Happy Canada Day! 1 July 2017 is the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canada’s birth. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, The Reckoner has compiled a list of one hundred and fifty facts about Canada.

Let’s start with the people of Canada,

  1. Over 36 million people live in Canada.
  2. Aboriginal people also have a rich history in Canada, as the original citizens of Canada.
  3. Over 1.4 million people are Aboriginal.
  4. According to the 2011 census, Canada is composed of people from over two hundred different ethnic origins.
  5. About one in five Canadians were born in another country.

    Canada’s population consists of people of over two hundred ethnic groups. (Image courtesy of Mark Blinch / The Canadian Press File Photo)

  6. Canada has the highest number of immigrants by percentage among the G8 countries with 20.6% of the population being foreign born.
  7. About 90% of Canada’s population is concentrated within one hundred and sixty kilometres of the Canada/US border.
  8. The average life expectancy at birth is 81.16 years—the sixth highest in the world.
  9. Canada is the World’s Most Educated Country: over half its residents have college degrees. 

How did Canada reach its 150 birthday? Time Machine, here we go…

  1. The oldest (4.28 billion years!) rocks in the world are in Canada—specifically on the eastern shores of Hudson Bay.
  2. Dinosaurs used to live in Canada! More than forty species’ fossils were found at Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park.
  3. The largest dinosaur bone bed ever recorded is located near Medicine Hat, Alberta. The 2.3 square kilometre area contained thousands of bones from the Centrosaurus apertus dinosaur
  4. Scientists found a perfectly preserved sixteen hundred-year-old meal in an earthen oven at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta. 
  5. A linguistic error between Jacques Cartier and an indigenous community gave Canada the name Canada. When an indigenous group attempted to invite Cartier to their village, they repeated the word for village, “kanata.” Cartier misunderstood and thought they were referring to the whole land. He began to use “kanata” which eventually evolved into Canada.
  6. John Cabot was the first to draw a map of Eastern Canada in 1497.
  7. The very first Europeans that came to Canada were actually the Vikings.
  8. The Vikings settled in Newfoundland and Labrador. The remains of their settlement, L’Anse aux Meadows, is now a World Heritage Site.
  9. Canada became a country on 1 July 1867, when the British North America Act was passed by the British Parliament.

    Robert Harris’ 1884 painting, Conference at Quebec in 1864, to settle the basics of a union of the British North American Provinces, also known as The Fathers of Confederation. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

  10. Newfoundland was the final province to join Confederation when it became a province in 1949. Before this, Newfoundland was considered a British dominion but functioned as an independent nation.
  11. But it wasn’t until 1999 that all provinces and territories signed the Constitution; Nunavut was the last to join.
  12. The longest serving Canadian Prime Minister, nonconsecutively, was William Lyon Mackenzie King with twenty-one and a half years from 1921 to 1948.
  13. The briefest term a Canadian Prime Minister has served goes to Sir Charles Tupper, who served sixty-eight days.
  14. Canada Day was called Dominion Day up until 1982.
  15. The celebration of the signing of the Confederation in 1867 and declaration of 1 July as a public holiday did not occur until 1879.
  16. Ottawa wasn’t even originally the capital of Canada. The original was Kingston, Ontario but was considered too dangerous. The capital moved to Montréal, but was burned down by rioters, then briefly settled in Toronto and Quebec City. Queen Victoria then chose Ottawa as the permanent capital.
  17. After Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbour, during World War II, Canada declared war on Japan before the Americans.
  18. The USA has invaded Canada twice; during the Invasion of Quebec and during the War of 1812. They lost both times.
  19. Toronto used to be called the City of York before 1834.
  20. Canada’s national anthem, O Canada, was written in 1880 but it was not until 1980, that it was officially adopted.
  21. In 2011, Canada adopted the Maple Leaf tartan as a national symbol. Its colours, green, gold, red and brown, represent the changing maple leaves through Canada’s four seasons. 

Geographically wise, Canada has some impressive stats.

  1. From coast to coast, Canada consists of six time zones!
  2. Want to live near the beach? Canada has the longest coastline in the world with 243 000 km of shores.
  3. Prince Edward Island is Canada’s only province without a land boundary and has over ninety sandy beaches.
  4. The world’s largest freshwater beach is Wasaga Beach in Ontario, with a length of 14 km long.
  5. The Canada-USA border is the longest international border, stretching 8.8 million km. It also has no military presence.
  6. The second largest crater on Earth is located near Sudbury, Ontario with a diameter of 130 km.
  7. The world’s highest tides are in the Bay of Fundy, located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

    The Bay of Fundy has the world’s highest tides. (Image courtesy of Bay of Fundy Tourism)

