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Flag of Canada
Coat of arms of Canada
flag coat of arms
Motto : A Mari Usque Ad Mare

( Latin from sea to sea ,
derived from Psalm 72: 8 )

Official language English , French
Capital Ottawa
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy
Government system Parliamentary Democracy
( Westminster System )
Head of state Queen Elizabeth II

represented by Governor General
Julie Payette

Head of government Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau
surface 9,984,670 km ²
population 37,894,799 (1st quarter 2020)
Population density 3.8 inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 0.74% (2016) per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 1,712.5 billion ( 11. )
  • $ 1,838.3 billion ( 17. )
  • 46,290 USD ( 20. )
  • 49,690 USD ( 24. )
Human Development Index   0.920 ( 10th ) (2016)
currency Canadian dollar (CAD)
founding February 10, 1841:
United Province of Canada
independence July 1, 1867 ( Dominion )

December 11, 1931
( Statute of Westminster )

April 17, 1982 ( Canada Act )

National anthem O Canada
Royal Anthem :
God Save the Queen
Time zone UTC − 3: 30 to UTC − 8
License Plate CDN
ISO 3166 CA , CAN, 124
Internet TLD .approx
Phone code +1 (see NANP )
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Canada ( English and French Canada ) is a state in North America that lies between the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west and extends northward to the Arctic Ocean . The federal capital is Ottawa , the most populous city is Toronto . The only land border is with the United States in the south and northwest. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia , but with just under 38 million inhabitants has a population density of only 3.6 people per km².

Settlement by the First Nations began 12,000 years ago at the latest, and the Inuit followed around 5,000 years ago. From the late 15th century, Europeans landed on the east coast and began colonizing around 1600 . The French and English initially settled down. During this time the name "Canada" spread, originally the name for an Iroquois village . France ceded its colony New France to Great Britain in 1763 . In 1867, three British colonies formed the Canadian Confederation . The Westminster Statute gave the country legislative independence in 1931, and further constitutional ties with the United Kingdom were broken in 1982. The nominal head of state is Queen Elizabeth II , who is represented by the Governor General of Canada .

Canada is a parliamentary democratic state based on the Westminster system and a parliamentary monarchy . The official languages ​​are English and French. Québec's aspirations for independence , the position of the Francophone Canadians and the rights of the indigenous peoples (alongside the First Nations and Inuit the Métis ) are important lines of conflict in state and society. The topics of climate change and environmental protection , immigration policy and dependency on raw materials as well as the relationship to the southern neighbor USA, of which there is an ambivalent picture for cultural and historical reasons, characterize the public debates.

origin of the name

Jacques Cartier , Portrait of Théophile Hamel (1817–1870), oil on canvas, around 1844

The name Canada is most likely derived from the word kanata , which means "village" or better "settlement" in the language of the Saint Lawrence Iroquois . In 1535, residents of the region around what is now Québec gave the French explorer Jacques Cartier directions to the village of Stadacona . Cartier then used the designation Canada not only for this village, but for the entire area that was ruled by Chief Donnacona, who lived in Stadacona . From 1545 the name Canada was common on maps and in books for this region. Cartier also called the Saint Lawrence River Rivière de Canada , a name that was in use until the early 17th century. Researchers and fur traders moved west and south, expanding the area known as "Canada". In the early 18th century the name was used for all of what is now the Midwest as far as Louisiana . The British colony of Québec , which had been British since 1763 , was divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada in 1791 , which roughly corresponded to the later provinces of Ontario and Québec. They were reunited in 1841 to form the new Province of Canada . In 1867 the newly established states of the colonies in British North America were given the name "Canada" and the formal title Dominion . Until the 1950s, the official name Dominion of Canada was common.

With the increasing political autonomy vis-à-vis Great Britain , the government increasingly used the term Canada in legally binding documents and contracts. The Canada Act 1982 only refers to Canada , which is now the only official (bilingual) name.


Prehistory and early history

Indians ( called First Nations in Canada ) settled North America at least 12,000 years ago, marking the beginning of the Paleo-Indian period . The Inuit followed around 5000 years ago . The oldest human traces in Canada were found in the Bluefish Caves in the northern Yukon ; Tools from around 10,500 BC were found in the Charlie Lake Cave . From about 9000 BC. Finds come from Banff and Saskatchewan , but also from Québec .

From around 8000 BC The archaic phase followed . Groups from the west reached by 7500 BC. Southern Ontario . Spear throwers were found there . The main areas of settlement were the lower St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes in the east as well as the coast of Labrador ( L'Anse Amour Site ) where the first larger burial sites were built in the 6th millennium, later Burial Mounds .

New weapon technologies and extensive trade arose on the Great Plains , for example with chalcedony from Oregon and obsidian from Wyoming . In some areas around 8000 BC. Chr. Horses hunted; they disappeared as did the megafauna . It was not until later that the huge cultural area was clearly divided into two large areas, the Early Shield and the Early Plains Culture , with copper working as early as 4800 BC. Can show.

In the west the traces go back to before 8000 BC. BC, often without a discernible cultural break. The Haida culture on Haida Gwaii has existed for over 9500 years. The trade in obsidian from Mount Edziza dates back over 10,000 years.

Before 2500 BC There were settlements in the west and there were signs of social differentiation. House associations existed, which got together seasonally for hunting in large groups. There are also villages in the plains.

The Cree , Ojibwa , Algonkin , Innu and Beothuk that can be found in the early European sources probably go back to groups of the Shield culture . The plains cultures were characterized by bison , dogs were used as carrying and draft animals, the tepee prevailed, as was the production of pemmican .

The most important cultural change in plateau culture in the western interior is the transition from non-sedentary to semi-sedentary with winter villages and summer hiking cycles around 2000 BC. A similar development took place earlier on the coast, whose cultures can be related to the coastal Salish . Towards the end of the era, plank houses can be identified for the first time. Some Salish were already there before 1600 BC. BC farmers - as one knows about the katzie . The Nuu-chah-nulth on Vancouver Island developed ocean-going canoes with which they (as the only ones) went whaling .

The production of clay pots reached what is now Canada from South America, bows and arrows came around 3000 BC. From Asia and were probably first used by Paleo-Eskimos . It reached the east coast, but only came to the west about three millennia later.

Dogs can be found at the Great Lakes (in Utah as early as 8000 BC) that were buried. With the ceramic vessels from around 500 BC. The archaic phase, which was replaced by the Woodland periods , ended on the east coast . Some villages, mostly consisting of long houses , were probably inhabited all year round. The Iroquois , but also some of the Algonquin groups , probably go back to the Early Woodland Period on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River (around 1000 BC to 500 AD) .

The influences of the Adena culture can be seen on the Canadian shield as far as central Labrador . Their typical mounds also appear in the western shield culture, for example in southern Ontario. As a result of the domestication of wild rice , there was probably a prominent class of landowners ( Psinomani culture ). Southern Ontario was involved in the long-distance trade relations of the Hopewell culture . Copper was spread throughout eastern North America.

The late Plains culture relied heavily on bison . Long-distance trade was widespread and reached westward to the Pacific. In the north, smaller nomadic groups predominated, while in the south a cycle of seasonal migrations established itself, centered on fixed villages.

The late plateau culture was fed by the salmon spawning courses, similar to those on the Pacific coast. From 2500 BC The so-called Pit House (" pit house ") can be identified, which was partially dug into the earth and enabled better storage.

Coastal culture was established between 500 BC. and 500 AD as a ranking society stricter from south to north. A class of leading families dominated trade and access to resources, and had political and spiritual power. Burial mounds also appear here for the first time. In some regions, cairns were predominant, such as around Victoria . The villages became more numerous and much larger, and soon more fortified. The culture was characterized by plank houses, often monumental carvings ( totem poles ), complex ceremonies and clan structures. Nowhere was the population density as great as on the west coast.

In contrast, the climatic conditions and strong volcanic activity in the north-west did not allow permanent settlement. Sites in the drainage area of ​​the Mackenzie River from 1000 BC are connected with the athabasques . Until about 700 AD

Around 2500 BC Some of the Paleo-Eskimos migrated from Alaska to Greenland ; the pre-Dorset culture developed . Around 500 BC The " Dorset culture " followed (named after Cape Dorset on an island off Baffin Island ) until 1000 AD . Around 2000 BC The Neo-Eskimo culture existed until 1000 AD. Around 1000, another migration from Alaska to Greenland started. The Thule culture , which existed until around 1800 , probably emerged from the mixing of cultures . Their relatives are the ancestors of today's Inuit.


Reconstruction of the Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows

European settlers reached North America by the year 1000 at the latest, when Vikings lived for a short time in L'Anse aux Meadows at the northernmost end of Newfoundland . Giovanni Caboto , an Italian seafarer in the English service, is considered to be the "discoverer" of North America . He landed on June 24, 1497 on Newfoundland - probably on the Bonavista Peninsula - and took possession of the land for England. Basque whalers and fishermen came regularly to the coast of Labrador from around 1525 and exploited the resources in the region between the Newfoundland Bank and Tadoussac for a century . An expedition led by Jacques Cartier explored the area around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence River in 1534/35 and declared it French property.

Hudson's Bay Company canoe on the French River , Frances Anne Hopkins 1869

Samuel de Champlain founded the first permanent settlements in New France in 1605 with Port Royal, Nova Scotia (now Annapolis Royal ) and 1608 with Québec . The French colonists were divided into two main groups: the Canadiens populated the valley of the St. Lawrence River, the Acadians (Acadiens) today Maritime Provinces . French fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay and Mississippi as far as Louisiana . The English established settlements on Newfoundland from 1610 and settled the Thirteen Colonies further south . Cupids Plantation is the second oldest Anglo-American settlement in North America and was more successful than Jamestown , Virginia .

Between 1689 and 1763 there were four armed conflicts between the English (or British) and the French in North America , each of which was part of wars of succession in Europe. The King William's War (1689-1697) brought no territorial changes, but after the end of the Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) Great Britain came into possession of Acadia, Newfoundland and the Hudson Bay region through the Peace of Utrecht . The British captured the French fortress Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island in King George's War in 1745 , but returned it in 1748 in accordance with the Treaty of Aachen . The Seven Years War (in North America from 1754 to 1760 or 1763) finally brought the decision: With the Peace of Paris in 1763, France had to cede almost all of its possessions in North America.

British rule

Death of General James Wolfe in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (1759), the turning point of the Seven Years War in North America, Benjamin West 1770, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

With the Royal Proclamation of 1763 , the former New France became the British province of Québec , and in the same year Cape Breton Island became part of the colony of Nova Scotia . French Canadians' rights were also restricted. In 1769 another colony called St. John's Island ( Prince Edward Island since 1798 ) was established. To avert conflict in Quebec, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act in 1774 . The Quebec area was expanded to include the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley . For the French-speaking majority of the population, French civil law applied and French was recognized as a public language; the Roman Catholic Church was able to remain in the colony through the assurance of free religious practice .

However, the law angered the residents of the Thirteen Colonies, who saw it as an impermissible restriction on their westward expansion. The Quebec Act was one of those "intolerable laws" ( Intolerable Acts ) that eventually the United States Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War led. The Peace of Paris recognized American independence and the areas south of the Great Lakes fell to the United States . About 50,000 loyalists fled to what is now Canada, plus Indian tribes allied with the British, such as the Mohawk . New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia in 1784 in order to better organize the settlement of the loyalists on the Atlantic coast. In order to accommodate the loyalists who had fled to Québec, the British Parliament passed the constitutional law of 1791 , which divided the province of Québec into the French-speaking Lower Canada and the English-speaking Upper Canada and granted both colonies an elected parliament.

Victory of the British against the Americans in the Battle of Queenston Heights (1812), James B. Dennis (1777–1855), oil on canvas, undated

Tensions between the United States and Great Britain erupted in the British-American War , which lasted from 1812 to 1814 and ultimately ended with no results. In Canada, the war is still seen today as a successful defense against American invasion attempts. The British and French-born population developed a Canadian national feeling by fighting a common enemy, and loyalty to the British crown was strengthened.

The desire for self-government and resistance to the economic and political domination of a small elite led to the rebellions of 1837 , which were quickly crushed. Lord Durham then recommended in his research report the establishment of a self-governing government and the gradual assimilation of the French Canadians into British culture. The Act of Union 1840 merged Lower and Upper Canada to form the Province of Canada and made English the sole official language. By 1849, the other colonies in British North America also received their own government.

Two trading companies, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the North West Company (NWC), controlled trade in the vast areas of the prairies and the subarctic where only a few indigenous people lived. The HBC had received Rupert's land as a lease area in 1670 and had a monopoly of trade in fur there. But as the NWC also tried to gain a foothold there, there were repeated armed clashes. After the Pemmican War in the Red River Colony (now Manitoba ), the NWC was forcibly liquidated in 1821, and the HBC extended its monopoly to almost the entire northwest of the continent. In 1846, the United States and Great Britain concluded the Oregon Compromise , which set the 49th parallel as the common border west of the Great Lakes . This was followed by the establishment of the Pacific coast colonies of Vancouver Island (1849) and British Columbia (1858).

Canadian Confederation

Territorial development of Canada

During the Civil War in the United States, leading politicians recognized the need to oppose a strong state against possible American expansion efforts and discussed the creation of a Canadian confederation in three constitutional conferences . This resulted in the constitutional law of 1867 , which came into force on July 1, 1867 and created the Dominion Canada, which had a certain independence from the colonial power Great Britain. The province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Québec, plus New Brunswick and Nova Scotia .

The oldest British house in western Canada was the residence of one of Canada's founding fathers,
John Sebastian Helmcken , from 1852 to 1920

In 1869 the new state bought the Northwest Territory and Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company and united them to form the Northwest Territories . After the Red River Rebellion of the Métis was put down , the Manitoba Act 1870 created the province of Manitoba in the unrest area . British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which were united in 1866 ) joined the Confederation in 1871, followed two years later by Prince Edward Island .

