10 kg), pinky (max. 2.5 kg) and sockeye (max. 3.5 kg). There is a wide variety of freshwater fish: rainbow, lake and brown trout are found in the southern southern lakes of Central British Columbia, while the Peace River Area mainly fishes for Siberian grayling and pike.

Orcas, sea otters, seals, Steller sea lions and more than 20 species of whales, including humpback whales and gray whales, can be found in the warm waters of the northern Pacific. North of Vancouver Island, in the Johnstone Strait, about 300 killer whales live in the summer.

"Great mayors", a large gray-and-white gull species, nest on the rock walls and on the many islands along the coast.
The Cranbrook area is home to monkeys, wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears. The rare orchid species Cypipedium can be found in the swamps of Muncho Lake Provincial Park. Black bears, deer, moose, coyotes and lynx are found around Lake Shuswap.

The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve encompasses ancient rainforest including 1000 year old Sitka spruce trees. Stanley Park in Vancouver is a beautiful forest of cedars, Canadian pines and Douglas firs, and is the largest urban park in North America with more than 400 hectares.
The plant symbol of British Columbia is the Canadian dogwood.


Canada Polar bear Canada Polar bearPhoto: Teresa CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The swampy area of Grand Beach Provincial Park is home to many bird species, including the rare and endangered piping plovers. Bird species such as the teal and the Ammospiza caudacuta, a special species of sparrow, live in the Oack Hammock Marsh.

The Narcisse Wildlife Management Area has been specially established to safeguard the habitat of the thousands of garter snakes. An evergreen spruce and pine forest in Riding Mountain National Park is home to moose, elk and a small herd of bison. On the east side of the park, elms, oaks and maples grow to provide shelter for a rich undergrowth of shrubs, vines and ferns, a habitat that is rarely seen in the prairies.

Churchill is also known as the "Polar Bear Capital of the World". By the fall of autumn, the polar bears migrate to the bay east of Churchill, and some 150 migrate through the town.

Between June and September, about 3,000 beluga whites or white dolphins gather in the mouth of the Churchill River.

Spruce Woods Provincial Park is home to rare animals such as hook-nosed snakes, garlic toads, and northern prairies skinks.
The plant symbol of Manitoba is the prairie crocus.


North Cape North Cape CanadaPhoto: Public domain

Fundy Bay is very nutrient-rich, attracting the largest whale population in the world, including humpback whales, minke whales, fin whales, even the rare northern right whale, as well as fringe-legged, shearwater and gull birds.

Most of the Fundy National Park territory is forested with spruce, pine, maple and beech trees. The wildlife includes the moose, hare, beaver, red squirrel and raccoon.

The dunes at Bouctouche offer protection to rare plants, vulnerable wetlands and an endangered plover species.


Northern gannet Northern gannet CanadaPhoto: Alan D. Wilson in the public domain

At the southern end of the Avalon Peninsula is Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve, the only seabird breeding colony in the county, home to approximately 8,000 gannets, among others. The islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve are home to numerous seagulls, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes and especially puffins, one of the symbols of Newfoundland.

The 700,000 caribou of the George River herd live in the Welsh Labrador wilderness.

The vast coniferous forests are home to fur animals such as the fox, mink, beaver, squirrel and otter, as well as lynx, moose and black bear. The rivers are full of salmon and trout.

There are 350 plant species in the Terra Nova National Park, including various rare marsh orchids.

Gros Morne National Park is a narrow plain of mixed forest and swamp where orchids and pitcher plants, the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador, bloom.


Canada Grizzly Canada GrizzlyPhoto: Tony Hisgett CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Near Virginia Falls in the Nahanni National Park Reserve, 13 species of fish, over 120 species of birds, as well as wolves, grizzly bears, Dall's sheep, and western Canadian forest caribou are found.

The Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary in Wood Buffalo National Park is home to the largest herd (approx. 2,000) of rare forest bison in the world. Banks Island is home to the largest herd of musk ox in the world, in Aulavik National Park (approx. 18,000 copies). The strange long-haired musk ox is found on Melville Island.

The Northern Frontier region has the largest caribou herd in NWT at over 400,000.

Snow geese, arctic foxes and polar bears can be observed in Auyuittuq National Park, one of the few national parks above the Arctic Circle.

The wooded regions of the Territories are home to many wolves, foxes, lynx, otter, beavers, rabbits and other small animals.
The plant symbol of the Northwest Territories is the ragwort.


Arctic tern Arctic tern CanadaPhoto: Public domain

Digby is the fishing place where the main catch is the scallop. The coastal waters of Long Island and Brier Island are infested with fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales and the rare northern right whales.

Lake Ainslee attracts numerous birds, including ospreys and ice divers.

Cape Smokey and Tern Rock, on the Middle Headland headland, is a breeding ground of common terns and Arctic terns.


Snowy owl Snowy owl CanadaPhoto: Adamantios CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Of the more than 4,000 animal species on Earth, less than 50 live all or part of their life in the Arctic, and only 31 of them live in the Canadian Arctic.

Most polar animals in Canada are rodents that live near the tree line or on the tundra. More famous are the large animals that most people associate with the Arctic, such as polar bears, musk oxen and wolves. Most birds in this area fly to warmer areas when winter sets in. Standing birds include the snowy owl and the snow grouse.

Grasses, sedges, heather plants and dwarf willows grow in the Aulavik National Park.

A bird sanctuary has been established on Bylot Island to protect the rock walls where 300,000 guillemots and 80,000 kittiwakes breed. The waters of Pond Inlet are home to walruses, beluga whales, Greenland whales, narwhal, killer whales, various seals and polar bears.

Arctic foxes, hares, caribou, peregrine falcons, vulture falcons and bush-legged buzzards are found in the Katannilik Territorial Park waterfall area.


Monarch butterfly Monarch butterfly CanadaPhoto: Kenneth Dwain Harrelson CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the Point Pelee National Park, the many different tree species form a jungle-like whole, including cedar virginia, black walnut, white sassafras, hickory, maple and sumac. Thousands of birds perch here during the spring and autumn migration. More than 350 species have been seen in the park. In autumn, clouds of monarch butterflies flutter around. Other national parks include Georgian Bay Islands, Pukaskwa, St. Lawrence Islands, Bruce Peninsula, and Fathom Five.