  8. Also due to the Bay of Fundy’s high tides, a unique phenomenon occurs. The Reversing Falls is a waterfall that flows both ways depending on the tide and is due to the large flow of the St. John’s River and huge tides from the Bay. 
  9. Surprisingly, Canada has a desert! Located near Osoyoos, B.C., Okanagan Desert is the only hot desert in Canada.
  10. Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined 
  11. Saskatchewan’s Little Manitou Lake has salt concentrations of 180g/L, rivalling the Dead Sea’s of 250g/L. 
  12. The closest place to the centre of the Earth is at the Kidd Mine in Timmins, Ontario with a depth of 3 000 m.
  13. Niagara Falls is one of the seven wonders of Canada and is about 12 000 years old.
  14. The largest freshwater island in the world is Manitoulin Island, Ontario located in Lake Huron.
  15. Canada has 347 million hectares of forest, which is almost 9% of total forests in the world.
  16. Niagara Falls may be the most known waterfall in Canada, but the tallest waterfall in Canada is Della Falls in British Columbia at four hundred and forty metres.
  17. Canada’s MacKenzie River is the second longest river in North America, after the Mississippi River.
  18. The world’s strongest current is found in the Nakwakto Rapids at Slingsby Channel, British Columbia. The current has been measured at speeds up to 18.4 miles per hour.
  19. The world’s largest lake within a lake is Manitou Lake on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron. That’s a lot of lakes.

Canada has some interesting, unique, and some just bizarre places.

  1. The world’s first UFO landing pad is in St. Paul, Alberta, created in honour of Canada’s centennial.
  2. You might know the official animal of Canada is the beaver, but do you know Canada’s second national animal? It’s the horse!
  3. Speaking of horses, Sable Island, Nova Scotia has more horses than people. The horses come from the many shipwrecks that occurred on the island and are protected by the government.

    Wild horses on Sable Island. (Image courtesy of Philip McLoughlin/University of Saskatchewan)

  4. Sable Island is also called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” with around 350 shipwrecks occurring on the island.
  5. The smallest town in Canada is Tilt Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, with a population of four.
  6. Here are some of the most Canadian town names: Snowball, Ontario; Winter, Saskatchewan; and Beersville, New Brunswick.
  7. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is the only town in the world with two exclamation marks in their name.
  8. Québec City is the only city north of Mexico in North America that is walled.
  9. Canada is home to forty-two national parks,
  10. One hundred and sixty-seven national historic sites,
  11. Four marine conservation areas,
  12. And eighteen UNESCO world heritage sites.
  13. Another unique place in Canada is the “Enchanted Forest,” located in British Columbia with over 350 fairytale figurines and B.C.’s tallest treehouse.
  14. Canada has the largest recreational trail, fittingly called the “Great Trail” and snakes through all 13 provinces and territories with a total length of 22 000 km.
  15. Alert, in Nunavut, is the northernmost permanent settlement in the world.

As such a huge country, Canada obviously has some of the most extreme weather, on both sides of the spectrum.

  1. Brrrr. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -62.8°C up in Snag, Yukon. 
  2. The largest snowfall ever recorded in Canada was 145 cm on 11 February 1999 at Tahtsa Lake, B.C.
  3. Canada’s famous amounts of snowfall have inspired several inventions including the snowmobile, snowblower, and rotary snowplough.
  4. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada is 45°C on 5 July 1937 at Midale and Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan.
  5. The Great Banks off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the foggiest places on Earth.
  6. The hottest place during the summer in Canada is Kamloops, B.C., with an average temperature of almost 27°C.
  7. Also in B.C. is where the coolest place during the summer is: Prince Rupert. The island has average high temperatures of 15°C.
  8. The greatest single day temperature change in one hour occurred in Pincher Creek, Alberta during the winter of 1962 where the temperature changed from -19°C to 22°C, an increase of forty-one degrees.
  9. Calgary, Alberta is the sunniest city in Canada, receiving roughly 2 396 hours a year.

Hey! Turns out there are fun facts about Canadian politics! 

  1. Even though Canada is its own country, Queen Elizabeth II, and her successors are Canada’s Head of State.
  2. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General, and has a role in Canada’s diplomatic activities, signing legislations into law, and calling elections. 
  3. One of the thirteen articles in the 1781 U.S. Articles of Confederation states that if Canada wants to be admitted into the U.S., it will automatically be accepted.
  4. In 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
  5. Queen’s Park in Toronto is the home of the Ontario Legislature but used to be a psychiatric hospital. People have claimed that it is haunted by the spirits of three women who roam the halls, a soldier in a red uniform, and a scowling spirit

    Is Queen’s Park haunted? (Image courtesy of Wikimedia)

Canada holds some impressive world records!

