CANADA FAST FACTS
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Drives On: Right
Phone Code: +1
National Day: July 1
Internet Domain: .ca
Electrical Outlets: Type A
Canadian World Heritage Sties: 18
Canada is a North American country made up of 10 provinces and 3 major territories. It shares a common border with the United States of America, which is also known as the longest land border in the world. In terms of land area, Canada is the fourth largest country in the world. But if you consider the total area that it covers from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean, it is the second largest country in the world. Travel to Canada to see the many beautiful attractions this country has to offer.
Canada is a well-developed country and listed as having the 10th highest income on a global scale. The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development has concluded that the quality of life in this country is higher than most other countries in the world.
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Official Language: There are two official languages in Canada: French and English.
WiFi Availability: There are several free WiFi hotspots in Canada. Just last year, Canada has rolled out WiFi hotspots in their national parks and historic sites. The WiFi availability in some of these areas are limited though as some locations are not covered by 3G or 4G WiFi signal.
Airport/s: Toronto Pearson International Airport is the busiest airport in Canada as of 2014 in terms of passenger traffic (both domestic and international) and aircraft movement. This airport serves as the hub for international flights that travel to Canada.
Visa Required: Tourists from certain territories and countries do not need a visa to travel to Canada. Countries with visa exemptions include citizens from Britain, France, Greece, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and many more. For a full list of visa exemptions for travel to Canada, visit this link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas-all.asp#exemptions. Meanwhile, those that hold a tourist visa can stay in Canada for a maximum of 90 days.
Driving: Like the USA, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road in Canada.
International Driver’s License Accepted? If you hold a valid driver’s license from your home country, you can use it to drive in Canada over a short period of time. But it is advisable to obtain an International Driving Permit. It is also important to note that driving without insurance is strictly illegal in Canada.
Crime: Canada is a generally safe place to visit for tourists. Over the past two decades, there has been a consistent decline in crimes reported in Canada.
Electrical Adapters: The electrical supply and outlets used in Canada is similar to those in the United States of America: 110 volts and 60 Hertz.
Trivia: Canada is a huge country! It spans a total of six time zones!
Canadian Provinces and Territories
Canada is the second largest country in the world (only Russia is larger) in terms of land area, which means the waters are included in this measurement. But based on land area alone, it ranks fourth in the world. This means that Canada offers plenty of opportunities for tourists who want to explore and experience its natural sights, culture, and other attractions. Canada is also home to the largest proportion of freshwater lakes in the world; hence, you can expect to enjoy a wide range of water-based activities in the country.
To help determine which parts of Canada to go to first, you can learn more about each of the provinces that encompass this country below.
Ontario is one of the 13 provinces that make up Canada. It is also the most populous out of all provinces as it encompasses 40% of the entire country’s population. The capital city of Ontario is Ottawa, but Toronto is the most densely populated. The province is named after Lake Ontario, which is just one of many lakes in Ontario (there are 250,000 in total). The surrounding lakes cause a heavy influence on the climate of the region.
Highlights: CN Tower, Lake Ontario, Algoquin Provincial Park, Parliament Hill, Ottawa
British Columbia is located on the westernmost portion of Canada – right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. This ranks number three in Canada in terms of population among the provinces. However, British Columbia is best known as the site of the first British settlement in the country (specifically in Fort Victoria). To this day, the city of Victoria is recognized as the capital city of British Columbia, which started way back during the time of the British colonial invasion. It is an agriculturally rich province with a climate that is suitable for outdoor recreation. However, the Northern Interior portion of the province comes with a subarctic climate so expect winters to be extremely cold.
In terms of land area, Quebec is the largest province in Canada. It is bordered by other provinces such as Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick, as well as a few US states namely New York, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. This is the only part of Canada with a predominantly French-speaking population. In fact, French is the official language of the province. There are a few English-speaking communities though but they are concentrated around Montreal.
The substantial array of natural resources is one of the biggest parts of the economy in Quebec. Cultural tourism is also a huge component that boosts the local economy of the province. Its culture combines the historic roots with an aboriginal heritage and influences from the immigrants. The historic area of old Quebec is one of the best-preserved areas in the province and is also one of the most visited by tourists.
When talking about travel to Canada, the province of Alberta is often included in the conversation. This is not surprising given that the western province is home to many natural parks and other attractions that make the province famous. It is one of the three prairie provinces in Canada and is a lot similar to the neighboring Saskatchewan. It is also one of two landlocked provinces in Canada. Thus, the seasonal temperature changes in Alberta are not as stark as some other provinces.
Nova Scotia is a maritime province that you should explore when you travel to Canada. The provincial capital is the city of Halifax. It is one of the smaller provinces in Canada but nonetheless has plenty to offer in terms of sights and attractions. The beautiful coastal islands particularly in Cape Breton is a noteworthy attraction in the province.
Manitoba is another prairie province in Canada. With a population of about 1.3 million, it is one of the most populated provinces in Canada. Although it is recognized as a prairie province, there is actually a varied landscape throughout the province. It was home to the aboriginal people for many centuries. Thus, there is also a lot of culture and history to this province particularly in those regions involved with fur trade in the 17th century. Winnipeg is the capital city of this province.
The province of Saskatchewan is best known for its prairie and boreal landscape. It is the only province in Canada that does not have natural borders. About 10% of the province’s total land area consists of waters in the form of rivers and lakes. There are 100,000 lakes in total found within the province alone. Most of the residents in this province are concentrated on the southern prairie area. The northern portion is mostly uninhabited or sparsely populated. Prior to the modern settlement, there are various indigenous groups that inhabited the area. These indigenous groups were displaced from the region when the first European explorers arrived in 1690.
This is another maritime province in Canada that is located on the east coast. There are three known indigenous groups that were recognized as the original settlers of the region: Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Mi’kmaq. The proximity of the province to Europe also meant that it was one of the first places in North America to be conquered by the European explorers. It were the French who first settled on the island during the 17th century. In fact, it was the center of the action of the conflict between the French and British empire.
In terms of landscape, New Brunswick is somewhat different from other maritime provinces because it is dominated by forested uplands. About 83% of the province consist of forested areas. Hence, it is not as densely populated as other Canadian provinces.
This is another province in Canada that is located along the east coast. This province is located on the most easterly portion of Canada. However, about 92% of the population on the province inhabit Newfoundland, specifically in the Avalon Peninsula. The population of this province is also linguistically homogeneous with nearly 98% of the population speaking English. The non-English speaking residents are divided between French and Irish. Before 2001, the province was named only “Newfoundland”. But an amendment was signed in December 2001, which officially amended the province name to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Prince Edward Island is the last of three maritime provinces in Canada. It is a collection of islands that are of the same name. However, it is the smallest province in Canada in terms of population and land area. Farming is a huge part of the province’s economy. Specifically, they are best known for producing potatoes (in fact, 25% of the potatoes in Canada are farmed here).
Highlights: Prince Edward Island National Park, Green Gables, Province House, North Cape, Confederation Trail