1. The earliest evidence of human activity was confirmed through the discovery of 20,000-year-old stone tools and animal bones in caves on Bluefish River, Northern Yukon.
2. Indigenous people were actively living on what would become Canada from approximately 500 BC. They had established trading routes and communities, each with their own culture and customs.
3. In AD 1000 the east coast of Canada was settled by Vikings. Archaeological evidence of the settlement was found at L’anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.
4. ‘Kanata’ is the Iroquois word for village. French explorer Jacques Cartier mistook his invitation to the village as the name of the country.
5. The Hudson’s Bay Company was formed on May 2, 1670 when King Charles II granted the company permission for a fur trade monopoly on all lands whose waters drained into the Hudson Bay. (A questionable permission since the land was not his to give.)
6. The Hudson’s Bay Company was named after explorer Henry Hudson who first sailed the bay in 1610.
7. HBC or “The Bay” is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world.
8. The Constitution Act which includes the British North America Act and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau in 1982.
9. 1867 is the year of Canada’s confederation. At the time only Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec formed the Dominion of Canada.
10. Manitoba and the Northwest Territories joined a couple years later, on July 15, 1870. The following year British Columbia joined (1871) followed by Prince Edward Island in 1873 and the Yukon in 1898. Alberta and Saskatchewan did not become a part of Canada until 1905.
11. Although Newfoundland was the first part of Canada to be explored by Europeans, it was the last to become a province. Newfoundland was its own country when it joined Confederation with Canada in 1949.
12. Our first prime minister was Sir John A. MacDonald.
13. Canada was the first country in the Commonwealth to give women the vote in 1921. However, the right was not yet extended to Asian and Indigenous women.
14. In Flanders Fields was written by World War I Lt-Col. John McCrae, a pilot and Canadian veteran of the Second Boer War. He wrote the poem to express his admiration for the courage of his fallen comrades as he looked at the poppies swaying in the wind around the markers for the dead.
15. In 1943, Ottawa designated a hospital room as Dutch territory so Princess Margaret could be born a full Dutch citizen, a requirement to keep her title.
16. Every year the Netherlands sends Canada thousands of tulips to show their gratitude. The tulips can be viewed at Ottawa’s annual Canadian Tulip Festival.
17. Whisky war at Hans Island. Canada and Denmark have been fighting over an uninhabited island since the 1930s in a relatively polite manner by leaving each other bottles of alcohol and changing each other’s flags.
18. Our current flag was not our official flag until 1965. Approximately 13 flags flew before our maple leaf.
19. O Canada. Calixa Lavallée was commissioned to create the music to which lyrics were written by Judge Sir Adophe-Basile Routhier in 1880. O Canada was first sung in English Canada in 1901.
20. Several versions of O Canada and others such as The Maple Leaf For Ever were bandied about before the entire piece was published in 1906 as O Canada in both French and English. The current version was adopted as our national anthem in 1980.
21. The indigenous people of Canada have been classified into seven main groups: Northwest Coastal, Plateau, Plains, Eastern Woodland–hunters, Easter Woodland–farmers and Inuit peoples, which can be further broken down into the First Nations belonging to each group.
22. Indigenous people involved in agriculture formed permanent settlements while groups who relied on hunting were more mobile following food sources. Their diverse and rich cultures include different ceremonial practices and beliefs, political issues, social hierarchies and trading networks between bands.
23. Metis are descendants of mixed blood from the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit people married Europeans.
24. Nunavut was formed from part of the Northwest Territories in 1999. The Inuit asked the government for their land, which had become part of confederation without their consultation and for the right to self-govern. They joined Confederation that year.
25. There are 1,400,685 Indigenous people in Canada and they make up 4.3% of the national population. The word indigenous includes First Nation, Inuit and Metis peoples. Within this number are 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music.
26. Some of the English words we use today have been adopted from Indigenous languages. Toboggan came from the Mikmaw word topagan, caucus from the Algonquian language, and moose was adopted from the Abenaki people to name a few.
27. The Inuit people created the first life-jackets out of dehaired sealskins, which were worn when they hunted whales.
28. First mosquito sprays. The Salish people rubbed wild onions on their skin while other groups used ground goldenseal roots mixed with bear fat.
29. Snowshoes are an Inuit/First Nations concept created to make travel across deep snow easier.
30. Inuit people created the first sunglasses. The goggles originally made from bone or ivory and later wood, fit snugly across the face and had long slits carved out for the eyes reducing the amount of glare, thus protecting their eyes from snow blindness.