To open up the west for immigrant settlement, the government helped fund transcontinental railroads and established the North-West Mounted Police (now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ) to enforce state control over the prairies and subarctic regions. The Northwest Rebellion and the subsequent execution of the Métis leader Louis Riel in 1885 led to a deep rift between the two language groups. As a direct result of the Klondike gold rush , the Yukon Territory was created in 1898 . Due to the increasing settlement of the prairie, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan emerged in 1905 from the southern part of the Northwest Territories . Canada concluded eleven treaties with the Indians between 1871 and 1921 , which assigned them reservations for a small amount of compensation , but guaranteed them their accustomed way of life. Until the 1960s, attempts were made to assimilate them forcibly and the use of their mother tongues was forbidden for students. The indigenous people were not allowed to vote in national parliamentary elections until 1960.

On the side of Great Britain, Canada took part in the First World War from 1914 and sent volunteers to the Western Front . When the government tried to introduce compulsory military service against the resistance of the French-speaking part of the population, the conscription crisis of 1917 occurred .

Autonomy and Separatism

Landing of Canadian troops in Normandy on D-Day , section Nan White Beach near Bernières-sur-Mer, Calvados department

During the negotiations for the Versailles Treaty , Canada emerged as an independent state and in 1919 joined the League of Nations independently of Great Britain . The Westminster Statute of 1931 guaranteed legislative independence, but certain constitutional obligations remained. The country was particularly hard hit by the global economic crisis, and as a reaction to it, a well-developed welfare state developed in the following decades .

Canada declared war on the German Reich in 1939. Despite yet another conscription crisis , Canadian forces played an important role during World War II , particularly in the Battle of the Atlantic , Operation Jubilee , the Invasion of Italy , Operation Overlord (landing at Juno Beach ) and the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary . The Mackenzie King administration did not dare to send soldiers against their will on a military mission abroad. So men of five divisions remained in Canada, where they did nothing but guard German prisoners of war. This caused great resentment among the Canadian volunteers who fought against Germany in Europe. In 1945 Canadian soldiers were used significantly during the fighting for the Netherlands .

The British colony of Newfoundland , which did not join the state in 1867 and was an independent Dominion from 1907 to 1934 , became the last province to join the Canadian Confederation in 1949 after a protracted political and economic crisis. In 1965 the new maple leaf flag was introduced and with the entry into force of the Official Language Act , Canada was officially a bilingual country from 1969. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sought full formal independence from Britain, which became a reality with the 1982 Constitutional Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms .

During the 1960s, Québec experienced a profound social and economic upheaval known as the " Silent Revolution ". Québec nationalists began to demand more autonomy or even independence. Attacks and kidnappings by the Front de liberation du Québec led to the October crisis in 1970 and the brief declaration of a state of emergency. Moderate nationalists formed the provincial government from 1976, and in 1980 a first independence referendum was rejected with 59.6% of the vote. Another characteristic of this upheaval is the detachment of the Francophone population from the Catholic Church.

The Constitution Act / Loi constitutionelle of April 17, 1982, with which constitutional amendments no longer have to be approved by the British Parliament, is considered the date of formal independence (full sovereignty) of Canada. Efforts by the federal government to recognize Québec with the Meech Lake Accord as a “differing society” failed in 1989. The provincial government, led by the separatist Parti Québécois , called the second independence referendum in 1995 , which only narrowly failed with 49.4% approval. In 1999, Nunavut became the first Canadian territory with a predominantly indigenous population. Despite some political concessions, discontent among the indigenous people is still high.


Extension and Limits

Satellite image of the Baffin Island

With an area of ​​9,984,670 square kilometers, Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia and almost the size of Europe. The country occupies around 41% of North America. The only independent and land border neighbors are the United States to the south and northwest. Another neighbor is the Danish autonomous region of Greenland , which is separated from the northernmost Canadian island, Ellesmere Island , by the Kennedy Canal , which is around 30 kilometers wide . After all, the St. Pierre et Miquelon archipelago south of Newfoundland is a remnant of the French colony of New France .

The largest north-south extension, from Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut to Middle Island in Lake Erie , is 4634 kilometers. The greatest east-west distance is 5514 kilometers from Cape Spear on Newfoundland to the border of the Yukon Territory with Alaska . The total length of the border between Canada and the United States is 8890 kilometers. Canada also has the longest coastline in the world, at 243,042 kilometers.

The largest island is the Baffin Island in the northeast, which, with an area of ​​507,451 km², is also the fifth largest island in the world. The northernmost peninsula is Boothia . 9,093,507 km² of Canada is land and 891,163 km² is water.

Canada has a share of six time zones , see time zones in Canada .

Geology and landscape structure

The Canadian Shield
Canada's climates

The geological basement of the eastern provinces are old, eroded mountains alongside even older sections of the Canadian Shield that are up to 4.03 billion years old. This covers an extensive region with some of the oldest rocks. Located around Hudson Bay , it takes up almost half of the state's territory. Except for a few low mountains in eastern Québec and Labrador , the landscape is flat and hilly. The water network is dense and the region is drained by a large number of rivers. The southern half of the shield is covered in boreal forests , while the northern half, including the islands of the Arctic archipelago, lies beyond the Arctic tree line and is covered in rocks, ice and tundra vegetation . The eastern islands of the archipelago are mountainous, while the western ones are flat.

To the west and south of the Canadian Shield lie the plains around the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes . The natural vegetation of the southern part of the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan , Manitoba and Alberta is prairie grass ; the northern part, on the other hand, is forested.

The partly volcanically active mountain ranges of the Coast Range and the Rocky Mountains , such as Mount Edziza or the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province in northern British Columbia , dominate western Canada. They run in a north-south direction through the Yukon and British Columbia, the coastline there is deeply cut by fjords . Off the coast lies Vancouver Island , an extension of the coastal mountains.

Great Lakes satellite image

The highest Canadian mountain regions are in the west with the Rocky Mountains - the highest mountain is the 5959 meter high Mount Logan in the Yukon Territory - and the chain of coastal mountains on the Pacific Ocean ( Coast Mountains and Cascade Range ). Another important system runs along the northeast coast from Ellesmere Island ( Arctic Cordillera ) to the Torngat Mountains in Québec as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the east of Canada are the Northern Appalachian Mountains and the Laurentine Mountains .

The most important river in Canada is the Saint Lawrence River, 3,058 kilometers long. It serves as a waterway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic. Canada's second longest river is the Mackenzie River (1903 kilometers) in the Northwest Territories . Other significant rivers are the Yukon River and Columbia River , some of which also run in the United States, the Fraser , Nelson , Churchill, and Manicouagan, and tributaries such as the Saskatchewan River , Peace River , Ottawa, and Athabasca .

Canada is also a country with a lot of lakes. 7.6% of its land mass is covered with a total of around two million lakes. 563 lakes are larger than 100 square kilometers. The largest lakes include the Great Bear Lake (31,153 km²), the Great Slave Lake (27,048 km²), the Winnipegsee (24,420 km²), the Athabasca lake (7,850 km²) and the Great Lakes (together around 245,000 km²), through which with the exception of Lake Michigan runs the border to its southern neighbor. The largest lake entirely in Canada is Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories.


Climate diagram of the capital Ottawa

Canada includes different climatic zones (from the polar climate to the temperate climate ). The boreal climate predominantly determines the greater part of Canada with long, cold winters and short, hot summers. In winter 2004/2005 temperatures of −58 ° C were measured in Burwash Landing in the Yukon Territory; the lowest temperature ever recorded was recorded at -63 ° C in Snag in the same territory on February 3, 1947. The highest measured temperature was recorded in Midale and Yellowgrass in the province of Saskatchewan with 45 ° C on July 5, 1937.

The west coast has a maritime climate with high levels of precipitation, as the moist air coming from the ocean rains down on the western edge of the coastal mountains. Ucluelet in British Columbia holds the record of precipitation with 489.2 mm in a single day (October 6, 1967). The seasons are most pronounced in the provinces of Québec and Ontario, with cold winters, mild spring and autumn months and, from July to September, often very humid and hot summers with average temperatures around 25 ° C.

The most common prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba suffer from drought. One of the driest years was 1936, but the driest was 1961. Regina received 45% less rain than the average. 1988 was so dry that one in ten farmers had to give up. The warmest year in Canada was 1998.

Flora and fauna

Large natural areas, especially in the tundra and mountain regions, cover 70% of Canada. This corresponds to 20% of the world's remaining wilderness areas (excluding Antarctica). More than half of the vast forests are still primeval forest . The northern tree line runs from the east coast of Labrador across the Ungava Peninsula to the south along the east bank of Hudson Bay and then continues in a serpentine direction northwest to the lower reaches of the Mackenzie and on to Alaska. North of the tree line there is little or no fertile soil ( tundra ). The vegetation of the southernmost tundra areas consists of low shrubbery, grasses and sedge . Less than a tenth of the northernmost areas are covered with the mosses typical of the polar region.

South of the tree line, from Alaska to Newfoundland , is one of the largest coniferous forest areas in the world. In the east, from the Great Lakes to the coasts, there are mainly mixed forests with sugar maple , beech , birch , pine and hemlock . The lowlands in the extreme south are covered with pure deciduous forests. Hickory trees , oak and elm , chestnut , maple and walnut trees thrive here . The spruce , Douglas fir and Lodgepole pine are most widespread in the western mountain regions, while quivering aspen and yellow pine also grow on the plateaus . The vegetation of the rain-rich Pacific coast is dominated by forests of dense, tall Douglas fir, western red cedar and hemlock. The prairie is too dry to produce more than isolated groups of trees. Little is left of the originally wide, hilly grassland; it has given way to the now famous Canadian wheat belt.

Wapiti or Elk at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

The arctic waters provide food for whales , walruses , seals and polar bears . Musk ox , caribou , arctic wolves , arctic foxes , arctic hares and lemmings , and occasionally wolverines , live in the tundras ; many migratory birds spend the summer here, including auks , ducks , gulls , terns and other sea birds. The forests in the north are an ideal habitat for caribou and elk , lynx , black and brown bears . But the populations of the huge caribou herds are declining due to industrialization and winter leisure activities, especially due to the disturbances from motorized sleds. The importance of hunting is declining here.

Five billion birds enter the boreal forests every summer. Therefore, Canada started in 1917 together with the USA to set up protected areas for migratory birds. Today there are 92 such areas with a total area of ​​about 110,000 km². The species-rich bird world includes the cardinal , the wood warbler , the bald eagle and the mockingbird as well as the rare marmelalk , which can only survive in ancient forests.

Beavers , martens , muskrats and mink are still the basis of the now insignificant fur trade . Further south you can find elk , while in more densely populated areas there are mainly smaller mammals such as gray squirrels and chipmunks , weasels and otters . Smaller animals live in the prairie areas, such as prairie rabbits , pocket rats and the pointed-tailed chicken, as well as bison and pronghorn . In the western mountains there are bighorn sheep and mountain goats .

The native flora and fauna are protected in 44  national parks , well over a thousand provincial parks and nature reserves. The largest protected area is the 44,802 km² Wood Buffalo National Park in the northern part of Alberta and the Northwest Territories , in which numerous endangered species are represented. What is remarkable is the largest population of wild bison in the world with around 6000 animals . In many lake areas, people need strict precautions against insect bites, especially in summer, as mosquitoes and black flies live in a very high density.

Metropolitan areas

See also: List of cities in Canada

Of the more than 35 million inhabitants, more than half of the population lives in the 30 largest cities. Assuming the metropolitan areas (census metropolitan areas), this number rises to over 70%. Toronto is the most important production center and with 5,928,040 inhabitants (as of 2016) the largest metropolitan area. The commercial metropolis of Montreal had 4,098,927 inhabitants , Vancouver 2,463,431 inhabitants. Other metropolitan areas are the federal capital Ottawa - Gatineau (1,323,783), Calgary (1,392,609), Edmonton (1,321,426), Québec (800,296), Winnipeg (778,489) and Hamilton (747,545).


The last census in 2016 showed a population of 35,151,728. This results in a population density of around 3.9 inhabitants / km², one of the lowest in the world. The population is concentrated to a large extent on a strip up to 350 km wide along the border with the USA. Large parts of the north are almost uninhabited. Almost four fifths of Canadians live in cities. The biggest cities are Toronto , Montreal , Calgary , Ottawa , Edmonton and Vancouver .

The majority of the population lives in the provinces of Ontario (13,448,494 Ew.) And Québec (8,164,361 Ew.) Along the St. Lawrence River, that is around Toronto, Montreal, Québec, Ottawa, London and Hamilton ( Québec-Windsor Corridor ). 4,648,055 people live in British Columbia , 4,067,175 in Alberta , Manitoba 1,278,365 and Saskatchewan an additional 1,098,352 people. The four Atlantic provinces all have less than 1 million inhabitants. The Yukon Territory with 35,874 inhabitants is the poorest populated territory in Canada, just ahead of Nunavut with 35,944 and the Northwest Territories with 41,786.

Demographic structure and development

Canada population pyramid 2016
Population development 1961–2010 (in millions)

Canada is an immigration country . In 2017, 21.5% of the population were born abroad. Large groups of immigrants have historically come from the United Kingdom , France , Germany , Italy , Ireland , the Netherlands , Hungary , Ukraine , Poland , Croatia and the USA . Nowadays the importance of immigrants from East Asia , especially from the People's Republic of China , from South Asia ( India and Pakistan ), from the Philippines and from the Caribbean (especially Jamaica and Haiti ) is growing . Of the roughly six million German emigrants from 1820 to 1914, only 1.3% went to Canada, of the 605,000 from 1919 to 1933 5% went there, and of the 1.2 million from 1950 to 1969, 25% went there. In 2006, around 3.2 million Canadians stated that they were of German origin. This means that the German Canadians are the third largest population group in the country after the inhabitants with roots in Great Britain / Ireland and those with roots in present-day France.

