If you are planning to visit Canada or a Canadian who just wants to boost your general knowledge of the country, this article will cover everything Canada is most known for.
1. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is not just a food that originated from Canada – even to this day, 71% of the entire world’s maple syrup is produced in the country. 91% of this is produced in Quebec, the maple syrup motherland. Unaspiringly, Canada is home to a whole host of maple trees.
If you come to Canada, you will find Canadian maple syrup readily available in stores, as well as maple syrup-infused desserts in cafes and restaurants all over. Canada produces millions of pounds of maple syrup per day.
2. Ice Hockey
You have never experienced a real ice hockey game until you come to Canada. Canadians take the sport incredibly seriously – it is a bit like football in the UK – and ice hockey is even the country’s national winter sport.
Make sure you time your visit to Canada to be able to watch a live ice hockey game for yourself. The atmosphere is unbeatable.
3. The Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls is massive – it consists of three separate waterfalls. The largest of these is the Canadian falls, known as Horseshoe Falls, and, unsurprisingly, is on Canadian territory.
The Falls bring millions of visiting tourists every year, and one of the most popular activities is to take a boat trip behind the waterfall itself. Tourists can also take an elevator ride down to the wetter area of the waterfall for a close-up view.
There is no debating it – poutine is one of the most delicious dirty eats, and no country quite does it like Canada. This probably has something to do with the fact that Poutine originated from the region, so Canadians know how to whip it up properly.
For non-Canadians, poutine is essentially a combination of French fries, cheese and gravy, with additional toppings if you are feeling fancy. It first came about in Quebec in around the 1950s.
5. The Northern Lights
Of course, the Northern Lights can be witnessed by many countries around the world, but Canada has some of the best spots for witnessing the natural light show in all its beauty.
The country is so renowned for its skies of greens, blues, and purples that many tourists pay a visit solely in the hopes of witnessing the Northern Lights themselves. There are plenty of Northern Lights tours that take place during peak times of the year.
6. The CN Tower
Most countries have a statement man-made landmark that they are known for, and Canada is no different with its CN Tower. This 553.33 m high monstrosity can be found in downtown Toronto and was named the world’s first tallest tower in the world.
You can travel right up to the tower’s observation deck if you are not too afraid of heights. It is equally impressive to view from the ground.
7. Beautiful Natural Landscapes
Canada’s landscapes are like no other in the world. The country’s natural beauty can be seen in its crystal-clear lakes, white, snow-capped mountains, and spectacular wildlife.
Yes, you really can see many rare species of wildlife in Canada if you happen to be in the right place at the right time. There are plenty of natural parks to choose from if you want to soak up the beauty of your surroundings.
The forest area per capita is approximately 9.74 hectares per person which is more than 17 times the world average! That means Canada holds over 347 million hectares or about 9% of the world’s total forest supply.
Canadians just can not help apologizing for everything. Saying “sorry” is about as common as saying “hello”, thanks to the country’s inflated level of politeness.
You will probably find Canadians apologizing to one another for something that was nobody’s fault, such as trying to go through a single door at the same time.
9. Epic Road Trips
Canada’s vast, rugged landscape offers the perfect opportunity for a road trip. No matter where you are headed, you are guaranteed to be mesmerized by the beauty of the natural environment.
Once you get off the beaten path, the fun can really begin. Whether you are looking for mountains, beaches, woodland, or miles and miles of nothingness, Canada has it all and more.
10. The Canadian Flag
Even people who have very little knowledge about Canada recognize the country by its national flag. In true Canadian style, the flag depicts a red maple leaf on a white background. On either side of this are two red bands of colour.
Unlike other countries’ flags, which usually consist of several lines or circles of colour, Canada’s flag knows how to stand out from the crowd. It was produced on February 15, 1965, and was based on the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada.
11. A Great Education System
Canada has an exceptional education system, especially when it comes to higher education. Students from around the world come to Canada to study, with many of them landing work experience in the country after obtaining their degrees.
In fact, according to Time Magazine Canada is even said to be the world’s most educated country. With over half of its residents have stayed in education up to the university level.
12. Cold Weather
If you are not a fan of the cold, do not visit Canada in the winter. Temperatures vary by region, but some parts of the country can see temperatures drop well below zero in the colder months. In 1947, Canada experienced its coldest winter to date, with temperatures recorded at -63 C.
