|Government||Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy|
|Area||9,984,670 km2, 3,854,085 sq mi|
|Population||~ 34 million|
Canada is a country occupying most of northern North America, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world’s second largest country by total area. Canada’s common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.
Canada’s capital city is Ottawa. It is the fourth-largest municipality in the country with a population of 1,130,761. The three largest cities in Canada are Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Toronto, the largest city in Canada, has a population of 5,113,149.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Canadian culture has historically been influenced by British, French, and aboriginal cultures and traditions. There are distinctive Aboriginal cultures, languages, art, and music spread across Canada.
Canada’s total population in July 2010 was estimated to be 33,759,742 people. Population growth is from immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. About four-fifths of Canada’s population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the United States border. According to the 2006 census, the largest reported ethnic origin is English (21%), followed by French (15.8%), Scottish (15.2%), Irish (13.9%), German (10.2%), Italian (5%), Chinese (3.9%), and Ukrainian (3.6%).
Canada’s two official languages are English and French. English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament, and in all federal institutions. English is the mother tongue of 59.7% of the Canadian population, while French is the mother tongue of 23.2%. More than 85% of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec. Over six million people in Canada list a non-official language as their mother tongue. Some of the most common non-official first languages include Chinese, Spanish, Italian and German.
Support for religious pluralism is an important part of Canada’s political culture. According to the 2001 census, 77.1% of Canadians identify as being Christians; of this, Catholics make up the largest group (43.6%). The largest Protestant denomination is the United Church of Canada (9.5%), followed by the Anglicans (6.8%), Baptists (2.4%), Lutherans (2%), and other Christians (4.4%). About 16.5% of Canadians declare that they are not religious. The remaining 6.3% are affiliated with non-Christian religions, for example with Islam (2.0%) or Judaism (1.1%).
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Canada is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, which is the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who also serves as head of state of 15 other Commonwealth countries and resides predominantly in the United Kingdom. The Queen’s representative, the Governor General of Canada (presently Michaëlle Jean) carries out most of the royal duties in Canada.
Canada is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, with a high per-capita income. Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Also, it is one of the world’s largest suppliers of agricultural products. The Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry. In the past century, the growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to a more industrial and urban one. As of October 2009, Canada’s national unemployment rate was 8.6%.