The annual growth rate of the population sank from 2000 to 2012 from 1.02 to 0.78%.

The life expectancy of a newborn Canadian is, according to the CIA Factbook 81.9 years (women: 84.6, men: 79.2). 26% of Canadians are 19 years of age or younger, 13% are 65 years of age or older. The mean age of the working population is 42 years, the estimate for 2011 is 43.7 years. The median has risen from just under 26 to 39.5 years since 1966. In 2006, 4,635 Canadians were over 100 years old.

Indigenous ethnic groups

Inuit woman
hunting for buffalo

In Canada, a distinction is made between three groups of indigenous or autochthonous peoples: the First Nations (also called " Indians "), the Inuit and the Métis, descendants of Europeans who had come into contact with Indian women. You have developed your own language, the Michif . Numerous other Canadians have Indian ancestors. Their marriages were very common after the "custom of the country" ( custom of the country closed), without church or state participation - as in marriages between men of the Hudson's Bay Company was common and Indians. Marriages of this kind were not fully valid until 1867.

In the 2006 census, 1,172,790 Canadians reported belonging to an indigenous group. This corresponded to 3.8% of the population, although this proportion varies greatly from region to region. The indigenous people were divided into the following groups:

  • 698,025 were First Nations,
  • 389,785 Métis,
  • 50,485 Inuit,
  • 6,665 indigenous people of mixed origin (as of 2001),
  • 23,415 indigenous people without a clear ethnic classification (as of 2001).

On average, the natives are considerably younger than the rest of the population. 50% of the Indian population are under 23.5 years old, in the rest of Canada this value, referred to as the median, is 39.5 years.

185,960 Canadians spoke one of the 50 indigenous languages ​​in 2001, these include the languages ​​of the First Nations and Inuktitut , the language of the Inuit.

The interests of the indigenous population are represented on the state side by the “ Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development ” / “Affaires indiennes et du Nord”, which is based on the Indian law of 1876. However, they see themselves more represented in their own organizations, such as the First Nations Assembly or other organizations. They rely on the treaties that have been signed with Canada and the United Kingdom, such as the Numbered Treaties , on universal human rights and on decisions of the higher courts in the United Kingdom and Canada. The Indians have had full voting rights only since 1960. In 1999, part of the Inuit's special habitat was combined into a separate territory called Nunavut .

Since 1996 June 21st has been celebrated as “National Aboriginal Day” or “Journée nationale des Autochtones”. At the same time, there are still disputes over land rights and the mining of natural resources, such as the Grassy Narrows Blockade , the dispute over the primeval forests on Clayoquot Sound on the west coast or the resistance of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug in Ontario.


Bilingual blackboard in Montreal

Canada's official languages are English and French , with 20.1% of the population reporting neither one nor the other as their first language. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms , the Official Language Act and the Official Language Regulations set out official bilingualism , which is enforced by the Official Language Commissioner . English and French have equal rights in the federal courts, in parliament and in all federal institutions. Citizens have the right to receive federal services in English or French. In all provinces and territories, the linguistic minorities are guaranteed education in their own schools, a right that has long been disputed. The causes go back to the French and British colonization phase of North America and were at the same time related to cultural and religious differences.

English and French are the mother tongues of 56.9% and 21.3% of the population, respectively, and the most widely spoken languages ​​at home for 68.3% and 22.3% respectively (2006). 98.5% of all residents speak English or French (67.5% speak only English, 13.3% only French and 17.7% both).

Although 85% of all French-speaking Canadians live in Québec, there are significant francophone populations in Ontario and Alberta , south of Manitoba , north and south-east of New Brunswick ( Acadians ; 35% of the total population of this province) and in southwestern Nova Scotia and on Cape Breton Island . Ontario has the largest numerical French-speaking population outside of Québec. The Charter of the French Language makes French the only official language in Québec, and New Brunswick is the only province whose constitution guarantees bilingualism. Other provinces have not defined an official language as such; however, French is used in addition to English in schools, courts, and government services. Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec allow the equitable use of English and French in provincial parliaments, and laws are passed in both languages. In Ontario, individual communities know French as the second official language. Queen Victoria (1857) chose Ottawa as the capital of what was then British North America (1857) because it was roughly on the border between French and Anglophone areas.

All regions have non-English or French-speaking minorities, mostly descendants of the indigenous people . Several First Nations languages ​​have official status in the Northwest Territories . In the territory of Nunavut, which is mainly populated by Inuit , Inuktitut is the majority language and one of three official languages. More than 6.1 million people do not have English or French as their first language. The most common are Chinese (1.012 million speakers), Italian (about 455,000), German (about 450,000), Punjabi (about 367,000), and Spanish (about 345,000). The Canadian-Gaelic , around the middle of the 19th century is still the third most common language in Canada is almost extinct with about 500 to 1,000 mainly elderly speakers now, but there are contacts with Scottish universities that offer Canadians courses. Several schools teach the language, as do three universities and the Atlantic Gaelic Academy, founded in 2006 . It was not until 1973 that the state began to support German schools in Ontario. Between 1977 and 1990 the schools received funding from the government's multiculturalism program.


With the colonization mainly French Catholics and Anglican English came to Canada. In addition, Great Britain encouraged the immigration of Protestant groups from the Middle Rhine and Württemberg, and to a lesser extent from Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, so that the south of Nova Scotia is Protestant to this day.

But with the Quebec Act in 1774, the colonial power gave up any attempt to persuade Catholics to convert. After the independence of the USA, numerous Protestant loyalists came to what is now Ontario and formed the majority there. In later waves of immigration there were again Catholic Irish and Italians, but also Ukrainian Duchoborzen . Immigration from Scotland in turn resulted in the removal of the primacy of the Anglican Church in the east by numerous Presbyterians. The Methodists prevailed in Toronto.

In opposition to the Catholics, who were more inclined to ultramontanism (les bleus), but also to the dominant Anglicans, who were supported by the Orange Order , anti-clerical groups formed (especially les rouges ). The Lord's Day Act of 1906 enforced an extensive Sunday work ban, which remained in effect until the 1960s and which the Supreme Court did not finally abolish until 1985. A similar decrease in the meaning of the religious in everyday life took place in Québec. Still, there are significant groups, particularly in southern Manitoba and Ontario, Alberta, and inland British Columbia. These include the Mennonites in southern Manitoba, the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholics in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and the Mormons are a focus in Alberta. Then there are the Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous other groups.

The Catholic missionaries were more successful among the natives than the Protestant ones, and so the Catholic part predominates there. There are also indigenous religious organizations such as the Shaker Church .

With the recent waves of immigration, non-Christian religious communities such as Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and Buddhists grew. They are concentrated in large cities, particularly in the greater Toronto area. The oldest synagogue, Congregation Emanu-El , was built in Victoria in 1863 , the first mosque in 1938 with the Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton .

About 67.3% of the Canadian population belonged to a Christian denomination in 2011 (39.0% Catholic , about 24.1% Protestant ). The two largest Protestant denominations are the United Church of Canada with 6.1% and the Anglican Church of Canada with 6.9% , plus 1.9% Baptists, 1.4% Lutherans, about 1.7% Orthodox and about 3.0% other Christian denominations. Muslims make up about 3.2% of the population, more than half of them live in Ontario. About 1.0% are Jews , of whom almost 60% live in Ontario, and about 1.1% Buddhists, 1.5% Hindus and 1.4% Sikhs. About 23.9% said they did not belong to any religious community.

The censuses of 2011, 2001 and 1991 showed: It is essential to note with the% figure “Change 1991–2011” (right column) that the total population of the country has increased considerably in these 20 years. B. in the case of Catholics is put into perspective.

Religions in Canada
2011 2001 1991 Change
number % number % number %
Christians 22,102,700 67 22,851,825 77 22,503,360 83 −1.7
Roman Catholic 12.810.705 39.0 12,793,125 43.2 12,203,625 45.2 +5.0
Protestant 7,910,000 24.1 8,654,845 29.2 9,427,675 34.9 −16.1
United Church of Canada 2,007,610 6.1 2,839,125 9.6 3,093,120 11.5 −35.1
Anglican Church of Canada 1,631,845 5.0 2,035,495 6.9 2,188,110 8.1 −25.1
other Christs 960,000 3.0 780.450 2.6 353.040 1.3 +171.9
Baptists 635.840 1.9 729.475 2.5 663.360 2.5 −4.1
Lutheran 478.185 1.4 606,590 2.0 636.205 2.4 −25.6
other Protestants 2,000,000 6.0 549.205 1.9
Presbyterian 472,385 1.4 409.830 1.4 636.295 2.4 −25.7
Orthodox 550,690 1.7 479,620 1.6 387.395 1.4 +42.1
other 2,703,200 08.1 1,887,115 06.4 1,093,690 04.1 +147.2
Muslims 1,053,945 3.2 579,640 2.0 253.265 0.9 +316.1
Jews 329,495 1.0 329.995 1.1 318.185 1.2 +3.6
Buddhists 366.830 1.1 300,345 1.0 163,415 0.6 +124.5
Hindus 497.960 1.5 297.200 1.0 157.015 0.6 +217.1
Sikh 454.965 1.4 278.415 0.9 147,440 0.5 +208.6
without confession 7,850,605 23.9 4,900,090 16.5 3,333,245 12.3 +135.5

Due to immigration, non-Christian groups are growing particularly rapidly, but also numerous Christian groups that are outside the large churches. According to a 2007 survey, Muslims in Canada felt much more integrated than in European countries. Overall, Canadian policy is more focused on the preservation and use of ethnic and religious peculiarities as part of its integration policy than on adaptation.

Immigration policy

In terms of population, Canada has one of the highest immigration rates of any large country in the world. Immigration is controlled through defined goals that have been set in a program. There are programs for refugees, for immigration into the labor market, for business start-ups and for family reunification . The immigration criteria are publicly available and can be checked before you apply. For people with jobs that are in demand in Canada, there is, for example, the Skilled Worker Program. Depending on the situation on the labor market, a minimum number of points (in January 2010: 67 points) is set that a person interested in immigration must achieve. The personal score is made up of points for the current level of education and work experience, of points for the existing language skills in English and French as well as for age, for relatives and previous stays in Canada. A binding job offer from a Canadian employer increases the number of points significantly. The immigration program was adapted on July 1, 2011 so that without an existing job offer, only people who can provide evidence of experience in one of 29 defined occupations will be admitted to the Skilled Worker Program. In addition, anyone interested in the Skilled Worker Program must prove that they can provide for themselves financially for a certain period of time. The amount required is currently (September 2011) CAD 11,115 for a single person and CAD 20,654 for a family of four. In addition, police clearance certificates are required from all countries in which the candidate has lived for six months or more after their 18th birthday.

Immigration takes place in two stages. First of all, an unlimited residence and work permit is issued. After three years as a "permanent resident" and a corresponding stay in the country, the naturalization application can be submitted. Immigrants who have not yet been naturalized have a residence requirement. This means that you have to provide evidence of the allotted time in Canada, or be married to someone who is a Canadian citizen. In the event of violations, the “permanent resident” status can be withdrawn and the immigrant sent back to his country of origin.

In addition to the program for qualified immigrants, there is a separate regulation for guest workers who have no prospects for naturalization. The number of temporary workers in Canada has exceeded that of immigrants since about 2006. The guest workers receive work permits, which are usually valid for a few months and rarely exceed a year. They only apply to the employer who brings the workers into the country; termination results in the loss of the residence permit. While the guest worker program was originally introduced for household caregivers, nannies and agricultural workers, it is now used for all low-wage jobs.

In addition to the programs for immigration into the labor market, Canada also has humanitarian admission programs for the resettlement of refugees . The refugees are not selected by the Canadian government, but are brought to refugee camps around the world and then to Canada by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In 2018 Canada was the country with the world's largest admission program for resettlement refugees (this does not include those refugees who come into the country on their own initiative). Between 2015 and 2018, the country took in 60,000 Syrian refugees.

In 2015, 186,000 people born in Germany lived in Canada.

Most frequent countries of origin of migrants by country of birth in 2015

rank country Number of migrants
01 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 711,000
02 IndiaIndia India 621,000
03 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 607,000
04th PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 545,000
05 United StatesUnited States United States 343,000
06th ItalyItaly Italy 282,000
07th Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong 227,000
08th GermanyGermany Germany 186,000
09 VietnamVietnam Vietnam 182,000
10 PakistanPakistan Pakistan 175,000

Constitution and Law

Parliament Hill in Ottawa, seat of the federal government and parliament

Canada is formally a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She bears the title of "Queen of Canada" and is represented by the Governor General . The country is also a representative parliamentary democracy organized in the form of a federal state . The Constitution of Canada consists of written law and unwritten common law. The Constitutional Act of 1867 contained the right to organize the state , established a system of parliamentary government based on the Westminster system of the United Kingdom , and divided power between the federal government and the provinces. The 1931 Statute of Westminster granted full legislative autonomy, and the 1982 Constitutional Act severed the last constitutional ties with mainland Britain. The latter contains a catalog of fundamental rights (the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ) as well as provisions regarding the procedure for constitutional amendments. Along with monarchy status, there are a number of titles and orders that are bestowed in Canada.

In the Democracy Index 2019 Canada ranked No. 8 out of 167 countries, making it one of the "full democracies". Canada is one of the freest societies in the world.


Theoretically, the executive state power lies with the monarch, but in practice it is exercised by the cabinet (formally a committee of the Canadian Privy Council ) and by the representative of the monarch, the governor general. The monarch and his representatives are apolitical and predominantly perform ceremonial functions in order to guarantee the stability of the government. According to common law, they hand over all political affairs to their cabinet ministers, who in turn are accountable to the elected lower house . The executive state power is thus de facto with the cabinet, but the monarch and governor general can exercise their sovereign rights in the event of an exceptional constitutional crisis .