One of the largest lakes in Algonquin Provincial Park, Lake Opeongo is teeming with American salmon trout, black bass, and farmed splake. Ice divers, belonging to the oldest surviving bird family, are still abundant on the water surface of the park's more than 2,500 lakes.

Lush forests of yellow birches, red and white Trilliums, sugar maple trees and velvet trees grow on many islands of the Thousand Islands.


Red sandstone in Cabbot Beach Proncial Park, Prince Edward Island Red sandstone in Cabbot Beach Proncial Park, Prince Edward IslandPhoto: Qyd CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Cabot Beach Provincial Park occupies part of Malpeque Bay, where approximately 10 million famous Malpeque oysters are caught each year. There is also a lot of lobster, halibut, cod, tuna, herring and mackerel.

There is no big game on the island, but there is beaver, fox, mink, squirrel, raccoon and weasel.

The most famous birds are the partridge, pheasant, black grouse and especially many waterfowl. Moore's Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a protected area visited by numerous migratory birds.


Beluga or white dolphin Beluga or white dolphin CanadaPhoto: CC 4.0 International no changes made

A colony of belugas or white dolphins lives in the estuary at Tadoussac, accompanied in the summer by minke whales, humpback whales, blue whales and fin whales. The Ile du Corossol is a bird sanctuary with gulls, terns and puffins. Gray and harbor seals and harp seals often gather in the bays of the Mingan Archipelago Wildlife Park.

At the end of the 19th century, a herd of white-tailed deer or Virginia deer were released on the Ile d'Anticoste, which has now grown to approximately 120,000. The Faunique La Vérendrye Game Reserve is home to large numbers of moose, beavers, deer and bears. Can be fished for American zander, pike, lake trout and perch. Île Bonaventura near Percé is home to the largest gannet colony in the world with more than 50,000 copies.
The Quebec bird is the snowy owl, the flower is still the lily; both are common in this province.

Canada's ancient maple forests are renowned for their beautiful red-orange fall colors and the harvest of maple syrup. The red maple and sugar maple grow up to 30 meters high and the trunks one meter thick.

The forty islands are ecologically unique: due to the cold water of the Labrador Current, the severity of winter and the limestone soil, an Arctic-alpine flora grows much further south than usual, of which some species, such as the Mingan thistle, are very rare or even is unique.

Located in a sheltered valley, North Hatley is warmed by the sunlight reflected from a lake. A micro-climate has arisen with long summers and mild winters, so that even hummingbirds and plants occur here, which actually belong in southern regions.


Black-tailed prairie dog Black-tailed prairie dog CanadaPhoto: Tim Sträter CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Grasslands National Park, a prairie area with mixed grasses (over forty species), is home to many rare species, including the short-horned lizard, a number of raptor species, ground squirrels, gaff antelopes, mule deer, rabbit owls, and Canada's only colony of black-tailed prairie dogs. The Frenchman River Valley is the last remaining habitat of the black-tailed prairie dog in Canada. The Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park features moose, elk, and white-tailed deer, as well as over 200 migratory species of birds, such as the rare trumpet swan and the rock mountain tit.

The southern part of Prince Albert National Park is a park landscape with aspens, intersected by strips of prairie grass: ground squirrels and a herd of prairie bison live here. In the northern part, the park landscape turns into a boreal forest of spruce, American larch and pine trees - the habitat of wolves, black bears, otters and foxes. The beaver stock has recovered well in recent years.

Lavallée Lake is no longer accessible to protect the white pelicans.
The plant symbol of Saskatchewan is the prairie lily.


Bison Bison CanadaPhoto: Public domain

The Yukon Wildlife Reserve is home to moose, bison, wapiti, caribou, mountain goats, deer, and musk ox.

Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl inhabit the many lakes and ponds in the Vuntut National Park each fall. Every spring a herd of about 200,000 caribou migrates through this area, on the way to the north where the calves are born.

The Yukon Territory plant symbol is the fireweed.


First inhabitants: Inuit and Indians

Canada Inuit Canada InuitPhoto; Ansgar Walk CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Inuit (Eskimos) and Indians were the very first inhabitants of immense Canada. About 35,000 years ago, Canada was still linked to Siberia, and nomadic peoples from Asia entered the American continent and spread throughout North America and South America. First of all, the Indians came; only later did the ancestors of the current Inuit appear. The Inuit settled in the arctic coastal regions of North America, in Greenland and northwestern Siberia. The Indians spread all over the American continent.

Vikings, English and French

Canada Viking Ship Replica Canada Viking Ship ReplicaPhoto: Softeis CC 2.5 Unported no changes

In the year 1000 AD. Norse Vikings were the first whites to reach Northern Canada. Remains of Viking settlements have been found in the province of Newfoundland (L’Anse-aux-Meadows). Five years after the discovery of America by Columbus in 1497, the Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto made a futile attempt to find his way to the East via North America. He did this on behalf of the English crown and is therefore known under the name John Cabot.

The French also claimed parts of Canada. Jacques Cartier sailed through Belle Isle Strait between Newfoundland and Labrador in May 1534 and discovered the St. Lawrence River and claimed the St. Lawrence River Valley for France. He also visited the areas around Montréal and Québec today, but no settlements were built. These areas were inhabited at the time by tribes of the Algonkins and Iroquois.

It was not until much later, in 1600, that the first temporary trading post was founded by the merchant Pierre Chauvin. In 1604, the first French settlers led by Samuel de Champlain arrived on Dochet Island in the St. Croix River. Not much later they moved on to Port Royal (now: Annapolis) in the province of Nova Scotia, which would become the first permanent settlement in all of Canada. In present-day Quebec, a trading post was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Monts.

In order to attract more settlers to "New France", the "Compagnie de la Nouvelle France" was founded in 1627 and was given a monopoly on trade with New France. However, the exploitation of raw materials failed due to wars between France and England. The Christianization of Indian tribes by French Jesuits was also very difficult.

