Canada is one of those countries that nearly everyone has heard of, certainly quite a number have visited since the large increases in tourism during the last half of the twentieth century, but relatively few actually know much about its geography or history. This article is to serve as an abbreviated introduction to Canada for the prospective visitor.The second largest country in the world after Russia, Canada is a vast country. Canada encompasses territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Arctic Ocean in the high Arctic to the northern border of the continental U.
S.A. Although very much a "northern" country the terrain and geography of Canada is very diverse. As well as the popular image of Canada as a country of pristine forests and snowy vistas, there are also deserts and badlands, temperate rain forests and long and wide beaches. Canada has huge inland lakes, seemingly eternal prairies and evergreen forests, woodlands and meadows.
Canada's coastlines are thousands of miles long, with fjords and long, wild rivers leading to the oceans.In contrast to the expanses of open country, Canada also has its share of urban areas. The majority of the population and heavy industry is in the two provinces of Quebec and Ontario, with Alberta and British Columbia fast catching up. Large and modern cities are spread across the land from Halifax on the Atlantic to Vancouver on the Pacific, all within a few hours drive, at most, from the border with the United States.
Vancouver and Halifax are both major ports with trade to every corner of the world. Alberta is a major oil and gas producer. The Prairie Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) with their vast fields of grain help to feed the world. There are fisheries on both the West and the East Coast and in some of the larger lakes. The Trans-Canada Highway links the country from coast to coast; in addition to the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways systems there is an extensive network of smaller railways and a widespread network of airline routes serving both major and remote communities.
Although Canada is known for long and cold winters, this is good news for those who enjoy being outdoors in the snow. Canada has opportunities for winter sports and activities that are unsurpassed. The summers can be fairly hot in many areas, though with so many lakes, rivers and coastal regions, there is a huge variety of summer recreational possibilities to help beat the heat. The West Coast of British Columbia tends to have much milder winters than the rest of the country and very pleasant moderate summer temperatures.
Depending on the location, spring arrives in Canada between March and May and is always the start of new growth and cause for celebrating the end of the winter. Summer days are long and often comfortably warm. Whatever part of the country you are in, the fall brings magnificent colours, cooler but still very pleasant days and attractions tend to be less crowded.Though Canada's history has been relatively short, (Canada was only actually founded in 1867) it has certainly been eventful. The history of Central and Eastern Canada is also very much tied in with the American Revolution, when thousands of people loyal to the British crown crossed the border and settled in these areas in order to remain under British rule.
The struggle with the United States continued until after the war of 1812 and this part of Canada's history can be seen in the many historic sites from this period. The history of Western Canada is also synonymous with the growth and development of the Hudson Bay Company that started off in the fur trade and was responsible for the discovery and later settlements in many places. Similarly the North West Mounted Police (now part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) helped form and develop the west and in undertaking this, the legend of the 'Mounties' was born.There are ten provinces in all and three territories in Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador are the furthest east and were the latest to join Canada; formerly they were a British colony. The Maritimes consist of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Quebec is the French speaking province and shares most of the heavy industry in Canada with Ontario. The Canadian capital is Ottawa, located on the Ontario-Quebec border. Further west are the prairie provinces and then British Columbia on the Pacific coast.
North of British Columbia is the Yukon Territory which extends north to the Arctic Ocean with the Northwest Territories. The newest territory is Nunavut which extends throughout the Eastern Arctic with Greenland its nearest neighbor to the east. It used to be a part of the Northwest Territories and is totally isolated from the rest of the country except by aircraft and for the most part supplied by ship during a very short summer season.
Canada is so large that it would take many visits in order to see everything. For the first time visitor it is probably best to choose one or two regions of interest and concentrate on those. Each region is totally unique and shows the visitor a completely different perspective of Canadian life.
At the same time, every region maintains a high standard of facilities for the visitor and whatever part of Canada you are in, the visitor is valued and welcomed and treated to world-renowned Canadian hospitality.Prairie Provinces in Canada are where most Mallards built their nests generally on dry land near water. Their nests are shallow depressions in the ground filled with various quantities of leaves, needles or mosses. Most mallards' nests hide in vegetation like grasses so that other animals will not find it. Once the nest building is complete, the male will attract a female mallard by ruffling his bright feathers. A female mallard will lay 9-12 eggs and they will hatch within 24 hours.
Baby ducks learn to swim very quickly, the mother duck leads them to water and they will start swimming soon after they hatch. When it gets cold, mallards will travel as far north as there is open water, they generally avoid salt water when traveling for the winter. Mallards like fresh shallow water and stay in large numbers at the marina because of winter-feeding by park visitors..Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Canada Vacation.
By: Michael Russell