Canada

Canada

History

The first inhabitants of Canada came from Asia about 30000 years ago, across the Bering Strait to Alaska. Some were nomads and other led more settled lives. The Vikings were the first Europeans to arrive. In about AD 1000 Lief Ericson landed on the Labrador coast. In 1497 John Cabot discovered Canada’s east coast (now called Newfoundland) and claimed the land for Britain. Settlements were founded so that the rich Newfoundland waters could be fished. Both the French and English set up permanent settlements in the new land, and traded with the Canadian Indians - furs for guns, liquor and tools. While the British were developing the Atlantic area and the central part of the country (Ontario), the French were Establishing their own fur - trading operations and settlements mainly in what is now the province of Quebec.
After a lot of rivalry and war between the French and the British both languages became the official language of Canada. Canada was a British colony for more than a century. In 1867, the British North America Act created the Dominion of Canada, which consisted of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. The rest of the provinces and territories joined the confederation by the turn of the century, except Newfoundland, which joined in 1949. The head of State is still Queen Elizabeth II, and Canada belongs to the Commonwealth.

Cities

In 1867, when Canada became a self - governing nation, only one - tenth of the population lived in cities. Today, eight out of ten Canadians live in the cities, and by the year 2000 this figure is expected to rise to nine out of ten. Ottawa, the national capital, is a modern city with office buildings of glass and steel overlooking rivers that are still used to transport enormous log booms downstream to the sawmills. Montreal is the second largest French - speaking city in the world after Paris, and is famous for his cultural life. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has a space - age city hall and the highest unsupported structure in the world - the CN Tower (Canadian National Tower).

The provinces from west to east: and territories:
Province
Capital
Territory
Capital
British Columbia
Victoria
Yukon Territory
Whitehorse
Alberta
Edmonton
Northwest Territory
Yellowknife
Saskatchewan
Regina
Nanavut
Iqaluit
Manitoba
Winnipeg


Ontario
Toronto


Quebec
Quebec City


New Brunswick
Fredericton


Nova Scotia
Halifax


Newfoundland
St. John's


Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown



Government

Canada’s ten provinces and two territories each have their own legislature. The country’s political structure is called federalism. The division of power between Ottawa (seat of the federal government) and the provinces has changed over the years. Each Canadian province has a own government and is responsible for internal matters such roads, housing, policing and education. Each provincial legislature is led by a premier who, like the prime minister in the federal parliament, is the leader of the political party with a majority in the provincial parliament.
Canada was the first country to become an independent member of the British Commonwealth, and is now what is known as a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is officially Head of the State but she does not actually govern or take an active part in the country’s political life. The Queen is represented by the Governor - General.

Population

The racial and ethnic makeup of the Canadian people is diversified. About 28 percent of the population is composed of people of British origin. People of French origin total about 23 percent of the population. The vast majority of French - speaking Canadians reside in Quebec, where they make up about three - fourths of the population; large numbers also live in Ontario and New Brunswick, and smaller groups inhabit the remaining provinces. French - speaking Canadians maintain their language, culture, and traditions, and the federal government follows the policy of a bilingual and bicultural nation. During the 1970s and 1980s the proportion of Asians among the Canadian population increased, and today those who count their ancestry as wholly Asian make up more than 5 percent of the population. More than two - thirds of the Asian immigrants live in Ontario or British Columbia. The remainder of the population is composed of people of various ethnic origins, such as German, Italian, Ukrainian, Netherlands Dutch, Scandinavian, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, and Native American.

Education and Culture

The educational system in Canada is derived from the British and American traditions and the French tradition, the latter particularly in the province of Quebec. English or French is the language of instruction, and some schools provide instruction in both official languages. Each of the ten provinces has responsibility for establishing and maintaining its own school system. In Quebec, the French - Canadian tradition is followed by the Roman Catholic schools. The province also maintains Protestant schools, however, which are widely attended.

The Indians

Naturally these settlements made some problems. First the Indians were willing to share the land with the newcomers, but the Europeans needed more and more land, so the Indians had to leave their territories. The settlers traded with goods for land. The white people didn’t understand the Indians, but they didn’t kill them. The "Canadian" Indians didn’t have the same fate as the "American" Indians. They didn’t die because of their skin, but because of their unstable immune system. They died of influenza and other illnesses which were brought in by the settlers. This development killed many Indians. There are three groups who call themselves the First Nations. These are the Indians, the Inuit and the M├ętis.┬á

Geographically

Mountains:
The huge mountain ranges in the eastern areas are the Torgat Mountains, the Appalachians and the Laurentians. In the west there are the Rocky Mountains and the Mackenzie Mountains. The Pelly Mountains and Mount St. Elias are situated in the north. The highest mountain is Mount Logan in the Yukon - territory.
Climate:
Highly varied. Permanently frozen ice caps, windswept treeless tundra, luxuriant rain forests, hot semi - arid scrub lands, and sun - drenched grain fields are a few of the distinctive environmental scenes. Most of Canada lies in the zone dominated by westerly winds where migrant high - and low - pressure systems move irregularly, but generally towards the east.
Principal lakes and rivers:
The principal lakes include Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario (which also lie partly in the USA), Great Bear, Great Slave and Winnipeg. The largest lake is Great Bear with 31.328 square kilometres.
The principal rivers include Yukon, Columbia, St. Lawrence (3864 km long, carries deep - sea shipping from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes), Nelson, Saskatchewan, Peace and Churchill. The longest river is the Mackenzie river with 4240 km (Northwest Territories).

Sights

The Niagara Falls:
182 feet high and a thousand and seventy - five feet wide. They are divided in the American Falls (straight, without surprise) and the Canadian Falls (curved in a semi - circle at a lower level). You can see them together from the top of the Seagram Tower. In the evening the hole is illuminated from a turret equipped with immense projectors.
The rodeos:
Even the smallest town in Alberta has one: The Calgary Stampede is by far the most important, authentic and interesting. Its chief point of interest lies in the fact that only young people of less than sixteen are eligible to enter the various competitions. The event takes place each year at the end of May and is directed to the local population.
The Trans Canadian Highway:
It does not only play a vital role at the heart of the Canadian economy; it seems to have been constructed solely for the pleasure of the traveller. Mountains, lakes and valleys have been distributed by an architect with delusions of grandeur, even at eighty miles by hour one seems to be strolling.
The Mountain Range:
One Rogers Pass where the view of Mount Sir Donald, the Bonney Glacier, the Avalanche Glacier, and mount Rogers form the most exalting but at the same time the most harmonious panorama.


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