  1. Canada holds the record for most gold medals won during a single winter Olympics, with fourteen at the Vancouver 2010 games.
  2. Justin Bieber’s music video for his song Baby has the most dislikes on Youtube with 7 million and growing.
  3. The largest snow maze in the world was created in 2014 at Fort William Historical Park and is almost 1700 square meters in area. 

    Canada created the largest snow maze. (Image courtesy of Guinness World Records)

  4. Yonge Street is the longest street in the world (almost 2 000 km), running from Lake Ontario to the Minnesota border.
  5. The world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water is Confederation Bridge which links Prince Edward Island to mainland Canada and is 12.9km in length.
  6. Canada’s tallest building and second tallest in the world is the CN Tower in Toronto.
  7. The longest national highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador to Victoria, B.C.
  8. The first person to climb the tallest peaks on all seven continents was Canadian Patrick Marrow. The seven peaks were Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (Africa); Vinson Massif, Ellesworth Land (Antarctica); Mt Everest, Nepal/China (Asia); Mt Elbrus, Russia (Europe); Mt McKinlay, USA (North and Central America); Cerro Aconcagua, Argentina (South America); Puncak Jaya, Indonesia (Oceania). 
  9. The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta contains the world’s largest indoor amusement park.
  10. Canada’s Simon Fraser University made the smallest book ever printed, called Teeny Ted from Turnip Town. It is printed using an ion beam with a size of 70×100 micrometres and cost $15 000 to produce. 
  11. Annie Taylor, the “Queen of the Mist” and a school teacher from Bay City, Michigan, was the first person to travel over the Falls in a barrel on 24 October 1901.

Food!! Looking at these stats, Canada is definitely not the healthiest country…

  1. Tim Hortons was founded by a Canadian hockey legend namesake in 1964. 
  2. Since its creation in 1976, Canadians have eaten so many Timbits that if they lined them up from end to end, they would extend from the moon and back FIVE TIMES! 
  3. Canada has the most doughnut shops per capita and is the world’s largest consumer of doughnuts.
  4. Poutine!!! Canada’s unique treat consisting of fries, curds, and gravy was created in Quebec in the late 1950s.

    Poutine, Canada’s national food. (Image courtesy of dbimages/Alamy)

  5. Canada supplies 70% of the world’s maple syrup supply
  6. Canadians also consume the most Kraft Dinner than any other country. 
  7. Canadians love their ketchup! Ketchup chips are only sold in Canada with the average household spending $10 on ketchup annually. 

Now for some of Canada’s best and brightest in science!

  1. In 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered insulin at the University of Toronto.
  2. One of Canada’s proudest achievements is the Canadarm, a remote controlled mechanical arm. It helped deploy and repair satellites, among other things. 

    The Canadarm was used in space for thirty years before it came back to Earth. (Image courtesy of NASA)

  3. The UV index was invented by Canadians in 1992 and was later as the global standard for measuring the strength of the Sun’s rays.
  4. The Humidex is also a Canadian invention and has been in use since 1965.
  5. Twenty-three Nobel laureate winners were either born in Canada or gained professional distinction in Canada. 
  6. The world’s deepest underground lab resides two kilometres under Sudbury, Ontario. The lab, called Snolab, specializes in neutrino and dark matter physics. 

Canada shows up in the entertainment industry too!

  1. The opening scenes of Titanic were shot in Halifax.
  2. The movie Mean Girls was filmed at two Toronto high schools.
  3. The movie Good Will Hunting was also filmed at the University of Toronto and Central Technical School in Toronto
  4. Toronto-born actress Mary Pickford and her then husband Douglas Fairbanks were the first stars to cast their hands and feet in cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1927. 
  5. James Cameron, director and writer of Avatar and Titanic, is from Canada! He was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario.
  6. Cirque du Soleil, based in Montréal, performs all over the world and is the largest theatrical company in the world.
  7. Canada is home to many singers such as Celine Dion, Drake, Justin Bieber, and Shawn Mendes to name a few.
  8. The real-life inspiration for Winnie the Pooh comes from a Canadian female black bear named Winnie after Winnipeg. Christopher Robin Milne renamed his teddy bear after seeing Winnie at the London Zoo. 

    Christopher Robin Milne feeding Winnie. (Image courtesy of Zoological Society of London)

  9. Superman was created by a Canadian comic book artist named Joe Shuster, who based the fictional city of Metropolis on Vancouver.
  10. Vancouver is often known as Hollywood North. It is second behind Los Angeles in TV production and third in feature film production.  
  11. Actors Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds were both born in Canada! 

Canada and nature are almost synonymous. Check out these animal facts!

