Canada
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Canada

Capital: Ottawa
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Language: English and French
Listen to the national anthem

Archaeological and genetic studies have shown that there was a human presence as early as 24,5000 BC in the northern Yukon area but in southern Ontario it is much more recent, dating to around 7,500 BC. Early settlers are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait and it is thought that they were sophisticated and organised, building complex settlements. By the time the Europeans discovered the Americas, many of these original sites and cultures had collapsed and been abandoned.

By the late 15th Century and early 16th it is believed that the population of Indians was around 500,000 and once contact was made with them they quickly succumbed to European diseases and common ailments. The numbers rapidly declined and still it is not very clear how many perished as a result, but it is accepted that between 40 and 80%!

On 16th August 1896, news of the gold in the Klondike region of the Yukon triggered a Gold Rush and as many as 100,000 set out on the treacherous trip. It is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 actually made it and around 4,000 actually found gold.

Yukon Gold Rush
Copyright: Public Domain Flickr

By1899 the Klondike Gold Rush was over but then gold was found in Nome and many prospectors from the Klondike made their way to Nome in Alaska. It was said that gold could be picked up easily on the beach and that in total around 112,000kg (112 metric tonnes) of gold was removed. The Nome Gold Rush lasted until 1909 and was bigger than the earlier Klondike Gold Rush.

Canada can boast the most northerly settlement, the Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northernmost tip of Ellesmere island, some 817km (507 miles) from the North Pole.

Canada is the second biggest country by area, second after Russia and covers 6 time zones and has the longest coastline. Canada not only has the longest coastline but also the longest road. Yonge Street in Montreal is nearly 2,000km (1243 miles) long!

Did you know that the character Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne was inspired by the real bear cub named Winnipeg? Winnipeg was sent to London Zoo and was frequently visited by and loved by a certain Christopher Robin Milne.

The name Canada was actually a mistake made by Jaques Cartier who was invited back to his 'kanata' by a local tribesman. A 'kanata' was the native name for 'village'.

There is a spectacular hotel in Quebec that is constructed from a very unusual substance and has to be rebuilt every year!

Quebec Ice HotelCopyright: Huguette Trudel Flickr

The Hôtel de Glace first opened its doors in 2001 and is made entirely out of ice. The location has moved 3 times and currently it can be found in Charlesbourg, 5km north of Quebec. The whole structure takes 50 ice sculptors 6 - 7 weeks to build and uses around 50,000kg (500 tonnes) of ice and around 30,000,000kg (30,000 tonnes) of snow to create the 44 rooms and suites. The hotel is open for just 3 months of the year!

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