Some Canada Day Fun Facts

In honor of Canada Day, here are some fun facts about our neighbor to the north:

➡️ Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. Subsequently, it boasts the world’s longest coastline and is home to 30 percent of the world’s boreal forest and 10 percent of the world’s total forest cover. Some of its natural parks are bigger than whole countries.

➡️ Despite its size, Canada’s population is roughly the same as California, with close to 40 million people. Moreover, most Canadians live within 93 miles of the U.S. border, and half live just along the Great Lakes region. Talk about living space.

➡️ Canadian inventions include the paint roller, garbage bag, the pager (remember those?), peanut butter, road lines, the wonder bra, the first Internet search engine (Archie), IMAX, the pacemaker, basketball, the alkaline battery the Java programming language, the electron microscope, the electric wheelchair, and the wireless radio.

➡️ Canadian discoveries include insulin, T-cells, the Polio vaccine, the structure of the atomic nucleus, stem cells, black holes, and more. Canada was the third country to design and construct a satellite after the Soviet Union and the United States.

➡️ According to the Programme for International Student Assessment, Canadian students perform well above most developed countries, particularly in math, science, and reading. As of 2012, Canada had the fourth highest quality scientific research in the world.

➡️ Speaking of creativity, some of the biggest bands and musicians have Canadian roots: Sarah McLachlan, Nickleback (yes, yes, I know), Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Rush (personal favorite), Drake, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Michael Buble, Billy Talent, and a ton more.

➡️ Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver are often nicknamed “Hollywood North” for being go-to film locations for the U.S. To that end, Canadians are disproportionately represented in Hollywood: Keanu Reeves, Ryan Gosling, William Shatner, Will Arnett, Nathan Fillon, Seth Rogan, Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carrey, Rachel McAdams, Neve Campbell, Michael J. Fox, and Ellen Page, are just a few Canadian-born actors and actresses who are ubiquitous in U.S. media.

➡️ Canada has one of the world’s most diverse populations, which is supported by one of the highest rates of immigration per capita. Nearly one out of four Canadians were born abroad, and about a fifth of the population is a “visible minority” (i.e., nonwhite), compared to less than two percent in 1961. Canada also takes one out of ten of the world’s refugees.

➡️ Toronto, its largest city, is subsequently the most diverse city in the world; half the population is made up of visible minorities, most born outside the country, and among its residents are 200 ethnic groups and 160 languages. Even 911 is reportedly available in over 100 languages.

➡️ Unsurprisingly, multiculturalism is considered a cornerstone of Canadian identity, perhaps because Canada has historically been influenced by British, French, and Indigenous cultures and traditions (and the practice need to compromise between the three, however often flawed that’s been).

➡️ Contrary to its peaceable image, Canada has a history of martial prowess. In 1812, Canadians, with some British support, managed to beat back American efforts to conquer it. The First World War saw decisive Canadian participation in some of the biggest battles, including at Vimy and Somme. In the Second World War, Canada had the second toughest beach landing at Normandy, but managed to be the first to break through and to penetrate the deepest into French territory. Canada also played a key role in liberating the Netherlands and Belgium during their war-induced famine, for which they are still remembered. The country emerged from the war with one of the biggest navies and armies in the world.

Of course, this list is far from exhaustive, as my time is short. Feel free to share your own Canadian fun fact!

Happy Canada Day to all my northern neighbors.

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