Canada is a nation in North America, covering an area of 9,984,670 km², making it the second largest country in the world after Russia. Canada is located in most of the north of the continent. Canada is home to 37,314,442 people (2019 data). The political capital is Ottawa.
Canada is washed by the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. To the south and northwest, the country borders the United States, which is the longest common border in the world. In addition, Canada has borders with Denmark (Greenland) in the north-east and France (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon) in the east.
Two languages, English and French, are officially accepted in Canada and have equal status in Parliament, the Federal Court, and government institutions.
The aborigines of the Canadian territories were Indian tribes (Abenaka, Algonquin, Atapaskana, Atikameka, Huron, Iroquois, Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, and Naskapi), whose legacy is the name of the country even today (the word kanata in Indian means village, settlement).
Capital city: Ottawa Area: 9,984,670 km2 Population: 37,314,442 (2019) Language: English, French Official website: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/095.nsf/eng/home
Flight time: from Moscow – from 14 hrs (1-5 transfers) from Saint-Petersburg – from 15 hrs 45 min (1-4 transfers) from Kazan – from 18 hrs 40 min (2-5 transfers) from Ekaterinburg – from 18 hrs 50 min (2-5 transfers) from Novosibirsk – from 22 hrs (2-6 transfers)
How to reach Canada
Tourists usually arrive in Canada by plane. The largest airports are in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.
The Russian airline Aeroflot flies from Moscow to Toronto (travel time about 10 hours). With a change to cities of Canada it is possible to fly with various European airlines, and not only from Moscow, but also from regions of Russia.
Residents of CIS can get to Canada with the help of the same European airlines flying from Minsk, Kiev, Astana, Yerevan and Tbilisi with connections in European cities. From Kazakhstan, Air Astana flies to many European capitals, where you can make connections with flights of European airlines to Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and other Canadian cities.
It is also possible to fly to Canada with a connection in the USA, but you will need a transit American visa (even if you don’t plan to leave the transit zone of the American airport).
You can find the tickets for Canada by using the form below. Just enter your departure city, arrival city, dates and number of people and the system will offer you the possible options, from which you should choose the one that suits your needs in terms of price or number of transfers.
You can only come to Canada by bus from the U.S. (due to geography). Greyhound Bus Company, which serves most routes from the U.S. to Canada, is the largest bus company in the world. Its routes cross the border at many points, but tourists most often use the following routes: New York City to Montreal / Ottawa; Detroit to Toronto / Hamilton; Minneapolis to Winnipeg; Seattle to Vancouver / Edmonton / Calgary.
Interestingly, Canadians rarely use trains: they travel short distances by car, and for longer distances they fly. Nevertheless, it is also possible to get to Canada by train – from the neighboring United States via one of the three main railroad lines: New York-Montreal, New York-Toronto and Chicago-Toronto.
VIA Rail Canada is the main railroad operator in the country. The U.S. rail network is served by Amtrak. The Canadian rail network connects to the U.S. rail network at several points, providing direct service between more than 900 Canadian and U.S. cities.
Traveling to Canada by train is inexpensive. For example, a ticket from New York City to Montreal costs $65. International train tickets can be booked on the U.S. Amtrak website (link above).
Another way to enter Canada is by car from the United States through the border crossing. You can only enter the country by car through the southern border with the U.S. or through Alaska to the northwest. Standard inspection rules apply at customs crossings. The probability of Europeans being delayed at the border is quite high, as U.S. customs officers do not often encounter tourists from other continents. Note that drivers of U.S. cars must have a liability insurance policy as required by Canadian law.
You can also get to Canada by water transport. Canada’s main seaports on the Atlantic (East) coast are Halifax, St. John, New Brunswick, and St. John’s (Newfoundland). Montreal and Quebec have ports in the St. Lawrence Strait, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The Port of Toronto is on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario, and the Port of Vancouver is on the west coast of Canada. All are served by international shipping lines, but only Montreal receives passenger liners from Europe.
From Alaska and from Washington State, Canada (mostly Vancouver) can be reached by ferry. The main passenger ferry companies are Alaska Marine Highway and Washington State Ferries. As for the East Coast, Bay Ferries car ferries (http://www.ferries.ca/) run from Nova Scotia to Maine, USA.
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The first Europeans to set foot on Canadian soil are believed to be the Icelandic Vikings, who arrived on the island of Newfoundland around the year 1000. However, they were not able to colonize the vast territory for long. In the summer of 1497, the ships of the Venetian navigator Giovanni Cabot (John Cabot), who served the English King Henry VIII, arrived on the shores of the future Canada. In 1498, Giovanni Cabot made a second expedition to Canada. As a result, England had a claim to Canadian territory.
