Canada occupies the whole of the northern part of the North American continent and many islands (e. g. Baffin Island, Newfoundland, Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, etc.). It is the second largest country in the world. It neighbors the USA. This border is the longest undefined border in the world.

The Great Lakes Region is the largest area of fresh water in the world. There are the famous Niagara Falls between Lake Erie and Ontario. We can also find other big and beautiful lakes in Canada, e. g. Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Lake Winnipeg, etc. Canada has large mountainous areas - the Rocky Mountains, the Mackenzie Mountains, and the Melville Hills. The highest mountain is Mt. Logan in the Alaska Region. The longest river is the Mackenzie (it flows from the Rocky Mountains to the Arctic Ocean). Other big rivers are the Yukon, the Columbia, and the St. Lawrence River.

The climate varies from Arctic climate in the north to moderate climate in the east and west. The country is covered by cold tundras, large forests, and prairies.

Canada’s population is about 26 000 000 inhabitants. 80 per cent of Canadians live in large urban centers located on the southern border. More than 40 per cent are of British origin, 30 per cent of French origin, over 20 per cent of continental European origin, and the rest is made up of Eskimos and Indians. The official languages are English and French. 60 per cent of the population speaks English, 30 per cent speaks French, and the rest are speak languages spoken by various ethnic minorities. An interesting fact is that the name „Canada“ comes from the original inhabitants. The Indians used the word „kanata,“ which means “village”.

The original inhabitants came to Canada some 10 000 or 25 000 years ago from Asia. The first Europeans here were the Vikings who discovered Canada more than a thousand years ago. Since the 16th century, large territories were occupied by the French. Originally it was called New France because it was a French colony. In 1773, the French were defeated by the British. During the War of Independence, Canada remained loyal to Britain because the people were afraid to becoming a part of the USA. They were also, however, not satisfied with British rule. In the 19th century, Britain was forced to establish a dominion. Originally, Canada had only 4 provinces. Canada has mainly coal, metal, oil and gas, machine-building and chemical industries. Ships are built in Montreal and Toronto. Only 7 per cent of the land is suitable for farming, and Canada is the fifth largest producer of wheat. Other important agricultural items are vegetables, fruits, tobacco, and leather and dairy products. The valid currency is the Canadian dollar.

Canada is an independent federal parliamentary system with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. She is represented in Canada by the governor-general. The country’s supreme body is the Federal Parliament consisting of two houses. The House of Commons is elected every 5 years. The Senate consists of senators. The leading figure in political life is the Prime Minister.

Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 2 territories. The biggest province is Quebec. The capital of Canada is Ottawa. The biggest city is Toronto. Other large cities are Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton, and Quebec.

It´s a member of many international organizations and since 1964, it has had its own flag. It is red and in the centre there is a white square with simple red maple leaf. The Canadian anthem is called Oh, Canada.

Přidal: Dan_T 4. 12. 2009
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