Canada – Glorious & Free
Canada – the name comes from a Iroquoians word ‘Kanata’ which means village or settlement. French explorer Jacques Cartier used the word ‘Canada’ to describe both the region near Stadacona and the St. Lawrence River that flows nearby which are subject of Donnacona, chief of Stadacona. By 16th century all European maps and books began referring the whole region as Canada.
First inhabited by aboriginal people around 40000 years ago who came from Asia through Siberia and Alaska. Although first Europeans came to Canada in around 1000 AD, permanent European settlements were established only in 15th and 16the century by English and French explorers respectively.
A country of outstanding natural beauty, Canada has a wide variety of landscapes: the mountains, the prairies, lakes and rivers with many national and provincial parks. Canada is the world’s second-largest country by total area, occupying most of northern North America.
Extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, Canada shares land borders with the United States to the northwest and south, and maritime claims bordering Denmark through Greenland as well as France through Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, to the northeast and southeast respectively.
Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary depending on the location. Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, particularly in the Prairie provinces, where daily average temperatures are near −15°C (5°F), but can drop below -40°C (-40°F) with severe wind chills. Coastal British Columbia is an exception and enjoys a temperate climate with a mild and rainy winter.
On the east and west coast average high temperatures are generally in the low 20°C (68 to 74°F), while between the coasts the average summer high temperature range between 25°C to 30°C (78 to 86°F) with occasional extreme heat in some interior locations exceeding 40°C (104°F)
Canada’s official languages are English and French. Although about 60% of the population speak English compared to 23% speak French, both languages are equal to each other in federal official languages.
Canada is becoming more and more a multilingual society in the wake of growing numbers of immigrants whose mother tongue is neither English nor French. In fact according to new data from the 2001 Census Canadians reported more than 100 languages.
Canadians come from many different racial and religious backgrounds. Consequently, it is not easy to define a typical Canadian family. Although the majority of Canadians are Catholic or Protestant, many belong to other religions. Some cultural characteristics, however, are shared by most Canadians.
Canada enjoys a society that is open and relatively free of class distinctions. Canadians take pride in the fact that all people deserve the same rights and respect, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or cultural background. People in Canada usually resent comments that seem disrespectful to anyone from a particular background.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy with 10 provinces and three territories, Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada as head of state represented by Governor General Rt.Hon. David Johnston & Hon. Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister and a parliamentary democracy with a federal system of parliamentary government and strong democratic traditions. Federal parliament is made up of the Queen and two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed Senate.
Canadian constitution includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or simply Charter, which guarantees basic rights and freedoms for all Canadians that, generally, cannot be overridden by legislation of any level of government in Canada.
All Canadians have responsibility to pay taxes on the income they earn. Taxes constitutes majority of the annual revenue for Federal as well as Provincial & Territorial governments. Canadians also pay other taxes such as GST (Goods & Services Tax), PST (Provincial Sales Tax) and HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) when they buy goods are services, Municipal level of government taxes on residential, Industrial and commercial properties.
Even with all these taxes Canadians can earn enough to lead comfortable lifestyle and save for the future. And Canadian receive high quality services such as free healthcare, free education up to secondary school and elderly support with a secured income to mention a few.
One out of 5 people in Canada’s population is foreign-born. Canada has welcomed a total of 13.4 million (as of 2001) immigrants since 1901. Between 1991 and 2000 alone, 2.2 million immigrants were admitted to Canada. Immigration over the past 100 years has shaped Canada, with each new wave of immigrants adding to the nation’s ethnic and cultural composition. Nearly until 1930s most immigrants were British and Europeans. But now most newcomers are from Asia.
Canadians are better educated than ever. 99% of the Canadian population aged 15 and over has at least a ninth-grade education. Education is compulsory up to an age of 16. Kindergarten to Grade 12 education is publicly funded and free to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents until the end of secondary school. Education in Canada is generally divided by Elementary (Primary School, Public School), followed by Secondary (High School) and Post Secondary (University, College).
Canada has public healthcare system. Canada’s healthcare system is funded by both the federal government, and by the provincial and territorial governments. All Canadian citizens and permanent residents, regardless of their income, employment or health, have enjoyed access to basic health care. Life expectancy in Canada is 81.24 years. (source: World Bank)
Average Canadian household makes $76000 while low income families spend 51% of it’s earnings on food, shelter and clothing, high income families spend 27% on the same. Canada is one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
International trade makes up a large part of the Canadian economy, particularly of its natural resources. The United States is by far its greatest trade partner, with trade with the United States accounting for about 85% of exports and 59% of imports as of 2004.
Average housing cost in Canada is around $503,000. A family in British Colombia would have paid $779,400 for their home while family in New Brunswick would have paid only $126,000. (Feb 2016 – Source CREA)
With land mass is so huge, most Canadians live within 300 kms of the Canada/US border and majority of them lives is big cities. Canadian Population as of Feb 2016 is 36,000,000. Most populated provinces are Ontario and Quebec. Most populated city in Canada is Toronto (Ontario).
With the people, the natural resources and knowledge to make it all work together…Canada has it all. United Nations has ranked Canada as the best country to live for over a decade (till 2001) and still the ranks in top 5.