Canada Travel Information

Photo Canada, federated country in North America, made up of ten provinces and three territories. Canada is a vast nation with a wide variety of geological formations, climates, and ecological systems. It has rain forest, prairie grassland, deciduous forest, tundra, and wetlands. Canada has more lakes and inland waters than any other country. It is renowned for its scenery, which attracts millions of tourists each year. On a per-capita basis, its resource endowments are the second richest in the world after Australia.

Canada is the second largest country in the world but has about the same population as the state of California, which is one-25th its size. This is because the north of Canada, with its harsh Arctic and sub-Arctic climates, is sparsely inhabited. Most Canadians live in the southern part of the country. More than three-quarters of them live in metropolitan areas, the largest of which are Toronto, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; Hull, Québec; and Edmonton, Alberta. French and English are the official languages, and at one time most Canadians were of French or English descent. However, diversity increased with a wave of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that brought in people from many other European nations. This trend continues into the 21st century: Canada is one of the few countries in the world that still has significant immigration programs. Since the 1970s most immigrants have come from Asia, increasing still further the diversity of the population.

Canada is a parliamentary democracy, and the federal, provincial, and territorial legislatures are all elected. However, Canada’s sovereign is a monarch, the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The queen is represented in Canada by the governor-general and ten lieutenant governors. Canada’s constitution guarantees equality under the law to all of its citizens. Powers of the federal and provincial governments are spelled out separately under the constitution, but over the past 50 years they have increasingly cooperated in programs that provide a wide range of social services—often called the “welfare state”—to the public.

Canada’s indigenous peoples (original inhabitants) are often called First Nations or Indians. The name Canada comes from a word meaning “village” or “community” in one of the indigenous Iroquoian languages. Indigenous peoples had developed complex societies and intricate political relations before the first Europeans, the Vikings, arrived in the 11th century. The Vikings soon left, but more Europeans came in the 16th century and were made welcome because they brought manufactured goods and traded them for furs and other native products. However, the Europeans settled down and gradually displaced the indigenous peoples over the next 250 years. This process of dispossession has left a legacy of legal and moral issues that Canadians are beginning to face.

Important: Travel to Canada may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Canada visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: none
Capital city: Ottawa
Area: 9,984,670 sq km
Population: 34,300,083
Ethnic groups: British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%
Languages: English
Religions: Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3%
Government: a parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a constitutional monarchy
Head of Government: Prime Minister Stephen Joseph HARPER
GDP: 1.395 trillion
GDP per captia: 40,500
Annual growth rate: 2.4%
Inflation: 2.9%
Agriculture: wheat, barley, oilseed, tobacco, fruits, vegetables
Major industries: transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas
Natural resources: iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, rare earth elements, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, fish, timber, wildlife, coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydropower
Location: Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Arctic Ocean on the north, north of the conterminous US
Trade Partners - exports: US 73.7%, UK 4.2%
Trade Partners - imports: US 49.5%, China 10.8%, Mexico 5.5%