The name Canada dates back to the year 1535. It was used by two Amerindians who were travelling with Jacques Cartier to describe Stadacona — which is now known as Quebec City. Actually, the word they used was “Kanata“, which is the Huron-Iroquois word for “village” or “settlement“, and Cartier simply repeated the word as Canada. The name stuck.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
the true North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Canada lies in the northern part of the North American continent. It is 4,346 km (2,701 miles) from north to south — Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island (N.W.T.) to Middle Island in Lake Ontario. It is 5,514 km (3,426 miles) from east to west — Cape Spear (NFLD) to the Yukon-Alaskan border. It borders the United States (south and northwest), the polar regions (north), as well as the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (east and west).
Canada is also known for having the longest coastline in the world at about 244,000 km (151,600 miles). The country also has so many different landscapes, such as vast, fertile prairies, approximately 2 million fresh-water lakes, boreal forests, tall mountain ranges and lots of tundra.
The country has 9,970,610 square km (3,849,650 square miles), and is comprised of 92.4% of land, the rest being fresh water. As a matter of fact, Canada boasts having 9% of the world’s renewable water supply! Also, Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world.
Canada came into being as a country on July 1, 1867, when the British government passed the British North American Act (BNA). The original dominion of Canada was made up of only 4 provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The Hudson’s Bay Company surrendered large lands it possessed in 1870, which in turn created the remaining Canadian provinces and territories: Manitoba joined confederation in 1870; British Columbia in 1871; Prince Edward Island in 1873; Yukon Territory in 1898; Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories in 1905; Newfoundland & Labrador in 1949;
and Nunavut in 1999.
Previously known as Greenwich Mean Time, Canada has six time zones, now known as coordinated Universal Time (UTC):
Newfoundland Standard Time is 3-1/2 hours behind UTC (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Atlantic Standard Time is 4 hours behind UTC (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island)
Eastern Standard Time is 5 hours behind UTC (Ontario, Quebec)
Central Standard Time is 6 hours behind UTC (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario)
Mountain Standard Time is 7 hours behind UTC (Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut)
Pacific Standard Time is 8 hours behind UTC (Yukon, British Columbia)
New Year’s Day January 1
Good Friday varies
Easter Monday varies
Victoria Day Monday before May 25
Canada Day July 1 *
Labour Day First Monday in September
Thanksgiving Second Monday in October
Remembrance Day November 11
Christmas December 25
Boxing Day December 26
* Note: when July 1st falls on a Sunday, July 2nd is observed as Canada Day.
A Mari usque ad Mare is Canada’s motto. Latin for From sea to sea. Like the term dominion, it comes from the Bible, Psalm 72, Verse 8: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea …” The motto was adopted officially in 1921, when it was included in a new design for Canada’s coat of arms.
The red flag with a white square and a red maple leaf was adopted on February 15, 1965 by parliament. Before this date, Canada did not have an official flag, instead, a British maritime flag was in general use.
The Coat of Arms was proclaimed by King George V on November 21, 1921 — has four quarters that represent the founding peoples of Canada: England, France, Ireland and Scotland. Underneath this used to have three green maple leaves, but changed to red in 1957.
English and French
Maple Leaf and the Beaver
Capital City: Ottawa is situated on the Ottawa River in Eastern Ontario. It is commonly believed that the name comes from the Ottawa tribe, which means “to trade”. What eventually grew into Bytown, John By established a campsite in 1826, I think to begin construction of the Rideau Canal. In 1855, Bytown officially became a city, and was renamed Ottawa. Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of the Province of Canada in 1857, and the capital of the new Dominion of Canada in 1898.
Some famous Canadian slogans:
“Always got time for Tim Hortons.” (Coffee and Donuts)
“At Speedy you’re a somebody.” (Mufflers)
“Canada, the world next door.” (Tourism Canada)
“Ever been to sea, Billy?” (Cap’n Highliner foods)
“Ex says it all.” (Beer)
“Only in Canada? Pity.” (Red Rose tea)
“The Champagne of Ginger Ale.” (Canada Dry)
“Where you give like Santa and save like Scrooge.” (Canadian Tire)
“I am Canadian!” (Beer)
Maple Syrup: Another symbol that is truly Canadian: maple syrup. There is an Iroquois legend to explain the discovery of this delicious treat. As the story goes, an Iroquois chief yanked his hatchet out of the maple tree where he had left it and set off for a day of hunting. He didn’t notice the deep gash his blade had left in the tree, but all day a colourless liquid trickled from the gash, collecting in a birch bark bowl that was leaning against the maple tree. The following day his wife noticed the full bowl, and thinking it was water, used the liquid to cook a venison stew. The resulting sweet stew was a happy accident, to say the least, beginning the culinary tradition of maple-cured meats.
Gold Rings: First came the Loonie — a one-dollar gold coloured coin. Then the Toonie — a two-dollar gold and silver coloured coin. As coins have a longer life span than paper, they save the government in the long run. For a year or so, both paper and coin version was in circulation at the same time.
The year Canada introduced its two-dollar coin, radio station CHEZ FM fooled listeners into believing that April 1st was the last day that the two-dollar bills would be honoured. Concerned citizens flooded the phone lines at the Royal Canadian Mint and local banks.