Meanwhile, Henry Hudson had discovered Hudson Bay in 1610 during his search for northwestern passage to China and India (this only happened in 1964 with the help of a tanker icebreaker!). The colonization of New France progressed slowly; around 1775, less than 70,000 people lived in this large area. The current Great Lakes region on the border of the United States and Canada was also explored by the French, and they repeatedly encountered the English.

England and France at war for Canada

Canada Klondike Gold Rush (1899) Canada Klondike Gold Rush (1899)Photo: Public domain

The eighteenth century was therefore dominated by continuous conflicts between the French and the English. The Paris Peace in 1763 forced the French to surrender all their possessions in North America to England, and the area was renamed British North America. Until 1791, the British ruled the former province of Canada, which became the British colony of Québec. Despite attempts to break the province, it has so far remained a province with a typically French character.

The struggle for independence between Great Britain and the thirteen Bitse colonies in North America was won by the latter and on July 4, 1776, the United States of America was declared through the "Declaration of Independence". Naturally, war broke out between Britain and the United States. Not all Americans agreed with the insurgents, however, and they moved to Canada and settled in the colonies of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.

Some of the loyalists also wanted the division of Québec into an English and a French part, because they did not feel at home there. In 1791 Britain proclaimed the "constitutional act" and Québec was divided into Upper Canada or British Canada (later Ontario), and Lower Canada or French Canada that would later become the province of Quebec. Each province chose its own parliament. In 1812, another war broke out between the United States and Great Britain, the "War of 1812".

In 1814 peace was made again and the conquered territories were returned. In 1837, various uprisings broke out in Upper and Lower Canada as a result of poor government. Britain decided in 1841 to bring the two provinces back under one administration through the "Act of the Union," and in 1849 the area gained a high degree of self-government. The British planned to make Canada a federation of all Canadian provinces as soon as possible. Central government was necessary for the development and defense of the area. The relationship between British Western Canada and French Eastern Canada also left much to be desired. In addition, the Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865, threatening to raid British colonies on Canadian soil. On July 1, 1867, Canada West (Ontario), Canada East (Québec), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were merged into a confederation under the British North American Act.

From that time on, the area was called "Dominion Canada" and had its own parliament and a governor-general as representative of the British monarch. The counties were largely self-governing in local affairs, but the federal government was based in Ottawa. Gradually, the current federation began to take shape and more counties joined the Dominion: 1870 Manitoba, 1871 British Columbia, 1873 Prince Edward Island, 1874 Northwest Territories, 1898 Alberta and Yukon Territory, 1905 Saskatchewan, and 1949 Newfoundland.

In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, establishing a direct connection between the West and East coasts. Emigration from Europe increased rapidly from the end of the 19th century. Between 1896 and 1911, about 3 million Europeans emigrated to Canada, which at the time was ruled by the Liberal Party led by French-Canadian Wilfrid Laurier. Gold was found in the Yukon Territory in 1896, and many now went to Canada, especially Americans. Because of this Klondike Goldrush, many families settled in the inhospitable areas which were therefore more populated.

World War I and II

Robert Laird Borden Robert Laird BordenPhoto: Public domain

Laurel was succeeded in 1911 by Robert Laird Borden, under whose reign Canada actively participated in the First World War. Canada sent more than 600,000 soldiers to Europe to help the British and had approximately 60,000 deaths. In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations, thereby gaining recognition as a full-fledged nation. The global economic crisis in the 1930s also hit Canada hard. Unemployment was high and agricultural areas were hit extra hard by prolonged drought.

On September 9, 1939, Canada declared war on Germany, and after the Japanese attacked the American Pearl Harbor, Japan was also declared war. In 1943 the first Canadians came to Europe and they fought in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, among others. Canadian heavy industry took advantage of the war by producing ships, planes, ammunition and other war equipment.

Canada separate from Great Britain

Lester Bowles Pearson CanadaLester Bowles Pearson CanadaPhoto: Public domain

After the war, the decline of world power in Great Britain continued and a movement arose in Canada to free itself from British rule. Canada also began to focus more and more on the United States, which for some time had emerged as the world's largest economic and military power. It was Canada, among others, that founded the successor to the League of Nations, the United Nations, in 1945. Accession to NATO followed four years later.

Liberal Prime Minister W.L.Mackenzie King, who had been in power since 1935, was succeeded in 1948 by fellow party member Louis Saint Laurent. Relations with the United States became even closer, partly due to the installation in Canada of missile attack warning systems of the Soviet Union. In 1957 conservative John G. Diefenbaker came to power. A turbulent reign followed. Relations with the United States deteriorated as Canada sought to curtail the economic influence of the United States. The province of Quebec also caused problems again due to their drive for greater independence.

After the 1963 elections, Lester Bowles Pearson's liberal government came to power. The Pearson period was also dominated by the rebellious province of Québec. People still insisted on special status, but there was also a movement that demanded complete independence, the French Separatist Movement.

On February 15, 1965, after much squabbling, the new national flag of Canada came into use. In 1967 the Expo67 was held in Montreal and attention was drawn to the intimate ties that had developed between Québev and France. Quebec even entered into unofficial relations with France, which in the person of French President Charles de Gaulle wholeheartedly supported the independence movement in Québec.

Period Trudeau

Pierre Elliot Trudeau CanadaPierre Elliot Trudeau CanadaPhoto: Rob Mieremet / Anefo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In 1968 Pearson was succeeded by another liberal, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. His first reign was dominated by unemployment, inflation and acts of violence by the French secessionist movement. No wonder the 1972 elections were lost. Yet Trudeau managed to form a minority government with the New Democratic Party. Two years later, new elections were held with a big victory for the Liberals of Trudeau.

In the late 1970s, economic problems intensified and major problems arose from the new constitution, which replaced the old British North American Act of 1867. The provinces found that little attention was paid to the position and problems of the provinces by the federal government. Partly because of this problem, Trudeau suffered a defeat in the elections in May 1979.

