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101 Facts About Canada

Canada is interesting. I’ve said that many times. Some have asked me “in what way?” So here are a few ways:

 

  1. 10% of the world’s forest is in Canada
  2. 15.9% of the population is 65 or older. 68.5% are between the ages of 15 and 64.
  3. 17% of Canadians are daily smokers.
  4. 280,681 new permanent residents were welcomed to Canada in 2010. That number does not include temporary workers or foreign students.
  5. A 9.3 kg lobster is the largest documented lobster caught. It was caught in Nova Scotia in 1977
  6. About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Canada/U.S. border.
  7. Canada became a country on July 1, 1867
  8. Canada birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
  9. Canada features the longest coastline in the world, stretching 202,080 kilometers (125,570 miles).
  10. Canada fertility rate is 1.59 children born/woman
  11. Canada has 198 jails.
  12. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games 3 times; 1976 in Montreal, 1988 in Calgary and 2010 in Vancouver.
  13. Canada has over 30,000 lakes.
  14. Canada has six time zones.
  15. Canada has ten provinces and three territories.
  16. Canada has the 9th lowest population density on the planet
  17. Canada highest point: Mount Logan 5,959 m
  18. Canada infant mortality rate is 5 deaths/1,000 live births
  19. Canada is home to 15 million cattle, 9 million of which live on the Prairies.
  20. Canada is home to about 55 000 different species of insects.
  21. Canada is rich in resources such as zinc, nickel, lead and gold.
  22. Canada is the largest producer of uranium in the world.
  23. Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area (Russia is the largest).
  24. Canada officially got its own national flag on February 15, 1965 — almost 100 years after it became a country (in 1867).
  25. Canada population growth rate: 0.77%
  26. Canada shares the longest land border in the world with the United States, totaling 8891 kilometers (5525 miles).
  27. Canada’s literacy rate is over 99%.
  28. Canada’s only desert in British Columbia is only 15 miles long and is the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk on.
  29. Canadian sports icons include Wayne Gretzky (hockey), Steve Nash (basketball), Mike Weir (golf) and Cassie Campbell (women’s hockey).
  30. Canadians call the one dollar coin the loonie. When in full production, 15 million loonies can be produced per day.
  31. Canadians can deduct a number of things from their tax software, but I bet you didn’t know that dog food is tax-deductible in Canada.
  32. Canadians generate 640 kilograms per person per year of waste.
  33. Churchill, Manitoba sees one of the largest annual polar bear migrations.
  34. Daylight savings time does not occur in Saskatchewan.
  35. Despite being a huge country, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world, with only three people living per square kilometer! Almost half of the population in Canada were born in other countries.
  36. Fifty percent of the world’s polar bears live in Nunavut.
  37. Graeme Ferguson co-invented IMAX. There are over 500 IMAX theaters in 45 countries.
  38. Half of the country is covered with forests, which should come as no surprise considering one-tenth of the world’s forests are here.
  39. Ice hockey, football and baseball are Canadians favorite spectator sports.
  40. In 1576, Martin Frobisher discovered the strait that bears his name.
  41. In 1792-94, Captain George Vancouver painstakingly surveyed the west coast of Canada.
  42. It wasn’t until 1610 that Henry Hudson sailed through Hudson Strait into Hudson Bay.
  43. Its population density is 8.6 people per square mile, making Canada the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world.
  44. John Cabot was the first explorer to reach Canada in 1497.
  45. Mackenzie River is the Longest River in Canada
  46. Navigation of the north-west passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was first achieved by the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen in 1906.
  47. Newfoundland didn’t become a province until 1949.
  48. Newfoundland is nicknamed “The Rock.’
  49. Newfoundland was the first part of Canada to be explored by Europeans
  50. No cows in Canada are given artificial hormones for milk production.
  51. Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province is only 225 kilometers long and 56 kilometers wide.
  52. Second-largest country in world.
