43 Interesting Facts about Canada

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 5, 2016
  • Kanata is the St. Lawrence-Iroquoian word for "village" or "settlement."[13]
  • “O Canada,” originally named “Chant national,” was written by Adolphe-Basile Routhier (French lyrics) and Calixa Lavallée (music) and first performed in Quebec City in 1880. The song was approved by the Parliament of Canada in 1967 as the unofficial national anthem and adopted officially on July 1, 1980.[9]
  • The border between Canada and the United States is officially known as the International Boundary. At 5,525 miles, including 1,538 miles between Canada and Alaska, it is the world's longest border between two nations.[13]
  • The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means "From sea to sea."[13]
  • Although Nova Scotia was granted the British Empire's first flag by King Charles I in 1625, Canada did not have a national flag until February 15, 1965, when its maple leaf flag was adopted by its parliament. Before that, the red ensign, a British maritime flag, was in general use.[13]
  • At 3,855,103 square miles, Canada is the second largest country in the world, behind Russia.[11]
  • The first indoor hockey game was played on March 3, 1875 in Montreal
  • While ice hockey is Canada's most prevalent sport, lacrosse is the country's official sport. The modern game of ice hockey was developed in Canada, based on games that have been played since the tenth century. The rules were first published in the Montreal Gazette in 1877.[6][9][5]
  • The average life expectancy at birth for a Canadian is 81.16 years, the eighth highest in the world. The United States ranks 46th, at 78.14 years.[11]
  • The east coast of Canada was settled by Vikings around the year A.D. 1000. Archaeological evidence of a settlement has been found at L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.[8]
  • Snorri, the first North American child to be born of European parents (Thorfin and Gudrid), was born in Vinland around A.D. 1000.[13]
  • In 1642, a group of religious mystics from France were inspired by a vision to build a missionary city in the Canadian wilderness. Led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and an Ursuline nun name Jeanne Mance, they founded Montreal.[2]
  • Newfoundland was the first part of Canada to be explored by Europeans. Ironically, it was the last area to become a province, in 1949.[12]
  • Newfoundland was its own country up until 1949, when it joined Confederation with Canada
  • According to the 2001 census, 42.6% of Canadians are Roman Catholic, 23.3% are Protestant, and 16% claim to have no religion.[9]
  • Alert, in Nunavut territory, is the northernmost permanent settlement in the world.[13]
  • Canada became a country on July 1, 1867, when the British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament.[12]
  • The Mounted Police were formed in 1873, with nine officers. In 1920, the Mounted Police merged with the Dominion Police to become the famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an organization that now has more than 28,000 members.[4][10]
  • Born in Canada to Scottish immigrants, Naismith invented basketball in 1891
  • Canadian James Naismith invented basketball to give his physical education students at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, an indoor team sport to play during the long winters.[3]
  • The capital city, Ottawa, was originally named Bytown after Colonel John By, who headquartered there while building the Rideau Canal to connect the Ottawa River with Lake Ontario.[8]
  • Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world at 151,600 miles.[13]
  • The regent of England, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Canadian head of state.[12]
  • North America's earliest undisputed evidence of human activity, 20,000-year-old stone tools and animal bones have been found in caves on the Bluefish River in northern Yukon.[13]
  • Its population density is 8.6 people per square mile, making Canada the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world.[11]
  • Canada is not the party. It's the apartment above the party.