Canada's new prime minister became young conservative Joe Clark of the Progressive Conservative Party. Because of inexperience and the failure to keep promises, the period of Clark lasted only a short time. As early as December, a vote of no confidence was passed by Trudeau's Liberal Party, which was passed. Parliament was dissolved and new elections were held on February 18, 1980, which were amply won by Trudeau's party.

On May 20, 1980, a referendum was held in Quebec on the plans of Québec's Prime Minister, Rene Lévesque. He wanted to negotiate a so-called sovereign alliance with its own legal powers, its own taxes and its own foreign policy. To his dismay, his own supporters rejected the proposal. The big winner was the Liberal party of Claude Ryan, who was against Levesque's plans, and the Parti Québecois. Trudeau stepped down in June 1984, and subsequent elections were won by Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative Party. In June 1993, he retired from politics and was succeeded by Mulroney's first female prime minister, Kim Campbell.

Liberal governments

Jean Chrétien CanadaJean Chrétien CanadaPhoto: Joe Howell CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

In the October 1993 elections, Campbell's conservative party was crushed by the Liberals. The Conservatives left only 2 of their 153 seats after their nine-year reign. The new Prime Minister was Jean Chrétien of the Liberal Party.

Quebec status was raised again in October 1995, but again in a referendum the Québécois narrowly rejected a proposal to leave the Canadian federation. Jacques Parizeau stepped down as prime minister and leader of the Parti Québécois after the defeat and was succeeded in both positions by Lucien Bouchard, former leader of the Bloc Québécois in Ottawa Parliament. Bouchard took a conciliatory stance towards the Ottawa government and promised not to hold another referendum on Quebec independence before 1999. The Québev affair was provisionally brought to an end in August 1998 when the Supreme Court ruled that the province of Québec was not entitled to secede from Canada under the Constitution.

In the early parliamentary elections of June 1997, the Liberals managed to maintain a narrow majority. In February 1999, the federal government and the nine English-speaking provinces signed a treaty that laid down rules for federal and provincial social security. Québec rejected the treaty as an undesirable restriction on provincial authority. In May 1999, Canada participated in NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, reflecting the situation in Kosovo. Also in 1999, the Nanavutin administrative unit came into force, giving the Inuit a great deal of autonomy.

21st century

Stephen Harper CanadaStephen Harper CanadaPhoto: World Economic Forum - Remy Steinegger CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The early elections of November 27, 2000 were again won by the liberals of Jean Chrétien. Within the liberal party, problems arise as a result of the rivalry between Prime Minister Chrétien and his Finance Minister Paul Martin, who was fired on 2 June 2002.

After the 2006 elections, the distribution of seats (total 308 seats) in the House of Representatives is as follows (Distribution of seats after the 2004 elections in brackets):

Conservatives (Conservative) - 124 (99)
Liberals (progressive liberal) - 103 (135)
Bloc Québécois (Québec Seperatist) - 51 (54)
New Democratic Party (Socialist) - 29 (19)
Independent / Partyless - 1 (1)

The party with a majority of votes constitutes the government consisting of a prime minister and several ministers who are also members of parliament. Together they form the cabinet. If there is no majority majority party, as was the case after the 2004 and 2006 elections, the largest party will generally be a minority government. It often rules with the support of one or more other parties without forming a formal coalition. As a rule, minority cabinets sit for no more than one to two years.

The current government has been formed since February 2006 by the Conservatives led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Since the Conservatives do not have an absolute majority in parliament, they will have to seek support for their government policy from the other parties. In October 2008 Harper wins the elections again, but again does not reach an absolute majority. In December 2008, the opposition attempted to send the conservatives' minority cabinet home for failing to address the global financial crisis. Harper survives a vote of no confidence. In February 2009, parliament gave the green light to the budget, which means that the minority cabinet survives. In March 2011, opposition parties withdraw support for the minority cabinet. In May 2011, the conservatives led by Stephen Harper win the parliamentary elections, Harper remains president with an absolute majority in parliament. In April 2013, Canada foils an attack on a train in Toronto by terrorists from Iran, Iran denies any involvement. In October 2014, Canada decided to participate in bombings of the Islamic State.

Justin Trudeau Canada Justin Trudeau CanadaPhoto:Women Deliver CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau wins the parliamentary election in November 2015, ending the 9-year Harper era. Trudeau wants to bring new impetus and will participate in the Gay Pride in Toronto in 2016. In October 2016, Canada concludes a trade agreement with the EU. In July 2017, Cannada celebrates the country's 150th anniversary. In September 2019, Trudeau must form a minority cabinet, he has lost his absolute majority.


Iroquois mask CanadaIroquois mask CanadaPhoto: FA2010 in the public domain

The original inhabitants of Canada are the Indians and the Inuit (Eskimos), who together make up over 4% of the population.

The Indians in Canada can be roughly divided into two groups: the farmers and the hunters. The first group, of which the Iroquois were the largest tribe, mainly lived in what is now Southern Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River. They lived in villages and mainly lived from agriculture. These farmers were the first to come into contact with Europeans and a degree of integration took place over time.

The many tribes that roamed the vast prairies lived on the hunt. They were hunters and collectors, real nomads, who followed the source of their existence: the bison herds. The bison gave the Indians everything they needed: his meat was their food and his skin was used for clothing and for tents (wigwams or teepees) in which they lived.

Currently, approximately 300,000 people are registered as Indian. They are divided into about 600 tribes, the so-called "First Nations", and live in about 2300 reserves.

The distribution of the Indian population differs enormously per province. Most of the Indians live in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. A small number, mainly in the north, still lead a nomadic life as a hunter. The major Indian tribes are: Algonquins from Ontario, Abénaquis and Iroquois from Québec, Micmacs from New Brunswick, Kananaskis from Alberta and Coquitlam and Matsqui from British Columbia.

