Despite its size, not very many people live there – in fact, it’s one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. Here’s a selection of the most fascinating Canada facts.
- Canada is gargantuan
Despite being a single country, Canada spans an incredible 386 billion square miles. Due to its massive land area, it falls into six different time zones, which is more than Europe and the same number as its closest neighbor, the United States. Canada is the second-largest country in the world in terms of area; it’s only superseded by Russia.
- The population of Canada
Although Canada is the second-biggest country in the world, it’s home to relatively few people. A little over 36 million people currently live there, meaning that its population density is a mere ten people per square mile. To put that into context, the United States has 92.2 people per square mile!
- Natural wonders aplenty
Much of the country is uninhabited and blessed with varied terrains and spectacular landscapes. One Canada fact is that it’s home to the fifth-largest island on earth: Baffin Island. It’s also where you’ll find the largest freshwater island on the planet: Manitoulin Island. Interestingly, the country actually holds 20 percent of all the fresh water in the world thanks to its impressive number of lakes.
- Canada’s modern flag
The maple leaf is as synonymous with Canada as grizzly bears and lumberjacks, but this emblematic image hasn’t always been on the country’s flag – it only came into use in 1965.
- Canada or Kanata?
Legend has it that Canada got its name due to a misunderstanding when an intrepid explorer met the local native population. It’s said that the Frenchman Jacques Cartier mistook the word "kanata," meaning "village" in the local dialect. "Canada" henceforth took hold, and the name been in use ever since.
- The invention of basketball
While a lot of people might associate basketball with Canada's southern neighbor, the United States, the game was actually invented by a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith. The Canadian sports teacher was looking for a new game to keep his students occupied during the long, harsh winters when he was teaching at a YMCA training school in Massachusetts.
- Canada has a lot of wildlife
The blue whale, the world's largest creature, calls Canada home for part of the year. This marine mammal, which can grow up to an astonishing 89 feet in length, lives off Canada's eastern coast. The wood bison, North America’s biggest land animal, lives in the wilderness of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Once numbering more than 168,000, only 10,000 of these animals are now thought to remain – mainly due to the harsh winters but also partly due to hunting.
The sheer size and dramatic landscapes of Canada are its prevailing draw, and, along with cosmopolitan cities, the country is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and creativity, which manifests through its wildlife, landscapes, and role in shaping world culture.