Canada is the second largest country in the world. Only Russia has a greater land area. Canada is situated in North America. Canada is slightly larger than the United States, but has only about a tenth as many people. About 28 million people live in Canada. About 80 % of the population lives within 320 km of the southern border. Much of the rest of Canada is uninhabited or thinly populated because of severe natural conditions.
Canada is a federation of 10 provinces and 2 territories. Canada is an independent nation. But according to the Constitution Act of 1982 British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is recognized as Queen of Canada. This symbolizes the country's strong ties to Britain. Canada was ruled by Britain completely until 1867, when Canada gained control of its domestic affairs. Britain governed Canada's foreign affairs until 1931, when Canada gained full independence.
Canada's people are varied. About 57 % of all Canadians have some English ancestry and about 32 % have some French ancestry. Both English and French are official languages of the country. French Canadians, most of whom live in the provinces of Quebec, have kept the language and customs of their ancestors. Other large ethnic groups are German, Irish and Scottish people. Native people - American Indians and Eskimos - make up about 2 % of the country's population." 77 % of Canada's people live in cities or towns. Toronto and Montreal are the largest urban areas. Ottawa is the capital of the country.
Today, maintaining a sense of community is one of the major problems in Canada because of differences among the provinces and territories. Many Canadians in western and eastern parts of the country feel that the federal government does not pay enough attention to their problems. 80 % of Quebec's population is French Canadians. Many of them believe that their province should receive a special recognition in the Canadian constitution.
While some countries have too much history, Canada has too much geography.
From Sea to Sea
Occupying the northern half of the North American continent, Canada has a landmass of nearly 10 million km².
Canada's motto, 'From Sea to Sea', is geographically inaccurate. In addition to its long coastlines on the Atlantic and Pacific, Canada has a third sea coast on the Arctic Ocean, giving it the longest coastline of any country.
To the south, Canada shares an 8,892-km boundary with the United States. To the north, the Arctic islands come within 800 km of the North Pole. Canada's neighbour across the frozen Arctic Ocean is Russia.
A Long Thin Band
Because of the harsh northern climate, only 12 per cent of the land is suitable for agriculture. Thus, most of the population of 26 million live in cities within a few hundred kilometres of the southern border - where the climate is milder - in a long thin band stretching between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.
Numberless Lakes and Great Rivers
It has been estimated that Canada has one-seventh of the world's fresh water. In addition to sharing the Great Lakes with the United States, Canada has many other freshwater seas and mighty rivers.
The Pacific Coast
Bathed by warm, moist Pacific air currents, the British Columbia coast, indented by deep fiords and shielded from the Pacific by Vancouver Island, has the most moderate.
Canada's highest peaks, however, are not in the Rockies, but in the St. Elias Mountains, an extension of the Cordillera stretching north into the Yukon and Alaska. The highest point in Canada is Mt. Logan (6,050 m).
The plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are among the richest grain-producing regions in the world.
Yet even here are surprises. If you drive north, you descend into the Red Deer River valley. Here, in desert-like conditions, water and wind have created strange shapes in the sandstone called 'hoodoos'. The same forces of erosion have uncovered some of the largest concentrations of dinosaur fossils, examples of which are displayed in museums in Canada and around the world.
Alberta is Canada's leading producer of petroleum. The sedimentary rocks underlying the Prairies have important deposits of oil, gas and potash.
The Canadian Shield
Look at a map of Canada and you will see a huge inland sea called Hudson Bay. Wrapped around this bay like a horseshoe is a rocky region called the Canadian Shield.
The region is a storehouse of minerals, including gold, silver, zinc, copper and uranium, and Canada's great mining towns are located here - Sudbury and Timmins in Ontario, Val d'Or in Quebec, and Flin Flon and Thompson in Manitoba.
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Lowlands
Southern Quebec and Ontario, the industrial heartland of Canada, contain Canada's two largest cities, Montreal and Toronto. In this small region, 50 per cent of Canadians live and 70 per cent of Canada's manufactured goods are produced.