  53. Six cities in Canada have a population of over 1 million: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
  54. Some of the world’s largest wheat fields are found in Saskatchewan.
  55. The 2 main languages spoken in Canada are English and French.
  56. The Bank of Canada opened its doors in 1935 and issued its first bank notes.
  57. The CN Tower in Toronto was the world’s tallest free-standing structure until 2007.
  58. The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea.”
  59. The Northwest Territories is called The Land of the Midnight Sun because the sun barely sets around the summer solstice.
  60. The Royal Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873, is the oldest golf club in North America.
  61. The S&P/TSX is the fourth largest exchange by market cap in the developed world.
  62. The US buys more oil from Canada than any other country.
  63. The US, the UK and Mexico are the top countries visited by Canadians.
  64. The West Edmonton Mall is the largest in North America
  65. The age at first marriage for men is 29 years, 27.4 years for women.
  66. The average Canadian watches 21 hours of television per week. 128,000 Canadian households have TV’s in the bathroom.
  67. The average household size in Canada is 2.6 people.
  68. The average life expectancy at birth is 81.16 years – the sixth highest in the world.
  69. The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.
  70. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa.
  71. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -63C (-81.4F) on February 3, 1957 in Snag, Yukon.
  72. The east coast of Canada was settled by Vikings in about 1000 AD. It’s definitely worth a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows.
  73. The first indoor ice hockey game took place on March 3, 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal.
  74. The highest mountain in Canada is Mount Logan, Yukon Territory, 5959 meters (19,551 feet).
  75. The intersection of Portage and Main Street in Winnipeg has been called the windiest place in Canada.
  76. The largest non-polar ice field in the world can be found in the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon Territory. It covers an area of 40,570 square kilometers of which 16,900 square kilometers are in Canada, the rest being in Alaska.
  77. The license plate for cars, motorbikes and snowmobiles in Nunavut is in the shape of a polar bear.
  78. The longest highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway which is over 7,604 kilometers (4,725 miles) in length.
  79. The median age is 41 years.
  80. The most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey.
  81. The name Canada comes from the word ‘kanata’ which means ‘settlement’ or ‘village’ in the language of the indigenous St Lawrence Iroquoians.
  82. The official languages of Canada are English and French.
  83. The population in Canada in 2011 was about 34.3 million.
  84. The regent of England, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Canadian head of state.
  85. The world’s most northerly sand dunes are in Athabasca Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan. They are 30 meters high.
  86. There are 459 cars for every 1000 people.
  87. There are about 200 species of mammals in Canada.
  88. There are diamond mines in the Northwest Territories.
  89. There are nearly 2.5 million caribou in Canada.
  90. There have been 10 Nobel Prize laureates in Canada.
  91. Thirty two percent of Canadians are very happy, 55% are quite happy
  92. Thomas Ahearn invented the electric cooking range in 1882.
  93. Wasaga beach is the longest fresh water beach in the world.
  94. Whistler, British Columbia is consistently ranked as one of the best places in North America for downhill skiing.
  95. Winnie The Pooh Was Based On A Canadian Bear
  96. Winters can be very cold in Canada with temperatures dropping below -40 °C (-40 °F) in some parts of the country.
  97. You can swim with beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba.
  98. You’ll find about 630 bird species in Canada.
  99. Recognised regional languages include Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tłı̨chǫ.
  100.  Currently, the Governor General is David Johnston, and the Prime Minister is Stephen Harper.
  101. The Vikings were the first Europeans known to land in Canada, in what is now Newfoundland, led by the Viking explorer Leif Erikson.
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When Are We At?

