Ontario, British Columbia, Québec, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick
Dialing code: 1
National anthem: O Canada
Currency: : CAD $
Canada is a country of incredible physical beauty. It possesses rich and diverse cultural heritage. Canadians place a high value on their natural environment. Students who come to Canada will witness one of most beautiful, natural environments in the world. Canada is a multicultural and diverse country. The majority of Canadians are of European ancestry, primarily descendants of the early French and British colonists, as well as later immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. However, as patterns of immigration have shifted over the years, so has the ethnic mix of the Canadian population. The second half of the twentieth century saw a great influx of people from Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. In the 2006 Census, more than one-third of Canadians reported having one or more of 200 ethnic origins and over 16% of Canadians classified themselves as a visible minority. Over the past 150 years, Canada has welcomed 15 million immigrants from a vast number of countries thanks to national policies supporting immigration and multiculturalism.
Canada’s climate is characterized by its diversity, both from region to region and from season to season. While extreme northern temperatures climb above 0°C for only a few months every year, about four-fifths Canadians live within 160 kilometers of the country’s southern border, where warm springs, hot summers, and pleasantly crisp autumns prevail for at least seven months. Canada has four very distinct seasons: spring (March–May); summer (June–August); fall (September–October); and winter (November–February).
Canada’s seasonal temperature variations are embraced by Canadians: there are so many leisure activities to choose from as a result, from swimming outdoors in the summer to skiing in the winter! Foreign students should know that all buildings in which they will study are well heated in winter months. Many campuses have underground tunnels through which students can move from building to building in the wintertime so as not to get cold. In short, winter is beautiful in Canada, and it is very easy to stay warm simply by dressing properly when going outdoors. Agents should advise students studying in Canada during winter months to invest in needed clothing, including a warm coat, a hat, mittens or gloves, a scarf, and boots.
Canada is one of the world’s wealthiest countries; Canada is a major industrialized trading nation. It is a member of the G7/8, the G20, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and many other international bodies. It boasts a highly educated workforce and an increasingly diversified economy, but it is unusual among developed nations in the continuing importance of its natural resources sector (e.g., logging and oil)—even as it is one of the world’s most computer-literate and technologically sophisticated markets. The Canadian economy is free-market-oriented like that of the US; yet the Canadian government tends to provide more social support services and economic intervention than does the US government.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. English is the native language for 59% of the population and French is the native language for 22% percent (2006 Census, Statistics Canada). Chinese dialects are the third most common native language in Canada, followed by German, Italian, Punjabi, and Spanish. Many religions are practiced in Canada, but almost 20% of Canadians say they have no religious affiliation. Canadians are remarkably tolerant of different religions, and religion does not play a prominent role in political or economic life relative to other parts of the world.