In the summer, though, Canada’s weather is actually quite mild. In Quebec City, temperatures can peak at above-twenties (C) in the summer, which is really quite pleasant when the sun is out.
13. Polar Bears
When people think of polar bears, they imagine them residing in icy countries like Greenland and Alaska. Though Canada is home to approximately 60% of the world’s polar bears, and if you know where to go to find them, you might even see one with your own eyes.
There are plenty of tour operators in Canada who organize trips especially for polar bear spotting, but this could involve putting yourself in danger (if you are with a crazier tour guide), or, the most likely option, not actually seeing a polar bear during your tour. As wild animals, polar bears prefer to keep themselves to themselves.
14. The French Language
The majority of Canadians speak either English, French or both. French is Canada’s second language, and French is still the official language of Quebec. Though it is pretty much guaranteed nowadays that Canadians who speak French can also speak English, it can be helpful to know a few basic French terms before you visit the country.
It is thought that the reason why Canadians speak French today dates back to mass immigration in the past. There are several French dialects in the country, including Quebec French, Newfoundland French, Acadian French and Métis French.
15. Lake Life
Canada is known for its beautiful lakes, and when you are in the country, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to water sources. Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world put together, and its largest lake, Lake Superior, is 82,100 square kilometres in size.
Canada has so many lakes because of its geological history, with many lakes being formed by scraping, then melting, glaciers. Impressively, Canada has 561 large lakes and more than 30,000 lakes in total.
Perhaps one of Canada’s most famous celebrities of the current years is singer-songwriter Drake. Now a dual citizen of the US and Canada, Drake was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1986.
As a child, Drake was a student at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, after which he moved to Vaughan Road Academy in Toronto’s Oakwood–Vaughan neighbourhood. He is now one of the world’s best-selling artists and has sold over 170 million records.
17. Its Coastline
Canada has the largest coastline in the world, measuring 243,042 kilometres, including the mainland coast and the coasts of offshore islands. Many people would not consider visiting Canada for a sun, sea and sand vacation, but there are many areas along the coast that are perfect for a beachside getaway.
In comparison, other countries’ coastlines are a lot shorter. Even the second largest coastline in Indonesia only measures 54,716 km. No other country’s coastline even gets close to Canada’s impressive length.
18. Winnie The Pooh
Popular kids’ fictional character, Winnie the Pooh, was inspired by a black bear at a zoo in London, which was named Winnie after Canada’s city of Winnipeg. The first Winnie the Pooh stories were released back in 1926, and their popularity saw several more volumes released by author Milne over the years.
Many people know the Winnie the Pooh tales from their popular film and TV adaptions by Disney. The origin of the renowned character’s name is unknown to many, but it is a pretty fascinating fact that Canada should be proud to represent.
19. Butter Tarts
We mentioned that many Canadian desserts feature maple syrup as a key ingredient, and butter tarts are one of the most popular (and most delicious) of them all. If you have never heard of them before, butter tarts are round, flaky pastries that are traditionally filled with a gooey butter, egg, sugar and maple syrup mix.
Butter tarts originate in Canada and are one of the most popular sweet treats in the country’s cuisine. The earliest butter tart recipe dates right back to the 1900s, where it can be found noted in a hospital cookbook.
20. The Telephone
The telephone was invented by Edinburgh-born Alexander Graham Bell, who immigrated to Canada in 1870 with his family. Bell was a researcher, teacher and scientist, who began to research into acoustic frequencies while he was teaching at various schools for the deaf.
In June of 1876, Bell, based in Ontario, was on the receiving end of the first-ever telephone call. His research into the workings behind the telephone has helped scientists to develop our knowledge of audio transmissions, ultimately bringing us to the use of mobile phones today.
21. The Longest Street In The World
Canada has broken a few records – the tallest building in the world, the longest coastline in the world, and to add to that, the country also has the longest street in the world. At 1,896 kilometres in length, Yonge Street is based in Ontario and connects the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe.
However, this record, which was officially listed in the Guinness World Records until 1999, is actually something of a myth. Yonge Street is still considered the world’s longest street, but the actual end of the street is debatable. It becomes Highway 11 once it reaches US territory, which prompts the belief that it officially “ends” at some point before this.
22. Justin Bieber
Arguably the second most famous celebrity to be born and raised in Canada is Justin Bieber. The 26-year-old was born at St Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario, and was raised in Stratford, also in Ontario.