Inuit on a sledge CanadaInuit on a sledge CanadaPhoto: Ansgar Walk CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

The first group of Mongolian inhabitants of the north crossed the Bering Strait from Asia in a relatively warm period. Also called the pre-Dorset, these nomads spread north across the arctic archipelago and east toward Greenland. They hunted seals and fished in the Arctic Ocean. Approx. 1500 BC. it got colder in the north, forcing them to move south to the mainland. During this period, the pre-Dorset developed into the native Dorset culture and began hunting caribou.

However, the Dorset are not the direct ancestors of the Inuit. These were the Thule, also a Mongolian people, who lived around 1000 AD. Chr. migrated from Alaska to the warmer polar region. They hunted marine mammals such as walruses, seals and whales.

The Thule quickly spread across northern Canada to replace the Dorset, which had since migrated along the coast from Labrador to Newfoundland. Unlike the Dorset, they lived in fairly large settlements along the coast, while the Dorset lived in small family groups. A colder period began to emerge around 1500, and the Thule adapted to those new circumstances, living in smaller groups and becoming semi-nomadic. These people were the first to call themselves "Inuit".

The Inuit chose the polar region as their habitat, and they remained there to this day, despite the harsh climate. Today, almost all Inuit live in villages, most of which are located in places where military bases were located or, more recently, trading posts and mission posts. For example, long trips to hunt seals or to fish are still undertaken, but thanks to satellite, television, telephone and other telecommunication techniques, they have the most modern conveniences.

The Inuit, meaning "the people," included 49,255 souls in 1991, most of whom live in the Northwest Territories, North Québec, and Labrador. The Inuit are divided into seven groups, which are distinguished by subtle differences in culture and lifestyle: the Copper, Caribou, Iglulik, Mackenzie, Baffin, Labrador and Netselik. In 1996 the Inuit received permission from the federal government to set up self-government in 1999 in the newly formed province of Nunavut, which literally means "our country". Both the Indians and the Inuit are under the care of a special government body, which has funds for education, medical care and economic development.

Metis prisoners Canada Metis prisoners CanadaPhoto: Public domain

The indigenous peoples of Canada also include the Métis, approximately 200,000 people of mixed Indian-French descent.

The Métis people emerged when French-Canadian coureurs des bois (almost exclusively men) settled on the prairies with Native American women.
They lived as free people, had no king, commander or chief. They lived on products from the forests and sold or exchanged them for clothes, guns and salt, among other things.

Because of this way of life, the Métis were more of a "native nation" than a typical European community, although they spoke a Creole-French language (mistchiff = métis) and remained Catholic.

A quote from the famous Métis, Louis Riel, says enough about how the Métis feel like an authentic Canadian people:

"What matter is it what part of our blood is European or indian? We are the Métis. Our people was born in the pariries".

Almost the entire current population of Canada is made up of immigrants and their descendants. Over 25% are of British and Irish descent, approximately 24% are French, 4% German, 3% Italian, 2% Ukrainian, 1.4% Dutch. About a quarter of a million Canadians are originally Dutch and live mainly in the provinces of Ontario and Québec. Vancouver has the second largest Chinese community outside the Far East, just after San Francisco, with 100,000 souls. The government's immigration policy aims to admit only as many immigrants as is compatible with the land economy.

After 1945, Canada admitted approximately 4.6 million immigrants, with peak years of 1957 (approximately 280,000) and 1992 (approximately 252,000). The number of immigrants from Europe has been declining since the 1970s, and most of them are currently from Asia. Most immigrants settle in the provinces of Ontario, Québec, British Columbia and Alberta.

The number of non-Canadian-born residents fluctuates around 15%. Most immigrants settle in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Canada's population was 35.6 million in 2017. The population density is approximately 4 inhabitants per km2. Two thirds of the vast country is virtually uninhabited. Annual population growth in 2017 was 0.73%. Life expectancy at birth is 84.7 years for women and 79.3 for men. (2017)

The population distribution is very uneven. The vast majority of the country, especially the north, is very sparsely populated. The average population per km2 is almost 4 inhabitants, but Nunavut, for example, has a population density of 0.013 inhabitants per km2. The number of births per 1,000 inhabitants is 10.3, the number of deaths 8.7 per 1,000 inhabitants. (2017)

The population is structured as follows:
0-14 years 15.4%
15-64 years 66%
65+ 18.6%

Toronto Metropolis CanadaToronto Metropolis CanadaPhoto: Public domain

Most of the population is concentrated in a relatively small strip along the southern border. More than 80% of Canadians live no more than 200 kilometers from the border with the United States. The center of gravity lies in the area of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes: here are seven of the fifteen major agglomerations in Canada. The urban population comprises 81% of the total population. The main focus is in the provinces of Ontario and Québec, with successively 36% and 26% of the total population.

Ten largest agglomerations (2016):

Toronto, Ontario 5,900,000
Montreal (Québec) 4,100,000
Vancouver (British Columbia) 2,465,000
Ottawa / Hull (Ontario) 1,325,000
Calgary (Alberta) 1,390,000
Edmonton (Alberta) 1,320,000
Québec / City (Québec) 800,000
Winnipeg (Manitoba) 780,000
Hamilton (Ontario) 750,000
London (Ontario) 490,000

Percentage by province of the Canadian populationPercentage by province of the Canadian populationPhoto: Hwy43 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

A special group are the approximately 600,000 Acadians. Acadia was the eastern part of former French Canada, colonized from 1604 and partially assigned to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The territory corresponded to the current coastal provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and was the subject of ongoing conflicts between England and France, which Nova Scotia lost to the Peace of Utrecht.
In 1755, some 18,000 Frenchmen refused to show allegiance to England, after which they were deported to other British colonies, especially Louisiana in the United States.
At the Peace of Paris in 1763, Acadia finally fell into English hands. Today, there are approximately 1 million Acadians living in Louisiana, 300,000 in the territory of the former Acadia, and the same number in the rest of Canada.


Bilingual CanadaBilingual CanadaPhoto: Public domain

Canada has two official languages, English and French. French is the mother tongue of 24% of the population, English of 63% of the population.
Canadians have their own distinctive accent, but written Canadian English is very similar to English in Britain. Outside of Quebec, fewer and fewer people are native French speakers, and while French-speaking communities still exist in the maritime provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, in some areas the language has been heavily influenced by English in terms of words and sentence structure. This has led to an incomprehensible mixing language for an outsider, which is called "franglais".

