Canada is the second largest country in the world. There are ten provinces and three territories.
It stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean from west to east with the Arctic Ocean in
the north. The longest undefended border in the world is in the south with the U.S. There are six
time zones in the country! Some of the bigger provinces like Quebec, Ontario and British
Columbia (B.C.) are each larger than most countries of the world.
In terms of geographical diversity, Canada boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in
the world. Beautiful mountains like the Rockies straddle Alberta and B.C. There are lesser
ranges throughout the country, e.g. the Laurentians in Quebec, giving ample opportunities
to hike and mountain climb in the summer or ski in the winter. There is more fresh water in
Canada than any other country. Lakes and rivers abound everywhere, helping to make the
country extremely green. Then there are the forests, which help to make Canada a major
exporter of timber. There are strict rules to preserve the forests requiring foresting
companies to plant new trees for every one that they cut down, making sure that the rich
natural legacy of the country is preserved for generations to come.
Ah, the Canadian weather. A great topic of conversation in Canadian offices on most days.
It certainly makes life more exciting than living in a place that has the same weather
throughout the year, like Singapore. Most of Canada has four distinct seasons and each
has its charm. Spring provides its hope for the future and warmer times ahead. We see
the birds coming back from Florida and that always provides a boost. Summer in Canada
can be incredibly warm in cities like Montreal and Toronto, much more so than most
people expect. People like to get outdoors and there is a myriad of outdoor festivals
in most Canadian cities, from the Calgary Stampede to the film, comedy, fireworks and
jazz festivals in Montreal. Autumn or fall has its own incredible charm. The colors
that nature displays are breathtaking and the air is invigorating. Around Thanksgiving
in October, many ski hills open up the ski lifts to allow visitors to take in the
dazzling scenery. What can we say about the world famous Canadian winter? It is not as
bad as it is made out to be. First of all, everything is centrally heated from cars
to homes to schools and office buildings. Secondly, if you check the day's expected
temperature in the newspaper when you get up and dress accordingly, this takes the
sting out of winter. Some parts of Canada are positively balmy even in winter. Vancouver
and Victoria in B.C. have more rain than snow in the winter. Moreover, most of
Canada's major cities are located extremely close to the U.S. border, or in other
words, as south as possible. This applies to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, all
within about an hour's drive to the border. In fact, there are numerous parts of the
U.S., which are actually north of many Canadian cities. For instance, going from
Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, one actually has to go north! The other positive thing
about the Canadian winter in the colder cities like Ottawa, Edmonton and Montreal
is that there is plenty of sunshine, which makes it feel much warmer. The Toronto
winter is certainly manageable with not too much snow.
The population is approximately 31 million, a very low figure for such a vast
country. There is considerable room for more people! The country's immigration
policies reflect this need for more people to boost the country's prosperity.
Native people were the original inhabitants of Canada. Many still live in their
natural preferred habitat of the northern areas. The bulk of the initial vast
immigration waves were of European descent, from the U.K. and from France.
The majority of the French immigrants settled in Quebec while the English-speaking
immigrants moved on to the rest of the nation. More recent waves of immigrants
have come from Asia (the Far East and from South Asia) though there were some
notable exceptions like the Sikhs who came to B.C. over a hundred years ago.
Their descendents are now very prosperous and own farms and are involved in
other industries as well.