Points of Interest
BANFF NATIONAL PARK
CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
Starting in the late 15th century, French and British expeditions explored, colonized, and fought over various places within North America in what constitutes present-day Canada. The colony of New France was established in 1534 and was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1763 after the French defeat in the Seven Years’ War. The now British Province of Quebec was divided into Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 and reunified in 1841. In 1867, the Province of Canada was joined with two other British colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia through Confederation, forming a self-governing entity named Canada. The new dominion expanded by incorporating other parts of British North America, finishing with Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949.
The economy of Canada is a highly developed mixed economy with 10th largest GDP by nominal and 17th largest GDP by PPP in the world. As with other developed nations, the country’s economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians. Canada has the fourth highest total estimated value of natural resources, valued at US$33.2 trillion in 2016. It has the world’s third largest proven petroleum reserves and is the fourth largest exporter of petroleum. It is also the fourth largest exporter of natural gas. Canada is considered an “energy superpower” due to its abundant natural resources.
Government & Politics
Canada has a parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy, the monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The Canadian monarchy is a separate legal institution from the monarchy of the United Kingdom, though the two offices are held by the same individual. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also monarch of 15 other Commonwealth countries and each of Canada’s 10 provinces. As such, the Queen’s representative, the Governor General of Canada (at present Julie Payette), carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.The direct participation of the royal and viceroyal figures in areas of governance is limited. In practice, their use of the executive powers is directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons of Canada and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada (at present Justin Trudeau), the head of government.
Situated in northern North America (constituting 41% of the continent’s area), Canada spans a vast, diverse territory between the North Pacific Ocean to the west and the North Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Arctic Ocean to the north (hence the country’s motto “From sea to sea”), with the United States to the south (contiguous United States) and northwest (Alaska). Greenland is to the northeast; off the southern coast of Newfoundland lies Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, an overseas collectivity of France.
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Since the 1930s, Canadian painters have developed a wide range of highly individual styles. Emily Carr became famous for her paintings of totem poles in British Columbia. Other noted painters have included the landscape artist David Milne, the painters Jean-Paul Riopelle, Harold Town and Charles Carson and multi-media artist Michael Snow. The abstract art group Painters Eleven, particularly the artists William Ronald and Jack Bush, also had an important impact on modern art in Canada. Government support has played a vital role in their development enabling visual exposure through publications and periodicals featuring Canadian art, as has the establishment of numerous art schools and colleges across the country.
Canadian literature is often divided into French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain, respectively. The country’s literature has been strongly influenced by international immigration, particularly in recent decades. Since the 1980s Canada’s ethnic and cultural diversity have been openly reflected in its literature, with many of its most prominent writers focusing on ethnic minority identity, duality and cultural differences. However, Canadians have been less willing to acknowledge the diverse languages of Canada, besides English and French.
The cinema of English-speaking Canada is heavily intertwined with the cinema of the neighbouring United States: though there is a distinctly Canadian cinematic tradition, there are also Canadian films that have no obvious Canadian identity (examples include Porky’s and Meatballs), Canadian-American co-productions filmed in Canada (including My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the Saw series); American films filmed in Canada (including the Night at the Museum and Final Destination films, among hundreds of others); and American films with Canadian directors and/or actors. Canadian directors who are best known for their American-produced films include Norman Jewison, Jason Reitman, Paul Haggis, and James Cameron; Cameron, in particular, wrote and directed the highest and second-highest-grossing films ever, Avatar and Titanic, respectively.
Canadian actors who achieved success in Hollywood films include Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer, Donald Sutherland, Jim Carrey, Rachel McAdams, and Ryan Gosling, among hundreds of others.
Canada’s music industry is the sixth largest in the world producing many internationally renowned artists. Canada has developed a music infrastructure, that includes church halls, chamber halls, conservatories, academies, performing arts centres, record companies, radio stations, television music video channels. Canada’s music broadcasting is regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences administers Canada’s music industry awards, the Juno Awards, which commenced in 1970.
Mainstream Canadian artists who achieved international success include Neil Young, Rush, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne, Michael Bublé, Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber.
Canada has a well-developed media sector, but its cultural output—particularly in English films, television shows, and magazines—is often overshadowed by imports from the United States. Television, magazines, and newspapers are primarily for-profit corporations based on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. Nevertheless, both the television broadcasting and publications sectors require a number of government interventions to remain profitable, ranging from regulation that bars foreign companies in the broadcasting industry to tax laws that limit foreign competition in magazine advertising.
Canadian cuisine varies widely depending on the region. The former Canadian prime minister Joe Clark has been paraphrased to have noted: “Canada has a cuisine of cuisines. Not a stew pot, but a smorgasbord.” There are considerable overlaps between Canadian food and the rest of the cuisine in North America, many unique dishes (or versions of certain dishes) are found and available only in the country.
Common contenders for the Canadian national food include poutine and butter tarts. Other popular Canadian made foods include indigenous fried bread bannock, French tourtière, Kraft Dinner, ketchup chips, date squares, nanaimo bars, back bacon, and the caesar cocktail. Canada is the birthplace and world’s largest producer of maple syrup.
Sports & Recreations
The roots of organized sports in Canada date back to the 1770s. Canada’s official national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse. Golf, tennis, skiing, badminton, volleyball, cycling, swimming, bowling, rugby union, canoeing, equestrian, squash and the study of martial arts are widely enjoyed at the youth and amateur levels.
Canada shares several major professional sports leagues with the United States. Canadian teams in these leagues include seven franchises in the National Hockey League, as well as three Major League Soccer teams and one team in each of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Other popular professional sports in Canada include Canadian football, which is played in the Canadian Football League, National Lacrosse League lacrosse, and curling.