  1. Although not official yet, the Grey Jay has been recommended by the Canadian Geographical Society to be Canada’s national bird. 
  2. Banff National Park in Alberta contains overpasses for animals to cross highways.
  3. Canada has the most polar bears with 60-80% of polar bears live in Canada. 
  4. Canada sure inhabits creatures of all shapes, sizes, and populations. Narcisse Snake Dens Conservation Area, Manitoba is the garter snake capital of the world.
  5. Canada has a polar bear jail in Churchill, Manitoba. The polar bear jail is a holding facility where bears who get a little too close are kept until they can be released back into the wild.
  6. Citizens of Churchill also often leave their car doors unlocked to provide safety and shelter to people who may encounter polar bears.
  7. Cows in Canada are not given hormones to produce milk.
  8. Around five hundred to six hundred moose collisions occur in Newfoundland and Labrador every year, resulting in the government launching a five year moose management plan to reduce crashes

    A moose warning sign in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Image courtesy of Hollett Visual Communications)

  9. There are approximately two hundred species of mammals and six hundred and thirty species of birds in Canada.
  10. Canada is also home to the fastest bird in the world, the peregrine falcon.
  11. The world’s smallest seabird, the Arctic tern, summers in northern Canada.  It also has the longest migration in the world at 40 000 km to and from its summer home in Antarctica.
  12. Raccoons are common throughout North America.  The word comes from the Algonquian word arukan, meaning “he who scratches with his hand.”

The national sport may be hockey, but Canadians are prominent throughout other sports.

  1. Hamilton, Ontario was the first host for the British Empire Games, later renamed as the Commonwealth Games.
  2. The first organized indoor hockey game was played in 1875 at the Victoria Skating rink in Montreal, Quebec.
  3. Lacrosse also first originated from the First Nations. 
  4. Basketball was invented in Canada, by Dr. James Naismith.

Canada is also the host of some great events.

  1. Every May, Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival which was first held in 1953 in celebration of the Dutch Royal Family’s gift of 100 000 tulips, in gratitude for receiving them as refugees during WWII. The festival is the largest of its kind in the world, with millions of tulips showcased each year. 

    At this year’s Tulip Festival, the tulips were red and white in honour of Canada 150. (Image courtesy of Trevor Pritchard)

  2. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $715 million for cancer research. 
  3. Nanaimo, B.C. has been holding the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race annually since 1967.
  4. Montréal hosts the Montréal International Jazz Festival every year and is the 2004 Guinness World Record holder for largest jazz festival.

The Canadian economy is actually more interesting than it seems.

  1. The Canadian Mint once made a coin called the “Big Maple Leaf” that was valued at $1 million. However, all the gold in the coin is actually worth $4 million. The coin was stolen earlier this year from a museum in Berlin.

    Canada’s massive $1 million coin was stolen. (Image courtesy of Marcel Mettelsiefen/Associated Press)

  2. Canada is one of the leading mining nations and produces more than sixty minerals and metals including potash, uranium, cobalt, salt, and diamonds. 
  3. Although forestry is a major contributor to the Canadian economy, almost 50% of Canada’s forests are certified, more than any other country. Being certified ensures sustainable and legal forest practices. 
  4. While Canada isn’t known for its red and white wine production, it is a world-leading producer of icewine.
  5. Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.
  6. Hudson Bay Company is Canada’s oldest corporation and one of the oldest in the world. It was first established in 1670 and is now almost three hundred and fifty years old! Its initials have been rearranged to be “Here Before Christ.”
  7. Canada is the world’s largest source of cesium.
  8. The power plants at Niagara Falls have the capacity to output 4.9 million kilowatts of electricity, with 2.2 million on the Canadian side of the falls. 

Now for the miscellaneous. Here are some just random facts about Canada!

  1. Nunavut, when it was part of the Northwest Territories, used to have polar bear shaped license plates. The Northwest Territories still does. 

    Nunavut’s old polar bear license plates. (Image courtesy of Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

  2. Saskatchewan and certain cities in Canada don’t observe Daylight Saving Time.
  3. There are eleven points on the Canadian flag.
  4. Canada’s flag first went in space in 1984 with Marc Garneau on NASA’s Challenger Space Shuttle.
  5. In 2008, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, made Santa Claus a Canadian citizen.  
  6. Between ten to fifteen people die in avalanches in Canada each year. 
  7. Canada’s official motto is “A Mari usque ad Mare” which translates from Latin as “From Sea to Sea.”
  8. Toronto’s Rogers Centre has the largest Sony big screen in the world, with dimensions of 10×33.6 metres.
  9. Ontario is believed to be home to the world’s smallest jail, which measures only 24.3 sq metres.

    Happy Canada Day! (Image courtesy of CBC)