Growing up, Justin was a student at the Jeanne Sauvé Catholic School in Stratford. His career has seen him travel beyond his country to the rest of the world. He currently resides in the US but says he is not interested in living there permanently and hints at plans to return to his home country.
23. Ice Wine
Fans of rich drinks should try out ice wine when they visit Canada. The country is the largest producer of the alcoholic drink, but it can also be found in other countries in Europe, including Germany and Austria.
Ice wine is made from naturally frozen grapes that have been harvested from the vine. It is a very sweet wine and typically comes in a variety of fruit flavours (and even some odder flavours, like chocolate). Many people choose to enjoy it as a dessert wine after a savoury meal.
24. The Longest International Border
Just when you thought Canada had already set enough world records, the border between Canada and the US is recorded as the longest international border in the world. It is otherwise known as the International Boundary and is 8,891 kilometres long.
The border is undefended by the military, though law enforcement is still present. You can not cross the border without passing through a designated border control area. The full border includes areas of water and the 2,475-metre border that spans between Yukon and Alaska.
25. Nanaimo Bars
Another popular Canadian dessert is the Nanaimo bar. It is a no-bake bar dessert that consists of three layers: a biscuit-like crumb base made from wafer, nuts and coconut crumbs, a custard or buttercream filling, and a layer of milk or dark chocolate layered ganache on top.
Many Canadians enjoy baking Nanaimo bars around Christmastime, but you can also find them in most traditional bakeries around the country at any time of the year. The bars get their name from Nanaimo, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. Though there is not much information on the very beginnings of this Canadian staple, it does not take an expert to guess it is more than likely got something to do with the Nanaimo region!
26. Saying “Eh”
Most countries have their own popular regional slang, and for Canadians, it is the simple term, “eh”. The word is said across the world, but it has become a bit of a symbol of Canadian dialect over the years. “Eh” is normally always an irrelevant add-on, usually featured at the end of a sentence, and is used when asking a question or stating an opinion.
Nobody really knows where “eh” came from, but one researcher wrote that he believed it to be a way of showing politeness and to express solidarity with the person you are conversing with. It is nothing more than a term of friendliness, which makes sense, as Canadians are known to be a friendly bunch.
27. Jim Carrey
You might know Jim Carrey for his excellent portrayal of a diverse range of characters across TV and film, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Yes Man, Dumb and Dumber, A Christmas Carol, and Kick-Ass. The actor, writer, artist and comedian was Canadian born-and-raised but received US citizenship in 2004.
Carrey was born in the suburb of Newmarket in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to a mother with a French, Irish, and Scottish descent and a French-Canadian father. As a boy, he studied at Aldershot High School and Agincourt Collegiate Institute, then performed comedy while working at a factory in Hamilton, Ontario.
You might not immediately think of Canada when someone says “donuts”, but it turns out there is a bigger link between the country and the popular sweet pastry treat than many people realize. Despite having a fairly small population, Canada has been found to consume the most donuts in the world. It also has the most doughnut shops per capita out of all the countries in the world.
America might be more known for its donuts, but in Canada, donuts are an unofficial icon. Canada’s most popular donut chain is Tim Hortons (named after a national ice hockey league player who opened the first store). There are currently more than 2,500 Tim Hortons stores across the country, which are thought to sell a staggering 3 million donuts on a daily basis.
29. The Canadian Rockies
Canada is home to a number of mountain ranges, but undoubtedly the most famous of them all is The Rockies. This mountain range is based between Alberta and British Columbia. There are lots of stunning visual beauty to feast your eyes on, including mountain lakes, glaciers, and impressive wildlife. There are also plenty of hiking trails and ski hills to make the most of.
In the very centre of the Canadian Rockies is Banff National Park, which was the country’s first national park, and the world’s third. It achieved this status in 1885, and now receives millions of visitors a year.
30. Fall Foliage
Canada is one of the most popular tourist spots during fall when its maple and red oak trees turn a deep orangey-red. The best regions to enjoy the beauty of the Canadian fall include Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime province, between the beginning of September and the beginning of October.
You can check out Canada’s interactive fall foliage map come September 2020 to see which areas are experiencing the most beautiful fall transformation.
Wrapping Things Up
Canada is bursting with fascinating historical, cultural and geographical features that make it one of the most interesting countries in the world. There is so much more to Canada than maple syrup and Justin Bieber – and the country is continuing to grow and evolve today, so in 10 years, there will probably be another 30 facts to add to this list.