The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the party that holds the most seats in the House of Commons and is trusted by a majority of MPs. He is appointed by the governor general and heads the cabinet as head of government . Since he has extensive powers, he is considered the most powerful person in the state. He appoints the remaining members of the cabinet, senators , judges of the Supreme Court , heads of state enterprises and authorities and can propose the vice-governors of the provinces. The federal government is responsible, among other things, for foreign policy, defense, trade, monetary affairs, transport and mail as well as overseeing the administration of the three federally dependent territories. Julie Payette has been Governor General of Canada since October 2, 2017. The leader of the Liberal Party , Justin Trudeau , has been Prime Minister since November 4, 2015 and heads Canada's 29th Cabinet .

legislative branch

The Canadian federal parliament consists of the monarch and two chambers, the democratically elected House of Commons (English House of Commons , French Chambre des communes ) and the appointed Senate of Canada (Senate of Canada, Sénat de Canada) .

Boardroom of the
House of Commons

Each member of the House of Commons is elected by relative majority voting in one of 338 constituencies. General elections are called by the Governor General if the Prime Minister so proposes or if the government loses a vote of no confidence . According to a law passed in 2006, the term of office is four years. Previously, the Prime Minister could set the election date as he liked, but a new election had to take place after five years at the latest. The government is currently the Liberal Party , while the Conservative Party is the "official opposition". Other parties represented in parliament are known as "third parties". These are the New Democratic Party , the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party .

Senate meeting room

In the Senate of Canada , also called "upper house" (English. Upper house , fr. Chambre haute ) called, sitting 105 deputies who are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The seats are divided according to regions, although they have not been adjusted since 1867 and therefore there are large disproportionalities in the representation in relation to the number of inhabitants. The senators do not have a fixed term of office, but can hold office up to the age of 75. The influence of the Senate is significantly less than that of the House of Commons.

Development of women's suffrage in Canada

The federal states introduced women's suffrage one after the other from 1916, and in some cases earlier than was the case at the federal level. Québec was at the bottom of the list : the law, which also gave Indians the right to vote, was only introduced into parliament on April 9, 1949 and came into force on April 25, 1949.

In 1917, against the background of the war, the Wartime Elections Act granted certain groups of women the right to vote at the national level, the exact composition of which can be found in the literature: Nurses who served in the war; Euro-American women who worked in the army or had close relatives there (father, husband or son) or whose fathers, men or sons were killed or wounded in the war; Women whose husbands, sons or fathers were killed or wounded in war; Another source also mentions the requirement that the women admitted be electoral equal to men at the state level.

On May 24, 1918, active national suffrage was extended to all women of British and French descent over the age of 21, with the same criteria for women and men. Indians were excluded.

In 1919 women were given the right to stand as a candidate. Other sources cite later dates and speak of a limited right to vote; but this is probably due to the fact that it was not until 1929, in a court case brought by The Famous Five , that it was finally clarified that the right to stand for election in the constitution also applied to the Senate, not just to the House of Commons .

In 1920 the property restrictions were lifted.

In 1950 and 1951, amendments to the Indian Act and Canada Elections Act extended national active suffrage to Indian veterans and their wives, as well as Indians who normally lived outside the reservations, if they waived the tax exemptions that the Indian Act granted them. In 1950 the Inuit had the right to vote, in 1951 all residents of the Northwest Territories . Ballot boxes for the Inuit were not erected in the Eastern Arctic until 1962.

It was not until August 1960 that the Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act extended the right to vote to all Canadians. Women the right to stand for election. Other sources cite later dates and speak of a limited right to vote; but this is probably due to the fact that it was not until 1929, in a court case brought by The Famous Five , that it was finally clarified that the right to stand for election in the constitution also applied to the Senate, not just to the House of Commons .

In 1920 the property restrictions were lifted.

In 1950 and 1951, amendments to the Indian Act and Canada Elections Act extended national active suffrage to Indian veterans and their wives, as well as Indians who normally lived outside the reservations, if they waived the tax exemptions that the Indian Act granted them. In 1950 the Inuit had the right to vote, in 1951 all residents of the Northwest Territories . Ballot boxes for the Inuit were not erected in the Eastern Arctic until 1962.

It was not until August 1960 that the Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act extended the right to vote to all Canadians.


The Supreme Court in Ottawa

Canada's legal system plays an important role in the interpretation of laws. It takes into account changing social realities and has the power to repeal laws that violate the constitution. The Supreme Court is the highest court and the final instance. The nine members are appointed by the Governor General on the proposal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice. President of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice of Canada, Juge en chef du Canada) has been Richard Wagner since 2017 . The federal government also appoints judges to the supreme courts of the provinces and territories. The appointment of judges at lower levels is the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments.

In the provinces, the highest courts are the Courts of Appeal . However, unlike those of the Supreme Court in Ottawa, their judgments are not binding in the other provinces, even if they are not without influence. The London Court of Appeal and the British House of Lords are still occasionally used as further sources of law . Its pre-1867 rulings are still binding unless overturned by the Canadian Supreme Court. The same goes for decisions made up to 1949 for the Privy Council Judiciary Committee . This is of considerable importance for the legal status of the indigenous and francophone populations, as older contracts with the British Crown are still in force.

Provinces and territories

Canada is a state divided into ten provinces and three territories . These sub-national units can be broken down into geographical regions. Western Canada consists of British Columbia and the three prairie provinces of Alberta , Saskatchewan and Manitoba . Central Canada includes the two most populous provinces of Ontario and Québec . The maritime provinces are New Brunswick , Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia ; together with Newfoundland and Labrador they make up the Atlantic Provinces . The three territories Yukon , Northwest Territories and Nunavut include all areas north of the 60th parallel and west of Hudson Bay.

The provinces have a high degree of autonomy , whereas in the territories the federal government takes on numerous administrative tasks itself. All provinces and territories have a unicameral parliament and a prime minister as head of government. The Canadian monarch is represented in all provinces by a lieutenant governor who has the same rank as the governor general and who mainly performs ceremonial tasks. In the territories, a commissioner appointed by the federal government assumes the duties of a lieutenant governor.

While in most federal constitutions of federal states only the legislative powers of the federal government are explicitly listed, the constitutional law of 1867 (English Constitution Act, 1867 , French Loi constitutionnelle de 1867 ) not only lists the exclusive powers of the federal government in Article 91, but also in Articles 92, 92A and 93 also give exclusive powers to the provinces. According to this, the provinces have the right to legislate and a. in the areas of direct taxation, civil service pay, public institutions, community services, education, hospitality and other local businesses, property and civil law, judicial constitutional law, civil procedural law, mining, forestry and energy.

Dänemark Island Frankreich Alaska Vereinigte Staaten Prince Edward Island Nova Scotia New Brunswick Neufundland und Labrador Québec Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Nunavut Nordwest-Territorien Yukon
Political map of Canada (provinces and territories clickable)
Province or territory Capital Area
in km²
(2011) (2016)
Alberta Alberta Edmonton 640,082 3,645,257 4,252,879
British Columbia British Columbia Victoria 922.510 4,400,057 4,751,612
Manitoba Manitoba Winnipeg 552,330 1,208,268 1,318,128
Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's 370.511 514,536 530.128
New BrunswickNew Brunswick New Brunswick Fredericton 71,377 751.171 756.780
Northwest TerritoriesNorthwest Territories Northwest Territories Yellowknife 1,143,794 41,462 44,469
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Halifax 52,939 921,727 949.501
NunavutNunavut Nunavut Iqaluit 1,877,788 31,906 37,082
OntarioOntario Ontario Toronto 908.608 12,851,821 13,982,984
Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island Charlottetown 5,686 140.204 148,649
QuebecQuebec Quebec Quebec 1,356,547 7,903,001 8,326,089
Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Regina 588.240 1,033,381 1,150,632
YukonYukon Yukon Whitehorse 474.713 33,897 37,492

In 1974 there were efforts in the Canadian parliament to include the British overseas territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean as the eleventh province in the Canadian state association. However, the bill did not find a majority and was therefore rejected. Since 2003, however, there have been renewed efforts in this direction. To do this, however, Great Britain would first have to give the islands independence and, second, agree to every single Canadian province. The latter in particular is unlikely due to the very complicated Canadian constitutional procedures.

Legal system

Canada is a relatively young country, but the legal system has a long tradition. Common law in all provinces except Québec is based on principles that developed in England over centuries and are a legacy of British colonial times. The Civil Code in force in Québec in the area of ​​private law reflects principles of the French legal system. The criminal law , however, is for the state and the same in all provinces. In the course of time, both legal systems have been adapted to the requirements in Canada. Law enforcement is a provincial responsibility, but in rural areas (excluding Québec and Ontario) it is assigned to the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police . Both legal systems have been incorporated into the constitution . Its core originated in 1867 with the establishment of Canada and was last fundamentally supplemented in 1982 by the constitutional law of 1982 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms .

Canada abolished the death penalty for peacetime crimes in 1976 , and in 1998 also in war criminal law. The trigger was the 1959 sentencing of the then 14-year-old Steven Truscott to death. He was paroled after ten years in prison and acquitted in 2007.

Foreign policy

States with a Canadian embassy

The United States and Canada share the world's longest undefended state line. The cooperation in the military and economic field is close; both countries are each other's largest trading partner under the North American Free Trade Agreement .

Nevertheless, Canada operates its own foreign policy. It maintains diplomatic relations with Cuba and did not take part in the Vietnam or Iraq war . The country traditionally maintains close ties to the United Kingdom and France , and to other former British and French colonies through membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and the international organization of the Francophonie . Another focus of foreign policy relations are the states of the Caribbean Community . In the International Policy Statement published in 2005 , the government laid down the guidelines for foreign policy. Canada sees the European Union as a strategic partner in the areas of climate change, energy supply, trade and environmental protection as well as foreign and security issues.

Supporting multilateralism is an important part of Canadian identity . In 1945 Canada was a founding member of the United Nations . The future Prime Minister Lester Pearson contributed significantly to the settlement of the Suez crisis and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. Up until then, people spoke of the “birth of the Canadian nation on the battlefields of Europe”, but under the impression of numerous UN blue helmet deployments, a peacekeeping myth developed that understands Canada's role in contrast to the USA.

“Canadians were middlemen, honest brokers, useful helpers in a world where these qualities were rare. Keeping the peace changed us, made us better in a certain way. "

- Jack Granatstein, historian :

Canada is a member of numerous international organizations such as the OSCE , the World Trade Organization , the OECD , the OAS , the APEC and the Group of Seven (G7).

Various international agreements emerged on the Canadian initiative and were passed in that country. These include the Ottawa Convention to ban anti-personnel mines and the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer .

In connection with the irritation about the new President of the USA Donald Trump , Justin Trudeau made basic statements in Belleville about the relationship between the two countries:

“At the same time, Canada is a separate country from the USA, and there are things that are dear to us that Americans do not put first. I am never afraid to stand up for issues that I believe in - whether it is a declaration that I am a feminist, whether it is that immigration is a source of our strength and that Muslim Canadians are an essential part of it in the success of our country, today and in the future. "

- Justin Trudeau, Belleville, January 12, 2017


Canadian soldiers during Operation Cherokee Sky in Afghanistan (2002)

The Canadian Forces (English Canadian Forces , French Forces canadiennes ) came into being in their current form in 1968 when the Army , Navy and Air Force were organizationally merged. In 2011 the troops comprised around 68,250 voluntary professional soldiers and 26,873 reservists. There were also (as of 2012) 5000 Canadian Rangers , whose main task is to show military presence in remote arctic areas. The armed forces have around 1,400 armored vehicles, 34 warships and 300 combat aircraft. Canada spent almost 1.3 percent of its economic output, or US $ 20.6 billion, on its armed forces in 2017, making it 14th worldwide.

Due to the close ties to the British motherland, Canadian troops were involved in the Boer War , World War I and World War II . Canada has been a significant part of the United Nations peacekeeping force since 1948 and has been involved in more peace missions than any other nation (without exception since 1989). As a matter of principle, the country only takes part in acts of war that have been sanctioned by the United Nations, such as the war in Korea , the Persian Gulf , and Afghanistan , but without a UN mandate in Kosovo . Canada is a founding member of NATO and a contract partner of the North American airspace defense alliance NORAD .


The Hart House at the University of Toronto
Faculty of Music at the University of Montreal

In federal Canada there is no uniform national education system , but the tertiary education sector is subject to uniform state quality control and most Canadian universities are members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), which is why the standard is generally considered to be balanced.

The provinces and territories are solely responsible for the school system; there is no national ministry of education. Therefore, in some provinces there is a difference between the age of school entry (five or six years of age) and the length of primary school (up to grade 6 or 7). The secondary level ( called École polyvalente in Québec ) comprises the three-year junior high school (lower secondary level) and the two to four-year senior high school (upper secondary level) in the form of a comprehensive school . Since the education system strives for equal opportunities, the transition from one school level to the other takes place without a performance test. Only within the Senior High School does the acquisition of the diploma ( High School Diploma or Diplôme d'Études Secondaire ) depend on whether a certain number of evaluation points (credit points) is achieved. Two percent of the schools are in private, mostly church-owned hands. About ten percent of the students attend a private school. The level of achievement in private schools was considered very high in 2006 and Canada was the only OECD country in which its students, even after comparing family and socio-economic backgrounds, learned more than students in public schools.