It is noteworthy that France also began to claim Canadian lands after the 1524 expedition of the Florentine Giovanni Verrazano, then serving France, explored the eastern coast of Canada. Verrazano was followed by the French navigator Jacques Cartier who landed at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in 1534-1541 and soon declared the land French territories. In 1608 the French, led by Samuel de Champlain, established the first permanent European colony in Canada, the city of Quebec.
Since the end of the seventeenth century confrontation between Britain and France over the Canadian territories intensified, resulting in a number of military conflicts, which became more frequent in the second half of the eighteenth century, with the beginning of the Seven Years’ War in Europe. Finally, in 1763 the lands of the future Canada, then called New France, were ceded to England under the Treaty of Paris. Canada, which was the scene of the 1812-1814 war between the United States and England, eventually remained part of England, and gained independence on July 1, 1867, after which it became known as Dominion Canada.
Canada established its present borders in the 1970s, with Newfoundland Island becoming part of it in 1949. The actual unification of the east and west coasts of the country occurred in 1885 as a result of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The 1931 Statute of Westminster expanded the powers of the British Dominion governments, including Canada. In World War I Canada fought on the side of Great Britain. After World War II, in which the country fought against Germany on the side of the Allies, the U.S. began to exert increased influence on Canada’s economy and politics.
In the second half of the 20th century a wave of immigrants from Europe, Asia and India poured into Canada, and the country began its economic growth. In 1982, Great Britain officially handed over constitutional power to Canada. But the constitution of the country was not recognized by Quebec, which sought a special status because of the controversy over the language. Despite the results of these referendums, the question of Quebec’s sovereignty is still open.
Climate of Canada
Most of Canada has a temperate climate and the north has a subarctic climate. Part of the Canadian mainland and most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago lie in the permafrost belt. In the rest of the country, the climate varies from region to region. For example, in the coastal provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) the climate is mild – winters are not cold, and summers are not hot because of the influence of warm ocean currents. The west coast of the country has a temperate climate with mild and rainy winters. Summer temperatures can reach +35°C to +40°C, with high humidity. Generally speaking, winters in Canada are characterized by heavy snowfall and frost, with average monthly temperatures reaching -15°C in the southern part of the country, and -45°C with strong icy winds in the northern part. Summers in Canada have moderate temperatures.
Weather in Canada
Canada Weather by Month
Reviews by Month
Cities and regions
Canada is a federation of ten provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador) and three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut).
Provinces differ from territories in the degree of autonomy: within the limits of their legislative powers, rights and privileges stipulated in the Constitution of the country, provinces are independent of the federal government. But territories are subordinate to the Federal Parliament.
The country is divided into provinces and territories not only according to the degree of autonomy, but also according to the linguistic principle. Thus the province with a predominantly French-speaking population is Quebec, and the other provinces, predominantly English-speaking, are called English Canada. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual Canadian province.
As for the territories, the Yukon is officially bilingual (English and French), the Northwest Territory recognizes 11 official languages (English and French and the languages of the Northern indigenous peoples) and Nunavut has 4 official languages.
Geographically Canada with provinces and territories is divided into 5 regions: Labrador and Atlantic Coast, North, Prairie Provinces, Ontario and British Columbia. Let’s look at the regions in more detail below.
Labrador and the Atlantic Coast.
Labrador and the Atlantic Coast of Canada is the oldest area of development in North America. These lands are the true “historic heart of Canada.” It was here, along the St. Lawrence River and on the Labrador Peninsula, that the French colony of New France was established in the mid-17th century. Today these territories belong to the province of Quebec.
Quebec is the first province of Canada in area and the second largest in population. The administrative center is the city of Quebec (735 thousand people). The area of Quebec is more than 1.5 million km2, which is 3 times larger than the area of France and 7 times larger than Great Britain. The province is surrounded by the waters of the Hudson Strait to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the St. Lawrence River to the south and James Bay to the west. To the south, the province is flanked by the Appalachian hills which form the border with the United States.
There are four Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (known collectively as the Maritime Provinces), Newfoundland and Labrador.
Newfoundland and Labrador is the largest by area and the easternmost of Canada’s Atlantic provinces, covering an area of 405,212 km². Its capital is St. John’s. The province occupies the territory of Newfoundland Island and the northeastern part of Labrador Peninsula. The mainland borders Quebec. Newfoundland Island is separated from Labrador Peninsula by the narrow, deep Bell Isle Strait.
On the territory of Newfoundland and Labrador there are several natural climatic zones. Forests, glaciers, mountains and fjords as well as Arctic tundra can be seen here.
New Brunswick is the second largest of the four Atlantic provinces and covers 72,908 km². It has a population of 755,950 and the capital city is Fredericton. New Brunswick, on the Atlantic coast, is rich in natural resources: forests occupy 85% of its territory, water area – 1458 km². There are two National Parks and more than ten local nature parks.
