Canada is the world's second-largest country by land mass, with an area of 9.98 million square kilometers. The country has the 10th largest economy in the world and ranks 13th in the Human Development Index. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are the three largest metropolitan areas of the country. If you are planning a stopover in Canada, here are some interesting facts about the country.
1. French were the first European settlers in Canada
Several indigenous tribes inhabited Canada for thousands of years before any European settlements. The first non-native settlers of Canada were the Vikings. They built a settlement in Newfoundland around 1000 AD. In 1534, explorer Jacques Cartier claimed the land for King Francis I of France. Quebec became the first successful French settlement in the early 1600s. French and British settlers had several armed conflicts over the land for many years. Eventually, France had to cede all of its colonies in Canada and North America in 1763.
2. The Maple leaf represents unity in the Canadian flag
Canada used various flags throughout its history. Many of these flags consisted of symbols of its settlers, such as French heraldry and the Union Jack. The first distinctive flag Canada used was the flag of the governor-general in 1869. The Canadian red ensign flag served as a nautical and civil ensign for Canada from 1892 to 1965. The modern Canadian flag was made official as Canada's flag in 1965 when it was approved by most of the parliament and proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth the second.
3. The capital is only the sixth-largest city in Canada
Ottawa is Canada's capital, but it is only the sixth-largest city in the nation in terms of population. All Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are more significant metropolitan areas compared to Ottawa. The city took its name from the Ottawa River. During the British rule, Canadian colonies couldn't determine a capital as the capital bounced around Kingston, Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec City. But in 1857, queen Victoria of England declared Ottawa as the capital.
4. Canada shares the world's longest land border with the USA
Canada and United States are the second and third largest countries in the world by total area, respectively. So, it is no surprise that Canada and United States share the world's longest land border. The border between the two countries stretches to 8,893 kilometers and is the world's longest undefended border.
5. Poutine is arguably the most famous Canadian dish
Poutine is one of the most outlandish and definitive Canadian dishes. The dish consists of French Fries, Cheese curds, and meat-based gravy. Quebec is the origin of Poutine, although several small towns in the region claiming to have invented the dish. Beavertails pastry, Butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, and Caesar cocktails are some of the foods and beverages to try during a Canadian stayover.
6. All Canadian airport codes begin with the letter "Y"
All the airports across the planet have a unique three-letter code. These codes are administrative codes given to each airport by IATA. The letters are usually the first three letters or a combination of letters of the city's name. However, when it comes to Canadian airports, these codes start with the letter "Y." In the 1930s, it was essential to know if an airport had a weather or radio station within its premises. "Y" symbolized that the airport had such facility while "W" represented it didn't. When the three-letter coding system started in the 1940s, most Canadian airports adopted the "Y" prefix to their codes.
7. Canada has the most lakes in the world
According to a study, there are about 1.42 million lakes worldwide with a size of over 0.1 square kilometers. And Canada is home to a whopping 62% (879,800) of them. Perhaps the most significant of these are the great lakes of North America, which Canada shares with the USA. The great lakes are a combination of five lakes, and they contain around 21% of the world's surface fresh water by volume.
8. More than 5000 people have gone over and survived the Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is arguably Canada's most famous attraction. It is located on the border between Canada and the USA. The falls consists of three different waterfalls, but the Canadian Horseshoe fall is the most popular. Water rushes over the edge at a speed of over 100 km/h, dumping about 2.8 million liters of water every second. Despite that, many have survived after going over either intentionally or accidentally.
9. Hudson Bay in Canada's north has less gravity
Hudson Bay is a large body of saltwater in the north-eastern of Canada and it has less gravity than the rest of the world. One of the reason for this goes way back to the ice age. A glacier named the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered all of Canada. The sheer weight squeezed down on the rocks, and once the ice started melting, creating a pit, which led to less mass below you and therefore less gravity. The other reason is because of how magma circulates and pulls down tectonic plates. This effect happens just below the Hudson Bay area.
10. Canada wants a high intake of immigrants
Canada has one of the world's oldest populations. 18% of its population is over the age of 65 or more. Also, the country has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. These trends will affect the Canadian economy in the future. As a solution, Canada is increasing its yearly intake of immigrants to have 100 million people by 2100.