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Useful Notes / Canada

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And flourish green o'er freedom's home/The Maple Leaf forever!

"Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays; c'est l'hiver."note 
Gilles Vigneault

Canada is a Northern American country and the second largest country in the world by areanote . Compared to other countries its population (37 million people) is rather modest at best, with a population density of only 3.7 people per square kilometre (the United Kingdom squeezes 281 people into the same space). The ten provinces and three Northern territories maintain a friendly rivalry, usually resorting to snide jokes and CFL (Canadian football) playoffs. Why is it like this? Mainly because of the country's confusing origins as a former British and French colony and exacerbated regional differences between the west, center, and east. That said, Canada is still a unified country, and the regional rivalry that goes on is similar to that of any other country.

Three of the most memorable moments to most Canadians in their history include: the War of 1812 in which a fledgling colony was defended from the invading southern forces from the United States; the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge in which the outstanding logistician and professional engineer General Arthur William Currie (equal only to the Australian General and Civil Engineer John Monash) captured a godforsaken ridge from the Germans and successfully held it against counter-attack; and finally, Game 8, 1972, Canada v. Soviet Union, a championship hockey game that older Canadians still remember to this day.note .

Insisting that Canada is still a Dominion of the United Kingdom or is in any way in some sort of union with the United States is bound to stir up some backdraft amongst Canadians, as will suggesting that the French-speaking province of Quebec should be independent (outside of Quebec, minus certain parts of Montreal). There is still a relationship between UK and Canada, as Canada is a constitutional monarchy, so the British monarch has a few roles, such as appointing the Governor-General of Canada.

Culturally, Canadians are perceived as being modest, quiet, shy, always apologizing, and a bit like a backwards rustic neighbour of the US (kind of like Minnesota writ large). Cultural similarities to America are profound, but those similarities are heatedly protested by Canadians. If one is asked to think of "Canada", generally the idea of plaid-wearing lumberjacks in a snow-filled pine forest where moose and beavers frolic about and bears savagely roam is imagined. Somewhere, ice hockey is filled in. Maple syrup (as well as the maple leaf, which is on Canada's flag) is commonly associated with Canada, and it's hard to imagine it not covered in snow and freezing.

Tropes associated with Canada include:

Indexes associated with Canada include:

Useful Notes:


  • Canadian Provinces and Territories
    • Quebec, the largest and only fully Francophone province; its culture and penchant to be different from the rest of Canada, not to mention the separatist issue, now warrants its own page.
  • Cities:
    • Toronto, the biggest city and the financial hub of Canada, but is not the national capital (that's Ottawa, also in Ontario but a bit to the Northeast; Toronto is the provincial capital).
    • Montreal, the fourth largest French speaking city in the world after Kinshasa, Abidjan, and Paris (as of 2016). However, English is commonly (though not universally) spoken, and you can easily get around the city with only a smattering of French.
    • Vancouver, the financial centre for Western Canada, with a massive Pacific port. It is the city that is not Seattle no matter how much Hollywood wants to convince you otherwise.
  • Niagara Falls; although shared with the United States, it is the Canadian Falls which generally feature in media
  • North American Numbering Plan (telephone numbering system shared with the US and several other regions)

Law & Government

Culture, History, & Misc.

The Canadian flag
Red and white are heraldic colours assigned to the country by King George V in 1921, although it goes way back. The maple leaf in the center has been a national symbol for many centuries, ever since the French first occupied the area. This flag was adopted in 1965 by then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson; before that Canada used the British Union Jack officially, and the Canadian Red Ensign (a British Red Ensign defaced by the Coat of Arms of Canada) informally.

Arms of Canada
The arms of Canada is based on the British coat of arms with French and Canadian elements. It includes the (crown represents the Canadian monarchy), the lion holding a maple leaf (representing the Governor-General) while standing on a red and white silk (which are Canada's national colours), a helmet with mantlings red and white maple leaves (representing the Canadian flag), the shield that is similar to the British shield except with three fleurs-de-lis (as a reference to Canada being colonized by France) and a sprig of red maple leaves (representing Canada), a ribbon with the motto "desiderantes meliorem patriam" (meaning "desiring a better country"; which is the same motto of the Order of Canada) from Hebrews 11:16, the national motto "a mari usque ad mare" (meaning "From sea to sea") from Hebrews 11:16 as a reference to Canada having the longest coastline in the world, the supporters are the lion (representing England) and the unicorn (representing Scotland) holding the British and the French flags (as a reference to Canada's official languages) respectively (unlike the British coat of arms, the lion is not crowned nor facing the viewer and the unicorn's chain is broken) and on the bottom are plants from the nations that influenced Canada through history, the red and white roses (symbolizing England and Ireland), the thistle (representing Scotland), the shamrock (representing Ireland) and the fleur-de-lis (representing France).

The Canadian national anthem
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

O Canada!
Land of our ancestors
Glorious deeds circle your brow
For your arm knows how to wield the sword
Your arm knows how to carry the cross;
Your history is an epic
Of brilliant deeds
And your valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights,
Will protect our homes and our rights.

  • Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The British monarch appoints the Governor-General. Canada has a Westminster-style parliamentary system, like the UK.
    • Monarch: Charles III (from the UK)
    • Governor General: Mary Simon
    • Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau.
      • Canadians do not directly elect the Prime Minister; rather, Canadians vote for a Member of Parliament (MP) in their area (called a "riding"). The political party that elects the most MPs is then asked by the Governor-General to form the government. The leader of this political party then becomes the Prime Minister.

  • Capital: Ottawa
  • Largest city: Toronto
  • Population: 38,048,738
  • Area: 9,984,670 km² (3,855,100 sq mi) (2nd)
  • Currency: Canadian dollar ($) (CAD)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: CA
  • Country calling code: 1
  • Highest point: Mount Logan (5959 m/19,551 ft) (15th)
  • Lowest points: Arctic Ocean (1,038 m/3,406 ft) (-), Atlantic Ocean (3,646 m/11,962 ft) (-) and Pacific Ocean (10,911 m/35,797 ft) (-)

Statler: What do you think of the great white north?
Waldorf: It's white and in the north, but it's anything but great!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!