While school attendance is free, different tuition fees are due at the universities. Of the over 80 universities, the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal are among the largest. The oldest are Laval University in Québec from 1663, a Jesuit institution named after Bishop Laval . This touches on a fundamental feature of Canadian higher education, for the early institutions were almost all of church origin. It was not until 1818 that the first secular college and the second in Canada, Dalhousie University in Halifax, came into being. It was followed by the two English-language institutes, McGill University in Montreal (1821) and the University of Toronto (1827). They were followed in the 1840s by Queen's University in Kingston (1841) and the University of Ottawa (1848). The latter, like Laval University, goes back to a missionary order, in this case to the Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary . After independence in 1867, the University of Western Ontario , founded by an Anglican bishop in London (1878), followed by the University of Montreal (the second of four universities in the city), founded in the same year, and McMaster University in Hamilton , Ontario. The latter was originally founded in Toronto and did not move to Hamilton until 1930. It goes back to the Baptist Convention of Ontario .

Colleges usually only award 3 to 4-year bachelor's degrees (e.g. Minors, Majors, Spezialications, Honors), universities also award 1-year consecutive "post-bachelor" bachelor's degrees with honors / baccalaureate Cum Honore, 1- up to 3-year-old Masters and 3 to 5-year-old Ph.D. -Degrees. Some Canadian universities occupy top positions in various university rankings: For example, in the long-term average rating of the most widespread ranking in North America, the QS World University Rankings , McGill University was number 1 within Canada in 2018 and number 28 worldwide, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities ( Shanghai Ranking ) from 2018 ( Jiaotong University Shanghai ) rank the University of Toronto 23rd and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver 43rd among the best universities. The First Nations have had their own university since 2003, the First Nations University of Canada in Regina , the capital of the province of Saskatchewan. In 1989 the most important universities began to join forces to coordinate research projects. Since 2011 the group has existed as the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities , which now includes a closed circle of 15 universities. In 2016, over half a million foreign students were studying in Canadian educational institutions. The largest group of these came from the People's Republic of China.

In the 2015 PISA ranking , Canada's students ranked 10th out of 72 countries in math, 7th in science, and second in reading comprehension. Canadian students were among the best of all participating countries and performed significantly better than those from the neighboring United States. The study also found that students from Ontario and British Columbia performed the best.


See also: Canada's climate policy measures

Fairmont Chateau Hotel on Lake Louise in Banff National Park
View of Pine Beetles Infested Woods on Fraser Lake
Lumberjack near Vancouver

Canada's environmental policy is based on unusual natural and spatial principles, but above all the mixture of interests is specifically Canadian. Canada's nature has become the most important factor in tourism. 43 national and well over 1,500 provincial parks as well as other protected areas, which mainly contain huge forest areas, contribute to this. The oldest of them is the Banff National Park from 1885, which is now accessible to mass tourism via freeway-like roads. Parks Canada (also Parcs Canada) was established in 1911 as the oldest national park administration in the world. But tourism, conservation, recreation and scientific interests collide with the exploitation interests of the raw materials industry and occasionally with the interests of the indigenous people.

Intact primeval forests (old growth) still exist in Canada after three centuries of overexploitation due to the low population density on enormous areas. According to Global Forest Watch Canada , 62% of boreal forests and 30% of temperate forests are still intact (natural ecosystems that are essentially unaffected by humans). The overexploitation on the border to the populated areas is immense, however, and has left only small remains of primeval forest there. Without the resistance of environmental organizations such as Greenpeace , which was founded in Vancouver, or the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the local Indians, these primeval forests would certainly no longer exist. The companies in the timber industry are so closely connected with the political elites of the provinces that only international pressure and often compulsion from the federal government and the courts of law were able to save the stocks in some cases (see Clayoquot Sound ). In contrast, scientists and numerous environmental associations have come together, and the long insignificant Green Party of Canada won just under seven percent of the voters in the 2008 election.

According to a study by Simon Fraser University , which was carried out on the initiative of the David Suzuki Foundation , Canada ranks behind in the production of nuclear waste and carbon monoxide in thirty states . It also ranks 29th in terms of water consumption . Overall, Canada, Belgium and the USA are at the lower end of the group of states. In October 2008 several hundred scientists tried to defend themselves against the discrediting of their work by the government. At the same time, the largest demonstrations of the last 15 years against the deforestation of the last primeval forests on Vancouver Island took place in Victoria.

The mountain pine beetle , known in Canada as the Mountain Pine Beetle , represents a further danger for the primeval forests, but just as much for the huge regrown forests . It has already destroyed several million hectares of forest.

The more than 250 dams, which helped produce around 58% of the 612.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity produced in Canada in 2007 (of which Canada exported over 80 billion kilowatt hours), are now viewed just as critically in terms of their environmental balance as the mining of natural resources. In both cases, there were not only frequent forced relocations of the indigenous people such as the Innu in Labrador, but also significant environmental and health impacts, such as the mining of the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta. On October 14, 2008, the Cree , who are aware of the legally privileged role of the provinces vis-à-vis the federal government in matters of natural resources and power generation and vis-à-vis the Indian nations, rejected the Quebec provincial government's "Green Plan". He would also have given Québec back the administration of the huge James Bay area , which the Cree had only won in 2002 after long negotiations. Since 2009, three local Cree groups have been fighting with international support for the forest in the Broadback Valley , a large contiguous boreal jungle on the edge of the logging zone.

In north-east British Columbia alone, there were seven attacks that the police rated as extremely dangerous between 2005 and 2008 on gas pipelines belonging to the Encana Corporation , in which highly toxic hydrogen sulfide is transported.

On April 29, 1998, the government signed the Kyoto Protocol and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by six percent by 2012. Instead, emissions rose by more than a quarter from 1990 to 2004. In the 2008 Climate Protection Index, Canada was ranked 53rd out of 56 countries examined, placing the country only ahead of Saudi Arabia , the USA and Australia in terms of carbon dioxide emissions . In December 2011, shortly after the UN climate conference in Durban , the country announced its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. This saved Canada $ 14 billion in fines for failing to meet the goals set in the protocol. Among other things, the oil sands industry contributes significantly to the country's increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Legally, environmental policy is primarily based on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999. The responsible ministry is the Department of the Environment under the direction of Jim Prentice (since 2008). Among other organizations, Parks Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service report to him . Each province also has its own ministry for the environment.



Banknote of the Colonial Bank Canada, Toronto 1859

Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In terms of nominal gross domestic product , it was in 10th place in 2016 with the equivalent of 1,529,224 million US dollars , and in purchasing power parity in 17th place with 1,682,364 million international dollars . In 2016, the country was in gross domestic product per capita with 42,210 US dollars 18th place and , after adjusting for purchasing power, place 25 with 46,437 US dollars . Canada ranks tenth in the 2016 human development index of the United Nations Development Program , which also takes non-economic factors into account. The country is also a social market economy . In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Canada ranks 14th out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks seventh out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

According to a study by Bank Credit Suisse  from 2017, Canada was  the country with the eighth largest  national total assets in the  world. Canadians' total holdings of real estate, stocks and cash totaled $ 7,407 billion. The wealth per adult person is 259,271 dollars on average and 91,058 dollars in  median  (Germany: 203,946 and 47,091 dollars, respectively). The  Gini coefficient  for wealth distribution was 73.0 in 2016, which indicates a medium wealth inequality. Both income and wealth are more evenly distributed in Canada than in the neighboring United States.

The minimum wage differs in each province and is determined by the individual provinces themselves. Workers in the state of Canada receive at least the minimum wage in the province in which they are employed. In 2017 it was between $ 10.72 (Saskatchewan) and $ 13.00 (Nunavut). In some states, this minimum wage may be deviated from for various occupational groups (e.g. employees who receive tips or young people). Some states have also introduced annual automatic adjustments (e.g. adjustment to inflation rates).

The proportion of primary production , i.e. the primary economic sector, is above average , which is due to the wealth of natural resources. The quantities of nickel mined in the province of Ontario cover around 20% of world demand, Canada has the third largest oil reserves after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia (as of 2017) with around 28 billion tonnes, and has over ten percent of the world's forests , plus significant deposits of sulfur , Asbestos , aluminum , gold , lead , coal , copper , iron ore , potassium carbonate , tantalum , uranium and zinc . Extensive reserves of natural gas are located off the coast of the Atlantic provinces , in Alberta the Athabasca oil sands . Forest and hydropower form the basis for the pulp and paper industry .

Electricity interconnections in North America

Numerous reservoirs supply electricity and thus form the backbone of energy production. 360,000 GWh came from hydropower alone, making Canada the second most important electricity producer in this sector, just behind China. Canada meets over eleven percent of the world's electricity needs and is one of the few industrialized countries that are net exporters of energy. The connection within North America is now so close that huge, cross-border supply networks have developed, such as Western Interconnection , which extends as far as Mexico . Other energy suppliers are gas, oil, uranium (18 producing nuclear power plants ) and renewable energies . In 2010, nuclear power plants supplied exactly 85,219.889 of a total of 565,519.793 GWh of electricity, i.e. around 15% of the electricity. The largest wind farm is located in Alberta near Pincher Creek . In total, wind turbines with a capacity of 12.2 GW were installed in Canada at the end of 2017 , placing the country in 9th place worldwide.

Grain farm near Kitchener, Ontario

Canada is one of the largest suppliers of agricultural products due to its large surpluses, but the range of products in the prairie provinces is very narrow; The focus is predominantly on wheat , with Canada producing 50.168 million tons in 2003, ranking eighth after France. In addition, there is livestock farming, especially cattle breeding, and in recent years the commercial breeding of bison again. Fish farming is practiced on the coasts, but this conflicts with catching wild fish. British Columbia is the largest exporter of salmon and halibut.

Open pit mine in the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta

The centers of industry are in the south of the provinces of Ontario and Québec, especially in the greater Toronto and Montreal areas. The automotive and aviation industries play an important role here, along with the metal industry, food processing, and wood and paper industries. The chemical and electrotechnical industries also play an important role, but above all the high-tech sector. This has to do with the decline of the large automotive groups in the USA, which affects mainly the suppliers and dependencies in the Toronto metropolitan area. By contrast, all of the industries that focus on the gas and oil exploration sector are concentrated in the greater Calgary area, but this thriving industry has recently suffered from a rapid drop in prices and rising exploration costs . This is partly due to geological barriers, the now very high wage level and the growing resistance to the destruction of the environment. Nonetheless, Canada became the world's fourth largest producer of crude oil in 2018.

In 2007 exports amounted to 36.7% and imports to 32.8% of GDP . By far the most important trading partner was the USA with 76.4% of exports and 65.0% of imports. Canada ranks fifth in world foreign trade statistics after the EU , the USA, Japan and the People's Republic of China . Foreign trade is largely free; foreign investments are limited to minority holdings in only a few key areas.

The service sector is by far the most important with 66% (2008) of the gross domestic product, followed by industry with 32% and agriculture with just under 2%. Seven of the ten largest Canadian companies , based on sales, are in the banking and insurance sectors alone. In the first half of the 20th century, the economy was still largely oriented towards exports to Europe, especially to the British Empire , but the trade barriers to neighboring USA were gradually largely dismantled after the Second World War . A first important step was the Canada-United States Automotive Agreement (also known as the Auto Pact ) signed in 1965 , which completely opened the borders for the automotive industry . The 1988 Canada-American Free Trade Agreement abolished tariffs between the two countries and led to a significant increase in trade and US investment in Canada. With the North American Free Trade Agreement , this free trade area was extended to Mexico in 1994 . Further free trade agreements exist with the EFTA , among others . Canada is a member of numerous economic policy organizations, such as the World Trade Organization , the OECD , the International Monetary Fund , the World Bank and the G7 .

The Toronto Financial District
Tower of the Royal Bank of Canada and the TD Canada Trust Tower in Toronto

According to the OECD, one of the greatest weaknesses in the Canadian economy is the inadequate translation of inventions into usable patents. So in 2007 the government launched a program called Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage . It is intended to increase the small number of patents and encourage more investment in research and development. At the same time, it is intended to promote cooperation between state educational institutions and industrial complexes. In addition, were Centers of Excellence in Commercialization and Research set up as well as a College and Community Innovation Program .

The largest employee representative body is the Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) or, in French, the Congrès du travail du Canada (CTC) with around a hundred individual unions in 136 districts, which, according to their own information, have three million members. It emerged in 1956 from the merger of Trades and Labor Congress of Canada (TLC) and Canadian Congress of Labor (CCL). While the TLC was organized according to sectors, similar to Europe, the CCL was organized according to locations and included all trades there. In addition, the TLC had supported the Liberals, while supporters of the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation were represented at the CCL . At the same time, they integrated the communist Workers Unity League (WUL) when they formed an alliance against fascism in 1939 . The British Columbia-based International Woodworkers of America were also considered communist, but were integrated in 1948. A little later the communists were expelled. The CLC played an important role in the 1962 founding of the New Democratic Party and together with it fought against the free trade agreement with the USA. Kenneth V. Georgetti has been chairman of the CLC since 1999 . Closed shops are legally permissible and common in many industries.

The financial crisis from 2007 onwards had an impact on the Canadian economy. First of all, the financial service providers clustered in Toronto, where the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is the third largest exchange in America, were affected , but also the real estate industry, and with the insolvency of Nortel in January 2009 also the equipment suppliers for telecommunications companies. Among these companies, BCE ( Bell Canada Enterprises) is the oldest and largest. In the fourth quarter of 2008 exports fell by 17.5%. Unemployment was 8.7% in August 2009 (September 2007 5.9%), and since then it has been between 7.2 and 7.5%.

