Teacher Guide To Canada and the Canadian Provinces
Canada's name comes from a word of the Iroquois, which means a settlement or village. It initially referred to only one settlement, but later was applied to the larger area. In the 17th century, part of Canada was then known as New France, and this was later to be split into Upper and Lower Canada. It was referred to as the Dominion of Canada, until the residents sought to break political ties with the United Kingdom, so they began using the simple term Canada.
Canada occupies most of the northernmost part of North America, and extends, like the United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean. It also spreads north into the Arctic Ocean. In area, it is the second largest country on Earth, and the border it shares with the United States is the longest border between two countries in the world.
Canada was once occupied by Aboriginal groups, for many thousands of years. French and British expeditions came to the area starting in the late 15th century, and later they would settle the Atlantic coast. In later years, Canada would separate itself somewhat from the countries of Great Britain and France, although the link is still there, in their partially parliamentary side of government. Citizens who go to court for whatever reason in Canada have the right to have the hearings in English or French, whichever they are more comfortable with. The two official languages of Canada are French and English. They are officially bilingual, and even their national anthem is performed in both languages.
Canada not only shares its southern border with the United States, it also shares its northwest border with Alaska. The northernmost part of Canada spreads into the Arctic area. Canada is second only to Russia in land and water area, and fourth overall in land area alone.
The density of Canada's population is one of the lowest levels in the world, and the most dense area in terms of population is the corridor of Windsor to Quebec City.
On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the Horseshoe Falls are a beautiful sight, and they also supply electricity for a large area. Canada boasts coastline on all but one border.
The average high temperatures in Canada vary, from one location to the next. Northern winters can be quite harsh, where there are often low wind chills. Some of the coastal areas have milder, rainier winters. Canada has experienced earthquakes, and it also has some volcanoes that potentially could become active.
There are many animals indigenous to Canada, including the Arctic fox, Arctic wolf and Arctic hare. You can see beavers in some streams, and badgers and black bears live in forested areas. There are two types of caribou that call Canada home, one which lives on barren ground and the other, who lives in wooded areas.
Mountain lions and coyotes are predatory hunters of Canada, and the country has mule deer as well as white-tailed deer. The moose makes its home in some areas of Canada, as do the prairie dog and the porcupine. Skunks and raccoons are plentiful, and seals still live in snowy areas, even though their numbers have been largely reduced by the yearly seal hunts. In the Arctic waters, you can see whales. Canada boasts a wide variety of animals, as diverse as its climate.