Canada has a great deal to shout about. It is a land of stunningly beautiful landscapes, blessed with ancient forests, rugged mountains, fjord-slashed coastlines, and glittering lakes. Canada is also the home of ice hockey, Niagara Falls, Mounties, and maple syrup. Its unique combination of glorious beauty makes it one of the most magical places in the world. Here are some interesting facts about Canada.
Facts about Canada
1. Canada is the second-largest country in the world.
Canada’s sheer amount of elbow space can make your head twirl. It has a total area of 9,984,670 km² (3,855,100 sq mi), making it the second-largest country in the world after Russia.
To put Canada’s size into context, it is 41 times the size of the United Kingdom or over three times the size of India. Canada is so big that the easternmost point in Newfoundland (its easternmost province) is closer to London, across the Atlantic, than it is to Vancouver.
2. Canada has six different time zones.
Canada is so massive that it has six different time zones covering four and a half hours. From west to east these time zones are Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic, and Newfoundland.
3. If you walked non-stop it would take you five-and-a-half years to walk the length of Canada’s coastline.
One of the most staggering facts about Canada is how immense its coastline is. Canada has by far the world’s longest coastline and it stretches over 243,042 km (151,019 mi). This figure includes the mainland coast and the coasts of offshore islands. So, if you walked non-stop at the average walking speed of 5 kmh (3.1 mph), it would take you five-and-a-half years to walk the length of Canada’s coastline.
4. Canada has the world’s fourth-highest number of islands.
With 52,455 islands, Canada ranks number four in the world of countries with most islands (behind Sweden, Finland, and Norway).
5. Canada is home to the world’s largest island in a freshwater lake.
Located in Northeastern Ontario on Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island and covers an area of 2,766 km² (1,068 sq mi). Uniquely, Manitoulin Island also contains more than 100 inland lakes, some of which have their own islands!
6. Of the 1.42 million lakes around the world with a size of over 0.1 km² (10 hectares), Canada is home to a whopping 62% of them.
According to a study conducted by geographers at McGill University, Canada is home to the largest number of lakes in the world. Of the 1.42 million lakes around the world with a size of over 0.1 km² (the size of about 18.5 football fields), Canada is home to a colossal 62% of them.
This means that Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined and there are approximately 879,800 lakes in Canada. Among Canada’s largest lakes are Great Bear Lake in the Northwestern Territories, Lake Huron and Lake Superior in Ontario, and Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba.
7. Canada is home to the deepest lake in North America.
Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories is the deepest lake in North America at 614 m (2,014 ft). It is also the second-largest lake entirely in Canada after Great Bear Lake.
8. Canada is home to the world’s longest freshwater beach.
One of the obscure facts about Canada is that it is home to the world’s longest freshwater beach. Located in Ontario’s Georgian Bay, Wasaga Beach is the world’s longest freshwater beach at 14 km (8.7 mi) long.
9. The highest tides in the world occur in Canada.
Wedged between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy experiences the world’s largest tidal variations reaching up to 16.2 m (53 ft), or the height of a five-story building. The most extreme tides in the bay occur twice each month when the earth, moon, and sun are in alignment and together they create a larger-than-usual gravitational pull on the ocean.
Twice each day, over 160 billion tons of seawater surges in and out—more than the flow of the world’s freshwater rivers combined! This is because of the funnel shape and depth of the Bay of Fundy, and a little physics of course.
10. Canada shares the longest international border in the world with the US.
Canada’s border with the United States is the world’s longest international border, at 8,890 km (5,524 mi).
11. Canada’s lowest recorded temperature is as cold as the surface temperature on Mars.
It’s no secret that Canada gets extremely cold in the winter. However, a temperature recorded in the small village of Snag in Yukon Territory makes the rest of Canada’s winter weather seem like a relaxing beach vacation. A temperature of -63°C (-81.4°F) was recorded in Snag on 3 February 1947. That’s roughly the same temperature as the surface of Mars!
12. Canada has its own version of the Dead Sea.
Canada is home to Little Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan, its very own version of the Dead Sea. Fed by underground springs, the 13.4 km² (5.2 sq mi) lake has mineral salt concentrations of 180 gm per liter (about half of that of the Dead Sea) making it extremely buoyant.