Key figures

Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real World Bank
year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Change in% yoy +2.6 +2.1 +1.0 −3.0 +3.1 +3.1 +1.7 +2.5 +2.6 +0.9 +1.5 +3.0
Development of GDP (nominal), World Bank
year 2014 2015 2016 2017
absolute (in billion $) 1793 1553 1529 1653
per inhabitant (in thousands of $) 50.4 43.3 42.1 45.0
Development of foreign trade (GTAI) in billion US dollars and
its year-on-year change in percent
2014 2015 2016
Billion USD compared to previous year Billion USD compared to previous year Billion USD compared to previous year
import 463.1 + 0.3% 419.7 −9.4% 403.0 −4.0%
export 475.2 + 4.1% 408.8 −14.0% 388.9 −4.9%
balance +12.1 −10.9 −14.0
Canada's main trading partner (2016), source: GTAI
Export to (in percent) Import of (in percent)
United StatesUnited States United States 76.2 United StatesUnited States United States 52.2
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 4.1 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 12.1
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 3.3 MexicoMexico Mexico 6.2
JapanJapan Japan 2.1 GermanyGermany Germany 3.2
MexicoMexico Mexico 1.5 JapanJapan Japan 3.0
Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 0.8 Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 2.0
IndiaIndia India 0.8 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 1.5
other countries 11.2 other countries 11.2

State budget

The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 594 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 514.5 billion US dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 2.4% of GDP .
The national debt in 2016 was $ 1,406 billion, or 92% of GDP. Despite the high national debt, Canadian government bonds are rated AAA by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s (as of 2018).

In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:

The state budget finances the functioning system of Canadian financial equalization .


Entrance gate to the Gazette . Montreal


Title page of Canadien dated November 22, 1806

The first newspaper in the Canadian territory was John Bushell's Halifax Gazette , published in 1752. Newspapers did not exist in New France , but William Brown and Thomas Gilmore of Philadelphia founded the bilingual Quebec Gazette in Quebec. In 1785, Fleury Mesplet, who was imprisoned by the British for his request to join the United States, created what is now the oldest newspaper, the Montreal Gazette . In 1793, the first newspaper in Ontario, the Upper Canada Gazette, followed in Niagara-on-the-Lake . These early papers depended largely on government grants and advertising revenues, hardly on buyers and subscribers. This should prove permanent in Canada.

The City Mercury was created in Québec in 1805 and 1811 and the Herald in Montreal as the mouthpiece of the local merchant elite, while Le Canadien (1806) and La Minerve (1826) represented the Francophones. The Colonial Advocate , brought out by William Lyon Mackenzie and representing the reform and farming groups, turned against these colonial and merchant elites in Upper Canada . The same applied to Joseph Howes Novascotian (1824) in Halifax.

Toronto Globe building with globe on the roof, after 1860
Toronto Star building, after 1930

Most newspapers depended on parties, particularly the reformers (today's liberals) and the conservatives, mostly as organs of certain political leaders. The Toronto Globe (1844) was the voice of the reformer George Brown , while the Toronto Mail (1872) soon became the voice of John Macdonald , Canada's first prime minister. Similarly, in 1899 businessmen reorganized the Toronto Star in favor of Wilfrid Laurier . In contrast, the local conservatives bought the Toronto News in 1908 as a party organ. As a result, every major city had a liberal and a conservative newspaper that catered for the respective clientele. The Quebecer papers remained dependent on the respective government until the 1930s.

Papers that did not belong to one of the leading groups, such as the communist press, were repeatedly banned. Founded by striking printers in 1892, the Toronto Star , like most labor newspapers, died. In Québec, the Maurice Duplessis government passed the Padlock Act , which hit its newspapers. The government was still exercising a kind of censorship in 1970 when kidnappings occurred during the October crisis .

The first attempt by a daily newspaper, the Montreal Daily Advertiser , went bankrupt after a year in 1834. But in 1873 there were already 47 daily newspapers, in 1913 even 138. The British Colonist appeared in the far west from 1858, the Manitoba Free Press in 1872, the Saskatchewan Herald in 1878 and the Edmonton Bulletin in 1880. The spread of radio from the 1930s and television began to appear in the 1950s the newspapers cost many advertisers, so that in 1953 only 89 daily newspapers existed. In 1986 the number recovered to 110, but only eight cities had two or more daily newspapers.

Today most newspapers belong to large conglomerates of the media industry. Permission to acquire businesses in both areas of the media, television and print , has long been controversial, but there has been no limit since Brian Mulroney . In the English-speaking world, Postmedia Network is the leader, they offer the leading daily newspaper in most provincial capitals. 90% of francophone newspapers are owned by three media companies: Pierre Karl Péladeau's Quebecor Inc. , which alone supplies half of the total circulation, Paul Desmarais ' Gesca and Jacques Francœurs UniMédia . As early as 1950, the four largest media companies dominated 37.2% of the total market, in 1970 this was 52.9%, and in 1986 it was 67%. 80% of the income comes from advertising, only 20% from sales.


Guglielmo Marconi. 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics
CBC building in Toronto, 2005

Guglielmo Marconi first experimented with radio from 1896, and in 1901 he succeeded in transmitting the first wireless signal across the Atlantic from Cornwall to Newfoundland. Because radio technology initially served more to establish contact with ships, supervision of the Radiotelegraph Act of 1913 was the responsibility of the Minister for the Navy and Fisheries. The survivors of the Titanic owed their rescue to the radio waves broadcast by Marconi. He was also the first to receive a private broadcast license in Canada in 1919. In 1928 there were already 60 radio stations.

However, a commission headed by John Aird found that many Canadians were listening to US stations that year. It was not until 1932 that the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decided that the state was right to claim the ultimate supervision of radio communications. In 1936 the public Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) began broadcasting operations that had been started by the Radio Commission in 1932 . By then, the number of radio receivers had doubled to one million within five years.

The current structure of the CBC is a product of the global economic crisis: only five central stations were created, whose programs were forwarded by private distributors. This created a mixed system of state and private broadcasters in which private broadcasters were only allowed regional broadcasting. Canada became one of the most radio stations in the world, and one of the first to have satellite channels. Nevertheless, the US competition is strongly represented.

watch TV

There has been television in Canada since 1952, with the CBC performing the regulatory tasks and at the same time becoming the most important broadcaster. Here too, private networks served as distributors for CBC-TV . A campaign by commercial broadcasters against the CBC monopoly was followed by the Broadcasting Act of 1958 under John Diefenbaker . A 15-member Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) was formed, which accepted the applications for new channels and promoted more private channels. TV expanded rapidly, and in 1961 a second network, CTV, emerged. There were violent disputes between BBG and CBC, so that in 1968 the license was awarded to the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (now Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission , CRTC), which also drew the cable TV established in 1968 to itself. The right to "protection, enrichment and strengthening of the cultural, political, social and economic structure of Canada", as it is called in the law, should be preserved. Nevertheless, austerity measures over the past four decades have led to an increasing dependency on advertising budgets and audience ratings .

US stations can be received practically anywhere via cable. As a result, they occupy around 75% of prime time in English-speaking Canada, while that proportion is only 40% in Québec. Here TVA plays the most important role.

To what extent the Internet can relativize the media power that has arisen is still open, especially since all established media are increasingly involved in this new market. The Association of Canadian Film and TV Production has represented the interests of independent media companies since 1948 .

Freedom of the press

In the Press Freedom Index 2019 by Reporters Without Borders issued, Canada-ranked 18 of 180 countries. According to the non-governmental organization, the situation of press freedom in the country is "satisfactory".


The main thoroughfare in the east runs along the Saint Lawrence River through Ontario and Québec and connects Toronto, Montreal, Québec and Ottawa. The entire north of the country is poorly developed in terms of traffic, as there is hardly any demand here, except in the areas of raw material extraction. As in the east, the metropolitan areas of the west are mainly connected by traffic systems near the American border, apart from the connection to Edmonton. This is mainly due to the political will of the Canadian government, which wanted to connect the far apart provinces with one another through three transcontinental railroad lines and various branch lines. Before that, this was done through canals, after the railway era, road construction followed, and finally airlines.


The road system in Canada had a total length of 1,042,300 km in 2011, making it the seventh-longest in the world. Asphalt roads had a length of 415,600 km, of which 17,000 km were motorways. Canada had the third longest highway network after China and the United States.

The densest road network is found in the area of ​​highest population density in the Atlantic provinces, in southern Ontario, in Québec along the St. Lawrence, in the southern prairie provinces and in the area of ​​the Fraser Estuary around Vancouver. As an element connecting all provinces, the Trans-Canada Highway was built from Victoria on the Pacific to St. John's on the Atlantic , with 8,000 km one of the longest roads in the world. In the metropolitan areas and as a connection between larger centers, this road is developed as a motorway . Two routes of this road run through Ontario, one more northerly and one more south. The Trans-Canada-Highway is the only federal highway in Canada.

The remaining highways, including the highways, are built and maintained by the provinces. The busiest highway in Canada forms the backbone of the Québec-Windsor Corridor , in Ontario with road number " 401 ". With 16 lanes through the Toronto metropolitan area, the 401 is one of the widest freeways in the world. There are only a few roads leading north, most of which were built for major construction work (dams, mining, etc.) or for military reasons (for example the Alaska Highway ).

Intercity buses are important in Canada . Each region has an extensive bus network; the largest bus company is Greyhound Canada , whose route network in North America covers 193,000 km. Greyhounds Go Anywhere Fare and the North America Discovery Pass are valid for unlimited bus travel for a specified period across Canada and the United States or in certain areas.

In Canada there is right-hand traffic and the speeds are given in km / h. The nationality code is CDN (not CND for C a n a d a) and stands for C anadian D ominio n . This is also used as an abbreviation in indications of origin, e.g. B. used in feature films.

Road traffic in the country is considered largely safe. In 2013, there were a total of 6.1 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants in Canada. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. The country has a high rate of motorization by global standards. In 2016 there were 662 motor vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants in the country.

Air traffic

Air Canada Boeing 767 approaching London

Domestic air traffic is of considerable importance to cover the great distances . Around 75 airlines, including Air Canada , Canada's largest airline with 34 million passengers transported, Westjet Airlines and Porter Airlines provide regional flight connections. Air BC , which is now part of Jazz Aviation and Horizon Air , fly in western Canada , and Air Alliance (based in Québec) and Air Ontario (Ontario) in eastern Canada . In the north, airlines such as Air Creebec (owned by Cree ), Air North (Whitehorse), Bearskin Airlines , Canadian North ( Yellowknife ) or Air Inuit ( Dorval ) and First Air (Ottawa), which are owned by Inuit, fly .

Air Transat and Air Canada fly on international and intra-Canadian routes, with Air Canada emerging from a railroad company in 1937. Airports with intercontinental connections are located in Toronto , Montreal , Calgary , Ottawa , Edmonton , Vancouver , Québec , Halifax and Winnipeg .

In 1909, the first Canadian aircraft flew 800 m (in Baddeck ), and in 1915, the Curtiss JN-3 was the first production aircraft. In the First World War, Canada already employed 22,000 people in the air force, although the Canadian Air Force did not come into being until 1920. In the 1930s there was a massive expansion of the airports, so that more than half of all air freight in Canada was moved and the country had 587 airfields in 1945. Trans-Canada Airlines was founded in 1937 , from which Air Canada emerged in 1964. In 2009, February 23 was declared National Aviation Day .

The city of Montreal is home to two global civil aviation organizations, IATA and ICAO .


The railroad was extensively promoted by the Canadian state in the 19th century in order to support the settlement policy and ensure national unity. For this purpose, the distances between the provincial metropolises should be overcome by transcontinental railroad lines. But since the 1930s their importance in favor of road traffic has decreased considerably and since then it has only been of great importance in (near) passenger and freight traffic within the Québec-Windsor corridor .

Outside this area, the importance is limited to the bulk freight traffic and tourism , comparable to the rail cruises in Europe. The supraregional transcontinental freight traffic is carried out by the two railway companies Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway . The operator of the public rail passenger transport is VIA Rail Canada , the regional freight transport is operated by many private companies. In addition to these main lines, there are numerous secondary lines, some of which have been revived in private initiative, such as the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway on Vancouver Island.

Urban transport

Trams in Toronto
SkyTrain in Vancouver

In contrast to the United States, major Canadian cities have a variety of very well-developed local transportation systems. While classic subways built in the metropolises of Toronto and Montreal since the 1950s form the backbone of urban local transport, light rail systems have been built in smaller cities such as Calgary and Edmonton since the 1980s . In the other cities, mainly diesel buses and some trolleybuses are used; Ottawa has a bus rapid transit network.

The two largest local transport networks are in Toronto with the Toronto Transit Commission and Montreal with four rapid transit routes and around 150 bus routes each. In Toronto there is also a larger tram network with eleven lines in operation. The fully automated SkyTrain, which opened in Vancouver as part of the Expo 86 world exhibition , has long been the longest automated transport system in the world.


Important seaports are located in the cities on the St. Lawrence River and in Vancouver . There is also significant inland shipping on the Great Lakes. From the beginning of the 19th century canals were built where there were no natural waterways. The Lachine Canal was of crucial importance for Canada's economic development from 1821 onwards . In central Canada, the canoe has always been the given means of transport, and even today many lakes are equipped with ferries and the movement of goods follows the water.

Some places can only be reached by sea, such as along the west coast from Vancouver to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island or Prince Rupert across from Haida Gwaii .

The country was opened up early by canoeing and building canals, which enabled extensive inland traffic. Until the 1950s ships carried a significant proportion of passengers, especially in remote areas, but most lines, like many railroad lines, ceased traffic when the major highways such as the Alaska Highway emerged.


In 2016, 88.5% of Canadians used the internet. The digital infrastructure is considered to be very powerful, especially in cities, and one of the best in the world.


The maple leaf (maple leaf) is the national symbol of Canada

Today's Canada is predominantly shaped by the European influences of pioneers, researchers, traders and fishermen from Great Britain, France and Ireland , regionally also from Germany and Eastern Europe. More recently, the picture in larger cities has also been supplemented by Asians (for example Vancouver, Toronto) and by blacks from the Caribbean and Africa. Many of its traditions remain part of Canada, such as its food, language, tales, history, holidays, and exercise. The cultural festivals of these immigrants are an integral part of Canadian life, for example the Chinese New Year celebrations in Vancouver or the Caribana parade in Toronto. Many Canadians can still trace their roots back to these countries today and are proud of their origins. The British spirit that originally prevailed in many cities has largely been blurred with increasing immigration from other countries. It can still be seen most clearly in Victoria. This also applies to Francophone Canada, which is also exposed to strong influences from immigration.