Nova Scotia is bordered to the southeast by New Brunswick and occupies the entire peninsula and Cape Breton Island of the same name. The capital and largest city of Nova Scotia is Halifax. The province covers an area of 55,284 km² and is home to 948,695 people. The province is surrounded by more than 3,000 islands.
Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada. It is located east of New Brunswick and north of Nova Scotia, on a crescent-shaped island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (224 km long and 6 to 64 km wide). The island is connected to the Canadian mainland by a bridge. The province has a total land area of 5,660 km² and a population of 146,105 people. The capital is Charlottetown.
The whole area north of the Great Lakes is called the Ontario region, after the name of one of the lakes within its boundaries, and it includes the province of Ontario of the same name.
Ontario is the most populous province in central Canada (13,505,900 people) and the second largest province by area (1,076,395 km²) after Quebec. Its capital is Toronto – Canada’s largest city. Ontario is a region of rivers and lakes. Rivers, streams and lakes cover about 1/6 of the territory of Ontario, which is approximately 1/3 of the world’s freshwater resources. Ontario is home to many national parks and nature reserves. On the Ontario-U.S. border, the famous Niagara Falls are located on the Niagara River.
The prairie provinces in Canada are Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. They are the heart of the Canadian West. Covering an area of over 1.9 million km2, the provinces extend from the 49th parallel in the south to the 60th parallel in the north and from the Rocky Mountains in the west almost to Lake Superior in the east. In the past, there were Native Americans and herds of wild buffalo roamed the land. Today it is the main agricultural area of the country.
Manitoba is a lowland province of 647,797 km2 . It has more than 110,000 lakes, the remnants of Lake Agassiz, a vast post-glacial lake. Manitoba is home to 1,267,003 people. The capital city is Winnipeg. The province of Manitoba is one of the world’s most important and largest centers of Ukrainian culture outside Eastern Europe.
Saskatchewan is a southern province, two thirds of which is prairie interspersed with northern lakes and forested landscapes. The province has an area of 651,036 km² and a population of 1,079,958 people. Its capital is Regina, and its largest city is Saskatoon. Saskatchewan is one of the two Canadian provinces that are landlocked (the other is Alberta).
Alberta was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, and her father, Prince Albert. This province covers an area of 661,848 km². There are 3,873,745 people living in Alberta. The capital is Edmonton and the largest city is Calgary (host of the 1988 Winter Olympics). The Rocky Mountains form the southwest border of the province. Here is the world famous Banff National Park. Semi-arid barren areas of Southern Alberta are covered with eroded Hoodoo cliffs, which have taken fantastic shapes.
British Columbia is the largest western province of Canada, the Pacific and Asian “gateway” to the country, and is located within the boundaries of the country’s geographical region of the same name. It covers an area of 944,735 km², and has a population of 4,622,573 people. The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, and the largest city is Vancouver. The province is known for its natural treasures: There are 14 national parks and protected areas. Many islands and fjords along the Pacific Coast.
The Canadian North is a harsh region consisting of three territories – the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The Yukon and Northwest Territories cover 40% of Canada. Indigenous people – Eskimos and Indians – have long been engaged in sea fishing, hunting, and fishing.
The Yukon is one of Canada’s three territories, covering an area of 482,443 km². There are 36,101 people living in the Yukon. The territory is bordered by Alaska to the west, British Columbia to the south, and the Northwest Territories to the east. The capital and largest city is Whitehorse.
The Northwest Territories is an administrative unit comprising Canadian lands north of the 60th parallel except the Yukon, parts of Quebec, and Newfoundland. It covers an area of 1,346,106 km², including the islands of Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Ungava Bay. The Northwest Territories are among the most sparsely populated in the country, with 43,349 people. The capital is the city of Yellowknife.
Nunavut is the newest territory that became part of Canada on April 1, 1999 as a result of the secession from the Northwest Territories. Nunavut is the least populated of Canada’s provinces and territories but has the largest land area at 2,093,190 km². As of 2012, Nunavut had an estimated population of 33,697 and a population density of 0.015 people per km2, the lowest in the world. Nunavut was founded on the indigenous Inuit Inuit (Inuit are native Eskimos who traditionally fish).
Things to see
As the second largest country in the world, Canada has a lot of natural attractions. Despite the short history of the New World, it has some interesting things to see, but they are mostly in the cities. On Tourister.ru you can go to lists of attractions in Canada’s main cities, as well as interesting places to visit that are outside cities, such as national parks. The links below will give you more detailed information about each Canadian attraction – general description, location on the map, how to get there, photos, opening hours, ticket prices, and more.