Your comprehensive travel guide to Canada - All in one place!
Canada is a country that has much to offer visitors, from island sights to scenic mountain waterfalls. Stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, this former French and British colony has a rich heritage from the North Coast Indians of British Columbia to the French explorers of Quebec. Since both French and English are the national languages, a visit to Canada is like visiting two countries.
In the North of Canada great rivers flow out to the Arctic Ocean, creating some incredible territory for canoeists, and polar bears can be seen in the wild. Travelers can explore the remote beauty of places like Nahanni National Park and the towns and cities of Churchill, Whitehorse and Yellowknife.
History and Government
In 1497, John Cabot, an Italian navigator in the service of England, found rich fishing grounds off Canada's southeast coast. His discovery led to the European exploration of Canada. France set up a colony in eastern Canada in the early 1600s. Great Britain gained control of the country in 1763, and thousands of British emigrants came to Canada. In 1867, the French and English-speaking Canadians helped to create a united colony called the Dominion of Canada. Two groups worked together to settle the country and to develop its great mineral deposits and other natural resources.
Canada gained its independence from Britain in 1931. During the middle of the 20th century, hard-working Canadians turned their country into an economic giant. Today Canada is a leading producer of wheat, oats, and barley. Canada also ranks among the world's top manufacturing countries, and it is a major producer of electric power.
Covering most of the northern part of the North American continent and with an area larger than that of the United States, Canada has an extremely varied topography. In the east, the mountainous Maritime Provinces have an irregular coastline on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic. The St. Lawrence plain, covering most of southern Quebec and Ontario, and the interior continental plain, covering southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and most of Alberta, are the principal cultivable areas. They are separated by a forested plateau rising from Lakes Superior and Huron.
Westward toward the Pacific, most of British Columbia, the Yukon, and part of western Alberta are covered by parallel mountain ranges, including the Rockies. The Pacific border of the coast range is ragged with fjords and channels. The highest point in Canada is Mount Logan with 6,050 m, which is in the Yukon. The two principal river systems are the Mackenzie and the St. Lawrence. Canada shares borders with the United States.
In 2019, Canada has an estimated population of 37.41 million, which ranks 39th in the world. Canada is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, with much of its land inhospitable. The country's population density is under 4 people per square kilometer, which ranks 228th in the world. The population density is among the lowest in the world, mostly because a great deal of the countries to the north is virtually uninhabited. Toronto, meanwhile, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world with a density of 2,930 people per square kilometer.
Unlike Europe and the United States, Canada does not have a single national literary tradition but participates instead in the wider English world of literature. Of course there are many internationally renowned authors from Canada, but in general, there is no single canon yet of Canadian literature as a whole. One exception to this rule is the province of Quebec, where there is a venerable “national” literature renowned for its social criticism and experimentation.
In the last 30 years, the number of published Canadian writers has increased dramatically, and as a cultural point, the Canadian community buys and reads more books than those in most other industrialized nations. Nonetheless, no special preference has yet to be given to Canadian literature.
Food and Drink
The favorite food of Canadians varies slightly from region to region and is strongly influenced by their family heritage. Along the Atlantic coast, seafood and dishes derived from English traditions are common. In Quebec, favorite foods come from the area's French heritage. Throughout Canada, maple syrup and maple products are popular, reflecting the significance of the maple tree, whose leaf adorns the flag of Canada. Many families enjoy a visit in early spring to a maple sugar "shack," the special rustic building where sap from maple trees is boiled in a large open pan to make maple syrup.
Canadians almost always manage to find a reason to celebrate and party all times of the year. Some of the Canada holidays and lively festivals, including Québec City’s Winter Carnival and Ottawa’s Winterlude, take place during the frigid winters in an attempt to wake people from their hibernation. However, summer remains Canada’s busiest festival season, when millions of spectators go to the streets during the Calgary Stampede and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.
Best Time to Visit
Canada is a huge country with varied geography and climate, so there will always be something for you to do here, in any season. However, for most people, the best time to visit Canada is during the summer months. The warmer weather gives you many more opportunities to explore, and is ideal for road trips or exploring Canada’s wild landscape. The weather in summer is quite comfortable with often little to no rain, so if you wish to trek or go camping, the summertime is your best time.