Canada is a land of wilderness and rich farmland, of cosmopolitan cities, tiny fishing villages, and industrial towns. It is a land of diverse communities and peoples, with six time zones and a variety of weather conditions. Given Canada’s diversity, this cultural profile can provide only a glimpse of this large nation.

Over the centuries, Canada has witnessed different cultures coming together in conflict and compromise. Although the indigenous peoples showed the early explorers how to survive, many of them died of European diseases or in battles with the immigrants.

The first immigrants were the French and the British, who arrived in the 17th century. After the American Revolution in the 18th century, they were joined by English-speaking Loyalists who moved north from the United States. During the 19th century, immigrants continued to come from Europe, Great Britain, Ireland and the United States. Chinese workers were brought to Canada to work on the railways. At the turn of the century, people from Northern and Eastern Europe helped settle the Prairies and immigrants from Asia settled on the West Coast.

The two World Wars brought refugees from Europe. Since the Second World War, Canada has welcomed immigrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as Europe. Many come to find jobs, establish businesses or continue their education. Others have come to escape civil unrest or oppressive regimes in their home countries. Today, Canada’s population includes people from more than 160 countries.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name: Canada
Capital: Ottawa
Type of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Population: 30.3 million (1998)
Area: 9.9 million sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups: English, French, Original Peoples, and about 160 other ethnic groups
Languages: English and French
Religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, indigenous religions
Unit of Currency: Canadian dollar
National Flag: Red maple leaf on a white background with a band of red on either side
Date of Independence:
July 1, 2021

  Did you know?
Most Inuit live in Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, in Canada’s Far North. Nunavut became Canada’s third territory in April 1999. The word "Inuit" means "the people" in Inuktitut. The territory has about 20,000 inhabitants.