That same year, other radio stations had people going through their pocket change in search of elusive two-dollar coins which had mistakenly been minted from real gold.
April Fools: Radio DJs aren’t the only ones who like to pull the public’s leg on April Fools. In 1996, Canadian Member of Parliament Sheila Copps announced on a famous CBO Morning Show that the clock in Ottawa’s Peace Tower was being switched over to digital.
Saturday Post: – Saturday mail delivery in the country was eliminated by Canada Post on February 1, 1969.
Not the legacy he was looking for: One of Canada’s most colourful Prime Minister has to be William Lyon Mackenzie King. By the time he retired in 1943, he was and still is, the longest-serving elected leader of any English-speaking country with 22 years under his belt.
Most Canadians don’t remember him for introducing Old Age Pension, Unemployment Insurance, or Family Allowance. Instead, he’s regarded as a self-proclaimed “Spiritual Son” and a mamma’s boy. He held regular séances, receiving advice from the dead, including his mother and even from former Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier, who is said to have communicated to him through King’s own pet dog.
Ironically, the reason he turned to spiritualism was that he feared people would remember him only as the grandson of William Lyon Mackenzie, who led revolts in Upper Canada in the 1830s.
PROHIBITION and the CUSTOM SCANDAL: In 1926, the United States banned alcohol — temperance — and this caused havoc in Canada. If you want to read more about it, click here to visit (http://www.bitesizecanada.org/wp/temperance.htm)
A brief history of Canada’s past:
The Iroquois – Depending on which expert you choose to believe, people have lived in Canada as early as 7,000 years ago. That’s 2,000 years before the Egyptians built their pyramids!
The Iroquois refers to the Native people who lived in the Great Lakes region in the St. Lawrence. They lived in homes called longhouses, with as many as 50 people under one roof at a time.
There were more than 50 separate Native languages before any Europeans ever arrived in Canada. Some were as different from one another as English is from Chinese. The three main ones — Cree, Ojibwa, and Inuktitut — are strong enough to have survived to this day.
Because there were so many blood feuds and revenge wars, the Iroquois passed The Law of Peace. It is believed that this happened in 1451. The people who made up this new way of life were known as the League of Five Nations — the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondoga, Oneida, and Seneca — which became the Six Nations when the Tuscarora joined in 1722.
Tree of Peace – As a symbol of this Law of Peace, the Mohawk planted a huge white pine tree. Under this tree, they planted a war club.
Because none of the natives had an alphabet, the laws and decisions were passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation. Imagine trying to remember a whole book by heart? That’s what it was like. To help the elders remember everything, they used bands made of shells (called a wampum). The Onondaga was chosen to be the keepers of these wampums.
The Iroquois lived in a matriarchal system. For each clan, there was a clan mother and male chief. This chief was chosen by the clan mother and was chief for life. Unless he made a serious mistake, in which case the clan mother had the authority to remove him from office. The men’s council made the decisions, all by consensus. But if one of the male chiefs blocked the consensus process out of selfishness, it would have lead to removal from office. This is just one of the aspects of the Iroquois peoples’ constitution.
The First Peoples adapted very well in the many different climates of Canada.
The Inuit had to learn to survive in one of the most extreme frigid waters on earth by developing the kayak. It is worth noting that the kayak’s design has never been surpassed in its combination of speed, stability and lightness, not even by the plastics that are used today.
The people of the Eastern Woodlands created the canoe to travel rivers and lakes, and the toboggan and snowshoes to move in winter. Although canoes today are made with other materials than what the Algonquin hunters used, it has not been improved. Since the 19th century, snow shoeing and tobogganing have become popular recreation sports that many Canadians enjoy.
The first people of the Northwest Coast are famous around the world for their free-standing totem poles.
The people of the Plains developed the tipi.
Much of the early explorations of Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, Samuel Hearne and others could not have been accomplished without the help of the native peoples.
If the native inhabitants of Stadacona (now known as Quebec City) had not shown Cartier’s men how to make a tonic containing ascorbic acid from bark, they might have all perished of scurvy during the winter of 1535. New France would not have existed without the trading and trapping skills of the native people. The famous far-flung trading network of the Northwest Company, which stretched from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean would have been impossible without the birch bark canoe.
The native peoples of Canada have come to realize what the Europeans brought with them would not help them maintain their societies. Fairly recently they have reasserted their will to survive by turning back to their own traditional ceremonies and regaining control of a wide range of institutions which govern their lives, such as courts, health clinics and schools.
The European invasion of Canada took centuries to unfold. The European trade good preceded the arrival of the Europeans themselves by several generations.
However … The Huron Confederacy in what is now northern Ontario had a population of 25,000 in the year 1600.
A smallpox epidemic swept through the Huron community, killing thousands and leaving the population at only 9,000 by 1640.
The Huron, once a proud and powerful people, were overrun by their Iroquois enemies and destroyed.
The native population of North America was about 18 million prior to European contact — a number that fell drastically by 95 per cent over the next 130 years. This population devastation was, by far, worse than even the bubonic plague in Europe.