The region also has prime agricultural land. The Niagara Peninsula, for example, has some of the best farmland in Canada. The large expanses of lakes Erie and Ontario extend the number of frost-free days, permitting the cultivation of grapes, peaches, pears and other soft fruits.
The region is sugar maple tree country. In the autumn, the tree's leaves - Canada's national symbol - are ablaze in red, orange and gold. The sap is collected in spring and evaporated to make maple syrup and sugar, a culinary delicacy first used by the aboriginal North American peoples.
Atlantic Provinces - Appalachian Region
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland are the smallest Canadian provinces, and the first to be settled by Europeans.
The shallow continental shelf extends 400 km off the east coast of Newfoundland where the mixing of ocean currents has created one of the richest fishing grounds in the world.
Agriculture flourishes in the fertile valleys, such as the Saint John River Valley, New Brunswick, and the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.
Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is famous for its potatoes. This fertile island is Canada's smallest province, making up a mere 0.1 percent of Canada's landmass.
North of the tree-line is a land of harsh beauty. During the short summer, when daylight is nearly continuous and a profusion of flowers blooms on the tundra, the temperature can reach 30°C. Yet the winters are long, bitterly cold, dark and unforgiving.
3. Translate the following word combinations:
Severe natural conditions, an independent nation, domestic affairs, official languages, ethnic groups, major problems, harsh northern climate, thin band, mighty rivers.
4. Match the sentences according to the information of the text:
|1 Canada is||a Mt. Logan (6,050 m).|
|2 Canada is situated||b10 provinces and 2 territories.|
|3 Much of the rest of Canada is uninhabited or||c the second largest country in the world.|
|4 Canada is a federation of||d the capital of the country.|
|5 About 57 % of all Canadians have some English ancestry and||e Canada has a landmass of nearly 10 million km².|
|6 Ottawa is||f only 12 per cent of the land is suitable for agriculture.|
|7 Occupying the northern half of the North American continent,||g in North America.|
|8 Because of the harsh northern climate,||h that Canada has one-seventh of the world's fresh water.|
|9 It has been estimated||i thinly populated because of severe natural conditions.|
|10 The highest point in Canada,||j about 32 % have some French ancestry.|
5. Give the definitions of the following words:
|1border||a the land on the edge of the coast, especially the shape of this land as seen from the air|
|2 ancestry||b the thick, dark liquid from under the ground from which petrol is produced|
|3 custom||c the members of your family who lived a long time ago|
|4 landmass||d a narrow area of sea between high cliffs|
|5 coastline||e a large area of flat dry land|
|6ocean||f a sweet sticky liquid obtained from some kinds of maple tree which is eaten especially on pancakes|
|7fiord||g something that is done by people in a particular society because it is traditional|
|8plain||h the official line that separates two countries, states, or areas, or the area close to this line|
|9oil||i the great mass of salt water that covers most of the Earth's surface|
|10maple syrup||ja large area of land such as a continent|
6. Complete the sentence according to the information from the text:
1.Canada is situated in ... .
2. Canada is slightly larger than the United States, ... .
3. Canada is a federation of ... .
4. Britain governed Canada's foreign affairs until 1931, ... .
5. Both ... are official languages of the country.
6. To the south, ... with the United States.
7. It has been estimated that Canada has ... .
8. The plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are among ... .
9. The sedimentary rocks underlying the Prairies have important deposits of ... .
10. Wrapped around this bay like a horseshoe is a rocky region ... .
7. Agree or disagree with the following statements:
1.About 50 % of the population lives within 320 km of the southern border.
2. Much of the rest of Canada is uninhabited or thinly populated because of severe natural conditions.
3. Canada is a federation of 10 provinces and 2 territories.
4. Canada was ruled by Britain completely until 1867.
5. Both English and German are official languages of the country.
6. Canada's neighbour across the frozen Arctic Ocean is Norway.
7. The highest point in Canada, Mt. McKinley.
8. The region is sugar maple tree country.
9. The sap is collected in summer and evaporated to make maple syrup and sugar.
10. Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is famous for its potatoes.