At the urging of the French speakers from Québec, the Canadian federal government decided in 1969 to officially make all of Canada bilingual.
French is the official language in Québec, but English is predominant in the rest of Canada. The Ottawa government center is bilingual, as all officials must have a command of both French and English.

French has changed considerably over time. Especially in the big cities, the "Canadiens" use more and more anglicisms. Some words that are already obsolete in France are still used here, such as "charette" for dump truck and "fin-de-semaine" instead of "le weekend". Furthermore, there is a huge variation in the type of French spoken. Over time, a dialect called "Joual" has emerged in Québec.

Some expressions from Joual:

Eight indigenous languages are spoken in the Yukon Territory of northwestern Canada. Seven of them are from the Athapasque language family: Gwich'in, Han, Kaska, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Tagish and Upper Tanana. Furthermore, Tlingit is spoken, which is somewhat related to Athapasque.

The inhabitants of Newfoundland have their own dialect with a somewhat Irish accent, but with unique words and expressions:
A very difficult assignment = to have a noggin to scrape
Without worries = in a hobble
He bothers me = he is moidering my brains
Good luck = long may your big good jib draw

The Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit, is a living language and is still growing. It is a widespread language in northern Canada, and Inuit across the Arctic can understand each other. Dialects and accents vary from region to region, but Inuktitut is a standalone language.

One of the first things to notice is that a word with the same meaning is spelled in different ways. When a writing system was developed about 100 years ago, the words were written phonetically, and those phonetic versions differed per region.
Since the seventies of the last century, attempts have been made to develop a standard Inuktitut, but that is still very difficult.

The English whalers brought along several words that are clearly recognizable as such:

Other words and phrases from Inuktitut:

The name Canada is derived from the Iroquis Indian word "kanata", which literally means "place of business".
More than 50 different Indian languages and dialects are spoken in Canada, each belonging to one of the ten basic language groups. The largest of these is the Algonquin, followed by the Athabasca, Iroquoi, Salish, Wakasha, Tsminschian, Sioux, Kootenai, Haida and Tlingit.
Many place names are of Native American origin:


Wheatley United Church of Canada Wheatley United Church of CanadaPhoto: Ducio1234 in the public domain

In the 16th century, due to the immigration of the French, the population of Canada was mainly Roman Catholic. In 1759 Canada came into British hands, after which Protestant churches from Great Britain were given the opportunity to expand here, and Canada gradually became more Protestant.

Canada is home to almost all denominations and philosophical groups. At present, approximately 45% of the population is Roman Catholic, mainly French speakers, 18% belong to the United Church of Canada, 12% belong to the Anglican Church of Canada, 3% are Presbyterian, 3% Lutheran and 2 .5% Baptist. Also to be mentioned are the Reformed Church, to which many Dutch Reformed immigrants joined, and the Christian Reformed Church, to which many Reformed members have joined.

The Catholics of the Byzantine rite - mainly (descendants of) immigrant Ukrainians (Ruthenians) - have their own hierarchy and monasteries in Canada. Canada has over 340,000 Jewish residents and many Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.
Canada also owns an Amish community in Ontario. The Amish or Ammanites are a spin-off from the Christian Mennonite community founded in Europe in the early 16th century. They were prosecuted for refusing to take the oath or carry weapons. In the 17th century an even stricter sect split off, emigrating to America and in 1799 to Ontario.

Eastern Orthodox1,5%1,4%

Basilique Notre Dame Montreal Basilique Notre Dame MontrealPhoto: Xavier Comtois CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

One of the most beautiful churches in North America is the Catholic Basilique Notre-Dame in Montreal. The original building is from the 17th century, but construction of a new church started in 1829. The church offers 3800 places in the nave and on the balconies.

Montreal's largest church is the Oratoire Saint-Joseph. The octagonal copper dome is one of the largest in the world - 44.5 meters high and 38 meters in diameter. The city of Montreal also has more than 300 churches and metropolitan Montreal even 450. Of these, 70% are Roman Catholic, 20% Protestant, 4% synagogues and 6% are churches of other denominations.

The Church of Inuvik, in the far north of Canada, was built in the shape of an igloo because of the climate.

The Cathédrale de Gaspé on the Gaspé Peninsula is North America's only wooden cathedral. Church Point, Nova Scotia, is dominated by the early 20th century Saint Mary's Church, the tallest and largest wooden church in North America.

The Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Québec is more than 350 years old and the oldest parish in North America.

The Cathédrale Anglicane in Québec-City is the first Anglican cathedral to be dedicated outside Britain (1804).

Winnipeg has the largest Ukrainian group outside Ukraine in its territory. The many Russian Orthodox churches with their onion-shaped domes and spiers testify to this, such as the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, the St. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church and the St. Nichols Ukrainian Catholic Church. These churches are also part of the landscape in the prairies. The first Ukrainian churches were built from the beginning of the massive Ukrainian influx that started in the late 19th century, affecting both Roman Catholics and Russian Orthodox.
Near Cardston, in the Waterton Lakes National Park, is Canada's only Mormon temple, a snow-white structure built in 1913.


State Structure

Canada Parliament Canada ParliamentPhoto: Arctic.gnome CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The ten provinces of Canada and three territories are part of a federation whose parliamentary form is parliamentary democracy. Canada is an independent constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth and, following the British (Westminster) model, includes a Crown, a Senate and a House of Commons. The British king or queen is represented by a governor-general appointed for 5-7 years, who is assisted by a cabinet, the so-called "privy council". The Governor-General appoints and dismisses ministers and members of the federal Supreme Court and ratifies legislation, has consultation rights in the cabinet and delivers the speech from the throne. The largest political party provides the prime minister and ministers, who are elected from among the members of parliament. The prime minister is the most important person for the administration of the country.

