Canada is officially bilingual in English and French, reflecting the country’s history as a ground once contested by two of Europe’s great powers. The word ‘Canada’ is derived from the Huron-Iroquois Kanata, meaning a village or settlement. In the 16th century, French explorer Jacques Cartier used the name Canada to refer to the area around the settlement that is now Quebec.
Later, Canada was used as a synonym for New France, which, from 1534 to 1763, included all of the French possessions along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. After the British conquest of New France, the name Quebec was sometimes used instead of Canada. However, the name Canada was fully restored after 1791 when Britain divided old Quebec into the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada; renamed in 1841 as Canada West and Canada East, and collectively called Canada.
Consequently, the term “Aboriginal” refers to the first inhabitants of Canada, and includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. This term came into popular usage in Canadian contexts after 1982, when Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution defined the term as such. Thus, Canada’s approach to governance emphasizing multiculturalism based on selective immigration, social integration, and suppression of far-right politics, has wide public support. Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party in Canada, was recently re-elected as Prime Minister in 2019.
A large part of his campaign revolved around increasing immigration targets to 370,000 by 2023, as well as introducing a Municipal Nominee Program to help foreigners move to smaller cities in Canada; not to mention the possibility of free Canadian citizenship for those who have already immigrated to Canada and have been living there as permanent residents for over 3 years.
Area: 9,984,670 km2 (3,855,100 sq mi)
Parliament, Ottawa. Photo by Terry D’Entremont on Pixabay
National Anthem: O Canada
Government Type: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Languages: English, French
· 67.2% Christianity
· 3.2% Islam
· 1.5% Hinduism
· 1.4% Sikhism
· 1.1% Buddhism
· 1.0% Judaism
· 72.9% European
· 17.7% Asian
· 4.9% Indigenous
· 3.1% African
· 1.3% Latin American
· 0.2% Oceanian
Montreal, QC by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash
Climate: Southern Ontario and Quebec have a climate with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Except for the West Coast, all of Canada has a winter season with average temperatures below freezing and with continuous snow cover.
By Michelle Spollen on Unsplash
Currency: Canadian dollar ($) (CAD)
Expat Population: 6,775,800, which is 20% of the population
The taboo subjects of conversation in Canada are politics, religion, and sex. Most Canadians are strong individualists of one form or another. They will dislike changing too much of their behavior or personality to please others. Lateness of more than 15 minutes is considered rude, and an apology or explanation will be expected.
It is considered extremely rude and offensive to not shake hands with someone after they extend their hand to you. This is generally regarded as an overt gesture of animosity, and is usually only done when the other person has done something horrible.
Canada has placed emphasis on equality and inclusiveness for all its people. Multiculturalism is often cited as one of Canada’s significant accomplishments, and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity. In Quebec, cultural identity is strong, and there is a French Canadian culture that is distinct from English Canadian culture. Historically, Canada has been influenced by the British and the French, along with indigenous cultures and traditions. Through their language, art, and music, indigenous people continue to influence the Canadian identity.
Country Ranking in HDI (Human Development Index): Ranked 16th in the world.
Cost of Living: The cost of living in Canada varies from city to city. However, the national average cost of living for a single person is estimated at $2,730 per month whereas for a family of four, it averages around $5,158.