Map of time zones in Canada

Time Zones of Canada

 

Lately I have been in contact with people around Canada and I’ve done a lot of “if it’s three o’clock here, what time is it there?” and I get confused.  So today I’m posting about our different time zones.  The map included above should help visualize as well.

The Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming first proposed time zones for the entire world in 1876, and Canada, being a continental country, is included coast to coast with multiple zones.

GMT -8 Pacific Time (Yukon, British Columbia)

GMT -7 Mountain Time (Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut)

GMT -6 Central Time (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, portions of northwestern Ontario, Nunavut)

GMT -5 Eastern Time (Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut)

GMT -4 Atlantic Time (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, portions of Labrador and eastern Quebec)

GMT -3.5 Newfoundland Time (Newfoundland and a few Labrador points on the Strait of Belle Isle)

Daylight saving time, when clocks are moved forward by one hour, is observed in most of the country (except Saskatchewan) from 2AM on the second Sunday in March until 2AM on the second Sunday in November; during this time, such as, British Columbia uses GMT -7 while Alberta has GMT -6.

Anglophone Canada mostly uses the 12-hour clock system, but the 24-hour clock is generally used in francophone Canada. The 24-hour notation is also often used in English in such contexts as train and airline schedules.

 

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Google Shows Iqaluit

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Google did the Canadian Arctic proud! Just follow the link below, and be prepared to be awed … Well, sort of …

Canada’s North

 

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Pacific or Arctic?

Approximate extent of the Mackenzie River wate...

Approximate extent of the Mackenzie River watershed Longest river in Canada, the Mackenzie River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Alexander Mackenzie began his exploration of the Mackenzie River on June 3, 1789, four years before becoming the first man to cross the North American continent.

Mackenzie came to Canada from Scotland when he was fifteen to become a clerk for the Northwest Company in Montreal.  he became a minor partner and was sent to take charge of a trading post at Detroit.  However, the Nor’westers needed young, rugged men in the north, and Mackenzie was sent to build a post on Lake Athabaska in 1785.  He named it Fort Chipewyan.

Mackenzie soon became familiar with the surrounding territory, even Great Slave Lake, larger than Lake Ontario.  There was a giant river running north from Great Slave Lake and Mackenzie wanted to know where it went: to the Pacific, or the Arctic?

He set out in a canoe with a German, four French-Canadian voyageurs and two of their wives.  The women’s skills were essential on a long trip such as Mackenzie planned.  The expedition paddled the 230 miles to Great Slave Lake, where they had to wait for two weeks because it was still frozen.  By July 1, they were able to continue down the river which was, at times, six miles wide.  After they had gone 500 miles, they met some Indians who tried to stop them from going farther.  The Indians told such tales about the horrors of the river, and the evil spirits, that the German and the voyageurs were ready to turn back, but not Mackenzie.

By July 12, they had reached the river mouth.  It was dreary and disappointing.  The great river divided into narrow channels and flowed through marshy land into the Arctic Sea. Mackenzie spent three days there under the midnight sun, and then burned back.  Two months later he reached Fort Chipewyan.

It seems incredible that Mackenzie and his companions could have covered such a distance by canoe in such a short time, especially as they had to paddle back against the current.  From Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River is 1,200 miles long.  The distance to and from Lake Athabaska, where Fort Chipewyan is located, must also be added.

If you would like to read some more about this, I can suggest a few places. To start, I recommend Mapstor.com, and then Beyond the Map, and The Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route. Another interesting site is at Mackenzie River Bicentennial Dollar.

 

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Government Passes Manitoba Act

Manitoba and Northwest Territories (1900)

Manitoba and Northwest Territories (1900) (Photo credit: Manitoba Historical Maps)

Manitoba owes its name to two controversial characters, Thomas Spence and Louis Riel. If it had not been for them, Manitoba would have been called “Assiniboia” and included in the Northwest Territories.

When the federal government, in 1869, took over the territory that had been governed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Louis Riel occupied Fort Garry and established a provisional government. Sir John A. Macdonald sent Donald A. Smith to negotiate with Riel (see my January 19 post) who stipulated that part of the area should be made a province and called Manitoba, not Assiniboia. He got the name Manitoba from Thomas Spence who had created a somewhat comic “Republic of Manitoba” in 1868 (I’ll write more about on May 31).

Delegates from the provincial government were sent to Ottawa, but two of them, Richot and Alfred Scott, were arrested when they arrived. Ottawa was seething over the execution of Thomas Scott. Later, Richot and Scott were released and “received but not recognized” by Prime Minister Macdonald, Joseph Howe, and George Etienne Cartier.

Their discussions led to the Manitoba Act being prepared and passed by Parliament on May 12, 1870. It came into effect on July 15. Manitoba was to be a new province with a legislative council and assembly, a constitution similar to the other provinces, and representation in the federal parliament.

Although Ottawa retained control over “public lands” to be used for railway building and settlement, a land grant of 1,400 million acres was kept in reserve for the children of “half-breed families.” This helped to solve the problem that had started the Riel uprising.
The Manitoba Act also included official use of the French language, and a guarantee of the continuation of educational rights of the various denominations at the time of union. Twenty years later this led to one of the hottest issues in Canadian political history: the Manitoba separate schools question.

When Manitoba became a province, a census was taken which showed its population to be 11,963 of whom 558 were Indians, 5,757 Métis, 4,083 English “half-breeds” and 1,565 whites. Catholics numbered 6,247 and Protestants 5,716.

Manitoba wasn’t nearly as big then as it is now. In relation to surrounding territory, it looked like a postage stamp until 1884 when the boundary was extended north to Hudson Bay.