31. Totem poles were symbols that told the story of a family group, their accomplishments and history. They were used to welcome visitors.
Folklore and mythical creatures
32. Santa lives in Canada. Canada’s post office receives millions of letters in different languages addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO” each year and each one is responded to.
33. Loch Ness type monsters include Ogopogo, Manipogo and Mussie which are said to inhabit various lakes. Waheela is a wolf-like being said to roam the Northwest Territories. Wendigoag are cannibal monsters or evil spirits that terrorize the northern forests of the Atlantic and Great Lake areas, and the Sasquatch, or big-foot, is an ape-like creature said to roam through the wilderness in British Columbia and the Yukon.
34. Oak Island, Nova Scotia has been shrouded in mystery for over 200 years. Legends tell of untold treasures hidden on the island in a buried “money pit”, but the search has been fraught with booby traps, and if the legend holds true, seven men must die before the treasure is unearthed. So far six men have lost their lives. The Mysteries of Oak Island is now a TV show on the History Channel.
35. A three-masted schooner has been seen in the Northumberland Strait with its sails ablaze since 1786. Several searches over the years for the vessel have come up empty. Legend has it that a pirate made a deal with the devil to keep his treasure hidden but in return had to sail the seas forever on his burning ship.
36. Mount Logan in the Yukon is our highest mountain at 5,959 metres (19,551 feet) high and it’s still growing. Tectonic activity causes the mountain to gain a few millimetres each year. Mount Logan’s overall footprint covers the largest area of any other known mountain massif on earth.
37. The largest non-polar ice field in the world (40,570 square kilometres) can be found in the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon (16,900 square kilometres of which are in Canada).
38. Aulavik National Park, Northwest Territories is one of the most spectacular but remote parks in Canada. It receives an average of 15 visitors per year due to its location. It contains over 280 archaeological sites.
39. The Northwest Territories is home to two of the world’s largest lakes – Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake.
40. The Northwest Territories is called The Land of the Midnight Sun because the sun barely sets during the summer solstice, providing 20 to 22 hours of sunlight and does not set at all within the Arctic Circle. In the winter, however, they only receive four to six hours of sunlight and no sun at all in the Arctic Circle. (Nunavut and Yukon also receive similar hours due to their northern latitude.)
41. Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, has the smallest population of any capital city in Canada. Formerly called, Frobisher Bay until 1987, Iqaluit has approximately 20 kilometres of roads in the city, most unpaved.
42. Nunavut encompasses an enormous expanse of land, taking up one fifth of Canada’s total land area. If it was a country, it would be the 15th largest country in the world.
43. The northernmost permanent settlement in the world is Alert, Nunavut which sits at latitude 82.5.
44. Canada has three of the top ten largest islands in the world, all located in Nunavut – Baffin, Ellesmere, and Victoria.
45. The largest island in Canada is Baffin Island, ranking the fifth biggest island on earth. It is more than double the size of the United Kingdom.
46. Quttinirpaaq National Park’s name means ‘top of the world’ in Inuktituk. Here the caribou outnumber the residents 28 to 1.
47. The world’s largest totem pole was raised in Victoria, British Columbia in 1994 and stands 54.94 metres tall (180.2 feet).
48. Radium Hot Springs is a highlight of Kootenay National Park in British Columbia. The park is a wonder in abstracts as it encompasses glacier peaks and dry, grassy slopes to the south where cacti grow.
49. Canada is also home to the strongest currents in the world. Nakwakto Rapids at Slingsby Channel, British Columbia has been measured at speeds of up to 30 km/h (18.4 m/h).
50. Get your umbrella! Ocean Falls, British Columbia has an average 330 days of rain per year.
51. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta has unearthed over 150 complete dinosaur skeletons, over 50 dinosaur species, and 450 fossil organisms, providing the world’s most complete record of the Cretaceous Period. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
52. The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, was once the world’s largest shopping mall. While it no longer holds that title, it still has the world’s largest indoor amusement park.
53. Alberta parks. Banff National Park is the oldest and first Canadian national park and Jasper National Park is Canada’s largest mountainous national park.
54. We love our animals! Banff National Park has highway overpasses for wildlife to cross safely. Narcisse, Manitoba has a passageway under the highway for snakes.
55. The world’s most northerly sand dunes are in Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, Saskatchewan. They are 30 metres tall or approximately 100 feet high.
56. Saskatchewan has some of the world’s largest wheat fields.
57. Narcisse, located north of Winnipeg, is the most northern home of the largest group of garter snakes in the world. In the spring people and scientists from all over the world come to see and study them as they leave their dens.