In 1982, a constitutional amendment was made (Constitation Act 1982) that gave the Canadian parliament the power to make changes to the constitution itself without prior permission from the British parliament. Amendments to the Constitution require a decision by the federal parliament and by seven provinces (together more than 50% of the population). Regional representation is in place in the Senate and its 105 members are appointed by the Prime Minister, as in Britain. The political weight of the Senate is relatively small because the government decides on the candidacy of the senate members. Moreover, the Canadian cabinet is only accountable to the House of Commons, not to the Senate. The Senate is mainly concerned with amending legislative proposals.

The distribution of the 301 House of Commons seats is also provincial and is adjusted every ten years with each census. The members are elected by universal suffrage for five years and each represent a constituency ("ridings"). There is active voting right from the age of 18.

The state structure has a federal structure; Each province has its own Constitution, a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the Governor General, nominated by the Federal Cabinet, and a unicameral legislative assembly.

The territories are controlled by a "commissioner". This government official is accountable to the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. This "commissioner" is assisted by a "Territorial Council", whose members are elected every four years by the residents of the territories entitled to vote. This board has the same function as the legislative assembly in the provinces. The territories are each represented by an elected Member of Parliament in the Federal House of Commons in Ottawa. The federal authority still manages finances, transport, economics, justice, defense and foreign affairs.

In Francophone Québec there is a strong secession movement. Since 1981, the Québécois have had two referendums on whether the province should secede and two times have voted against, although by a minority majority. In 1995 there was a very narrow majority of 50.3%, or 50,000 votes.

The federal government wants to take the wind out of the sails of the separatists through political and legal means. Legally, the federal Supreme Court has been asked whether the secession of Quebec is constitutionally permitted. The ruling in 1998 did not provide an unambiguous answer: unilateral separation of Quebec from Canada is not justified, but in the event of the wish of a 'large majority' of the people of Quebec, negotiations should be started to amend the constitution so that independence is possible.

Since 1995 support for separatism has declined somewhat, surveys show that most Québecois want to stay with Canada, but want a government that gains more power. It looks like a new referendum will not take place for the time being.

Legally, Canada is quite complicated. Statutes issued by the federal parliament are valid across the country; laws of the provincial legislator apply only in the relevant province. That is why there are major differences in laws and regulations from province to province - insofar as they concern matters that fall under the province's powers. Criminal law is a federal matter and therefore the same throughout Canada. For the current political situation, see chapter history.

Administrative division

Canada administrative divisionCanada administrative divisionPhoto: Public domain

Since 1999, Federated Canada (established on July 1, 1867) has consisted of ten provinces and three territories. Each province has a high degree of autonomy, which is reflected, among other things, in the power to regulate the local administration itself. Furthermore, it is largely independent in areas such as prison, education, health care and taxation. The Crown is represented in each of the provinces by a Lieutenant Governor.

Province / CapitalAreaInhabitants
Alberta / Edmonton948.000 km23.113.600
British Columbia / Victoria661.200 km24.141.300
Manitoba / Winnipeg650.000 km21.150.800
New Brunswick / Fredericton73.500 km2756.700
Newfoundland & Labrador / St. John’s406.000 km2531.600
Northwest Territories / Yellowknife3.300.000 km241.400
Nova Scotia / Halifax55.000 km2944.800
Nunavut / Iqaluit1.900.000 km228.700
Ontario / Toronto1.070.000 km212.068.300
Prince Edward Island / Charlottetown5.657 km2139.900
Québec / Quebec City1.650.000 km27.455.200
Saskatchewan / Regina651.900 km21.011.800
Yukon Territory / Whitehorse536.000 km229.900


University Canada University CanadaPhoto: WinterE229 in the public domain

There is no general public education in Canada. Up to and including higher professional education, education is provided separately in each province. The provinces delegate responsibility for primary and secondary education to the locally elected or appointed administrations of public schools.

Children can start their educational careers in kindergarten or "kindergarten". When the children are six years old, they go to elementary school, the elementary school, where they spend six or seven years. Then they go to secondary education, the "high schools", or to lower technical, trade and other vocational schools. You can be admitted to higher or tertiary education with a high school diploma and after taking a few university entrance exams.

Higher education (often called "lectures") begins with an undergraduate program of at least four years, whereby one can obtain a so-called "bachelor's degree". After about two years, the "graduate" program leads to the 'master's degree' (doctoral student, master of law or engineer / Ir. Just like in the Netherlands, a doctoral degree is only obtained with a dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., a title that dates back to the Middle Ages when philosophy was called the 'king of sciences'.



Export Canada 2014 Export CanadaPhoto: The Atlas of Economic Complexity CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Canada has a highly developed industrial market economy, which is strongly export oriented and closely linked to the economy of the United States. With a gross national product (GDP) per capita of $48,300 (2017), Canada ranks among the wealthiest countries in the world.

In less than half a century, Canada has transformed from a country predominantly dependent on agriculture, forestry and fur trade into one of the most important industrialized countries in the world. In addition, many resources and resources are not yet available.

Most of the Canadian economic activity, like the population, can be found in a strip of about 160 kilometers wide along the border with the United States. The industry is mainly concentrated in the central provinces of Ontario and Québec and in the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The province of Ontario is the center of the Canadian economy due to its large industrial concentration and large agricultural sector, while Toronto is the financial center of Canada. The Atlantic provinces are mainly oriented towards fisheries and agriculture, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are mainly oriented towards agriculture.

The enormous capital required for this is largely covered by the United States; almost all non-agricultural economic activities are financed by the wealthy southern neighbor.
The Canadian government and the Bank of Canada have pursued tight monetary policies for years, aimed at promoting price stability and keeping inflation under control. Due to the low and stable inflation, people are able to maintain the monetary value, which leads to an increase in the standard of living.

What also hinders national economic policy is the great degree of independence of the individual provinces, which have powers in the field of wage and price development and taxation.

In 2017, about 76% of the workforce was employed in the services sector, 19.0% in industry, and only 2% in the agricultural sector.


Canada Wheat Canada WheatPhoto: Akshay.paramatmuni1987 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The economic importance of agriculture has declined drastically in the past few decades, and now amounts to approximately 2% of GDP. The highly mechanized sector produces for the domestic market and increasingly for exports.

