Take a Trip to Canada!

Interesting Information About "The Great White North"

Where do Most Canadians Live in Canada, and how do they Trade?

Canada consists of 2,247 million acres of land,making it the second largest country in the world (after Russia). However, it has a population of only 33 million, which is considered little for a country of its size. In fact, the U.S.A. is smaller than Canada, and yet has a population 9 times as large! Approximately 90 percent of Canada's population live within 100 miles of the U.S.A. border, since the United States is its number one trading partner. It is estimated that 80 percent of Canada's exports are shipped to the U.S.A. Besides that, Canada is located on 3 oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic), which enables them to easily trade with Europe and Asia. In addition, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes allow central Canada to import and export goods. However, in spite of Canada's vast land area, the majority of people live in the southern Canada, where the climate is a lot warmer than the other parts. In northern Canada, temperatures can drop below freezing in the summer! The Pacific coast of Canada cools the area in the summer, warms it in the winter, and gets an average of 100 inches of precipitation per year. Since the southern region of Canada is warm and has a lot of rainfall, it has a long growing season, which is wonderful for farms that produce wheat, canola, etc. This is traded for other goods not found in Canada. In addition to grain crops, Canada's natural resources also include coal, oil, natural gas, precious minerals (gold, silver, etc.), fish, hydroelectric power (comes from rivers/lakes), and timber.

Environmental Issues in Canada

With its vast forests and precious minerals under the thin soil of the Canadian Shield, it is not a surprise that Canada's leading industries are timber and mining. However, this is causing serious environmental issues. For example, the timber industry produces lumber, paper, wood pulp, etc., mostly in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. Most of the timber companies are using the clear-cutting method, where all the trees are chopped down in a given area. This is destroying the forests there, which also eliminates many animals' habitats. Also, without trees holding the soil down, the rich soil is also getting eroded away, making it difficult for plants to grow again. In addition, 1.5 million people work as miners in the Canadian Shield Region. On the contrary, all the blasting and digging of the heavy machinery ruins the land and damages the environment there. Plus, the mining processes release harmful chemicals into the air, which causes acid precipitation (rain/snow). As a result of this, Canada's government is reducing the amount of mining allowed in the area, but to keep the workers employed, it is focusing on the manufacturing of goods, like automobiles. It is also passing laws of reclamation (restoring the land to what it once was before mining), but this takes a long time and costs a lot of money. Another environmental problem that Canada faces is the pollution of the Great Lakes in Ontario and the U.S.A. This is caused by acid rain and factories that dump waste into the lakes. Most of the pollution actually comes from the U.S.A., however, where air pollution is causing acid rain. Since winds blow the clouds north, the acid rain also lands in the Canadian portion of the lakes. Therefore, the Canadian and U.S.A. signed the "Great Lakes Quality Agreement" in 1972, which promised to clean up the Great Lakes and prevent it from further damage.

Quebec and the Quiet Revolution

Although most of Canada was colonized by the British and has English traditions (language), the province of Quebec was originally settled by the French. Even when the British conquered Quebec, the Quebecois still maintained their culture. Then, in the 1960s, people in Quebec thought of themselves as Quebec nationalists instead of Canadians. At the time, most French people were Catholic, however, the Quebecois did not go to Catholic churches. Plus, English was the predominant (main) language instead of French, and many Quebec people thought that their culture was fading. Many of them believed that they should secede (separate) from Canada, and were called "separatists". They felt that in order to preserve their French Canadian culture for future generations, they needed to secede. However, others thought that a secession would ruin Canadian nationalism and be a disaster for Quebec economically. This movement of Quebec independence was called "The Quiet Revolution". In 1985 and 1995, the Quebecois had a vote. Both times they voted to stay with Canada, however, the vote results of 1995 were 49.4% seceded, 50.6% stayed. This close vote proved that the matter would still be controversial, even to this day.
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