    - Craig Ferguson

  • North America's lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) at Snag, Yukon Territory, on February 3, 1947.[13]
  • Canada is known as the home of large animals like the moose and grizzly bear, but it is also home to about 55,000 species of insects and about 11,000 species of mites and spiders.[1]
  • Canadians have made many important inventions, including Kerosene, the electron microscope, the electronic organ, insulin, the IMAX film system, the snowmobile, and the electric cooking range.[9]
  • The snowmobile was invented in Canada
  • Canada contains 9% of the world's renewable water supply.[13]
  • The official languages of Canada are English and French. Throughout Canada's history up to the current time, there have been conflicts between English and French-speaking Canadians.[2]
  • Tensions between French Canada and English Canada reached a head in October 1970, when the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ)—a terrorist organization that had bombed cities, robbed banks, and committed a number of other crimes—kidnapped the U.K. Trade Commissioner, James Cross. The army put an end to the revolt and arrested several hundred suspects.[12]
  • In 1527, John Rut of St. John's, Newfoundland, sent a letter to King Henry VIII—the first letter sent from North America.[13]
  • The beloved classic, Anne of Green Gables, takes place on Prince Edward Island
  • Many famous authors have come from Canada, including Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), and Alice Munro (Lives of Girls and Women).[9]
  • Charles Fenerty, a poet from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was the first person to use wood fibers to make paper. He started experimenting in 1839 and produced paper from wood pulp in 1841.[13]
  • Canada is a major producer and consumer of cheese. In 1997, Canadians produced 350,000 tons of at least 32 varieties of cheese and ate an average of 23.4 pounds per person, with cheddar being the most popular.[9]
  • A black bear cub from Canada named Winnipeg (or “Winnie,” for short) was one of the most popular attractions at the London Zoo after it was donated to the zoo in 1915. Winnie became a favorite of Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the stories written by his father, A.A. Milne, about Winnie-the-Pooh.[9]
  • The Moosehead Brewery in Saint John, New Brunswick, turns out 1,642 bottles of beer per minute.[13]
  • Guy Lombardo of London, Ontario, first heard “Auld Lang Syne” as a teenage musician, when he and his brothers toured the rural areas that had been settled by Scots around his hometown.[7]
  • Canada has made a significant contribution to rock and roll, beginning with “Sh-Boom” by the Crew-Cuts in 1954.i Other famous Canadian rock-and-rollers include Paul Anka, Neil Young, the Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Steppenwolf, Avril Lavigne, Rush, Bryan Adams, and Barenaked Ladies.[3]
  • The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, was once the world's largest shopping mall. It now ranks fifth, but it still contains the world's largest indoor amusement park.[13]
  • The CN Tower is struck by lightning approximately 75 times each year
  • The CN Tower in Toronto was the world's tallest free-standing structure until it was eclipsed in 2007.[9]
  • Cryptozoologists claim that Canada is the home of several cryptids, including Sasquatch, a giant sloth-like creature known as the beaver-eater, a cannibalistic wildman named Windigo, and a number of lake monsters, such as Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.[9]
  • The natives of eastern Canada tell several stories of a mythical giant named Glooscap, who carved out many of the region's natural features to help him overcome his evil twin brothers. It is believed that these Glooscap stories might be the origin of many of the Paul Bunyan legends.[9]
  • The world's strongest current is found in the Nakwakto Rapids at Slingsby Channel, British Columbia. The current has been measured at speeds up to 18.4 miles per hour.[13]
  • Alberta has 50% of the world's supply of bitumen.[13]
  • Manitou Lake on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron is the world's largest lake within a lake (41.1 square miles).[13]
References

1 "Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods)." Canadian Museum of Nature. Accessed January 30, 2009.

2 Brown, Craig. The Illustrated History of Canada. Toronto, Canada: Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited, 1987.

3 Canadians.ca. Accessed: January 29, 2009.

4 Cruise, David and Alison Griffiths.The Great Adventure: How the Mounties Conquered the West. New York, NY: St Martin's Press, 1997.

5 Dahl, Michael. Did You Know? Canada. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2006.

6Early Days of Hockey.” Backcheck: Hockey for Kids. Accessed: January 29, 2009.

7 Marsh, James. 2008. “Auld Lang Syne.” HistoryWire.

8 Story, Noah. The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature. Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press, 1967.

9 The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed January 30, 2009.

10 "The RCMP's History." Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Accessed: January 29, 2009.

11The World Fact Book: Canada.” Central Intelligence Agency. January 22, 2009. Accessed: January 31, 2009.

12 Watkins, Mel (ed.). Canada. New York, NY: Facts on File, Inc, 1993.

13 Weihs, Jean. Facts about Canada, Its Provinces and Territories. Bronx, NY: H.W. Wilson Company, 1995.

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