13. Canada is home to the world’s northernmost settlement with a permanent (year-round) population.
Situated at a latitude of 82°28′ N, Alert, Nunavut is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. It lies at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, just 817 km (507 mi) south of the North Pole. Alert is home to military and scientific personnel working in the area.
14. The town of Pincher Creek in Canada once saw a record temperature rise of 41°C (73.6°F), from -19°C (-2.2°F) to 22°C (71.6°F) in just one hour.
The Canadian province of Alberta is famous for its chinooks — warm, dry, gusty winds that rush down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains towards southern Alberta (from November to May). Often moving at hurricane-force speeds of 120 kmh (75 mph), Chinooks bring bewildering temperature changes that can melt ice within a couple of hours.
In 1962, the small town of Pincher Creek in southwest Alberta saw a record temperature rise of 41°C (73.6°F), from -19°C (-2.2°F) to 22°C (71.6°F) in just one hour!
15. Canada is home to the foggiest place in the world.
The foggiest place in the world is the Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland. This is because the cold water from the Labrador Current from the north meets the warmer Gulf Stream from the south. This results in the Grand Banks experiencing a whopping 206 days of fog a year. In the summer, it’s foggy 84% of the time!
The fog is naturally a serious hazard to ships in the region. In fact, the Grand Banks are quite close to where the Titanic sunk in 1912.
16. Canada has its own version of the Loch Ness Monster.
One of the coolest facts about Canada is that it has its very own Loch Ness Monster. Ogopogo is to Canada what Nessie is to Scotland. The yet-to-be-identified Ogopogo is believed to patrol the depths of the Okanagan Lake, one of British Columbia’s most picturesque lakes.
Ogopogo first came to public attention in 1926 and sightings are still reported today. The multi-humped serpentine creature is said to be over 25 m (82 ft) long, with the head of a horse snake or sheep.
17. The oldest known rocks in the world are found in Canada.
The oldest rocks on the planet can be found in an area of exposed bedrock on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay, in northern Quebec. The 4.28 billion-year-old rock was discovered by geologists in 2001.
18. The largest national park in Canada is larger in area than Denmark and Switzerland.
Canada is home to almost 40 national parks which cover about 3.3% of the total land area of Canada. Out of these, the Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada and also the second-largest national park in the world.
The park is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories. Covering a massive 44,807 km² (17,300 sq mi), the Wood Buffalo National Park is marginally larger than countries of Switzerland and Denmark
19. Canada is home to the longest recreational trail in the world.
The Great Trail — previously known as the Trans Canada Trail is the longest recreational trail in the world at a staggering 23,921 km (14,864 mi). Of course, it’s not exactly one trail but connects, as you’d imagine, hundreds of smaller, regional trails (a hodgepodge of greenways, gravel roads, waterways, and roadways) meander from coast to coast across Canada.
20. The Norse explorer Leif Erikson was the first European to reach Canada.
The east coast of Canada was settled by the Vikings in approximately 1000 AD. The Norse built a small encampment that only lasted a few years at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland.
21. The first permanent year-round European settlement in Canada was established at Port Royal in 1604.
French explorer Samuel de Champlain established the first permanent year-round European settlement at Port Royal, Nova Scotia in 1604.
22. Before European settlement, Canada was inhabited by Indigenous Canadians (also known as Aboriginal Canadians or First Peoples).
The Aboriginal peoples of Canada are composed of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The Inuit are the dominant people of the territory extending from northern Alaska to Greenland. They are distinct from all other Canadian Aboriginal peoples by virtue of their culture, language, and Asiatic physical features. The Métis are people descended from the offspring of Aboriginal women and European fur traders.
“First Nation” is a term used to describe Aboriginal peoples of Canada who are ethnically neither Métis nor Inuit. First Nations people have lived in Canada for thousands of years, and Europeans made contact with them.
23. The name Canada comes from an Iroquoian word.
Between 1534 and 1542, French-Breton explorer Jacques Cartier made three voyages across the Atlantic to Canada. During his second journey, he heard some Iroquois (an Indigenous tribe) youth use the word “Kanata” when pointing to a village. They were actually trying to guide him to a small settlement which is near present-day Quebec City. Cartier used the similar-sounding word “Canada” to refer to the whole area.
24. The French colony of Canada was called “New France”.
Parts of Canada were a French colony within the larger territory of New France, first claimed in the name of the king of France in 1535. French rule lasted until 1763.
