The Indigenous people of Canada are diverse. They fall into three main groups, but each group has an incredible range in cultural traditions and history.
You can read about all Indigenous Canadians, then read about each community individually. Whenever possible, you should refer to someone by their individual community or tribe. This establishes more of a personal connection and is more polite than using sweeping terms.
The First Nations constitute the majority of the Indigenous population. They are the Indigenous people of Canada who have homelands south of the tree line.
There are more than 630 communities spread across Canada. Some communities are congregated together under nations, while others share languages with each other. Some communities are looking for official recognition from a nation or the Canadian federal government.
Some First Nations communities share roots or connections with Indigenous American communities. This includes the Cree community. Most Cree live in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but there are communities in Montana and other states.
Other examples of First Nations communities include the Haida and Objiway. Most communities do not share very much in common, though they are grouped together as First Nations.
What many communities do share is similar contemporary issues. Many young First Nations people are descendants of survivors of the residential school system. Others struggle with incarceration or health issues due to government discrimination.
The Inuit live north of the tree line. Most Inuit communities line inside of Nunavut and Nunavik, but you can find additional communities in the Northwest Territories.
Much of Inuit culture centers around the elements. Fur clothing is thick in order to keep the wearer warm during the brutal winter months. But the Inuit have developed unique visual art forms, literature, and music that have nothing to do with the climate.
Inuit communities suffered from discrimination just as First Nations ones did. Many Inuit were forced to convert to Christianity and speak English. Educators are working to reclaim and preserve Inuit history.
Nunavut and other Inuit homelands provide some of the greatest Canadian scenic views. Yet they also have some of the worst weather in Canada. Be respectful and prepare for the elements if you plan on visiting Inuit communities.
The Metis are Canadians of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry. Most have roots with French settlers, but people of English and Scottish descent also count.
Metis communities lie all throughout Canada. Some aspects of Metis culture are blends of Indigenous and European traditions. Many pieces of visual art combine Indigenous products with European formal conventions.
European and Indigenous communities have excluded Metis people from their ranks. This means that Metis communities are close-knit and independent from other groups. Noteworthy organizations include the Metis Nation BC.
Lakes: How Many Lakes Are There in Canada?
According to research conducted by McGill University, Canada is home to 879,800 lakes. Interestingly, other research suggests that due to the amount of inaccessible and unoccupied territory, Canada actually has over 2 million lakes. Our lakes offer not only stunning landscapes, but they are home to over 3,500 species. That statistic alone makes our Great Lakes the worlds largest fresh water ecosystem.
More then half of the world's freshwater lakes are in Canada, spanning 9% of this great country. There are 563 lakes which have an expanse of 100km2 or more.
The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are also home to both Canadian and American borders. They hold 21% of the worlds freshwater supply and 84% of North America's freshwater.
The five Canadian-American borders that the Great Lakes span are:
Lake Superior - 82,000 sq km of surface size
Lake Michigan - 58,000 sq km of surface size
Lake Huron - 60,000 sq km of surface size
Lake Ontario - 19,000 sq km of surface size
Lake Erie - 25,700 sq km of surface size
These 5 Great Lakes touch 8 states in the USA. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Michigan is the only state that is home to 4 out of the 5 lakes which explains why the name "Michigan" means "large lake" in Ojibwa. Surprisingly, due to Ontario's sheer size, it is the only Canadian province which is part of the Great Lakes.
Canada's Great Lakes are the most recognizable bodies of freshwater on the planet. They were formed approximately 12,000 years ago due to glacier activity. Glaciers would begin to move towards Canada, at which point water would then fill from behind them.
Altogether, the Great Lakes are responsible for covering around 244,700 sq kms of water. The Great Lakes coastline spans 17,542 km and Michigan's Great Lakes coastline covers 5,291.5 kms of that. Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are connected by the Niagara River, located in Niagara Falls, and Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are connected by the Straits of Mackinac. Manitoulin Island is the largest island of the Great Lakes and is situated on Lake Huron but there is over 30,000 islands across the Great Lakes as well.
34 million people call the Great Lakes home in both Canada and United States. That's 32% of Canada's population and 8% of the population of the United States.
The Canada Goose
The Canada goose is a large goose common throughout Canada. You can find plenty of Canada geese in the United States and in Europe, especially during the winter.
But the bird is most common within Canadian borders. You can read a Canada goose guide from many outlets and educational organizations in Canada. Only a few American and European websites offer coverage of the bird.
The goose is easy to spot. It has a black head and neck with a white stripe around its chin.
When a group of geese flies together, it forms a V-shaped formation. This allows the birds to travel long distances without losing each other. The goose also makes a distinctive call akin to a squawk or cackle.
The bird eats plants, grains, and small insects. It builds its nests in elevated areas near bodies of water, allowing goslings to swim and feed.
