Monday, October 1, 2012

O Canada!!

Our Neighbors to the North - CANADA!

So I've lived in America for, ahem, over 40 years now and I am a little ashamed at how little I know about Canada.  So we're going to fix that, and you get to come along for the ride.  If you are already Canada-savvy, well consider it a refresher course, but if you're like me and the only image that pops into your head of Canada is a Mountie or a maple leaf, then pack your bags and let's explore Canada...

Canada makes up the Northern Area of North America and is the second largest country by area in the world.  It stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic and up to the Artic.  The capital is Ottawa in the province of Ontario.  If you are trying to find it on the map the coordinates are 45.42ºN/75.69ºW.  Ontario is one of 10 provinces and 3 territories that make up Canada, kind of like states in America.  The main language is English, but Canada is officially bilingual, with French being the other language.  In some provinces the aboriginal language of Inuktitut is also considered an official language.   Canada is a dominion of the British Empire, which means it is self-governing but the Queen is still the official "head of state" and her face gets to be on the money :)  But, had a few wars gone differently, France might have been in charge.  Care for a bit of history?

Of course, people have been living in the areas now known as Canada for thousands of years.  In fact, they have discovered human artifacts from as far back as 24,500 BC, and these peoples had permanent settlements, complex trade networks and agriculture, but areas of land were "claimed"  by France in 1534 and then by the British in 1583 and Canada was colonized by both countries. Unfortunately, the settlers brought with them many diseases that the native people were not resistant too and MANY of them died as a result.  What was left of the native Canadians are referred to in Canada as the First Nations - a respectful term I thought.  Canada seems to have a great deal of respect for the culture of the First Nations from what I can tell. In 1763, after the Seven Years' War, France gave most of its colonies over to Britain, and a century later, on July 1, 1867, the Dominion of Canada was formed.  This day is celebrated in Canada as Canada Day.  There is still much more to learn about Canada, but hopefully now you know a little more than you did before.  I've got a few kids to get to bed - g'night eh.  Sorry, I couldn't resist :)

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