Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area. Canada’s border with the United States is the world’s longest land border. Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land territory being dominated by forest and tundra and the Rocky Mountains; about four-fifths of the country’s population of 35 million people live near the southern border. The majority of Canada has a cold or severely cold winter climate, but southerly areas are warm in summer.
Canada is a federation of ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut). Formally considered a constitutional monarchy, Canada is governed by its own House of Commons. While the governor-general is officially the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, in reality the governor-general acts only on the advice of the Canadian prime minister.
The land now called Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the 15th century, British and French colonies were established on the Atlantic coast, with the first establishment of a region called “Canada” occurring in 1537. As a consequence of various conflicts, the United Kingdom gained and lost territories within British North America until left, in the late 18th century, with what mostly geographically comprises Canada today. Pursuant to the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia joined to form the autonomous federal Dominion of Canada. This began anaccretion of provinces and territories to the self-governing Dominion to the present ten provinces and three territories forming modern Canada. In 1931, Canada achieved near total independence from the United Kingdom with the Statute of Westminster 1931, and full sovereignty was attained when the Canada Act 1982 removed the last remaining ties of legal dependence on the British parliament.
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state. The country is officially bilingual at federal level. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse andmulticultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. Its advanced economy is the eleventh largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada’s long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.
Canada’s national symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and Aboriginal sources. The use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates to the early 18th century. The maple leaf is depicted on Canada’s current and previous flags, and on the Arms of Canada. The Arms of Canada is closely modelled after the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with French and distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British version. The Great Seal of Canada is a governmental seal used for purposes of state, being set on letters patent, proclamations and commissions, for representatives of the Queen and for the appointment of cabinet ministers,lieutenant governors, senators, and judges. Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada goose, common loon, the Crown, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and more recently, the totem pole and Inuksuk. Canadian coins feature many of these symbols: the loon on the $1 coin, the Arms of Canada on the 50¢ piece, the beaver on the nickel. The penny, removed from circulation in 2013, featured the maple leaf. The Queen’ s image appears on $20 bank notes, and on the obverse of all current Canadian coins.
Canadian National Parks preserve both spectacular and representative areas of the country, located in every one of the nation’s 13 provinces and territories. The goal of the national park service is to create a system of protected areas which represent all the distinct natural regions of the country. Parks Canada – the governing and administration body for the system – has developed a plan identifying 39 different regions it aims to represent. In 2005, Parks Canada reported that the system was more than 60% complete. Canada’s parks are managed primarily to protect the ecological integrity of the park, and secondarily to allow the public to explore, learn about and enjoy Canada’s natural spaces. Feasibility studies are currently underway for establishing further national parks in several areas. Some of this National Parks are: