Quick Guide to Canada What every Canadian citizen and immigrants who seek citizenship must know.
The Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon contain one-third of Canada's land mass but have a population of only 100,000. There are gold, lead, copper, diamond and zinc mines. The North is sometimes called the "Land of the Midnight Sun" because at the height of summer, daylight can last up to 24 hours. In winter, the sun disappears, and darkness sets in for three months. Much of the North is made up of tundra, the vast rocky Arctic plain. Because of the cold Arctic climate, there are no trees on the tundra and the soil is permanently frozen. Some continue to earn a living by hunting, fishing and trapping. Inuit art is sold throughout Canada and around the world.
Thousands of non-indigenous miners came to the Yukon territory during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. Mining remains a significant part of the economy. The White Pass and Yukon Railway, opened from Skagway in neighbouring Alaska to the territorial capital, Whitehorse, in 1900, provides a spectacular tourist excursion across precipitous passes and bridges. Yukon holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada (-63°C).
The Northwest Territories (NWT) were originally carved up by the colonizers in 1870 from Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory. The capital, Yellowknife (population 20,000), is called the "diamond capital of North America." More than half the population is Aboriginal Canadian (Dene, Inuit and Métis). The Mackenzie River, at 4,200 km, is the second-longest river system in North America after the Mississippi and drains an area of 1.8 million sq. km.
Nunavut, meaning "our land" in Inuktitut, was established in 1999 from the eastern part of the Northwest Territories, including all of the former District of Keewatin. The capital is now known as Iqaluit, changed from former colonial name Frobisher Bay after Martin Frobisher, who came to chart the Arctic for the British Queen in 1576. The 19-member Legislative Assembly chooses a premier and ministers by consensus. The population is about 85% Inuit, and Inuktitut is an official language and the first language in schools.
British Columbia is known for its majestic mountains and as Canada's Pacific gateway. The Port of Vancouver, Canada's largest and busiest, handles billions of dollars in goods traded around the world.
British Columbia, on the Pacific coast, is Canada's westernmost province, with a population of four million. The Port of Vancouver is our gateway to the Asia-Pacific. About one-half of all the goods produced in B.C. are forestry products, including lumber, newsprint, and pulp and paper products. B.C. is also known for mining, fishing, and the fruit orchards and wine industry of the Okanagan Valley. B.C. has the most extensive parks system in Canada, with approximately 600 provincial parks. The province's large Asian communities have made Chinese and Punjabi the most spoken languages in the cities after English. The capital, Victoria, is a world-renowned tourist centre.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are the Prairie Provinces, rich in energy resources and some of the most fertile farmland in the world.
Manitoba's economy is based on agriculture, mining and hydro-electric power generation. The province's most populous city is Winnipeg, whose Exchange District includes the most famous street intersection in Canada, Portage and Main. Winnipeg's French Quarter, St. Boniface, has Western Canada's largest Francophone community at 45,000. Manitoba is also an important centre of Ukrainian culture, with 14% reporting Ukrainian origins , and the largest Aboriginal population of any province, at over 15%.
Saskatchewan, once known as the "breadbasket of the world" and the "wheat province," has 40% of the arable land in Canada and is the country's largest producer of grains and oilseeds. It also boasts the world's richest deposits of uranium and potash, used in fertilizer, and produces oil and natural gas. Regina, the capital, is home to the training academy of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Saskatoon, the largest city, is the headquarters of the mining industry and an important educational, research and technology centre.
Alberta is the most populous Prairie province. The province, and the world-famous Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains, were both named after the fourth daughter of British Queen Victoria. Alberta has five national parks, including Banff National Park, established in 1885. The rugged Badlands house some of the world's richest deposits of prehistoric fossils and dinosaur finds. Alberta is the largest producer of oil and gas in Canada, and home to the Tar Sands in the north, an environmentally controversial energy source development. Alberta is also renowned for agriculture, especially for the vast cattle ranches that make Canada one of the world's major beef producers.
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Quick Guide to Canada
What every Canadian citizen and immigrants who seek citizenship must know.