Canada and Great Britain share a period in their history and Canada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations . Both countries are linked in personal union. Great Britain is Canada's third largest trading partner and is where the largest number of foreign tourists come after the USA. Canada's connections to other francophone countries are institutionalized in the Organization internationale de la Francophonie and there is a lively cultural exchange with France. Canada, for example, is involved in the French-language television channel TV5 Monde .

German influences are particularly present in southern Ontario around the city of Kitchener (formerly Berlin). All over southern Ontario, especially in the Kitchener area, there are places with German names. Kitchener advertises that the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich is celebrated there.

Many Asians have immigrated to Canada since the 1970s, mainly from Hong Kong, China and Korea . In Vancouver (derisive name: Hongcouver) and Toronto in particular, they form strong ethnic minorities and the Chinatowns with their Chinese street signs and advertising signs are among the sights.

The creation and protection of a distinct Canadian culture is supported by programs, laws and institutions of the federal government, for example the CBC / Radio-Canada , the NFB ( National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada ) and the CRTC ( Canadian Radio -Television and Telecommunications Commission / Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes ) .

Indigenous culture

The cultural forms of the well over 600 First Nations , as the Indians predominantly call themselves, are not uniform. Within the country, between town and country, between ethnic groups, the differences are extremely large. The different groups developed their own identities and cultural structures. Large cultural areas can be distinguished. On the Pacific coast, the culture was dominated by fishing, especially salmon , or whaling, as with the Nuu-chah-nulth on Vancouver Island . There you can also find the huge totem poles, the largest of which is over 50 m high. Hunting, gathering and river fishing dominated inland. In the Great Plains, the Plains , was the Bison hunting of key importance in other moose. With the spread of the horse after 1700 a nomadism of equestrians developed. In contrast, the Great Lakes were dominated by an agrarian culture with large villages.

Faces, Kellypalik Qimirpiq 1997
Inuksuk on the flag of Nunavut

The Inuit in the north of the country, who are not related to the Indians , of whom exactly 50,485 were counted in 2006, developed a culture that was predominantly influenced by the arctic living conditions , which affects all of Canada in many ways. An example of this is the emblem of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, an Inuksuk , which consists of stones stacked on top of one another and symbolizes a human figure.

The Inuit fine arts had its earliest commercial successes since the late 1940s. Serpentine and marble sculptures, work in bones and caribou antlers, but also art graphics, wall hangings and carpets, jewelry, ceramics and dolls were the focus. Their motifs and materials went back to the natural surroundings and existing traditions, whereby the forced sedentariness now allowed for considerably larger works. In addition, the 25 or so communities, whose residents were no longer self-sufficient and nomadic, were now dependent on income from the art trade.

The most famous Inuit authors include the former “Commissioner of Nunavut” Peter Irniq, the writer, poet, cartoonist and photographer Alootook Ipellie (1951–2007) and Zebedee Nungak (born 1951). The Inuit formed their own music from the combination of Inuit music and American-Canadian pop music. In addition, there are still simple forms of singing and throat singing. The most successful singer in Canada is Susan Aglukark, born in Churchill in 1967 .

Native American carving at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver
The raven and the first humans, sculpture by Bill Reid in the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver

The successes of the Inuit and the American Indians inspired the Indian artists of Canada to approach a non-Indian public on their own. The masks and totem poles of the Pacific coast, which still play an important role in the self-image but also on the art market, were known early on. Similar to literature, the Indian art scene not only pursues traditional elements, but combines them with Euro-Canadian means. Other Indian artists produce detached from these traditions in their genres and with their means. However, artists with a specifically Indian path, such as Norval Morrisseau , or the sculptor and carver Bill Reid , who continued the work of Charles Edenshaw , have only been recognized since the 1960s. Most of the time, ecological problems, poverty and violence, dehumanized technology or spirituality are in the foreground in literature. Most of them are reluctant to be labeled as "Indian artists".


Organ building and choral singing have a long tradition in Canada ( Skule Choir at Knox College , University of Toronto)
Memorial to Glenn Gould in Toronto

Since colonization in the early 17th century, immigrants brought various European musical traditions to Canada, depending on their ethnic composition. The parallel development to European music has never stopped, from the baroque to the classical and romantic periods to contemporary music. However, for a long time the New World lacked the necessary resources to carry out large performances such as operas on a significant scale. Only the adaptation of texts, but also the exchange of elements between the immigrant groups, brought about Canadian peculiarities, which were influenced by the USA.

John Braham was one of the first singers to become known across the country (from 1841), similar to Jenny Lind . There were also numerous church choirs and philharmonic societies. The first societies of this kind were the New Union Singing Society from Halifax (1809) and the Québec Harmonic Society (1820). Ballads, dance music and patriotic hymns were popular. Germans first brought piano building to Canada (Thomas Heintzman), followed by organ building (Joseph Casavant). In 1903 CAE Harriss organized the Cycle of Musical Festivals of the Dominion of Canada , in which over 4,000 singers and musicians in 15 cities across the country took part. With the First World War and the growing record industry afterwards , the high point of self-made music, but also of opera companies, was exceeded. Nevertheless, symphony orchestras were established before and after the Great Depression, especially in the three largest cities of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Sir Ernest MacMillan was the first and only Canadian musician to be knighted, and other singers have performed on the main stages.

It was not until field researchers such as Marius Barbeau , W. Roy Mackenzie , Helen Creighton and numerous others discovered folk music and the music of the indigenous peoples. If one spoke of Canadian music, it was now the entirety of folk music that one found in the country. But music education remained conservative, i. H. strongly linked to Great Britain and France. Nevertheless, musicians' associations emerged in the 1930s, which after the war strengthened the search for Canadian identity in music as well. This music was also promoted by the state, collections of traditional and Indian music inspired the more open-minded generation. Publications such as The Canadian Music Journal (1956–1962), Opera Canada (since 1960) and The Canada Music Book (1970–1976) underpinned this development. The decoupling of Canadian music from the foreign avant-garde ended.

Canadian musicians influenced western music, such as rock and pop music , to a considerable extent, for which names like Bryan Adams , Paul Anka , Michael Bublé , Leonard Cohen , Celine Dion , Nelly Furtado , Avril Lavigne , Joni Mitchell , Alanis Morissette , Shania Twain or Justin Bieber .

Well-known representatives of rock music are Rush , Alannah Myles , Billy Talent , the Crash Test Dummies , Nickelback , Saga , Steppenwolf and Neil Young .

Major jazz musicians include Paul Bley , Maynard Ferguson , Diana Krall , Moe Koffman and Oscar Peterson .

Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Sloan and other musicians have joined the Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) initiative and announced in a policy statement that they want to speak for themselves again in the future. Processes and digital rights management (DRM) , but above all government funding, should be improved. The CMCC called on the government to support the artists against the marketing policies of mostly foreign music groups that target a foreign market.

Country music , which is also played by numerous Indians, is still of great importance . The Canadian Country Music Association annually honors the most important artists with the induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame . Important interpreters are or were, for example, Wilf Carter , Hank Snow and Gordon Lightfoot .

In the field of classical music, the best-known Canadian is undoubtedly Glenn Gould (1932–1982), who is known to the wider public as a gifted interpreter, especially of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach . The then 22-year-old achieved fame in 1955 with a sensational recording of the Goldberg Variations . Since 1987 a foundation named after the musician has awarded the Glenn Gould Prize .

The symphony orchestras in Montreal and Toronto also have a world-wide reputation, and chamber music has a first-class rank: table music and the St. Lawrence String Quartet have won various prizes. Singers such as Jon Vickers , Russell Braun and Michael Schade , the flautist Robert Aitken as well as the pianist Marc-André Hamelin and the accompanist Celine Dutilly are well-known performers. Works by the composers R. Murray Schafer and Claude Vivier are also regularly performed.


The first filmmaker is James Freer (1855–1933), a farmer who presented documentaries from 1897 onwards. In 1917, the Province of Ontario set up the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau to make films for educational purposes. The Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau was established the following year .

Canadian feature film production
year number
1975 39
1985 58
1995 38
2005 80

On the advice of John Grierson , who is believed to be the father of British and Canadian documentary films , the National Film Act was passed in 1939 , a law that allowed propaganda films to be made for war purposes. In 1950 the range of tasks of the National Film Board of Canada , which was founded for this purpose, was commissioned to explain Canada to Canadians, but also to non-Canadians. With the Canadian Film Development Corporation , from which Telefilm Canada later emerged, the state sponsored film productions. The Department of Canadian Heritage , which is responsible for cultural heritage, increased funding for Telefilm Canada in 2001. The Genie Award , which is presented every year to the best Canadian films, serves the same purpose .

Canada is also known as the Hollywood of the North . The most important production facilities for Canadian and American films are now Vancouver, followed by Montreal and Toronto. Here, Alliance Films , the once largest media company, today only a rights dealer. The French film is often more successful within Canada than the English one because the Quebec film market is hardly directly reached by US productions.

David Cronenberg in Cannes , 2002
William Shatner (2005)

The Canadian auteur cinema wins thanks to experienced cineastes such as Atom Egoyan (who was president of the jury at the Berlinale 2002), David Cronenberg , Denys Arcand and Léa Pool , but also from young filmmakers such as Jean-François Pouliot , Denis Villeneuve , Don McKellar and Keith Behrman and Guy Maddin more and more important.

Film directors such as Jean-Claude Lauzon (“ Night Zoo ” (1987), Léolo (1992)) and Denys Arcand (including “ The Fall of the American Empire ” (1986), “ Jesus of Montreal ” (1989) and “ Joyeux Calvaire ” (1996), “ The Invasion of the Barbarians ” (2003)) helped Canadian film to gain international recognition.

Well-known Canadian actors are: Mary Pickford , Glenn Ford , Lorne Greene , Raymond Massey , Walter Huston , Jack Carson , Raymond Burr , Christopher Plummer , Donald Sutherland , Kiefer Sutherland , Geneviève Bujold , Keanu Reeves , Dan Aykroyd , Pamela Anderson , Hayden Christensen , Leslie Nielsen , John Candy , Jim Carrey , Michael J. Fox , Mike Myers , William Shatner , Bruce Greenwood , Ryan Gosling , Ryan Reynolds , Carrie-Anne Moss and Sandra Oh . As you can see from this list, many Canadian actors are frequently involved in Hollywood productions and enjoy international renown.


Palais Montcalm in Quebec

The Canadian theater, which emerges from a strong oral tradition, has not only produced world-famous directors such as Robert Lepage and Denis Marleau , but also a large number of playwrights who are translated into various languages, including German. For example, texts by Michel Marc Bouchard , Daniel Danis , Michel Tremblay , George F. Walker , David Young and Colleen Wagner have recently been performed by German ensembles.


Canadian literature is initially characterized by the fact that it often comes from authors who had certain expectations of the country based on their ethnic origin. As a result, the country often appears as unwelcoming to its nature, as a cultural desert that is animated from the outside, and as a raw material for careers and investments. Expectations and stereotypes of the audience about the wilderness, unimaginable vastness, and the introduction of civilization, especially by Europeans, also played a major role. However, the urge to grasp the richness of one's own culture, which has developed, without cutting off the roots has now predominated.

Sara Jeannette Duncan, 1903
Nellie McClung, after 1905

During the 19th century, indigenous (igloo) and local word creations (moose) penetrated literature, but French (gopher) also penetrated English and vice versa. Nevertheless, the English language is understood across the country and is dominated by overarching language standards. In French literature, there is a further element of a strong connection to France and its lifestyle, which partially explains a skepticism towards the rest of Canada, which is understood as British.

A salient feature of Canadian literature is the humor, which is used, however, rather subtle, sometimes black, and often as an understatement. Regional traditions of storytelling and the anecdotal play an important role, less the choice of topic - unless there are local peculiarities or differences between the ethnic groups. Frequently encountered motifs include the “garrison mentality” (bunker mentality), the alienation from the home to which one returns, the strangeness in one's own country or the specific culture, but also the celebration of the wilderness, which ensures spiritual recovery.

Alexander MacKenzie, Thomas Lawrence about 1800
Samule Hearne

Canadians are particularly interested in the history of their ancestors, and so there are a large number of biographical attempts on historically significant men and women. But even there, clichés are almost inevitable. Catholic Québec is seen as mysterious, Ontario as torn between moral clarity and fluff, the prairies as isolating and possessive, the west coast as a projection screen for hopes and expectations that one has to unmask for oneself. The rural life is disproportionately in the foreground, while the cities have long been almost ignored. In contrast, authors such as Frances Brooke (1724–1789), Susanna Moodie (1803–1885), Sara Jeannette Duncan (1861–1922) and Nellie McClung (1873–1951) were the analysts of the political life that concentrated in the cities.

There is a contrast between the perception of Europe and that of its neighbor USA. Europe is considered a refuge of refinement, but also of extreme regionalization, the neighbor as a land of social hardship and fixation on economic success.

Anna Jameson
Duncan Campbell Scott, 1933

Historically, French, English and Irish styles, which were in vogue in their home countries, flowed together. But even in the travelogues a Canadian-influenced genre developed, as in Samuel Hearne (1745–1792), Alexander MacKenzie , David Thompson , Catharine Parr Traill (1802–1899) or Anna Jameson (1794–1860), the spectrum being romanticized Adventure report ( John R. Jewitt , 1783–1821) extends to precise analysis (Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in The Bush , or Forest Life in Canada , 1852). With the Confederation (1867) the question of national culture arose. From the end of the 19th century four characters dominated the literary scene: Duncan Campbell Scott (1862–1947), Charles GD Roberts (1860–1943), Archibald Lampman (1861–1899) and Bliss Carman (1861–1929), who were known as “ Confederation Group ”or“ Confederation Poets ”were known.

