11. října 2009 v 14:27 | yellow
Canada's area is almost 10 million square kilometres. It is the second largest country in the world, covering more than half the North American continent.
Canada borders on the USA in the south (on the continental states on the 49th parallel) and the west (on Alaska). The northern coast of Canada is washed by the Arctic Ocean, the western coast by the Pacific Ocean, and the eastern coast by the Atlantic Ocean.
Canada is an English-speaking and French-speaking country. It is a country with two official languages, English and French. Most French-speaking Canadians live in the province of Quebec.
Canada's population is 33 million which means that the density of its population is one of the lowest (three people to one square kilometre). The inhabitants of the country form a multinational population and call themselves Canadians. They consist of Anglo-Canadians (34 %), French-Canadians (25 %), Canadian Indians, and Eskimos. Eskimos are sometimes called the Inuits. The original inhabitants came to Canada from Asia across the Bering Strait many thousands of years ago. The descendants of these people are today's Eskimos and Indians. Most of Canada's inhabitants are concentrated near the border with the USA, by the St. Lawrence River. The rest of the country further north is very thinly populated.
The name "Canada" is believed to have originated with its first inhabitants, because the Indians used the word Kanata to describe a settlement. The term is thought to have been picked up by European discoverers, who changed it to its present spelling.
The first inhabitants came to Canada 30 000-10 000 years ago. The first Europeans in Canada were the Vikings who discovered it more than a thousand years ago. During the Age of Discoveries (the 15th and 16th centuries) some navigators landed on the Canadian coast. First it was an Italian Giovanni Gabotto in the service of the King of England in 1497. The English called him John Cabot. But the first permanent settlers were the French in the 17th century (colonization started in 1604), who called their colony in the St. Lawrence valley New France. But gradually France lost this country in frequent wars with England. After the defeat of the French by the British in 1763 Canada became a British colony. During the War of Independence the Canadians remained loyal to Britain and did not fight against the English soldiers. In 1867 the British Parliament passed the British North America Act, under which Canada was granted self-government and became the first Dominion in the British Empire. Then in 1871 British Columbia connected and was followed with Prince Edward Isle in 1873. In 1926 Canada got full independence in Commonwealth. In 1945 became member of NATA and OSN. In 1949 Newfoundland connected. In 1993 Canada became member of NAFTA (free trade in North America). There was an attempt of Québec to break away in 1997.
The western half of Canada is mountainous. There are large mountain areas in Canada:
- the Rocky Mountains
- the Mackenzie Mountains
- the Melville Hills
The highest mountain is Mt. Logan (6 050 m) in the Alaska Region. Between the eastern lowlands and the western mountain ranges there is a region of prairies with rich fertile soil, especially suitable for wheat - growing. This is the principal agricultural area.
Canada is famous for its lakes. Four of the five Great Lakes (lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior) lie partly in Canada. The southern part of these lakes belongs to the USA. The Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, on the frontier between Canada and the USA, are one of the most splendid sights in the world and attract tourists from all continents. The Canadian Falls are 49 m high and 1,5 km wide. The name of Niagara Falls is of Indian origin and means "the thunder of waters". There are also other big and beautiful lakes in Canada, e. g. Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Lake Winnipeg and many smaller ones.
Canada has also large rivers. The longest river is the Mackenzie, which flows into the Arctic Ocean, other big rivers are the Yukon, the Frazer and the Columbia, which flow into the Pacific Ocean, and the St. Lawrence River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Canadian nature is really beautiful. In the north there is area Barren Grounds with still frost land. Southwards there is large area of coniferous forest (one of the largest in the world). Then there are mixed forest and in the south there are deciduous forests and by the border with the US there are dry prairies without trees and it is used like fields. There are many national parks. For example: Nahanni, Dinosaur Provincial, Kluane, Wood Buffalo, Rocky Mountain, Gros Morne, Miguasha, Waterton Glacier International Peace.
The climate of Canada varies from Arctic climate in the north to moderate climate in the east and west. Canada is also very good known for its cold severe winters (max. - 50 C° below zero) and hot (about 35 C°) summers. But in the west there are not so cold winters, because the area is near ocean.
Flora and fauna are really various. In tundra there are mosses and lichens. In forests grow coniferous and deciduous trees like firs, pines, spruces, beeches, oaks, maples, walnut - trees, chestnut - tree and many others. There also live many animals like whales, walruses and seals in the sea. Bears, reindeers, foxes, wolfs, lemming, beavers, otters, squirrels and minks in the forests and many kinds of birds, for example loons and sea ducks.
Canada is rich in raw materials - coal, oil and gas, uranium, gold, silver, platinum, nickel, copper, zinc. The main industries are: wood and paper industry, food industry, engineering, mining and chemical industry.
The principal mining province is Alberta. Hamilton and Sydney are the main centres of iron and steel industries. Motor-car industry has its biggest works in Chatham and Oshawa, ships are built in the banks of the Great Lakes, in Montreal and Toronto. The provinces of Ontario and Newfoundland have large paper mills. As Canada has many lakes and rivers, the hydro - electric industry is highly developed. Its main centres are in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Almost half the land area of Canada is covered by forests. The provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia with their largo forests provide wood for building, furniture and paper production. Canada's agriculture and fisheries provide material for food industries.
Canada's main agricultural products are wheat, meat, oats, vegetables, fruits, diary products, and leather. Canada is the second largest wheat exporter.
Canada is an independent federal state, a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Formally the Head of State is the King or Queen of England (Elizabeth II.) represented in Canada by the Governor - General. The supreme law-making body is the Federal Parliament. It consists of two houses: the House of Commons, the Senate. The leading figure in political life is the Prime Minister. The seat of the Federal Parliament and Government is Ottawa.
Canada is divided into 10 provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba,New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan) and 3 territories: (Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Nunavut).
The capital of Canada is Ottawa which is not the largest town (it has only about 1 000 000 inhabitants with suburbs). The biggest cities are: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Quebec, Calgary.
Canada has its own national flag since 1964. It is red and in the centre there is a white square with a simple red maple leaf. Maple is a symbol of Canada and Canada is best-known for its maple syrup which is famous all around the world.
Canadian national sport is ice - hockey which has its roots in there and Canadians teams are the best. Canada won many gold medals in the World Champions and the Olympic Games in this sport.