25. Canada was solely under the control of the United Kingdom from 1763 to 1867.
The English established settlements in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Hudson Bay in the 17th century. However, it wasn’t really until 1763 that the British established dominance over Canada when France ceded nearly all of New France to the United Kingdom after the French defeat in the Seven Years’ War.
26. Canada officially became a country in 1867.
Canada became a country on 1 July 1867, when the British Parliament passed the British North America Act creating a new country composed of four provinces. These provinces included New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while the former colony Canada was split into two provinces—Ontario and Quebec.
The 1st of July is now celebrated as Canada Day. However, although many Canadians believe that Canada Day marks the country’s independence, it really only established Canada as a semi-independent “Dominion” of the British Empire; the new polity did not yet have full autonomy. The earliest celebrations of 1 July were actually called Dominion Day rather than Canada Day.
27. Canada only gained full independence in 1982.
Canada didn’t achieve instant independence in 1867 but has rather undergone gradual independence. When the Dominion of Canada was created in 1867 it was granted powers of self-government to deal with all internal matters, but the United Kingdom still retained overall legislative supremacy. Then in 1931, The Statute of Westminster formalized the arrangement and made it clear that Canada had its own foreign policy.
Canada only became fully independent when its constitution was patriated to the Canadian parliament by a UK act of parliament in 1982. This meant that Canada was finally allowed to change its constitution without approval from the United Kingdom.
28. Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s head of state.
Although Canada is a sovereign independent nation, it is a constitutional monarchy. Being a former British colony, Queen Elizabeth II still serves as Canada’s monarch and head of state.
However, the Queen does not have a role in the day-to-day running of Canada. The real executive power over Canada lies in the hands of its prime minister. On the advice of the Prime Minister, the Queen appoints the Governor-General, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada.
29. Despite its tropical name, Hawaiian pizza is actually a Canadian creation.
One of the most surprising facts about Canada is that it is where Hawaiian Pizza originated. Hawaiian Pizza actually originated in Ontario, Canada in the 1960s, when Greek immigrant Sam Panopoulos decided to pair ham and pineapple atop a pizza he was serving his customers. Panopoulos named it Hawaiian Pizza from the brand of canned pineapple used on the topping.
30. Canada consumes more macaroni and cheese than any other nation in the world.
Out of the 7 million boxes of macaroni and cheese sold each week around the world, Canadians purchase 1.7 million of them. In fact, Canadians buy more mac and cheese than any other packaged grocery item.
Canadians eat a colossal 55% more of it a year than Americans do. However, the de facto national dish is known as Kraft Dinner or KD to Canadians. This obsession with mac and cheese has led to a slew of variations including white cheddar, alfredo, and spicy cheddar.
31. Canada produces over 80% of the world’s maple syrup.
Maple syrup was first used by the Indigenous People of Canada as a sweetener. The province of Quebec alone accounts for over 90% of Canada’s maple syrup production. Maple syrup is so integral to the Canadian economy that a global strategic maple syrup reserve in Quebec holds about 40 million kg (90 million lbs) of the delectable liquid gold, or more than $250 million worth.
32. Canada has some wacky place names.
Some of the weirdest and wackiest place names in Canada are “Dildo”, “Blow Me Down”, “Come By Chance”, and “Goobies” in Newfoundland and Labrador, “St. Louis Du Ha! Ha!” in Quebec, “Stoner” in British Columbia, and “Climax” in Saskatchewan.
33. Poutine is the national dish of Canada.
Though Canada has no official national dish, the popular Quebecer dish of poutine is often cited as Canada’s national dish. Poutine, which dates back to the late 1950s, is a mix of French Fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
34. The official languages of Canada are English and French.
Under Canadian law, both English and French have official status throughout Canada, in respect of all government services, including the courts, and all federal legislation is enacted bilingually.
35. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual Canadian province.
New Brunswick’s two official languages are English and French. Approximately two-thirds of New Brunswickers are anglophone while the rest are francophone. People from New Brunswick have the right to receive provincial government services in the official language of their choice. Quite practical!
36. Quebec is the only officially French-speaking Canadian province.
Over three-fourths of Quebec’s population are native francophones, and 95 percent of the population speak French as their first or second language.
37. Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada.
On July 20, 2005, Canada legalized same-sex marriage.
38. Canada has the third-largest oil reserves of any country in the world.
Canada has more oil than you think. It has the third-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Over 95% of these reserves are in the oil sand deposits in the province of Alberta.
39. Canada is home to the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.
With a height of 553.3 m (1,815.3 ft), the CN Tower in Toronto is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. Completed in 1976, it held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years until 2007 when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
40. Smelling bad is illegal in Canada.
Better emanate a pleasant odor in Canada otherwise anyone offending a public place with an offensive smell could face two years in jail.
41. Prostitution is legal in Canada.
Prostitution laws are strange in Canada. The purchase of sexual services is criminalized, but the selling of sexual services is allowed under certain conditions. So basically, buying the services of a prostitute is illegal. Go figure!
42. Comic books depicting a crime are illegal in Canada.
Quite ironic given that Superman was co-created by Canadian Joe Shuster. Plus Wolverine, Deadpool, Guardian, and Captain Canuck are all Canadian.
43. Ice hockey is Canada’s national winter sport.
Probably one of the least surprising Canada facts. For most Canadian, ice hockey is a way of life. Some of the greatest ice hockey players from Canada are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Mike Bossy.
44. Lacrosse is Canada’s national summer sport.
Lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America. Initially. lacrosse was a field game or ritual played by First Nations, and it became popular among non-Aboriginal peoples in the mid-1800s. Lacrosse is a team sport in which players pass, catch, and carry a rubber ball, using sticks with a netted pouch at one end. The object of lacrosse is to accumulate points by shooting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
45. Canada is home to the most northerly active sand dunes in the world.
The Athabasca Sand Dunes in northern Saskatchewan are the most northerly active sand dunes in the world. A geological anomaly, the dune fields stretch for 100 km (62 mi) along the shore of Lake Athabasca, with some dunes reaching almost 30 m (100 ft) high. Sand dunes are classified as “active” because of the constant movement within them. The active sand dunes of Athabasca travel southeast at a rate of about 1.5 m (5 ft) per year, creating a literally moving landscape.
The fragile environment of the Athabasca Sand Dunes supports a unique ecosystem that’s rich in rare and endemic plants. 300 plant species can be found here, 10 of which are endemic, and at least 42 of them are considered rare. The dunes themselves are believed to have been formed about 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, during the last glacial period.
46. Canada is the birthplace of organized ice hockey.
The first official indoor ice hockey game took place on 3 March, 1875, at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal. It was played with a wooden puck and sticks imported from Nova Scotia for the special occasion.
47. The national animal of Canada is the North American Beaver.
Beavers are the largest rodents in North America and the second largest in the world.
48. Canada has the most doughnut shops per capita of any country in the world.
Although the doughnut is often perceived to be an American icon, it has become Canada’s unofficial national snack.
49. Toronto is the largest city in Canada.
Home to three million people, Toronto is often referred to as the most multicultural city in the world.
50. Ottawa is the capital of Canada.
Ottawa is the cosmopolitan capital of Canada and was previously known as Bytown.
51. Canada is home to the largest shopping mall in North America.
At 350,000 m² (3,800,000 sq ft), West Edmonton Mall is easily the largest shopping mall in North America. Opened in 1981, West Edmonton Mall was the world’s largest mall until 2004.
52. The iconic Canadian national flag was only adopted in 1965.
Yep, Canada only got its own flag 98 years after it became a country – on February 15, 1965.
53. Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico.
Spread over the promontory Cap Diamant and the banks of the St Lawrence River, Quebec City is one of Canada’s most beautifully located cities, and certainly its most historic one. The city’s old town, surrounded by solid fortifications, is the only walled city in North America. Quebec City is also home to the iconic Château Frontenac, often claimed to be the most photographed hotel in the world.
54. Canada is home to the largest ice skating rink in the world.
According to Guinness World Records, the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa is the largest ice skating rink in the world. It is 7.8 km (4.8 mi) long and has a total maintained surface area of 165, 621 m² (1.782 million ft²), which is equivalent to 90 Olympic size skating rinks.
55. Canada is home to 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Out of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada, nine are cultural sites, ten are natural sites, and there’s one mixed site. The cultural sites include Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Historic District of Old Quebec, Old Town Lunenburg, and Red Bay Basque Whaling Station.
