Canada needs no introduction. I was studying in Chandigarh when I saw the craze of Canada or Canneda as we lovingly call it. Do you know that the roots of the Punjabi community are so strong here that Punjabi is the third language of the country?
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. It is surrounded by Arctic Ocean in the North, Pacific Ocean in the West and Atlantic Ocean in the East. It shares the border with United States in the southern region.
The name Canada originates from ‘kanata’, which means village or settlement. In 1535, when French explorer Jacques Cartier came to the new world, he met with local Natives who invited him to their ‘kanata’. The word stuck and the country was named. Let’s find out more fun facts about the country:
20 Interesting facts about Canada
1. Canada is the second largest country in the world. And therefore it ranks first in a lot of things. Let’s take a look.
1.a. Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined.
1.b. There are 3 million lakes in Canada if you include smaller lakes as well. Twenty percent of the world’s fresh water is in Canada
1.c. Canada has the world’s longest coastline, bordered on three sides by three different oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific. It is 202,080 kilometers long and would take you 4.5 years to cover the distance.
1.d. Canada has 10 per cent of the world’s forests.
1.e. Canada shares the world’s longest non-military border with the United States.
1.f. Yonge Street in Ontario is the longest street in the world (1896 km).
1.g. Canada is home to the oldest rocks on earth that date back to 4.28 billion-year.
1.f. Canada’s national parks are bigger than most countries. Wood Buffalo National Park is the country’s largest national park at 44,807 square kilometers. It is also the world’s second-largest national park.
2. It’s no surprise that Canada is a cold country. The lowest temperature recorded in the country is -63 degrees Celsius. We can’t even imagine the cold but the Martians can as that’s roughly the same temperature as the surface of Mars!
3. The world’s polar bear capital is Churchill in Canada. Of 25,000 Polar Bears, about 15,000 live in Churchill. The town also has one of a kind prison for polar bears where polar bears that are considered troublesome or dangerous are isolated before they can be relocated. Sometimes in winter the town is home to more polar bears than people. The few residents who live there also leave their cars and homes unlocked in case they or a visitor need a quick escape from a polar bear.
4. A stack of pancakes with maple syrup is my favourite breakfast on a vacation. Canada is the highest producer (71%) of maple syrup in the world.
And the Canadians are pretty serious about the maple syrup business. In 2012 the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist was national news when someone stole 3000 tons of maple syrup in Quebec valued at $18 million dollars.
Canada also has a strategic maple syrup reserve to ensure global supply in case of emergency.
5. We all know that Canada is a welcoming country with immigrants from all over the world. But did you know that they are welcoming the aliens too? The world’s first landing pad for UFO’s was built in St Paul, Alberta in 1967.
6. Canadians are polite people and tend to apologize a lot. In fact they say sorry so much that an Apology Act had to be passed in 2009 making apologies inadmissible in court. It was done to simplify the court proceedings since an apology could suggest guilt.
7. The country has some interesting laws too.
7a. Prostitution is legal in Canada, but buying a prostitute’s services is illegal. Confusing isn’t it?
7b. Smelling bad is illegal in Canada – Anyone offending a public place with an offending smell could face 2 years in jail.
7c. It’s illegal to carry a product designed for personal protection against a human attack, including Pepper spray.
8. Canadians are the most educated bunch in the world. At least 56% of the total population has a post-secondary education. Plus, the country has a 99% literacy rate.
9. Ho Ho Ho – Santa Claus is Canadian! Yes, in 2008 our beloved Santa was given a full Canadian citizenship. He also has an official address where you can send a letter and you will get a reply from Santa himself. Every Christmas, 1 million letters are addressed to Santa Claus at his own postal code: “H0H 0H0, North Pole, Canada.”
10. This one’s quite interesting. Few parts of Canada have less gravity than the rest of Earth. It was discovered that gravity isn’t uniform all over the earth’s surface and there’s an area in the Hudson Bay region that has less gravity than the rest of the planet. Average resident weighs about a tenth of an ounce less than they would weigh elsewhere.
11. The Police Departments in Canada not only help the citizens, but they also encourage them by giving out “positive tickets” when they see people doing something positive.
During World War II, Canada gave out buttons to people who tried to enlist but were refused due to medical reasons to show their willingness to fight.
12. It’s funny to know how the Canadians fight over a piece of land. Hans Island is an uninhabited rock in the Arctic and the land is a reason for dispute between Canada and Denmark since the 1930s. And how are they fighting it, you ask? Both countries take turns placing their flags and bottles of alcohol on the island to claim their territory. The Canadians leave a bottle of Canadian Club and the Danes a bottle of schnapps. I don’t know if and how the dispute will be resolved but hey at least no one’s getting hurt.
13. Alert, Nunavut, is the world’s northernmost settlement. It lies 817 kilometres from the North Pole. It is the temporary home to military and scientific personnel working in the area.
14. Some of the crimes committed in the country are weird and funny at times. In 2015, a man who tied about 100 helium balloons to a garden chair and flew over the Canadian city of Calgary was charged with causing mischief. He later told police that he was planning on parachuting into the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo event, to promote his cleaning-products company. It would have been a crazy entry but he lost control and had to land before he reached the event.
15. In Canada, due to a chronic shortage of coinage, playing cards were once used as currency.
16. There is a strip club in Ontario, Canada that doubles as a church on Sunday.
17. There is a famous cocktail in Dawson City, Yukon called ‘Sourtoe’. It is whisky with a mummified human toe inside. The history of how the cocktail come to be is equally weird. In the 1920s, two brothers, Louie and Otto got caught in a blizzard and Louie’s foot got frozen. Otto used his axe to chop off Louie’s toe and placed it in a jar of alcohol to commemorate the event.
In 1973, legend has it that Captain Dick Stevenson found the jar (and the toe) in a remote cabin and he came up with the idea of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. To join the club you had to drink the legendary Sourtoe Cocktail. There’s just one rule: “You can drink it fast. You can drink it slow. But your lips must touch that gnarly toe.”
Many people still come to the town and take on the challenge. People have also donated their toes and there are 10 toes which are used in rotation.
18. You must have heard about frozen lakes but do you know that the Atlantic Ocean sometimes freezes in Newfoundland, Canada. And the people play hockey on it. O Canada!
19. Around 90% of Canada’s land area is uninhabited. Canada’s population density is among the lowest in the world, at 3.7 inhabitants per sq km (9.6/sq mi).
20. Canadians love their donuts and the country is the number 1 donut consumer in the world. 1 billion donuts are consumed annually.
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Canada:
Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls need no introduction. These spectacular series of three awe-inspiring waterfalls are situated on the border of Canada’s Ontario and the United States’ New York. The Ontario side of the falls is called Horseshoe Falls and offers the best views and most attractions. The second you see the mammoth Niagara River rumbling toward a 188-foot waterfall, your mouth will drop. There is a misty fog around the falls but you can hear the sound from miles away.
Banff National Park: One of the oldest national parks in Canada, Banff National Park showcases some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery. Turquoise-colored lakes, snow-capped peaks, and glaciers are all easily accessible in this stunning park. Lake Lou with its green waters reflecting the surrounding mountains and glaciers is the star here. There is a lovely little town of Banff at the end of the park which serves as the tourist base. The park is also a major winter sports area and Canada’s prominent ski destination.
Read more about the place here.
Quebec City: Cobblestone streets, towering cathedrals, quaint bakeries, sound of French pleasantries. No, it’s not in France. You are in Quebec. This UNESCO World heritage site is one of Canada’s historic gems. It is a little piece of Europe in Canada. What makes it unique is that it is the only city north of Mexico that still has fortified walls.