Canada is independent of the United States

Canada, the largest country in North America and the second largest country in the world, has "only" 35 million inhabitants. The country is therefore very sparsely populated, but prosperous. Canada is a popular destination for both business travelers and tourists.

Most people in Canada know the big cities of Quebec, Montreal and Vancouver, while the capital of Canada, Ottawa, is much smaller. Canada's largest cities are relatively close to the border with the United States, with which Canada has close ties. Since the colonization of Canada by the Europeans (initially by the French, later by the English), many immigrants came to Canada. Many European families emigrated to Canada, especially after the Second World War.

Overall, approximately 90 percent of Canada's population is made up of immigrants or their descendants. Around 25 percent of Canada's population is originally British and around 24 percent are originally French. The original inhabitants of Canada, the Inuit and the Indians, have been called "First Nations" in Canada since the 1980s. It is estimated that there are currently around 700,000 First Nations in Canada, made up of more than 600 different tribes speaking ten different languages. The largest group of newcomers is currently from Asia. More than 100,000 Chinese now live in Vancouver.


facts and figures

CapitalOttawa
total area9,985,000 km2 (about 28 times the size of Germany)
population35,350,000 (as of 2017)
languagebilingual: French and English
currencyCanadian dollar
religionChristian: 67%, Muslim: 3%, Hindu: 1.5%
Time difference3.5 to 8 hours earlier
Travel timeFly about 10 hours
electricity110 volts / 60 Hz, plug adapter required
Life expectancy82 years
Coastline356,000 km
tap watersafe to drink

geography

Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories and because of its size has six time zones. The total area of ​​Canada is 1.5 percent larger than that of the United States. So there is little difference in the size of the two countries. Canada has more lakes than any other country in the world combined. About 30 percent of the country consists of forests and two thirds are uninhabited. This is because more than three-quarters of Canadians live within 200 kilometers of the US border.


history

Canada has been inhabited by Indians and Inuit (Eskimos) for thousands of years. They originally came as Asian nomads from Siberia, which was still connected to Canada 35,000 years ago. The Inuit moved to the north of Canada, the Indians divided into the rest of the American continent.

Colonization and independence
The Norwegian Vikings were the first to reach Canada and its original inhabitants around 1000 AD. A few centuries later, in 1492, Columbus visited America. In 1600 the French established a trading post in Canada and began colonizing Canada. In 1608, the French-speaking Quebec emerged. After several wars, Canada became part of British territory in 1763. Since the USA had freed itself from English rule in the War of Independence, but Canada remained English territory, this regularly led to tensions, which also led to wars between the USA and Canada (England). However, these wars did not lead to changes in the course of the border. Canada did not become independent from the British until 1982, although it had already appeared quite independently several decades earlier.

Modern Canada
Canada is a wealthy country and ranks 18th in the ranking of countries by gross domestic product. The GDP per capita in 2017 was $ 45,077. For comparison: Germany was in 19th place in the ranking in 2017 with a GDP per capita of USD 44,550. Three quarters of Canada's working population are in the service sector. In addition, forestry, mining and fishing are important to the Canadian economy. Canada has a relatively small industry and trades a lot with the United States for the goods it needs.


Language and culture

Both English and French are used as official languages ​​in Canada. English is the mother tongue of the vast majority of the Canadian population. However, more French than English is spoken, especially in Quebec. The Inuit still mainly speak Inuktitut.



Specifics of Canadian culture
Canadian culture has many influences from British, French, American and Inuit cultures. The national summer sport is lacrosse, the national winter sport is ice hockey. Curling and Canadian football are also popular sports in Canada. The Olympic Games were organized three times by Canada: the 1988 and 2010 Winter Games and the 1976 Summer Games. The national symbols of Canada are the maple leaf, the beaver, the Canada goose, the common loon and the totem pole. And last but not least: the Hawaiian pizza was invented in Canada (it is not received enthusiastically everywhere, but that is another topic).

Canadian Holidays
Because of the large number of Christian residents, the holidays in Canada are similar to ours. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving like the United States, but not on the same day.

dateholiday
January 1stNew Year
Third Monday in FebruaryFamily Day
Friday before EasterGood Friday
First Sunday after the full moon in springEaster Sunday
Last Monday in MayVictoria Day
July 1Canada Day
First Monday in AugustCivic Day
First Monday in SeptemberLabor Day
Second Monday in OctoberThanksgiving
November 11thRemembrance Day
25 DecemberChristmas
December 26thBoxing Day

Weather and climate

It is best to bring a warm sweater with you when traveling to Canada. In 1947 Canada recorded the lowest temperature ever: 64 degrees Celsius below zero. That was a real exception, because it usually doesn't get colder than minus 40 degrees Celsius in northern Canada. The south of Canada is on the same level as Spain. Because of this, it can get warmer than you expect in summer. There is even a small desert in Okanagan. The table below gives an initial overview of the average temperature and rainfall in Canada. However, because of the size of the country, we recommend that you consider the weather forecast for the region you are visiting.

month
Average maximum temperature in ° C
Average maximum temperature in ° C
Average minimum temperature in ° C
Average minimum temperature in ° C
Average number of days with rain
Average number of days with rain
January-5-1413
February-4-1311
March3-611
April11111
May18812
June241312
July271611
August251512
September201011
October13512
November6-114
December-1-915

to travel

Canada has six time zones for a reason: the country is huge. It is therefore not uncommon to travel by air within Canada. Although flying is usually faster, it is also worthwhile for tourists to travel by train. Most of the routes offer breathtaking views of the pristine Canadian nature.



Canadian nature
Canada has very large nature reserves that have not yet been touched by humans. The national parks, including Banff, Jasper National Park, Kluane, and Gros Morne, are praised for their pristine state. The Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest in Canada at 44,800 km². So be careful not to get lost in this park.

Security in Canada
Canada is a very safe country for travelers who are well prepared. In terms of crime, Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. Even in Canada's major cities, you don't need to worry about crime. Be aware, however, that Canada can experience extreme weather conditions: from forest fires to floods and extreme snowfalls.

In addition to the potentially extreme weather conditions, there are a few other natural risk factors in Canada. For example, the residents of Churchill (a town in northern Canada) are known for never locking their cars. That has nothing to do with the low crime rate, but with the fact that the residents protect themselves from polar bears in their cars. The bears pose a great risk to unprepared travelers. In the northern areas, therefore, please check with local hotels and restaurants to see if there are polar bears in the region - and find out more in other regions if you are going on a longer hike. whether there are bears in the area.

eTA Canada (Explanation of the eTA)
If you are visiting Canada for a vacation or business trip, you must apply for a Canada eTA prior to departure. This is an electronic travel authorization issued by the Canadian authorities. The eTA costs € 24.95 per person and is simply requested online. The Canadian authorities recommend that you apply for your eTA at least 72 hours before you travel. If you submit your application on this website, you can pay the costs via Sofortüberweisung, Giropay, eps transfer, PayPal or credit card. Once your application is approved, your eTA will be digitally linked to your passport. After that, you are free to travel to Canada for five years (or until your passport expires, whichever comes first). However, each stay may last a maximum of six months. If you plan to stay in Canada longer, an eTA is not enough and you will need to apply for a visa.


money

In Canada, the Canadian dollar (CAD / C $) is used to pay. As a German, Austrian or Swiss, you can generally pay almost anywhere with your bank or credit card. You can also withdraw Canadian dollars from ATMs using your debit or credit card. Credit card companies often use less favorable exchange rates than banks. We therefore recommend that you use your debit card whenever possible. However, banks also charge costs for withdrawing dollars. It is therefore best to only withdraw cash from time to time and use it to pay. However, we recommend that you bring a credit card with you to Canada as it is useful for making reservations or making deposits. Please note, however, that the limit on your credit card is also reduced for deposits (e.g. when you rent a car). It is therefore advisable to increase the credit card limit before your departure.


vacation

The most beautiful national parks are along the Rocky mountains and are by a long road, dem Icefield Parkway, connected with each other. It is a very popular street that is used by many tourists. The two-day train ride from Calgary to Vancouver (Rocky Mountaineer Railtour) is also very popular with tourists because of its beautiful view. In addition to the road and rail, the water also offers beautiful routes through eastern Canada. The most famous and popular route is the Inside passage. This fourteen hour cruise offers unique views of Canada from the many fjords.



Do you like winter sports? The Canadian mountains are very suitable for this. The Niagara Falls not to be missed on your vacation in Canada. These falls are about fifty meters high and nearly seven hundred meters long. We also recommend that you use the CN Tower to visit in Toronto. This tower is more than half a kilometer high and offers a spectacular view of the city.

Tips for a successful vacation in Canada

  • Please be aware of the distances: On the map, places sometimes seem to be nearby, but because of the size of the country, you need a few hours for relatively short distances. The roads in northern Canada are not always in really good condition, which can make your journey longer.
  • When driving, always make sure that the tank is at least half full. The distances are enormous and there are hardly any petrol stations on some streets. In addition, there is not good cell phone reception everywhere. You should therefore avoid your car breaking down on the road.
  • Please keep an eye on the weather forecast. The weather can change quickly, especially in the Rocky Mountains. Always have good equipment and additional clothing on long hikes.
  • According to German, Austrian or Swiss standards, a lot of tips are given in hotels, restaurants and taxis in Canada. Please note that a tip of 15 to 20 percent is expected if the service is good.
  • Please apply for your eTA in good time. This is a required travel authorization for your flight to Canada.
  • Get good travel or international health insurance. Medical costs in Canada are high and are often not reimbursed by your German, Austrian or Swiss health insurers.
  • Before you leave, activate the use of your debit card in Canada at your bank and increase your credit card limit if necessary.
  • You can save money in Canada by using your Maestro debit card instead of your credit card whenever possible. In most cases it is cheaper to withdraw cash with your debit card, as your bank will then charge fewer fees.
  • In Canada, drink-driving is very strictly controlled and punished. If an opened packaging of an alcoholic drink is found in the car, a fine will already be imposed.