CANADA

Canada is a land of vast distances and rich natural beauty. Economically and technologically, and in many other ways she closely resembles her neighbour to the south, the United States, although there are significant differences between the two countries. While both countries have a long and continuing history of colonialism over the Indigenous people of their countries, Canada is perfectly happy with its British heritage and many Canadians are proud of this. Much of Canada’s current built environment and influence has come primarily from immigrants from two European nations, Britain and France. This dual nature is very different than in the United States, and in some parts of Canada, particularly Quebec and parts of New Brunswick, Canadians primarily speak French.

Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 by an act of the British parliament, and is still a proud member of the Commonwealth of Nations. By 1931 it was more or less fully independent of the United Kingdom, although true independence did not occur until 1982. Canada’s past and ongoing colonialism is still of some contention between Indigenous people, Canadians, and the Canadian government. Though a medium-sized country by its population (36 million), Canada has earned respect on the international stage for its strong diplomatic skills, peacekeeping efforts, and respect for human rights. Canadians generally enjoy a very high quality of life – Canada consistently scores very well on indices of economic freedom, corruption, respect for civil rights, and more.

Domestically, the country has displayed some success in negotiating compromises amongst its own culturally and linguistically varied populations, a difficult task considering that language, culture, and even history can vary significantly throughout the whole country. Similarly to the United States’ traditional image of itself as a melting pot, there are many different minorities from all over the world living in Canada, particularly in urban centres. Canadians are, for the most part, used to living and interacting with people of different ethnic backgrounds on a daily basis and will usually be quite friendly and understanding if approached in public. The country is largely urban-based, where peoples of all backgrounds may rub elbows with one another.

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Culture:

Throughout Canada’s history, its culture has been influenced by European culture and traditions, especially British and French, and by its own indigenous cultures. Over time, elements of the cultures of Canada’s immigrant populations have become incorporated into mainstream Canadian culture. The population has also been influenced by American culture because of a shared language, proximity, television and migration between the two countries.

Canada is often characterized as being “very progressive, diverse, and multicultural”. Canada’s federal government has often been described as the instigator of multicultural ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. Canada’s culture draws from its broad range of constituent nationalities, and policies that promote a just society are constitutionally protected. Canadian Government policies—such as publicly funded health care; higher and more progressive taxation; outlawing capital punishment; strong efforts to eliminate poverty; an emphasis on cultural diversity; strict gun control; and most recently, legalizing same-sex marriage—are social indicators of Canada’s political and cultural values. Canadians identify with the country’s institutions of health care, military peacekeeping, the National park system and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Climate:

Canada’s official measurements are metric, however some people, especially those aged 40 and over, will still use the imperial system for many things. Trying to distil the climate of Canada into an easy-to-understand statement is impossible, given the vast area and diverse geography within the country. Overall, in most places, winters are harsh compared too much of the world, on par with northern Eurasia. The most populated region, southern Ontario, has a less severe climate, similar to the bordering regions of the midwestern and northeastern United States. Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, is just south of the Arctic Circle and remains very cold except for the months of July and August, when the July average maximum is only 12°C (54°F). On the other hand, the coastlines of British Columbia are very mild for their latitude, remaining above freezing for most of winter, yet they are not far away from some of the largest mountain glaciers found on the continent.

The average temperature is typically colder in Canada than in the U.S. and Western Europe as a whole, so bring a warm jacket and other winter clothing if visiting between October and April. The rest of the year, over most of the country, daytime highs are generally well above 15°C (60°F) and usually into the 20s-30s°C(70s-90s°F) range during the day.

Current Time & Date:
GMT -3.30 to -8.00

Time zones:
The Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming first proposed time zones for the entire world in 1876, and Canada, being a continental country, is covered coast to coast with multiple zones. Canada uses the 12-hour clock system, however the 24-hour clock system is used in the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick where French is an official language and this clock system is used with that language; and where ambiguity must be avoided, such as train or airline schedules when given in both English and French, because they will be indicated in each clock system. Daylight Saving Time, when clocks are moved forward by one hour, is observed in most of the country from 02:00 on the second Sunday in March until 02:00 on the second Sunday in November; during this time, for example, British Columbia is observing GMT-7 while Alberta is observing GMT-6. Saskatchewan does not observe Daylight Savings Time, but the City of Lloydminster does.

Currency:
Canadian Dollar

Languages:
English and French are the only two official languages in Canada. All communications and services provided from the federal government are available in both languages. Most Canadians are functionally monolingual, although some parts of the country have both English and French speakers. Over a quarter of Canadians are bilingual or multilingual. Many people in Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City are at least conversationally bilingual. There are also dozens of aboriginal languages spoken by Canadians of aboriginal descent. Almost all first nations inhabitants that speak their native communities tongue are still bi-lingual in either English or French depending on what province you are in. In Nunavut more than half the population speaks Inuktitut, the traditional language of the Inuit.

Food & Drinks:
The agricultural and ethnic richness of Canada has led to two distinctive characteristics of everyday food consumption. The first is its scale. Canadians are “big eaters,” with meat portions in particular dominating the Canadian meal. The other main feature of Canadian food is diversity. The complex ethnic landscape of Canada and the tendency of ethnic groups to retain a dual cultural orientation have meant that Canadian cuisine is quite diverse in its content, with many ethnic dishes seen as somehow quintessentially Canadian as well.

Visa:
Most people need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization to travel to Canada. Some people may only need their valid passport. If you would like to find out what applies to you please check here.

International Airports:
St John’s, Gander, Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Capital: Ottawa
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Population: 36 million
Official languages: English, French

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AmeriCan Adventures
2017-12-01T12:53:34+00:00