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Flag of CanadaCanada is situated in northern North America. Its land border is with the United States of America; sea borders are the North Pacific Ocean to the west, the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Arctic Ocean in the north.

Ottawa is the capital. Other important cities include Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut Territory, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territory.

The terrain consists of plains, mountains in the west, and lowlands in the southeast. Lakes include part of the Great Lakes (Erie, Huron, Ontario and Superior), the Great Bear, the Great Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca and Lake Winnipeg. Major rivers are the St Lawrence and the MacKenzie.

The climate varies from temperate in the south to sub-arctic and arctic in the north. On the whole, the climate tends to be warm in the summer and cold in the winter.

Environment
The natural environment of Canada is protected by the Parks Canada Agency. A number of Canada’s National Parks are World Heritage sites. These include Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay National Park, Yoho National Park ), Gros Morne National Park, Kluane National Park, Nahanni National Park, and Wood Buffalo National Park.

Thirteen regions are UNESCO-MAB Bisphere Reserves. These include Charlevoix, to the north of the Saint Lawrence River, Georgian Bay Littoral, the largest island archipelago of the North American Great Lakes, and Waterton, encompassing a section of the Rocky Mountains.

Thirty-seven sites are listed on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. (2006)

Animals living in Canada include musk oxen, bison, caribou, bear, beaver and mink.

Architecture
First Nation Peoples in Canada lived in homes suited to their lifestyle. Iroquois were farmers living in villages of “longhouses” surrounded by fence fortifications. Families had their own space within the wooden houses. Other First Nation Peoples were hunters and lived in wigwams. The Algonkian used dome shaped wigwams covered with sheets of birch bark.

Wood was in plentiful supply for use by the early European settlers although colonists preferred to construct buildings in stone. French colonists introduced French architecture and, later, American designs became popular.

Quebec is the only city in North America to preserve its fortifications and the Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another Canadian World Heritage site is the British Colonial town of Lunenburg where buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are still in use today.

The Toronto architect Edmund Burke (1850-1919), who designed the Simpson department store and the Bloor Viaduct, is one of Canada’s most famous architects. Impetus was given to Canadian architectural design by the introduction of the national Massey Medals for architecture in the 1950s and 1960s. Graham House, designed by Arthur C. Erickson and built in Vancouver in 1963, is a spectacular example of modern Canadian architecture.

Perhaps Canada’s most famous building is the CN Tower, a broadcast and observation tower, designed by John Andrews in the 1970s. The tower is one of the world’s tallest buildings at a height of 553.33m.

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