The Manitoba Act is even more fascinating than what my post explains.  So to read more about it, I suggest the Winnipeg Realtors News, a great blog at the Provisional Government of Assiniboia. There’s a timeline of Louis Riel at the Government of Manitoba. Stats Canada has a piece on Census in early Canada. Two more articles worth reading are Solon.org by William F. Maton and the Canadian Encyclopedia.

 

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“Go Away and Let Me Die!”

English: Canadians on guard over German dug-ou...

Canadians on guard over German dug-outs waiting for Huns to surrender. Vimy Ridge. . Photograph taken during Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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No troops ever received a more severe baptism of fire in World War I than the Canadians who moved into the front line in mid April 1915.  They were assigned to hold Ypres in Belgium, gateway to the channel ports of Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne. The Germans had nearly broken through in 1914, as they did in 1940.

Nothing exciting happened until the afternoon of April 22, when a little breeze blew up.  Suddenly the Canadians saw gas drifting like fog across the fields toward them.  Algerian conscripts on the left flank broke and ran, throwing away their rifles.  As the gas was moving at 6 miles an hour, many were overtaken by it and fell into canals and ditches clutching their throats.

Soon, two French divisions to the left of the Canadians were over-run and the Germans came pouring through the gap, bayonets high.  The flank of the Canadian division was turned and almost trapped.

Ralph Allen in Ordeal By Fire says: “Three things stopped the Germans: their lack of any master plan, … the terror and discomfort the advancing soldiers met as they stumbled over their writhing enemies into the gas cloud they had created; and perhaps above all else the valour of the Canadian division.”

The battle raged back and forth until May 4, under the most terrible conditions.  There were no gas masks but the Canadians learned they could get some protection by holding urine-soaked rags over their noses and mouths.  The gas destroyed the will to live.  Victims usually cried, “Go away and let me die.”

On the first day of the battle, one battalion was down to 193 of its 800 men. Another had 250 left.  By May 4, the Canadians had lost 6,000 men; either killed, wounded, or missing, one man out of every five who had been rushed into battle.

In all, the Allies lost 60,000 men in the defence of Ypres, a tragedy made deeper by the aftermath.  Military historians still cannot decide whether it was worthwhile.  At this great cost Canadians proved that they ranked with the best of fighting men.

There are a few places to read about this on the net. A few I suggest are About.com, Veterans Affairs Canada, The Great War is a site I’ve recently discovered.

 

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Utrecht

Treaty of Utrecht

Treaty of Utrecht (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Treaty of Utrecht signed by Britain and France on April 11, 1713, ended the war that made the Duke of Marlborough famous. Before becoming a duke, he was John Churchill, the most distinguished member of his family until Sir Winston Churchill gave leadership to the free world in 1940-1945.

It took Britain and France fifteen months to work out the details of the Treaty of Utrecht. Both sides made concessions. France gave up Hudson Bay and Newfoundland, although Iberville had captured them, and Acadia to the British. She retained Canada (New France), Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island (called the Island of St. John) to protect the entrance to Canada via the St. Lawrence River. France also kept her possessions in what are now the United States and West Indies.

Nominally, there was a long period of peace between Britain and France after the Treaty of Utrecht, but preparations were made for war. France began building the mighty fortress at Louisburg and tried to persuade the Acadians to move there. The land at Louisburg was not suitable for farming, so the Acadians stayed where they were, even though it meant living under British rule. They made it clear, however, that they would never take up arms against France if there was a war. This led to their expulsion.

Eventually, Britain had to develop an army and naval base at Halifax to counteract the French fortress at Louisburg.

One troublesome feature of the Treaty of Utrecht was its failure to set up a border between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts (New Brunswick and Maine did not exist). Sometimes, the border was said to be the St. Croix River, as it is today, but there were other occasions when France claimed the territory as far south as Boston. This resulted in a number of raids by the British and French on each other’s settlements. The French joined the Abenaki Indians in a number of fierce sorties into Massachusetts and massacred entire communities.

In the long run, the Treaty of Utrecht resulted in France’s losing her North American possessions, including Canada.

For more extensive reading about this treaty, I suggest going to François Velde‘s Heraldica! There is more to read at Wikipedia. Interesting information can be read at Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage. I also suggest visiting CanadaHistory.com. Another good place is at the Canadian Encyclopedia.

 

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