The First World War brought the outside world back into focus, and at the same time immigration sharpened attention to the numerous cultures, including those of the Indians, who were now beginning to express themselves. The painter and author Emily Carr (1871–1945) was of great importance here for the West, even if she met with long rejection in British Columbia. The global economic crisis brought increasing preoccupation with social problems, while the Second World War forced us to deal with questions of power, need, death and, once again, homecoming. After the war, Merrill Denison (1893–1975) subjected exaggerated nationalism to a satirical view, and authors on the left also criticized the political and economic path and the increasing dominance of the USA. At the same time, anti-clerical writers made themselves more noticeable in Québec. Under the public optimism of the 1950s and 1960s, Malcolm Lowry (1909–1957) ( Under the Volcano , 1947) and Ethel Wilson (1888–1980) (Swamp Angel, 1954) discovered alcohol problems and the narrowness of women's lives during this period.

Thomas King at an Ardoch Algonquin First Nation demonstration , 2008
Joy Fielding, autograph session 2007
Douglas Coupland, reading 2005

Material support and a larger audience ensured a growth in the literary market in the 1960s, magazines such as Canadian Literature and Journal of Canadian Studies appeared, as well as paperback editions that were more affordable. Niche markets emerged whose audiences were nevertheless able to feed authors. Both the individual cultures and women increasingly spoke up, such as Margaret Atwood .

After around 1985, government funding was scaled back in a more conservative phase. Publishing houses like Coach House Press , Deneau , Williams-Wallace had to close. In addition, Canada allowed stronger foreign competition, especially from the USA. Authors such as Timothy Findley (1930–2002) tried to defend themselves against restrictions, Indian literature found representatives in Eden Robinson ( Haisla , born 1968), Jeannette C. Armstrong ( Okanagan ), who criticized the school system, the satirist Thomas King ( Cherokee , born 1948) or the playwright Tomson Highway ( Cree , born 1943). In addition, there were more poetic authors such as Wayne Keon Turner ( Ojibway , born 1976), Rita Joe ( Mi'kmaq ), Marilyn Dumont (Métis, born 1955) or Alootook Ipellie (Inuit, 1951-2007).

Interest in Canadian literature has been growing since the 1970s. Authors such as Leonard Cohen , Pierre Vallières , Margaret Atwood , Michel Tremblay and Michael Ondaatje are also known outside the country's borders. At the same time, a huge market for popular literature emerged within the country, such as that of Joy Fielding or Douglas Coupland (Generation X) .

Fine arts and architecture

The French fortress of Louisbourg on Breton Island

As with most of the arts, the early immigrants from Europe largely ignored native art. They brought with them European traditions in their first residential buildings and fortified courtyards and naturally in fortress construction ( e.g. Louisbourg ) and in urban areas. The villages of Francophone Canada are also located around the church, as in France, with the mission churches and the churches of Québec mostly serving as models. The predominant materials were stone and wood, bricks are rare. Similar to sculpture, however, the prevailing styles in France and England arrived with a significant delay due to the communication conditions. This also applied to the takeover of the classical music after the British conquered Canada.

Assiniboine hunting buffalo, Paul Kane between 1851 and 1856

Nevertheless, the painting inevitably took up the natives, because they should be depicted for reporting at court. Some of them were of great precision, such as the Indian and Inuit portraits by John White (around 1540 to around 1593) or the drawings by Louis Nicolas ( Codex canadiensis ). At the end of the 18th century, the British and the loyalists who fled the USA brought new influences, which were particularly noticeable in the new settlements such as Toronto. There was even a Golden Age of Québec painting, with the style remaining European, but the subjects becoming more Canadian. The Swiss Peter Rindisbacher documented his trip through Hudson Bay to the Red River Colony , Paul Kane traveled halfway across the continent.

Houses of Parliament in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia

In architecture, neo-classical and neo-gothic motifs were preferred , as in Europe, but the British influence became more and more prevalent. With the representative expansion of Ottawa and each provincial capital, one tried to express a specifically Canadian tradition. Between 1873 and 1914 historicizing styles predominated, whereby the styles brought along by other European peoples, such as the Italians, made themselves felt. With industrialization, new types of construction such as steel bridges or train stations penetrated, new materials, especially metals, dominated. Then there was glass and finally concrete. James Wilson Morrice is considered the father of modernism in painting. In the sculpture, historical monuments predominated in squares, especially war memorials after the First World War. But Europe continued to dominate here, right up to Art Deco .

The Group of Seven tried to develop a Canadian painting; she drew her inspiration from the landscape. Emily Carr was one of the first to capture not only the specific landscape of the west, but also the grandiose art of the Indians of the Pacific coast.

John Lyman founded the Contemporary Arts Society in 1939 , and Cubist influences came through Quebec and the group of Automatistes came into being . Against them and Surrealism , the Plasticiens emerged, especially Guido Molinari and Claude Tousignant , questions of structure and color came to the fore. Similar in Toronto, where Jack Bush and Harold Town turned against abstract expressionism . At the same time, these groups tried to set themselves apart from the influence of the USA. The same was true for sculptors like Robert Murray or Armand Vaillancourt . In contrast, the architecture hardly differs from the international one. The photographer Yousuf Karsh was one of the most important portrait photographers of the 20th century.

In the visual arts, Canada has made a name for itself in Europe through innovative artists. Jeff Wall , Rodney Graham , Ken Lum , Ian Wallace and Geneviève Cadieux used photographic techniques in new ways; Louis-Philippe Demers uses the new technologies in his artistic work, and Jana Sterbak has created extraordinary conceptual environments.

food and drinks

Male pink salmon from the Pacific coast in spawning season. They are called Pink or
Humpback Salmon in Canada
Vineyards on Okanagan Lake

The production of food is highly dependent on natural conditions. Therefore, the regional cuisines, such as those of the coastal fringes and the grasslands of the prairie provinces, have a corresponding focus. While on the Atlantic coast the catch of lobsters, more precisely of lobster-like (lobster), is an important branch of the economy, it was that of wild salmon on the west coast ; The latter, however, has been almost completely displaced by salmon farms, so that some salmon species that could be admired in huge spawning courses just a few years ago are now classified as endangered species.

In addition to the use of natural resources, cultural differences also play a significant role. The French influence in Québec cannot be overlooked, there are numerous restaurants with the appropriate cuisine. The Prairie Provinces are heavily influenced by the Midwest of the USA, while a strong British influence is noticeable in the far west, where English tea still has its place in everyday life.

Wine is grown in southern Canada, especially on the Niagara Peninsula and the Okanagan area, and in southeast Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Viticulture, which is over 200 years old, took off again, as new viticulture licenses were issued for the first time from 1974 and because the viticulture associations (Vintners Quality Alliance) pushed for higher quality. Canadian wines account for about half of the country's total consumption , with Vincor International and Andres Wines dominating until 2006 . Vincor was bought by the US wine producer Constellation Brands .

One of almost 3000 “Tim Hortons” in Canada

Liquor can only be bought in special shops or restaurants labeled Licensed Premises . Many restaurants allow their guests to bring their own wine, beer or maple syrup . The minimum age for buying alcohol is between 18 and 19 years.

By far the dominant coffee and fast food chain is Tim Hortons , a company founded in Hamilton in 1964 and employing 65,000 people in 2008. According to its own information, the company had 3,437 (3,257) restaurants at the end of 2008 (beginning of 2008), of which 2917 (2857) in Canada and 520 (406) in the USA. The fiercest competitor in fast food is McDonald’s with 1,375 restaurants and the US company Starbucks in the coffee sector .


Ice hockey game at Air Canada Center , Toronto 2007

The sport in Canada is diverse and includes numerous winter and summer sports. As a national sport since 1859, only lacrosse, which goes back to Indian roots, was officially recognized until 1994 . It has been a national summer sport since 1994. Ice hockey has been the national winter sport since 1994 . Canada is not only considered the motherland of ice hockey, it is also one of the most successful countries in the world. Seven Canadian teams are represented in the NHL , the most important professional league in the world. Canada is also extremely successful in lacrosse, defeating the USA at the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship in London .

The most popular sport in the summer with spectators, besides lacrosse, is Canadian football , which is very similar to American football . The championship final, the Gray Cup , has the highest audience rating for televised sporting events. Also generate interest Baseball , Basketball , Cricket , Curling , soccer , rugby union and softball . The most common individual sports are ice skating , golf , athletics , wrestling , swimming , skateboarding , skiing , snowboarding and tennis . Since the country has predominantly a cool climate, the successes in winter sports tend to be more numerous than in summer sports.

Canada has hosted numerous international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary . The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver . Canadian cities have also hosted four Commonwealth Games and numerous world championships.

public holidays

date English name French name comment status
January 1st New Year's Day Nouvel An New Year national public holiday
Good Friday Good Friday Vendredi saint Good Friday national public holiday
Easter Monday Easter Monday Pâques Easter Monday day off for federal employees (many private employers follow these holidays)
Monday before or on May 24th Victoria Day Fete de la Reine Celebration of the reigning British (and Canadian) monarch's birthday. In Québec, Victoria Day and Fête des patriotes fall on the same day. public holiday in most provinces and all territories
July 1 Canada Day Fête du Canada in celebration of the British North America Act of July 1, 1867. It is preceded by National Aboriginal Day , Fête nationale du Québec and Canadian Multiculturalism Day between June 21 and 27 . National holiday and national public holiday
First Monday in August Civic Holiday Premier lundi d'août Public holiday with sometimes different names and meanings for each province (e.g. British Columbia Day, New Brunswick Day, Saskatchewan Day) public holiday in some provinces
First Monday in September Labor Day Fete you travail Labor Day national public holiday
Second Monday in October Thanksgiving Action de grace Thanksgiving public holiday in most provinces and territories, day off for federal employees
November 11th Remembrance Day Jour du souvenir Day to commemorate the war dead public holiday in some provinces
25 December Christmas Noël 1st Christmas Holiday national public holiday
December 26th Boxing Day Lendemain de Noël 2nd Christmas Day public holiday in Ontario

In addition, there are moving holidays, such as B. Family Day or Louis Riel Day .

See also

  • Portal: Canada  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Canada
  • Frankfurt Book Fair : Canada will be the “guest country” of the fair in 2020, which will mark a certain current high point in the relationship between the country and the three German-speaking countries


  • Robert Bothwell: The Penguin history of Canada . Penguin Canada, Toronto 2006, ISBN 0-670-06553-6 .
  • Albrecht Iwersen, Susanne Iwersen-Sioltsidis: Canada . Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-39869-3 .
  • Karl Lenz: Canada: Geography, History, Economy, Politics . Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2001, ISBN 3-534-13841-4 .
  • Udo Sautter : History of Canada . Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-44737-2 .
  • Robert Weaver, William Toye: The Oxford Anthology of Canadian Literature . Oxford University Press, Toronto, Canada 1981, ISBN 0-19-540376-2 .
  • Lori G. Beaman: Religion and Canadian Society. Traditions, transitions, and innovations. Canadian Scholars' Press, Toronto 2006 ISBN 1-55130-306-X
  • Ursula Lehmkuhl Ed .: Country Report Canada. BpB series of publications, 10200th Federal Agency for Civic Education BpB, Bonn am Rhein 2018 (568 pages)
  • Heide, Markus and Claudia Kotte. Canadian film : history, themes, trends. Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz, 2006. ISBN 3-89669-604-1 .

Web links

 Wikinews: Canada  - on the news
Wiktionary: Canada  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Commons : Canada  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Canada  - Sources and Full Texts
Wikimedia Atlas: Canada  geographical and historical maps
Wikivoyage: Canada  Travel Guide

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  38. index mundi
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  47. See table: The most common non-official mother tongues, 1971, 2001 and 2006 .
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  55. ^ Religions in Canada
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  86. ^ Joan Sangster: One Hundred Years of Struggle. The History of Women and the Vote in Canada. UBC Press Vancouver and Toronto, 2018, p. 256.
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  101. At the same time, Canada is a separate country from the United States and there are things that we hold dear, that the Americans haven't prioritized. And I'm never going to shy away from standing up for what I believe in - whether it's proclaiming loudly to the world that I am a feminist, whether it's understanding that immigration is a source of strength for us and Muslim Canadians are an essential part of the success of our country today and into the future. After Asked about Trump, Trudeau promises to stand for feminism and diversity, CBC News, online
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  114. Now the pollution data of every major company in Canada is available: 2007 National Pollutant Release Inventory Data , preliminary data.
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  151. See Wolfgang Hagen: Das Radio. On the history and theory of radio - Germany / USA. Munich 2005, pp. 53-59.
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  159. This section is based on Helmut Kallman: Music History ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia . Retrieved March 22, 2015 .. See also Encyclopedia of Music in Canada ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia . Retrieved March 22, 2015 ..
  160. Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) ( Memento April 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  161. Policy statement of the CMCC ( Memento from April 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  162. ^ Website of the Glenn Gould Foundation
  163. On Canadian cinema history: George Melnyk: One Hundred Years of Canadian Cinema . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 2004, ISBN 0-8020-8444-3 .
  164. ^ Heide Markus and Claudia Kotte: Canadian film: history, themes, tendencies . University Press Konstanz, Konstanz 2006, ISBN 3-89669-604-1 .
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  167. Fifty Largest Employers ( Memento from January 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 288 kB).
  168. See (PDF; 76 kB): Tim Horton: 2008 Fourth Quarter and Year End Results. ( Memento from April 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 75 kB).
  169. McDonald's Canada
  170. Don Morrow et al. a .: A Concise History of Sport in Canada. Oxford University Press, Toronto 1989, ISBN 0-19-540693-1 .
  171. Holidays 2017, Canada
  172. Public Holidays in Canada 2017–2021
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on November 25, 2008 in this version .

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