Official Name Canada
Capital City Ottawa (852,100)
Languages English (official), French (official)
Official Currency Canadian Dollar
Religions Catholic 46%, Protestant 36%, others
Canada is a country in North America bordered on the south by the United States and extending through the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole, making it the northernmost country in the world. It is also the second largest country in area, after Russia. Canada is a federation of ten provinces and three territories. Initially constituted through the British North America Act of 1867 and referred to as the Dominion of Canada, it is governed as a parliamentary democracy and is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
Canada's official languages are English and French. As of 2005, its official population estimate is about 32.2 million
The name "Canada" is believed to have originated from the Huron-Iroquoian word Kanata, meaning "village", "settlement", or "collection of huts"
Economy As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles the U.S. in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. In the last century, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. Canada has vast deposits of natural gas on the east coast and in the west, and a plethora of other natural resources contributing to self-sufficiency in energy. The 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which included Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the U.S.
Ice hockey events like the Canada Cup are popular in Canada Canada is a multicultural society, preserving and nurturing a "mosaic" of many cultures equally important and valued. Under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the federal government adopted multiculturalism as official policy. The policy was adopted in 1971 in the aftermath of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism conducted under the government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. See Multiculturalism for more details. Due to its colonial past, Canadian culture has been heavily influenced by British and French cultures and traditions. Canadian culture has also been influenced by American culture because of proximity and the migration of people, ideas, and capital. Amidst this, Canadian culture has developed many unique characteristics. In many respects, a more robust and distinct Canadian culture has developed in recent years, partially because of the civic nationalism that pervaded Canada in the years prior to and following the Canadian Centennial in 1967, and also due to a focus by the federal government on programs to support culture and the arts.
The First Nations people wove the first threads in the fabric of Canada's culture, heritage and history. Each Nation possesses its own unique culture, language and history. There were many tribes across Canada, and still are today. They fished, farmed, and hunted across all corners of the country and believed greatly in nature, on which their existence depended. They weaved baskets, painted pictures, and carved beautiful sculptures of animals. They were skilled sewers and used plants and everything around them to make clothes and tools. Most of their culture was a verbal one and stories were passed down through the elders to the younger generations. The emblem of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics is the inukshuk, a stacked rock in human form engendered by the Inuit people of Canada. Early Europeans helped form the basis of Canadian culture. During their colonization of Canada, settlers wrote a great deal of folklore about the land around them. The tales of Paul Bunyan are a product of French-Canadian folklore and the style of jigs from Newfoundland found their origins in Ireland.