Canada is the second largest country
in the world. It covers the northern part of North America and its total area
is 9,975,000 square kilometres. Canada's only neighbour is the USA. The border
between the two countries is the longest unguarded border in the world.
Canada's motto, "From Sea to
Sea," is particularly appropriate because the country is bounded by three
oceans — the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. Its vast area includes some
of the world's largest lakes and countless smaller ones. One-third of all fresh
water on Earth is in Canada.
Canada's name comes from an Indian
word kanata, which means "village". The first French settlers used
the Indian name for the colony, but the official name was "New
France". When the area came under the British rule in 1897, the new country
was called the Dominion of Canada, or simply Canada. Canada is a union of ten
provinces and two territories.
Compared with other large countries,
Canada has a small population, only about 27,300,000. The country, however, is
one of the world's most prosperous. Canadians I developed its rich natural
resources and, in the process, have achieved a high standard of living.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy.
It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and Queen Elizabeth II is its
official head of state. Although the Queen holds this high position, she
doesn't rule. She serves as a symbol of British tradition. Her representative
in Canada is the Governor General, whom she appoints on the advice of the
Canadian Prime Minister. The Governor's duties are limited to symbolic, mostly
The real power belongs to the Prime
Minister and his Cabinet. The Canadian Parliament consists of two chambers: the
House of Commons and the Senate.
There are two official languages in
the country: English and French. All Canadian children have to learn both
French and English at school, but Francophones and Anglophones do not enjoy
learning each other's language.
"We have two races, two
languages, two systems of religious belief, two sets of laws ... two systems of
everything," said one Canadian journalist.
There was a time when Quebec
Province (its population is 90% French) decided to separate from Canada and
form a new country. Fortunately, the movement has waned.
The capital of Canada is Ottawa.
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