Portal:Canada/Selected introduction

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Introductions 1–20[edit]

Portal:Canada/Selected introduction/1

Flag of Canada

Canada is a country occupying the northern portion of North America, and is the world's 2nd largest country in total area.

Inhabited for at least three millennia by aboriginals, Canada was founded as a union of British colonies, some of which had earlier been French colonies. A federal dominion of ten provinces with three territories, Canada peacefully obtained its sovereignty in a process beginning in 1867 from its last colonial possessor, the United Kingdom.

Today, Canada is governed as a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. Canada's head of state is its monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented in Canada by the Governor General. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The most recent federal general election was held on 23 January 2006.

Canada defines itself as a bilingual and multicultural nation. Both English and French are official languages of the country. In the early 1970s, Canada began to adopt policies based on the concepts of cultural diversity and multiculturalism. Many Canadians now view this as one of the country's key attributes.

A technologically advanced and industrialized nation, Canada is a net exporter of energy because of its large fossil fuel deposits, nuclear energy generation, and hydroelectric power capacity. Its diversified economy relies heavily on an abundance of natural resources and trade, particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship.

For more information...Canada / Canada (french)


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Flag of Canada

Canada (formerly, the Dominion of Canada) comprises all that part of North America north of the United States, other than Alaska. The distance from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west is 3000 miles, and from the borders of the United States to the farthest point in the Arctic Ocean at least 1500 miles. With its 3,745,574 square miles, Canada exceeds in size both the united States and Australasia, and is almost as large as Europe.

The physical aspect of the land shows a wide central plain lying between two mountainous regions, the Columbian on the west and the Laurentian plateau on the east. The most important mountain system is that of the west, which consists of the northern end of the Cordilleran region. The great parallel chains enclose British Columbia and Yukon. The most prominent of these ranges is the eastern, known as the Rocky Mountains. From an average height of 5000 to 10,000 feet, they rise at times to 13,000 and 14,000 feet, like Mounts Brown, Columbia, Hooker, etc. Mounts Purcell, Selkirk, and the Gold Range, which rise west of the Rocky Mountains in successive and parallel lines, are not as high but are very picturesque, bordering on the plateau of British Columbia. Of an average height of 2000 or 3000 feet and more than 100 miles wide, this plateau is crossed by the rivers Fraser and Columbia, which flow through wide basins interrupted here and there by rapids and waterfalls. It extends towards west as far as the Coast Range, which lies parallel to the Pacific Ocean, where it suddenly rises to a great height, cut by innumerable fiords reaching as far as the borders of Alaska. The highest peak in Canada is Mount Logan (19,539 feet). Finally, there is a range partly submerged, which forms the islands of Vancouver and Queen Charlotte; it attains a height of 6840 feet in the Victoria Peak in Vancouver. The mountains in the east of Canada, which are far less important, are called the Laurentians because they rise on the left shore of the St. Lawrence River. From Labrador to Hudson Bay, whose basin it outlines, as it also does that of the St. Lawrence, this range is at least 3000 miles in length. The average elevation is 1500 feet, but a few peaks in the northern part reach a height of 3000 to 4000 feet. Studded with innumerable lakes and crossed here and there by rivers, these mountains of granite, quartz, gneiss, and mica are extremely picturesque. South of the St. Lawrence, the Alleghanies or Appalachian Mountains, leaving their course from south to north, turn towards the east and form the peninsulas of Gaspé and Nova Scotia.

The immense central plain which stretches as far as the frozen north is simply the continuation of the Missouri and Mississippi valley in the United States. In the valley of the Mackenzie the altitude varies between 500 and 1000 feet, and from the border of Lake Winnipeg to the Arctic Ocean the width is from 100 to 300 miles. Between the two the ground rises to a maximum height of 2000 feet, the highest parts being near the Rocky Mountains. In Alberta and the southern part of Saskatchewan the elevation varies between 2000 and 5000 feet. This vast plain contains many lakes, pools, and ponds, which have no doubt taken the place of glaciers. Besides the great lakes to the south of Canada which form the boundary and belong, with the exception of Lake Michigan, partly to the United States and partly to Canada, there are also many sheets of water such as Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake, Lake Athabasca, Reindeer, Manitoba, Winnipeg, and Winnipegosis Lakes.Adapted from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) (Canada)

For more information...Canada / Canada (french)


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Flag of Canada

CANADA: The vast extent of Canada necessarily involves a wide range of climatic conditions. Except on and near the ocean coasts, the general characteristic of the climate of Canada as compared with that of Europe is that the summer is shorter, warmer, and has less moisture, and the winter longer and somewhat colder than in corresponding European latitudes.

On the Pacific coast, owing to the Japanese current, the climate is identical in temperature with that of the British Isles, which lie in the same latitude. The influence of this warm current on the Pacific coast extends eastward across the western and into the central provinces, so that the winter climate of the western part of the central provinces is considerably milder than that of the eastern part. On the Atlantic coast, and inland, the climate is colder than in corresponding latitudes of Europe, because of the Arctic current which flows southward along the coast.

The important physical features of Canada are its mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and prairies and the great inland sea of Hudson Bay. The Rocky Mountains extend from the United States boundary northward to the Arctic Ocean. They bound the central plains on the west, and are the highest of the several parallel mountain ranges of the western province. They contain immense deposits, and in the parallel ranges between the Rockies and the Pacific coast are to be found the precious metals in great abundance, especially gold. The Laurentian Range of hills extends from the Atlantic coast, at the Strait of Belle Isle, westerly and northerly, a distance of 2,300 miles, to the east end of Great Bear Lake near the Arctic coast. In the east the Laurentian Range divides the waters flowing south into the St. Lawrence from those flowing north into Hudson Bay, and in the northwest it divides those flowing westward into Mackenzie River from those flowing eastward into Hudson Bay. But midway between the St. Lawrence and Mackenzie water-systems, the joint waters of the Red and Saskatchewan Rivers break northward through the Laurentian Range by way of Nelson River into Hudson Bay. The Laurentian Range carries iron in great abundance, but no coal. Silver, nickel, cobalt and many other valuable metals are also found, although the region has as yet been very little explored.

The Laurentian district is remarkable for its numerous lakes, and especially for the succession of great lakes, which, forming part of three separate river systems, lie almost continuously along its southern side all the way from the Atlantic to the Arctic. The many streams and rivers which have their origin in the Laurentian Range afford unlimited opportunities for the creation of water power, and more than replace the lack of coal for all purposes for which power is required. The St. Lawrence and its tributary, the Ottawa, are the great rivers of eastern Canada; the Red and Saskatchewan of central Canada; the Fraser and Columbia of western Canada; and the Mackenzie and the Yukon of northern Canada. The St. Lawrence, Mackenzie and Yukon are among the largest rivers in the world.

The forests of Canada are one of the greatest sources of the national wealth. Maritime, eastern and western Canada were entirely covered by forest, of which only a small proportion has as yet been displaced by settlement and cultivation. The northern part of central Canada is also very considerably forested.

The prairies, which comprise the southerly portion of the central provinces, lie in an irregular triangle formed by the 29th parallel and the United States boundary on the south; the Rockies on the west; and the Laurentian Range on the northwest. They are watered in the southeastern part by the Red River, in the south and west by the Saskatchewan, and in the northwest by the Athabasca and Peace Rivers, branches of the Mackenzie.Adapted from The New Student's Reference Work, 1914

For more information...Canada / Canada (french)


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Flag of Canada

Canada. Canada comprises the northern half of North America. To its south it borders the United States, to the east, the Atlantic, to the west the Pacific and Alaska and to the north the Arctic Ocean. Its area is 9,984,670 km², making Canada about 350,000 square kilometers bigger in area than the United States and nearly equal in size to Europe. From Halifax on the Atlantic to Vancouver on the Pacific is 6,000km (3,740 miles) by rail. From Victoria on the Pacific to Dawson on the Yukon River is 2,500km (1,550 miles) by ocean and river steamer and rail. From the head of Canadian navigation on Lake Superior, by the water way of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, to the tidal seaport of Quebec is 2,250km (1,400 miles), and from Quebec city to the extreme Atlantic coast, at the Straits of Belle Isle, is 1,350km (850 miles). Its most southerly portion is in the latitude of northern Spain and Italy, and the most northerly portion is in the latitude of northern Norway.

Older and Newer Canada. The eastern and older part of Canada occupies chiefly a vast peninsula lying between the water-system of the St. Lawrence on the south and the Hudson Bay on the north. This peninsula is of very irregular shape, and is 3500km (2,200 miles) in length from east to west, with a breadth of from 500 to 2,000 kilometers. The western or newer, and much the larger, portion of Canada is compact in form. It extends from the western end of the Great Lakes and the west shore of Hudson Bay to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 2,400km (1,500 miles), and from the United States boundary (the 49th parallel of latitude) to the Arctic Ocean, a distance of 2,600km (1,600 miles).

The provinces and territories of Canada may be grouped as maritime, eastern, central, western and northern. Maritime: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The easterly portion of the province of Quebec on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence may be included as a part of maritime Canada. The eastern provinces are Ontario and Quebec, which lie along the St. Lawrence River and its Great Lakes, and extend along Hudson Bay as shown on accompanying map. The central provinces are Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which occupy the prairie area lying between the wooded region of eastern Canada and the Rocky Mountains. The western or Pacific province is British Columbia, which lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast. Northern Canada is the territory lying between the northern limits of the eastern, central and western provinces, already mentioned, and the Arctic Ocean. Adapted from The New Student's Reference Work, 1914.

For more information...Canada / Canada (french)


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Introductions 21–40[edit]

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Nominations[edit]

Feel free to add top or high importance biographies to the above list. Other Canada-related introductions may be nominated here.