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Canada /ˈkænədə/ is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area. Canada's common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.

The land that is now Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Canada is a federation that is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is a bilingual nation with both English and French as official languages at the federal level. One of the world's highly developed countries, Canada has a diversified economy that is reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade—particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship. It is a member of the G8, G-20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Commonwealth, Francophonie, OAS, APEC, and UN.

Coat of Arms of Canada (1957).jpg More about...Canada, its history and inhabitants

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Operation Tractable was the final CanadianPolish offensive to take place during the Battle of Normandy. Its aim was to capture the strategically important town of Falaise and subsequently the towns of Trun and Chambois. The operation was undertaken by the First Canadian Army against Germany's Army Group B, and was part of the largest encirclement on the Western Front during World War II. Despite a slow start to the offensive that was marked by limited gains north of Falaise, innovative tactics by Stanisław Maczek's Polish 1st Armoured Division during the drive for Chambois allowed for the Falaise gap to be partially closed by August 19, 1944, trapping close to 300,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.

Although the Falaise Gap had been narrowed to a distance of several hundred yards, a protracted series of fierce engagements between two battlegroups of the Polish 1st Armoured Division and the 2nd SS Panzer Corps on Mont Ormel prevented the gap from being completely closed, allowing thousands of German troops to escape out of Normandy. During two days of nearly continuous fighting, Polish forces utilized artillery barrages and close-quarter fighting managed to hold off counterattacks by elements of seven German divisions. On August 21, 1944, elements of the First Canadian Army relieved Polish survivors of the battle, and were able to finally close the Falaise Pocket, leading to the capture of the remaining elements of the German Seventh Army.

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Portrait of Brock by John Wycliffe Lowes Forster
Isaac Brock(October 6, 1769 – October 13, 1812) was a British Army officer and administrator. His actions while stationed in the Canadian colonies earned him a knighthood, accolades, and the epithet: The Hero of Upper Canada.

Brock was assigned to Canada in 1802, and became responsible for defending the Canadian borders from the United States during the War of 1812. While many in Canada and Britain believed war could be averted, he began readying the army and militia for what was to come. When war broke out, the populace was prepared; quick victories at Fort Mackinac and Detroit crippled American invasion efforts.

During Brock's time in Canada he faced desertions and near mutinies, but his actions earned him membership in the Order of the Bath, and fought in concert with "celebrated" American Indian leader Tecumseh. He died in the Battle of Queenston Heights.

Brock was born in St Peter Port on the Channel Island of Guernsey, the eighth son of a middle class family. He earned a reputation during his early education on Guernsey as an assiduous student, as well as an exceptional swimmer and boxer. At age ten, he was sent to school in Southampton but spent one year in Rotterdam learning French.

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Northwest Crown Fire Experiment, Canada
Credit: (Photograph used by permission of the USDA Forest Service.)

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Flag of Canada

The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"), is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted to replace the Union Flag...

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Vancouver, British Columbia, viewed from the south with mountains behind. Blended exposure version. 20 stitched images.

Panoramic view of Vancouver
Credit: Mfield (Matthew Field)

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