Geese try to stay away from humans. But more and more Canada geese are entering into human-altered areas.
They can adapt to human climates in well, building nests in trees and against residences. A Canada goose can attack humans, and many will do so if their goslings are threatened.
Though it is popular, the Canada goose is not the national bird of Canada. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society ran the National Bird Project from 2015 to 2017. Canadians voted on the gray jay to become the national bird, but it did not receive government approval.
Tim Hortons is one of Canada's most popular restaurant chains. It is best known for its coffee and desserts, including donuts.
Tim Horton was a former hockey player turned entrepreneur. He started the company in 1964, and he met with immediate success.
You can find Tim Horton's franchises throughout the world. Yet the overwhelming majority of stores lie inside of Canada.
You can get an apple fritter, which is a rectangular donut with strong apple and cinnamon flavours. The Boston cream donut does not have a standard hole because it is filled with custard.
You can add syrups to your coffee, including one that tastes like cookies and cream. You can order a dark roast with a more bitter and deeper flavour. The chain also offers iced lattes, cappuccinos, and frozen hot chocolate.
The Many Maple Leafs of Canada
Canada is a nation of maple leaves. Companies and organizations throughout Canada use the maple leaf in all sorts of ways, including the federal government.
The Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs is the professional ice hockey team of Toronto. Their fan base is incredibly loyal, with many of them holding season tickets.
The team was founded in 1917. It was first known as "Toronto," then it became the "Toronto Arenas." The team did not get its current name until 1927.
During its initial years, the team was incredibly successful. It has won 13 Stanley Cup titles, the second-most of any NHL team.
But it won its last championship in 1967. Its current drought between championships is the longest ongoing drought in professional hockey.
Maple Trees and Maple Syrup
Maple trees dot the Canadian countryside. Several species are native to Canada, while other species can be grown on Canadian soil.
Maple leaves turn bright red and orange during the fall. This makes them good resources for art pieces and photography. They are green during the summertime, but maple leaves are better known for their fall colours.
Besides leaves, maple syrup is a common Canadian symbol. Roughly three-quarters of the global production of maple syrup takes place in Canada. Quebec is home to many syrup companies in particular.
The National Flag
The maple leaf was first used in Canadian emblems during the 18th century. It became very popular amongst French Canadians, including politicians. By the end of the 19th century, it was added to the coats of arms of Ontario and Quebec.
But Canada did not have a national flag in the 20th century. Politicians in the 1960s decided to create one. They spent several years debating over various designs, with many of them featuring a maple leaf.
The current design was inaugurated on February 15, 1965. It has remained unchanged since its introduction.
The Royal Canadian Mint produces a number of bullion coins. Some of them are called "Maple Leafs" because they have maple leaves on them.
The Mint produces new Maple Leafs every year. The Gold Maple Leaf and Platinum Maple Leaf are worth 50 dollars, while the Silver Maple Leaf is worth five.
All Maple Leafs are legal tender. You can spend one at any store or restaurant in Canada. They are rarer than other coins, but you will be able to find one if you look hard enough. Insurdinary has produced a fascinating article on the value of the Canadian penny. It can be read here.
Loblaws is another famous Canadian chain. It is a chain of supermarkets that you can find throughout Canada.
Theodore Loblaw and John Milton Cork founded Loblaws in 1919. The company grew quickly, establishing branches in the United States and Canada.
There are more than 2,000 stores inside Canada, including in all major cities in Canada. Most stores are general grocery stores where you can buy different products. Loblaws is well known for its produce and meat options.
But some stores have specialties. You are able to buy alcoholic beverages at stores in Quebec and Ontario, but not in other provinces. Others offer prepared foods, especially popular Canadian food like poutine.
Loblaws is a subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Limited. The organization runs pharmacies, banks, and apparel stores in addition to supermarkets. They also have their own private label with a wide range of merchandise.
Canadian Provincial Flags
Every province has its own flag. Provincial flags can be flown in addition to the national flag.
The flag of Nova Scotia has a blue cross spread across a white field. The royal arms of Scotland lie in the center, featuring a red lion with fleurs-de-lis. This represents the Scottish roots of Nova Scotia.
Quebec's flag has a white cross with a blue field. A white fleur-de-lis appears inside each quadrant. The iconography reflects symbols of the Virgin Mary, recognizing the purity of Quebec.
British Columbia's flag combines the Royal Union Flag with a crown and a setting sun. The presence of the Royal Union Flag indicates the British routes of British Columbia. But the setting sun represents how the province lies on the western coast of Canada.
The flag of Ontario also includes the Royal Union Flag. The Ontario shield of arms lies on the right side of the flag, displaying a red cross with golden maple leaves.
The flag of Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the newest provincial flags. It contains four blue triangles, two red triangles, and one golden arrow. The blue represents the water that surrounds the province, while the gold arrow represents hope for the future.
