People: Canada has a population of about 36 million people. While 81 per cent live in cities, Canadians also live in small towns, rural areas and everywhere in between. English and French are the official languages.
Area: Canada is a vast country with 10 provinces and 3 territories that extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward to the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres. This makes it the second largest country in the world by total area.
SOURCE: Natural Resources Canada
History: Before French and British colonization, the area was inhabited for millennia by Indigenous Peoples. Modern Canada began with the confederation of several British colonies in 1867 and expanded by gradually absorbing the remainder of British North America, creating more provinces and territories right up until 1999.
Government: Canada has a parliamentary system of government and a constitutional monarchy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in October 2015.
Economy: Canada has strong manufacturing, service, natural resource and agriculture industries that make it one of the world’s wealthiest countries. The United States is Canada’s main trading partner.
Environment: Canada is a land of open spaces, from frozen tundra to vast prairies and forests. It has nine per cent of the world’s freshwater and is studded with more than two million lakes. Many mountain ranges, including 5,959-metre Mount Logan, the tallest, lie in the west. Canada’s Arctic archipelago of 36,563 islands gives it the longest coastline in the world.
Wildlife: Canada’s rich and diverse flora and fauna reflect its many terrestrial and marine eco-zones. Striking species include the grey wolf and the beaver as well as the polar bear and moose, birds like the grey jay and the snowy owl, and both Atlantic and Pacific salmon.
Protected areas and national parks: As of the end of 2015, 10.6 per cent (1.05 million square kilometres) of Canada’s terrestrial area (land and freshwater), and 0.9 per cent (51,000 square kilometres) of its marine territory have been recognized as protected. There are 46 national parks. Canada’s first national park and the world’s third, Banff National Park, was established in 1885, spanning 6,641 square kilometres of valleys, mountain, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers.