|Ok, I'm not arriving in Canada, since this is my home country... but that's the start of my journey, and I want to present you Canada as I intend to present you all countries I'll visit. That's the nerd side of me... in addition to showing you great pictures and telling you good stories, I'd like you to learn a bit more about the countries I visit. I will talk about different aspects of each country, but I will not discuss politics, as this could put me into trouble on the road.|
First, geographically, Canada is the
northern-most country in North-America and with its almost 10 million
square kilometre, it's the 2nd largest country in the
world (only Russia is larger). To give you an idea of its size, USA
is about 96%, Brazil is about 85%, Australia is about 77%, China is
about 97% of Canada's size. Canada and USA share the longest
unprotected border of the world, more than 5 000 km.
Canada is officially bilingual, with
French language being mostly spoken in the province of Québec (where
I'm from) and English being mostly spoken in the other provinces and
territories. The national capital is Ottawa, the national holiday is
July 1st and the national anthem is “O Canada”, which
is officially bilingual. You can hear the anthem here.
There are about 34 millions people
calling Canada home and the biggest cities are Toronto (5.4
millions), Montéal (3.75 millions) and Vancouver (2.2 millions).
Even if the country is extremely vast, most of the population lives
within 600 km from the US border. Catholic Roman is the majority
religion (with 42%), followed by Protestant (23%). In most of the
country, religion practice is quite low however.
Economically, Canada relies still a lot
on natural resources (oil, gas, iron, nickel, etc) but is also quite
present in other industries like video gaming, automobile, aerospace.
Most of the exchanges are with the US. Unemployment rate is about
The currency is the Canadian dollar,
which is valued almost the same as US dollars these years. The
latest exchange value is 1 C$ = 0.98 US$. In terms of bank bills, we
have notes of 5$, 10$, 20$, 50$ and 100$ (technically, we have 1000$
bills, but rarely circulated). In terms of coins, we just dropped
the 1 cent coin and we're left with 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 1
dollar and 2 dollar coins.
I also want to give you sample prices
of a few base products, so here are the prices of those items as
found here in St. John's, in the province of Newfoundland and
Labrador. A litre of regular (3.25% MF) milk is $2.50, a loaf of
sliced bread is around $3, a dozen of large eggs is about $4.50 and a
litre of regular gas $1.29. These are C$, but since the value is
almost the same as the US$, I didn't convert. The prices are higher
here than they are in Montreal... and that's normal... since all the
province is a huge island... with no bridge... so everything has to
come by boat or plane. The only thing cheaper here than in Montreal
is gas... and it's normal since Newfoundland and Labrador produces
Next entry in this "Welcome to... " series will be United States... in about 2 weeks.