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CANADA

Location

Canada is a country occupying most of northern North America, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area, and shares land borders with the United States to the south and northwest. Canada occupies a major northern portion of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south and with the U.S. state of Alaska to the northwest, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second largest country in the world—after Russia—and largest on the continent. By land area it ranks fourth.

Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60°W and 141°W longitude, but this claim is not universally recognized. The northernmost settlement in Canada and in the world is Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island—latitude 82.5°N—just 817 kilometres (508 miles) from the North Pole. Canada has the longest coastline in the world: 243,000 kilometres (151,000 miles).

Climate

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary depending on the location. Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F) but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills. In non-coastal regions, snow can cover the ground almost six months of the year (more in the north). Coastal British Columbia is an exception and enjoys a temperate climate with a mild and rainy winter.

Economy

Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations, with a high per-capita income, and is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G8. It is one of the world's top 10 trading nations. Canada is a mixed market, ranking lower than the U.S. but higher than most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom. Since the early 1990s, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly with low unemployment and large government surpluses on the federal level. Today Canada closely resembles the U.S. in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards.

Culture

Canadian culture has historically been influenced by British, French, and Aboriginal cultures and traditions. It has also been influenced heavily by American culture because of its proximity and migration between the two countries. The great majority of English speaking immigrants to Canada between 1755-1815 were Americans from the Lower Thirteen Colonies who were drawn there by promises of land or exiled because of their loyalty to Britain during the American War for Independence. American media and entertainment are popular, if not dominant, in English Canada; conversely, many Canadian cultural products and entertainers are successful in the U.S. and worldwide. Many cultural products are marketed toward a unified "North American" or global market.


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