There are also territorial and Indigenous flags. The flag of Nunavut contains yellow and white fields with a red inukshuk figure in the center. A blue star lies on the right side of the flag to signify the northern location of Nunavut.
"O Canada" is Canada's national anthem. The song was first commissioned in 1880, but it did not become the official anthem until 1980. Read about its history before you start to perform it.
A language barrier proved to be a major obstacle for the song. Calixa Lavallee composed the music, while Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier wrote the lyrics. Routhier wrote in French, and he did not provide an English translation.
Several writers wrote their own translations in the years that followed. A teacher named Robert Stanley Weir wrote his translation in 1908.
His work became popular, though people made frequent changes to the lyrics. It was not until 1927 that the song with its contemporary lyrics became commonplace. In 2018, Parliament passed a law changing the lyrics so they became gender-neutral.
"God Save the Queen" remains the official royal anthem of Canada. Musicians perform it at events where the Queen is in attendance. You may hear both songs at a sporting event or a special occasion today.
What We Offer the World
Whether you're drawn to the best education system, growing economy, breathtaking scenery, world-class healthcare, multi-cultural country, Canada has something to offer to everyone. These qualities provide those living and visiting Canada the freedom to enjoy the best it offers to the world. With such a diverse and welcoming environment, it is easy to see why people choose to travel and live in this amazing country.
Best Country in the World for 2021
Canada has finally topped the list to become the No.1 country in the world. Also, according to Forbes, Canada ranked in the top 20 happiest countries to live in, ranking at number 11. There’s hundreds, if not thousands of reasons to live in this vast and beautiful country. Even if you already live here, here are some more awesome facts about why the Great White North continues to be the choice for people all over the world to live.
Best Education System
There is no doubt that Canada has one of the best educational systems in the world. Students seeking post secondary studies flock from all over the world. Recent studies have shown that Canada ranks #1 for quality of life, second best country overall and 5th best country for women. Regardless of the area of study, Canada offers it. Not to mention that most Canadian certifications are recognized world wide.
Fast Growing Economy
Canada's industrialized population present many opportunities and potential. With an inflation rate of 2.3% per year, it's no wonder it is also one of the richest countries on the planet.
Canada is well known for its industrialized population and offers countless opportunities for growth and advancement. The inflation rate is 2.3% per year making it one of the richest countries on the planet. The average yearly income is roughly $40,000 and with hundreds of thousands of new jobs created annually, it’s not difficult to secure decent employment. The Canadian economy sits at 77.9 placing it in 9th place on the planet. Along with the stable economic facts and statistics, the actual money itself is quite creative. Canadian money is recognizable through a rainbow of colours and interestly enough, is also washable!
Breathtaking Landscape Scenery
Dazzling, jaw dropping, stunning, diverse, robust, fresh, beautiful, alluring, shale and lake, sea and sand, farms and prairies, mountains and lakes, oceans and cities… When it comes to explaining Canada, there is never enough to say. There is something for everything in this country whether your toddler is just learning her or his way, your teenager who is growing up with pop culture, you're an adult at the height of your career, or you are a retiree looking for your landing place. This majestic country is literally, for everyone.
High Standard Quality of Life
Human rights, a fair social justice system, and a highly active job market have now placed Canada at #1 for quality of life. Switzerland, Germany and Japan put up a tough fight for this notable spot over the years but Canada has now left them in the dust. Ethnicity and opportunity are believed to secure this spot for Canada. Regardless of where a person hails from or what religion they practice, all are welcome in beautiful Canada.
World Class Healthcare System
No doctor or hospital bills! World class healthcare at its best. The government believes that healthcare is a fundamental right to all Canadians. This has a huge impact on the perceived greatness of Canada. For non emergency related circumstances, the process may be slightly slower, but the quality of healthcare is some of the best in the world. Even rehabilitation time is an assurance by the Canadian government. More to that, folks have access to multiple social assistance programs which contribute to the overall health and well-being of citizens.
During the 1970’s and 80’s, the Canadian government welcomed multiculturalism. It is believed that Canada was the catalyst for immigration as it placed great social importance on cultural diversity. Due to that, any ethnicity, background, culture and religion is found in Canada. In fact, if you live in a larger city, oftentimes you never have to leave to experience authentic food, festivals and learning in general about other cultures and folks.
Start Planning Vacations in Canada
Canada has a lot to offer the world. Indigenous people are prominent in the arts, politics, and history. The Canada goose is a beautiful bird, though it can bite.
Tim Horton's provides quick coffee and donuts. Maple leaves provide beautiful colours, including on the Canadian flag.
Loblaws offers cheap and delicious groceries. Provincial flags celebrate the connections amongst Canadians and the history of each province. But "O Canada" is the symbol that truly brings all Canadians together.
Take a trip across the Great North. Insurdinary lets you find quotes on insurance and loans. Get your quotes today.