58. Churchill, Manitoba is home to 60 per cent of the world’s polar bears, approximately 25,000. The town sees the world’s largest polar bear migration and has drawn tourists from all over the world.
59. Did you know you can swim with beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba? It is home to an estimated 60,000 belugas!
60. The intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba has been called the windiest place in Canada.
61. Manitoba is home to the longest place name in Canada: Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake, Manitoba. This tiny lake’s name means “where the wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks.”
62. International Peace Gardens in Boissevain, Manitoba is the only garden that straddles an international boundary between two countries, Manitoba in Canada and North Dakota in the United States.
63. Yikes, the CN Tower in Toronto is struck by lightning approximately 75 times each year!
64. Toronto’s Yonge Street is the longest street in Canada.
65. Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, Ontario is the largest island surrounded by freshwater in the world.
66. Wasaga Beach, Ontario is the longest fresh water beach in the world.
67. The Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario, a UNESCO world heritage site, used to have the world’s longest skating rink in the winter, a title now claimed by Winnipeg’s Red River Mutual Trail. The three-kilometre and growing skating trail on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers runs from The Forks harbour to Churchill Park.
68. Mingan Archipelago National Park, north of Anticosti Island, Quebec consists of 100 forested islands and over 2000 islets. Its reefs are teeming with fish, blue whales, seals, porpoises and puffins. The sea has sculpted spectacular rock shapes on the islands.
69. Quebec City’s Hotel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America. It requires 30 thousand tons of snow to build and 500 tons of ice. Temperatures inside range from a brisk -3°C to -5°C. The hotel opens from the beginning of January to the end of March.
70. Quebec is the only walled city north of Mexico and has been added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.
71. Montmorency Falls in Quebec are 30 metres higher than Canada’s iconic Niagara Falls in Ontario.
72. The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick has the highest tides in the world. Tides can reach an incredible height of 16 metres, or 53 feet. When the tides go out, they leave behind an amazing landscape where people can walk along the floor of the ocean.
73. The Confederation Bridge joining New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water at 12.9 kilometres.
74. Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, is only 225 kilometres long and 56 kilometres wide.
75. Nova Scotia’s Sable Island is inhabited by wild horses. A ship bringing horses in the 18th century ran aground, and the horses, more fortunate than the crew, survived and have been living there ever since.
76. Point Pleasant Park, Nova Scotia is part of Britain. The province rents it for 10 cents a year and has a 999-year lease.
77. Newfoundland and Labrador are one province. Labrador is a landmass connected to Canada while Newfoundland is an island. Approximately 95 per cent of the population live on the island, and of which 60 per cent are in the city of St. John’s.
78. Newfoundland, but not Labrador, has its own time zone, which varies by a half hour rather than the normal hour. The government tried to change the province to Atlantic Standard Time but withdrew based on heavy opposition from the public who are proud of their unique time zone.
79. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland was created by continental collisions and is a stark treeless barren where you can view the ancient ocean’s floor and eons’ worth of marine fossils at 40 different sites.
80. The island of Newfoundland has no crickets, snakes, skunks, deer or groundhogs. However, it does have the most moose in all of Canada, numbering around 100,000.
81. Canada has two official languages, English and French. Canadians however speak more than 200 other languages at home. In the 2011 census, over 80 per cent of the population reported speaking an immigrant language at home (not English or French).
82. Our motto, A Mari usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea.”
83. Animals associated with Canada include the beaver (immortalized on our nickel), the Canada goose, polar bear, moose, caribou and of course the loon which is featured on our loonie or $1 coin.
84. There are nearly 2.5 million caribou in Canada; in other parts of the world they are called reindeer.
85. Canada has the longest coastline in the world stretching 202,080.50 kilometers.
86. Canada is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Pacific Ocean as well as Hudson Bay.
87. Canada and the United States share the longest international border in the world, dubbed the International Boundary. It is 8,892 kilometres and lacks military defense.
88. A 9,984,607 kilometres Canada is the second largest country in the world; Russia is first.
89. Canada has the most freshwater lakes in the world, more than 50 per cent of the world’s lakes are situated here, and make up 20 per cent of the world’s freshwater.
90. Canada’s lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 F (-63 C) at Snag, Yukon, on Feb. 3, 1947.
91. Canada is home to 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites and four marine conservation areas.
92. There are 15 UNESCO world heritage sites in Canada. The one with the most interesting name is Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump. This was used by indigenous people to kill buffalo by chasing them over the cliff. At the base of the hill another group would wait to break down the animal into all its usable parts.
93. Canada has six time zones, 10 provinces and three territories.
94. With one-tenth of the world’s forests located here, it is no surprise that half of Canada is covered with forests.
95. In the 1960s an “anti-gravity zone” surrounding Hudson Bay was discovered. The area has less gravity than anywhere else on earth. It’s believed that the phenomenon was caused by the Laurentide Ice Sheet which dented the area, literally bending gravity, and that it will take another 5,000 years before the area has a normal level of gravity. There are several other intriguing theories as well.
96. We also have the world’s longest networks of recreational trails, the Trans Canada Trail. When completed it will span 24,000 kilometres; as of 2016 it was 21,452 kilometres.
97. Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world located in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
98. Gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and several precious gemstones are mined in Canada. Diamonds are mined in the Northwest Territories.
99. Other mining operations include base metals such as iron, copper, lead, zinc and nickel; energy minerals such as coal and uranium; chemical elements such as lithium and helium; and industrial minerals such as limestone, rock salt, potash, and gypsum.
100. Bernic Lake, Manitoba is the world’s largest source of the rare element cesium.
101. Two kilometres under Sudbury, Ontario is the world’s deepest underground mine, SNOWLAB.
102. Canada is the largest producer of uranium in the world.
103. Canada produces 71 per cent of the world’s supply of pure maple syrup with 91 per cent produced in Quebec. There are over 8,600 maple syrup businesses in Canada.
104. Foods we consider Canadian include Canadian back bacon, poutine, maple syrup, Nanimo bars, saskatoon pie, smoked salmon and Timbits to name a few.
105. Molson Canadian was founded in 1786 and continues to produce beer on the site of the original brewery in Montreal. Molson Coors Canada is the oldest brewery in North America.
106. Gimli, Manitoba is where Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is distilled. It was named the world’s best whisky in 2016.
107. Canada produces a ton of cheese, literally. In 2016, 444,132 tonnes of cheese were produced (one tonne = 1,000 kg). Canadians also eat around 20 pounds of cheese per person per year. Cheddar is the most popular cheese.
108. Canada main wine producers are in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, but is most famed for its ice wine – made from pressed frozen grapes. It’s usually served as a dessert wine.
109. Canadians consume more donuts per capita than anywhere else in the world, a considerable number from Tims. Tim Hortons is Canada’s most iconic coffee and donut shop, opened by NHL hockey player Tim Horton in 1964. In addition to donuts, Canadians are known for consuming more macaroni and cheese than any other nation, especially KD, or Kraft Dinner for non-Canadians.
110. Unusually named places in Canada: Sober Island, Nova Scotia; Crotch Lake, Ontario; Uren, Saskatchewan; Balls Falls, Ontario and Quebec’s Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, to name a few.
Banks and currency
111. The Bank of Canada opened in 1935 and issued its first bank notes. It began as a privately-owned company, but was purchased by the Government of Canada in 1938.
112. Founded in 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint has produced coinage for over 74 countries including Cuba, Yemen, Columbia, Iceland, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia.
113. The Winnipeg, Manitoba production branch of the Royal Canadian Mint is one of the largest and most elaborate minting operations in the world.
114. In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint created a $1,000,000 coin that is usable! It weighs 100 kilograms and is made of 99.9 per cent pure gold and worth well over a million dollars.
115. In 2004, Canada released the world’s first coloured circulation coin dedicated to war veterans. It was the 25-cent poppy coin.
116. The world’s first glow-in-the-dark circulation coin was made this year to celebrate Canada’s 150. The two-dollar coin features two canoeists paddling under glowing Northern Lights.
Canadian innovators and inventions
117. The Institute for Quantum Computing in Ontario and D-Wave Systems Inc. in British Columbia are world leaders in quantum computing. Quantum computers work at incredible speeds and perform seemingly impossible tasks. D-Wave is the first company in the world to sell these computers. and their clients include NASA, Google and Fortune 500 companies.
118. Inventions that have assisted the world in defense include gas masks, sonar, CADPAT the first digital camoflauge, and explosives detector.
119. The Canadarm 1 or Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) is the famous robotic arm designed for use in space in 1981. Today, the Canadarm 2 is used by astronauts on the International Space Station.
120. Dr. Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best discovered insulin as a treatment for diabetes in 1922.
121. The National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg developed an Ebola vaccine in 2015.
122. The Winnipeg Rh Laboratory is world-renowned for developing treatment of Rh disease in newborns. Winnipeg research lead to a treatement that has successfully prevented this fatal disease by 99 per cent.
