Located in the northern part of North America is the country whose claim to fame is its delicious maple syrup. Yes, it’s Canada that we are talking about. From its flag to its food and from its trees to its NHL team, everything has got a bit of maple in it. But maple leaves and maple syrup are not the only things that Canada can boast of.
Canada comprises ten provinces and three territories. It shares its shoreline with three out of the five oceans, the three oceans being the Arctic (in the north), the Atlantic (in the East), and the Pacific oceans (in the West). To its south is located the United States, with which it shares an 8,891 km border. This border is the longest bi-national land border in the entire world.
Spanning a total area of 9.98 million square kilometers, Canada is the second-largest country in the world (after Russia) as far as its total area (land as well as water) is concerned. But, Canada boasts the world’s most substantial proportion of freshwater lakes. Due to this, it is only fourth in terms of land area, in the world.
On the southern bank of the Ottawa River lies the capital city of Canada, Ottawa. At 243,042, Canada has the longest coastline in the entire world.
Form a continental climate to the coastal climate, Canada has it all. The northern regions experience the cold and frigid of the Tundra, whereas the southern areas get all the four seasons of the temperate zone.
With Elizabeth II as its Queen, Canada is a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition. Besides, it is also a parliamentary democracy. So it has a democratically elected Prime Minister who acts as the Chair of the Cabinet and the Head of the Government. The incumbent (and 23rd) Prime Minister of Canada is Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party.
The Monarch, i.e., the Queen appoints a representative to carry out her federal royal responsibilities in Canada. This representative is the Governor-General, and the current Governor-General is Julie Payette.
Canada has a rich history since it not only has its indigenous population but immigrants from all over the world. This has dramatically molded Canada’s culture.
The indigenous population in present-day Canada includes the First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis. It is believed that the first of these inhabitants migrated by way of the Bering land bridge from Siberia and arrived in North America about 14,000 years ago. They developed their culture and way of life. Their population is said to have been somewhere between 200,000 and two million. This number declined sharply after the European colonization.
In the 18th century to the 19th century, the only immigrants to Rupert’s Land were the French Canadian North West Company Fur traders from east Canada and the Hudson Bay Company’s Scots and English Adventurers and Explorers. But immigration to Canada saw a boom in 1872 when, under the guidance of Clifford Sift on, the Dominion Lands Act was put into effect. This was Canada’s Homesteading Act and acted as an invitation to ethnic or religious groups seeking asylum or independence.
The year 1857 was another significant year in terms of immigration to Canada from, mainly, California. This was the year of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush which saw a population explosion in what is now knows as British Columbia. These immigrants comprised Germans, Maritimers, Scandinavians, etc. The largest groups to arrive were the Chinese and the Americans.
The opening of Canada’s CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) transcontinental railway in 1885 saw another wave of immigration which led to the creation of Vancouver (one of the current metropolitan cities of Canada) and other urban settlements.
The influx of Chinese immigrants via California during the Fraser Gold Rush and directly thereafter forced the Canadian government to enact the Chinese Immigration Act in 1885 to bring it under control.
In 1908, the Canadian government attempted to stop immigration from India bypassing an order-in-council that denied all the immigrants entry that did not come directly from their country of birth. This came at a time when Canada was accepting immigrants in huge numbers from the European nations. Thus, one can say that this was an attempt to keep out the immigrants of Asian origin.
Due to the constant state of flux that the population of Canada has been in as a result of immigration, the culture of Canada has also been molded accordingly. For different nationalities to co-exist, a nation needs to embrace multiculturism and ensure equal rights to all. And that is what Canada signifies.
Policies such as publicly funded health care, LGBTQ rights, banning of capital punishment are just some examples of how deeply culture is ingrained in Canada’s political values.
Canada’s culture has been swayed to a great extent by France as well as Britain. As a result of this, Canadian literature is often said to be constituted of French and English language literature. The ethnic and cultural diversity of Canada reflected in its literature, making it one of the best literature in the world by the 1990s. Some Canadian writers of international acclaim are Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro (a Nobel Laureate) and Michael Ondaatje, among others
While talking about culture, one often thinks about the symbols of a country. As for Canada, the Maple Leaf is its most crucial symbol present on its flag as well as on the Arms of Canada.
Music is an essential and universal component of cultures all over the world. The cultural influence on Canada’s music industry has developed it to the extent that it is now the sixth-largest in the world. Although adopted in 1980, the national anthem of Canada, “O Canada,” was initially commissioned by the Honorable Théodore Robitaille (Lieutenant Governor of Quebec) for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony.
Accompanying music is the visual arts of Canada. The latter has been somewhat dominated by Tom Thomson and by the Group of Seven as a result of their unique art. All done and dusted, a country’s culture remains incomplete without talking about its sports. As for Canada, its national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. Other sports are equally prevalent in Canada. The importance of sports to Canada’s culture is proven by the fact that it has participated in every Olympic Games since its debut in 1900. It has also hosted some of the big names in sports, such as the FIFA 2007 U-20 World Cup, etc.