Canada is the second largest country by area in the world (after Russia) and the largest in North America. Its only land border is with the United States, and remains the longest land border in the world. The US border is situated at Canada's Southern edge. The border with the United States varies depending on the area you are visiting. The 49th parallel is the border from mainland British Columbia to Ontario, but drops as low as the 41st parallel in southern Ontario. Canada also has a long border with the US state of Alaska in the Northwest. Canada is a major tourist destination, and is one of the world's wealthiest countries. The country is renowned worldwide for its vast, untouched landscape and its unique culture.
Canada is a land of vast distances and rich natural beauty. Economically and technologically, it resembles its neighbor to the South, the United States, and shares with it the longest undefended border in the world yet there are significant differences between the two countries. Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 by an act of the British parliament, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Though a medium sized country by its population, Canada has earned respect on the international stage for its strong diplomatic skills. Domestically, the country has displayed success in negotiating compromises amongst a culturally and linguistically varied population, a difficult task considering that language, culture, cuisine and even history vary significantly over the country. In contrast to the United States' image as a melting pot, Canada prefers to consider itself a mosaic of cultures and people. All Canadians are used to living and interacting with people of different ethnic backgrounds on a daily basis and will usually be quite friendly and understanding if approached in public. You will never look out of place or feel like an unusual sight while traveling Canada. The information below will get you started, but be sure to check the specifics for given regions and cities. It has universal health care, too.
The Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming first proposed time zones for the entire world in 1876, and Canada is covered coast to coast with multiple zones.
* Yukon and most of British Columbia are within Pacific Time (UTC-7 during Daylight Saving Time, UTC-8 during Standard Time)
* Northwest Territories, Alberta, parts of eastern British Columbia and part of western Nunavut are within Mountain Time (UTC-6 during Daylight Saving Time, UTC-7 during Standard Time)
* Saskatchewan, unlike the rest of Canada, does not adjust its clocks for Daylight Savings Time and remains on Central Standard Time (or Mountain Daylight Time) year-round (UTC-6). Daylight Savings Time begins 2nd Sunday of March until 1st Sunday of November.
* Manitoba and Ontario west of Thunder Bay, as well as central Nunavut are within Central Time (UTC-5 during Daylight Saving Time, UTC-6 during Standard Time)
* Ontario from east of Thunder Bay to most of Quebec and eastern Nunavut are within Eastern Time (UTC-4 during Daylight Saving Time, UTC-5 during Standard Time)
* Most of Labrador, north-eastern Quebec and all of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are within Atlantic Standard Time (UTC-3 during Daylight Saving Time, UTC-4 during Standard Time)
* The island of Newfoundland has its own time zone, Newfoundland Standard Time (UTC-3:30), which is a half hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time. The south-eastern corner of Labrador is also within this time zone.
Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
maritime culture, small fishing villages, rich folk traditions
French-speaking province, stylish and romantic Montreal, historic and European Quebec City, festival culture, lush farmland, quaint villages
multicultural and vibrant Toronto, the Niagara wine region, the immense Boreal and Taiga forests, Ottawa—the capital, the Great Lakes coastal areas, small rural towns
Prairies (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan)
vast open and flat spaces, rocky mountains, forests, sleepy farm towns, Calgary stampede, and the West Edmonton Mall, RCMP Academy, RCMP Heritage Centre, Winnipeg Folk Music Festival
cosmopolitan Vancouver city, the Rocky Mountains, ancient temperate rainforest, pristine wilderness, skiing and hiking opportunities abound
The North (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon)
subarctic and arctic wilderness, mountains, glaciers and lakes
The following is a guide to cities in Canada.
Ottawa (1.1 million)
Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The city is situated along the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, opposite Gatineau, Quebec.
Unique as a North American capital, the city is bilingual with the majority of the population speaking English and a significant number also speaking French. Staff in many stores and restaurants speak both well.