Canada has approx. 280,000, often large farms (average 247 ha), which use approx. 8.5% cultivated land. Since the 1980s, total production, which increases by approximately 2.5% annually, has intensified further; fewer farms with more and more land The main agricultural areas are located in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Other areas of high agricultural activity include Southern Ontario, Southern Quebec, the mountain valleys of British Columbia, and the Atlantic provinces.

The most important product is still wheat, largely from the prairie provinces mentioned above. About 75% of the wheat produced there is exported. Other important products are: oats, barley, mixed grains, corn (especially in Ontario), rye, potatoes, oilseeds such as flax and rapeseed, and to a much lesser extent legumes, sugar beets, vegetables, tobacco (Ontario), feed grains and fruits.

Federal and provincial governments provide support to agricultural businesses in almost every field, including through irrigation works, research, measures to promote price stability, and the provision of favorable credits.

Animal husbandry

Canadienne heifer Canadienne heiferPhoto: Joanne MacLeod Haverkort CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Canadienne, also known as Black Canadienne, French Canadienne, or Black Jersey, is the only cow type bred in Canada. This type of cow dates back to the 16th century, when French colonists transported livestock to Canada from France. The Canadians remained the most used cow species in Canada until the late 19th century. After that, other species, such as the Hereford and the Holstein, began to displace the Canadienne from the scene.

Although the Canadienne can still be found all over Canada, the species is becoming increasingly rare and can only be found on a larger scale in the province of Quebec. Breeding organizations and the Quebec have in recent years made every effort not to let the species go extinct.

Areas with highly developed livestock farming are Ontario and Quebec, where the greater population density offers outlets for meat and dairy products. However, beef cattle breeding largely takes place in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Animal husbandry is the largest source of income for the Canadian agricultural sector, with cattle trade accounting for over 40% of sales. Cattle and pig farming are mainly focused on the export of animals, while the production of dairy farming is much more focused on the domestic market. Cattle farming is mainly concentrated in Alberta, the dairy industry and pig breeding in Ontario and Québec.


Cod CanadaCod CanadaPhoto:Patrick Gijsbers CC 4.0 International no changes made

In the mid-1980s, fisheries employed, apart from the fish processing industry, around 60,000 professional fishermen, two thirds of whom work on the Atlantic coast and around 20% on the west coast; approx. 5% fish in inland waterways. The Atlantic coast with important fishing grounds such as the Newfoundland Bank provides almost 70% of the total fish production, the Pacific coast more than 20% of this and the inland fishing mainly on the Great Lakes and Manitobamers about 10%.

The most commonly caught species are cod and herring on the Atlantic coast, salmon on the Pacific coast, perch, sturgeon and trout. Overfishing has put pressure on catches.

Fur hunting

Atlantic seal CanadaAtlantic seal CanadaPhoto: Public domain

Hunting fur animals has long been Canada's largest economic resource. However, economic hunting (kicks) is increasingly being abandoned in favor of the much more lucrative breeding of fur animals on farms, mainly in Southern Canada. The farms mainly produce mink, chinchilla and silver fox fur.

The main hunted fur animals are beavers, lynxes, bisam rats, foxes, squirrels, otters, martens and seals. Seals have declined in the early 1980s, partly as a result of a European boycott. In 1987, the government ended the highly controversial hunt for young seals. However, the hunt for older animals continues unabated.


Approx. 45% of Canada is covered by forests (400 million ha), which form an approx. 1000 to 2000 km wide belt from the east to the west coast. This is 10% of the world's forests. This enormous area consists mainly of different types of softwood and is approximately 70% exploitable. Canada is the largest exporter of timber and timber products. The forestry sector and employs approximately 35,000 people.

Holidays and Sightseeing

Rocky Mountains (Mount Waddington) Canada Rocky Mountains (Mount Waddington) CanadaPhoto: Kevin Teagie CC 2.0 Unported no changes made

The Canadian Rockies are a major tourist attraction. Here you can see one of the most beautiful, serene and at the same time breathtaking landscapes on the earth's surface. These mountain jewelry are different from the American Rockies. They are sharp pointed mountains separated by wide, U-shaped valleys cut by glaciers, while the American Rockies are more rounded.

Horseshoe Falls Canada Horseshoe Falls CanadaPhoto: Helen Fitalova CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Niagara Falls are actually three separate, huge waterfalls in the Niagara River in the southern tip of Ontario, on the Canada-United States border: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the smaller, adjacent Bridal Veil Falls. The crescent-shaped Horseshoe Falls is also known as the Canadian waterfall. Niagara Falls are one of the natural wonders of the world. The sight and thundering sound are fascinating and the mystical power of the falls will always be with you.

Canada Vancouver Canada VancouverPhoto: Thom Quine (CC BY 2.0) no changes made

Vancouver is not known as a quintessential mass destination and people who expect large amusement parks and mega tourist sites when visiting Vancouver will be disappointed. But what the city of Vancouver does offer is a variety of historical buildings and monuments worth visiting. Whistler is the most important outdoor area of British Columbia known for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Here you can participate in a variety of activities depending on the season. During the summer, visitors can participate in rafting, mountain biking, canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding. In winter you can ski, sleigh ride, snowshoe hike and much more. Located within driving distance of Vancouver, Whistler is a must for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors. Read more on the Vancouver page of Landenweb.

The cities of Montreal, Quebec and Toronto are also worth a visit, as well as a visit to one of the many national parks in this vast country.

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The Reader’s Digest


Heetvelt, A. / Canada

Ivory, M. / Canada

Jepson, T. / Canada
Van Reemst

Njio, F. / Canada

Roy, G. / North Canada

Bradt Wal, C.P.F. van der / Canada van A tot Z : praktische informatie over wonen en werken in Canada
DEN, Stichting Dienstverlening Emigratie Nederland

Weber, Wolfgang R. / West-Canada : Alberta, British Columbia

Zuilen, A.J. van / Gids voor Canada

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated December 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb