The vast nation of Canada, second largest country in the world, offers a range of experiences for visitors that are as wide as the land itself. From its large cosmopolitan cities to its frozen northern tundra; its snowy mountain peaks to its rugged coastlines; and its rich farmlands to its pioneering outposts, Canada offers something to suit the taste of every traveller. Canada is bound in the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by the polar ice cap, and in the south by the United States of America.
Few countries in the world offer as many choices to the traveller as Canada. Whether your passion is skiing, sailing, museum-combing or indulging in exceptional cuisine, Canada has it all. Western Canada is renowned for its stunningly beautiful countryside; Eastern Canada mixes the flavor and charm of Europe with the bustle of trendy New York; wildlife viewing is at its best in Northern Canada; and, everywhere, you will be surprised by how much more there is to this country than just maple syrup and Mounties.
Full country name: Canada
Area: 9,976,000 sq Km (3,9 million sq mil)
Population: 33 million
Capital: Ottawa ( 1,2 million)
Governement: Parlementary democracy
Language: Bilingual: English and French. The use of the two languages reflects the mixed colonial history – Canada has been under both British and French rule.Religion: Catholic (45%), Protestant (36%) and minorities from most of the world's major religions
GPD: US$85 billion
Major industies: processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, transportation equipment, chemicals, fish products, petroleum and natural gas
Major trading parteners: USA, Japan, EU (UK, Germany, Netherlands), China and South Korea
Time: Canada covers six time zones, from GMT 8 in the west to GMT -3.5 in the
Visas: Most western visitors don t need a visa to visit Canada. Travelers from South Africa, China, North Korea, Taiwan, Eastern European and developing countries do require them. Entry stamps for visits of up to six months are free.
Health risks: Giardia, Rabies and Lyme Disease (in wooded regions)
Time: There are six time zones ranging from Newfoundland Standard Time in the East (GMT/UTC -3.5) to Pacific Standard Time in the West (GMT/UTC -8). During Daylight Saving Time (Apr-Oct), the range is -2.5 to -7)
Electricity: 110/120V 60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
When to go
You can visit Canada at any time of year, but most people arrive in summer when temperatures are pleasant and much of the action moves outdoors. Just what constitutes ‘summer, ’ though, varies by region. In southern Canada, it generally refers to the period between Victoria Day (late May) and Labour Day (early September). In the northern regions, however, summer starts as late as mid-June and ends, often abruptly, with the first snowfall in early to mid-September.
In most areas, March to May and September to October bring fewer tourists and often surprisingly pleasant weather. Fall, which finds forests cloaked in a spectacular mantle of color, is a great time to visit.
Canadian winters are long, cold and dark. With most outlying attractions closed, your explorations are pretty much limited to the ski resorts and cities. Québec City, Toronto and Winnipeg are among those cities hosting big winter carnivals.
Canada’s vast wilderness areas and rich natural beauty offer scope for all kinds of outdoor activities. From fishing in the countless lakes and rivers to trekking in the back country, long-distance canoeing, horse riding, rafting and skiing, there are wonderful opportunities for those with a pioneering spirit.
All activities are easy to arrange, given Canada’s well-developed infrastructure: outfitters, guides, equipment hire and charters can be organized practically anywhere.