Canada is the second largest country in the world. It covers thenorthern part of North America and its total area is 9,975,000 squarekilometres. Canada's only neighbour is the USA. The border between the twocountries is the longest unguarded border in the world.
Canada's motto, «From Sea to Sea,» is particularlyappropriate because the country is bounded by three oceans — the Pacific, theArctic and the Atlantic. Its vast area includes some of the world's largestlakes and countless smaller ones. One-third of all fresh water on Earth is inCanada.
Canada's name comes from an Indian word kanata, which means«village». The first French settlers used the Indian name for thecolony, but the official name was «New France». When the area cameunder the British rule in 1897, the new country was called the Dominion ofCanada, or simply Canada. Canada is a union of ten provinces and twoterritories.
Compared with other large countries, Canada has a small population,only about 27,300,000. The country, however, is one of the world's mostprosperous. Canadians I developed its rich natural resources and, in theprocess, have achieved a high standard of living.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy. It is a member of theCommonwealth of Nations and Queen Elizabeth II is its official head of state.Although the Queen holds this high position, she doesn't rule. She serves as asymbol of British tradition. Her representative in Canada is the GovernorGeneral, whom she appoints on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister. TheGovernor's duties are limited to symbolic, mostly ceremonial acts.
The real power belongs to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. TheCanadian Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Commons and theSenate.
There are two official languages in the country: English and French.All Canadian children have to learn both French and English at school, butFrancophones and Anglophones do not enjoy learning each other's language.
«We have two races, two languages, two systems of religiousbelief, two sets of laws… two systems of everything,» said one Canadianjournalist.
There was a time when Quebec Province (its population is 90% French)decided to separate from Canada and form a new country. Fortunately, themovement has waned.
The capital of Canada is Ottawa.
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