123. Canadians, James Till and Ernest McCulloch are credited with the discovery of the stem cell.
124. Canada’s post office receives millions of letters in different languages addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO”each year and each one is responded to.
125. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Canada and Sir Sandford Fleming introduced Standard Time.
126. Of course, the snowmobile was invented in Canada. Other Canadian inventions include: electric range, Kerosene, canola, Pablum, electron microscope, pager, walkie talkies, prosthetic hand, cardiac pacemaker, crash position indicator, key frame animation, Blackberry and LSST telescope, and IMAX to name a few.
127. Canadians have invented some of the best board games including Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, Pictionary, table hockey and the 3-D jigsaw puzzle.
128. Nine officers formed the first North-West Mounted Police in 1873. By 1920, the N.W.M.P merged with the Dominion Police to become the famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
129. Ice Road Truckers has aired for the past decade on the History Channel and demonstrates the tenacity of hardcore truckers as they face the elements and drive the dangerous ice roads over frozen lakes and muskeg. The delivery of goods on ice roads is crucial to these isolated northern communities which have no summer road access. Polar Industries Ltd., a Winnipeg company, is featured on the show and is a leader in the industry.
130. Hail Caesar! Walter Chell developed the Bloody Caesar in a Calgary hotel. The vodka, clam-and-tomato juice cocktail is not found in many places outside of Canada, the American alternative is the Bloody Mary made with plain tomato juice.
131. With a population density of 8.6 people per square mile, Canada is the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world.
132. Canada is home to 6.8 million foreign-born residents, that is 20.6 per cent of our population – the highest in the G8 group of countries.
133. More than half of Canadians graduate from college.
134. Canadians follow British spelling so words are spelled differently than they are in the United States. e.g. colour, neighbour, centre, behaviour.
135. Winnipeg, Manitoba is the Slurpee capital of the world.
136. Famous Canadians include Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Paul Anka, the Guess Who, Rush, Steppenwolf, Tragically Hip, Justin Beiber, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Ryan Gosling, Michael Buble, Mike Myers, Buffy Sainte Marie, Jim Carrey, William Shatner, and Neil Young, just to name a few.
137. The Group of Seven made up of Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston and Franklin Carmichael are some of Canada’s most famous artists. Tom Thomson and Emily Carr are also very well-known and associated with the group.
138. Terry Fox attempted a one-legged cross-country run for cancer research but had to abandon his Marathon of Hope in 1980 when metastases spread to his lungs. He is an iconic Canadian and was a truly inspirational person.
139. Winnie the Pooh, the lovable A.A. Milne character was based on a real bear from Winnipeg named “Winnie” that was donated to a London Zoo. The bear was a favourite of Christopher Robin Milne, A.A.’s son.
140. In our hearts hockey is our national sport, even though lacrosse is our official national sport.
141. Canada’s national hockey team, the Toronto CCMs, was so good that in the 1930 World Cup they were placed directly in the final game, no knockout series required. No surprise, we won gold!
142. Hockey Night in Canada debuted in 1952 just weeks after television broadcasting began in Canada. It is the longest-running TV broadcast in Canadian history.
143. Canadian producer George Retzlaff created the instant replay in 1955 and revolutionized sports broadcasting at CBC with innovative camera angles and techniques still used today.
144. In 1981 the colourfully-attired Don Cherry began hosting his Coach’s Corner segment. A former Vancouver Canuck and Boston Bruin coach, his suits are still as outrageous as his opinionated and critical hockey comments. Co-host Ron MacLean has been with him since 1987.
145. Canada once made up 72 per cent of NHL players; however, as the league continues to grow in popularity our numbers are dropping. For the first time in 98 years, Canadians fell below the 50 per cent mark to 49.7 per cent in 2015/2016. Canadians are still in the majority when compared to other countries.
146. The first indoor hockey game was played on March 3, 1875 in Montreal and ended with a fight.
147. Hockey, or at least the modern version of the game, was developed in Canada. It was based on similar games that had been played since the tenth century. The rules were first published in the Montreal Gazette in 1877.
A few last things, eh.
148. Canadians are known for being extremely polite and quick to apologize; something that we are often ribbed about.
149. Canada has had the best reputation for three years running according to the Reputation Institute’s annual ranking. (The United Stares is 23rd on the list. Oh sorry, maybe we shouldn’t have mentioned that fact.) Canadian travellers have known this for a while, and many non-Canadians travel displaying the maple leaf or our flag.
150. ‘Eh’ is used at the end of a sentence to confirm, agree or question.