All about Canada

By Jessica M. Barr, Editor,


"Happy Canada Day!" That's what Canadians say to each other on the first day of July, when we celebrate Canada's birthday. This year our country is 140 years old, and it looks better than ever! All over the world, people think of Canada as a great place to live, work, and study. Here's why.


Aboriginal (or First Nations) people lived in Canada's Yukon as long as 26,500 years ago, and in southern Ontario starting about 9,500 years ago. Europeans first arrived when the Vikings settled briefly on the coast of Newfoundland about 1000 years ago. The French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European settlements in Nova Scotia and Quebec in 1605 and 1608.

Canada has experienced many changes since then. The country's population has grown to 33 million, with the help of immigration from practically every country in the world.

Quality of Life

Canada is one of the top three places to live, according to the United Nations. Our country is consistently praised for access to education, high life expectancy, and low crime rates.


Canadian culture is based on respect, appreciation, and pride in the many different communities and cultural groups who live together in Canada. We are free to practice any religion, and our major cities have many different places of worship. Most Canadians believe that diversity keeps our country strong and vibrant, and so we celebrate our differences.

Toronto, Canada's largest city, is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are over 100 languages spoken in Toronto. After English and French, the most commonly spoken languages are Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Italian, Tamil, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Polish, Tagalog (Pilipino), Urdu, Greek, Russian, and Arabic.

Canadians of all kinds gather to celebrate and take part in events that highlight our multicultural society. People all over the country enjoy Chinese New Year and dragon boat festivals. Montréal enjoys the International Caribbean Festival. Calgary enjoys Afrikadey (African Festival). Toronto has many different events celebrating almost every culture from around the world, including celebrations of Caribbean, Greek, Indian, and Italian culture and food.

Aboriginal Canadian culture is celebrated across Canada as well - from Vancouver's Native Arts and Craft Festival to the Nunavut Toonik Tyme to Canada's nationwide National Aboriginal Day.

Most of the major cities in Canada also have festivals of literature, theatre, music, and dance, as well as gay pride events, new year's celebrations, and of course a big Canada Day party!


Canadians place great importance on learning, and we have a first-rate education system with high standards. Canada is at the top of the G-7 countries for funding education. Canadian students consistently rank among the best in world on international tests of reading, science and mathematics.

A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is recognized globally as being equivalent to those from the United States and Commonwealth countries, and many Canadian universities enjoy excellent international reputations.

Canada is a great place to study, and we have a large international student population to prove it! Every year, over 70,000 international students choose to travel from places such as Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean to attend our excellent secondary schools, colleges, and universities.

Facts about Canada

Did you know...


  • The name Canada comes from an aboriginal (St. Lawrence Iroquoian) word that means "village" or "settlement." By 1545, European books and maps began referring to the present-day Quebec City region as Canada.
  • Canada's motto is A Mari Usque Ad Mare. This is Latin for "From Sea to Sea" - however, it should actually be "From Ocean to Ocean to Ocean" as Canada touches the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans.
  • Canada is the second-largest country in the world in geographic terms. However, its population is only about 33 million, which means that we still have plenty of open spaces, such as our many beautiful national parks.
  • Canada is one of only five countries in the world where same-sex (gay) marriage is performed legally nationwide.
  • Canada shares the world's longest undefended border with the United States. The two countries co-operate on military campaigns and exercises, and are each other's largest trading partners.


To learn more about Canada and the benefits of studying here, please visit the Culture section of our website at or the Government of Canada's website at or - there's so much to discover!

Modified on May 07, 2009