Some of the most famous Canadian natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites include Dinosaur Provincial Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, and Gros Morne National Park.
56. Canada was the second country in the world to fully legalize cannabis.
In 2018, Canada became the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalize the cultivation, possession, acquisition, and consumption of cannabis and its by-products.
57. Canada takes care of its citizens.
Canada provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens.
58. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games three times.
Canada has hosted the Summer Olympics once: 1976 in Montreal and the Winter Olympics twice: 1988 in Calgary and 2010 in Vancouver.
59. The famous Canadian interjection “eh” is listed in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary as a valid word.
Canadian English is a weird amalgam of British English and American English and certainly has its quirks. The “eh” is one of the most unique features of spoken Canadian English. Used to express agreement, surprise, and more “eh” is similar to the meaning of “right?”, “Excuse me?”, “Please repeat that”.
60. The most common last name in Canada is “Li”.
Contrary to popular belief, the most common surname in Canada isn’t “Smith”. Canada is home to a substantial Chinese community and as such “Li” is the most common last name in the country.
61. Christianity is the predominant religion in Canada.
Although the share of Christians in Canada is gradually getting smaller, Christianity remains by far the most prevalent religion in the country. Approximately two-thirds of Canada’s population claim to be Christians. The majority of Christians in Australia are Catholics and Protestants.
62. Canada is home to North America’s largest one-day parade.
The city of Toronto hosts Carabana, a festival celebrating Caribbean culture, which happens to be North America’s largest one-day parade. The parade covers 3.6 km (2.2 mi) and hosts over one million spectators on an annual basis.
63. Canada is the most educated country in the world.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, Canada is the most educated country globally with over 56 percent of Canadian adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree.
64. Canada has more polar bears than anywhere in the world.
It is estimated that approximately 60% of the world’s 25,000-30,000 polar bears can be found in Canada. The town of Churchill in northern Manitoba even has a polar bear jail for polar bears that are considered troublesome or dangerous!
65. Many significant things have originated in Canada.
This is definitely one of our favorite facts about Canada. Some of the most famous Canadian inventions are the modern alkaline battery, the polio vaccine, insulin treatment for diabetes, the snowmobile, the snowblower, the electric cooking range, IMAX, the walkie-talkie, the garbage bag, the paint roller, the wonderbra, peanut butter, and canola oil.
66. About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within 160 km (100 mi) of the Canada/US border.
Yup, you better believe it!
67. Santa Claus is a Canadian citizen.
At least according to the Canadian government, he is! In 2010, Canada’s immigration minister officially declared Santa Claus to be a Canadian citizen by pointing out that St. Nick’s iconic red and white suit is perfectly patriotic as the colors of the Canadian flag. In 2013, Santa Claus even received his very own Canadian passport. You can write a letter in any language and send it to the North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada and you will receive a letter back from Santa.
68. Canada is extremely rich in mineral wealth.
Canada is the world leader in the production of potash and ranks among the top five global producers for cadmium, cobalt, diamonds, gemstones, gold, graphite, indium, nickel, niobium, platinum group metals, salt, and uranium.
69. Commercial pop music stations in Canada must play at least 35% Canadian content.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission mandates that commercial pop music stations must play at least 35% Canadian content in order to support Canadian artists. That ratio is even higher for public broadcasts by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) or the French equivalent, Radio Canada, which are required to play at least 50% Canadian music.
70. Canada was the first country in the world to have created a UFO landing pad.
Canada has been fully prepared for an alien invasion since 1967 when it became the first country in the world to have created a 130-ton UFO landing pad in St. Paul, Alberta.
71. The highest point in Canada is 5,995 m (19,551 ft) above sea level.
The highest point in Canada can be found at Mount Logan, in Yukon, which rises to an elevation of 5,995 m (19,551 ft) above sea level. It is named after Canadian geologist William Edmond Logan, who is a founding member of the Geological Survey of Canada.
72. Canada is Home To the Greatest purely vertical drop in the World.
One of the most unknown facts about Canada is that it is home to Mount Thor, which features the world’s greatest vertical drop. Located in Auyuittuq National Park, on Baffin Island in Nunavut, Mount Thor features Earth’s greatest vertical drop of 1,250 m (4,101 ft), with its cliff overhanging at an average angle of 15 degrees from vertical.