What Is Canada Known For?
When you think of Canada, you might conjure up images of a sprawling landmass, a maple leaf flag, and feet upon feet of snow. While all of these things are Canadian, the country is much more than a large piece of land with a tree leaf flag and harsh winters. So what is Canada known for?
Canada is known for its diverse culture, unwaveringly polite people, maple syrup, poutine, and ice hockey. Many famous Hollywood entertainers are Canadian natives. In addition, Canada is world-renowned for its varied wildlife and breathtaking natural scenery.
With over 3.8 million square miles (9.98 million kilometers) of land, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. Despite being sparsely populated, Canada continues to be progressive, inclusive, and well known. Read on to learn more about Canada and what it’s known for.
Canada Is a Culturally Diverse Country
Canada is well-known for its diverse cultural scene. The country is a melting pot of mainly British, French, and American influences—with a touch of Italian, Chinese, and various other ethnic groups.
These cultures blend throughout Canada in music, movies, food, and sports and have shaped Canada’s economy and culture for centuries.
Toronto, Ontario is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, which is home to a large number of minority groups and ethnic neighborhoods. Take a walk through the city, and you’ll see Chinatowns, Little Italy, Little India, Koreatown, Little Portugal, and many others, all of which are a testament to the city’s diversity. Find out what else Toronto is known for here.
The French culture dominates in the province of Quebec, with French being the only official language. There is a strong Franco culture there, which is evident through its history, art, and food.
Despite French culture making up the majority of the province of Quebec, on the southwest side, Montreal is home to a large Italian Canadian community where Italian is one of the most spoken languages. Discover what Montreal is known for here.
Italians make up the third largest ethnic group in the city and the fourth largest in the country. There are several Italian districts, including La Petite-Italie, Rivière-des-Prairies, and LaSalle.
Vancouver, British Columbia has over half a million citizens of Chinese descent. At one point in its history, the Chinese were banned from the country altogether. Fortunately, times have changed, and today, Canada encourages the Chinese to flock to the city. Check out what Vancouver is known for here.
As of 2020, nearly a quarter of Vancouver’s population identifies as Chinese.
Canada’s Citizens Are Renowned for Their Kindness
It’s a running joke throughout much of the world that Canadians are kind. In fact, 66% of Canadian respondents suggested that they are as nice as people seem to think, and there is some truth to this.
Canadians put a lot of importance on social etiquette. So, whether you’re a native or a tourist, they have a reputation for treating everyone with kindness.
Canada is also very welcoming of immigrants, which is one reason the country was number one on the list of the best countries in the world. This is in part thanks to the Canadian government which puts a heavy emphasis on immigration and cultural diversity, making the country one of the most inclusive on the planet.
The politeness of Canadians is not limited to one or two provinces or specific groups of people—it’s prevalent throughout the country as a whole. Kindness is ingrained into the people here and has since become part of the culture.
Canada Export 80% of the World’s Maple Syrup
In late winter to early spring, Canada’s maple tree farmers tap the trees and collect the sap in large containers. Once the sap is collected, farmers boil it to create the delicious, sweet, rich syrup that we have all come to know and love: Maple syrup.
Maple syrup has been a staple in Canadian culture for centuries. It’s believed that Canada’s indigenous people first produced maple syrup. The tall maple is so vital to Canadian culture that it is the symbol of their national flag.
Maple farmers produce maple syrup throughout Canada (they produce over 80% of the world’s maple syrup), but Quebec boasts the most significant number of maple farms throughout Canada.
In 2019, Canada made over 320 million dollars on maple syrup, producing over 13 million gallons. The United States imports the majority of syrup produced in Canada.
Canada Is Home to the Iconic Dish: Poutine
Canada’s national dish is “poutine,” which contains crunchy french fries, moist cheese curds, and rich, brown gravy. This French Canadian comfort food is so delicious that it is now found all over the world.
Initially created in Quebec, today, poutine is available in all provinces throughout the country.
There are traditional dishes with the standard ingredients, as well as more wacky variations, including “The Sugar Shack” at Spud’s Potato Bar and Poutinerie in Ottawa. This concoction uses the traditional poutine ingredients except topped with bacon, sausage, and—of course—maple syrup.
Real cheese curds are what make poutine authentic. The gravy is typically a brown gravy, but it varies throughout provinces. Many are made with only beef stock for a rich, beefy sauce, whereas others will use beef and chicken stock to create a lighter, tasty version. And with the growing popularity of vegan and vegetarianism, many restaurants are switching to veggie gravy or at least providing a veggie gravy option. If you’re in Montreal here’s a list of restaurants in the city that have veggie, and some vegan, poutine options!
Canada Is Serious About Sports, Especially Ice Hockey
In the United States, American football reigns supreme, but in Canada, ice hockey comes out on top—but it’s not called “ice” hockey in Canada, just “hockey.”
The first-ever indoor ice hockey game took place in Canada, and it’s believed that the sport itself started here, beginning as a field game played by the Mi’kmaq Indians.
The first use of a puck was in Ontario as far back as 1860. Today, men, women, and children throughout the country love and participate in ice hockey. Both men’s and women’s teams from Canada have won world championships and Olympic games.
Some of their most famous teams include the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames.
Many Talented Entertainers Are Born in Canada
Dozens of famous entertainers originally hailed from Canada—and many of these names might surprise you. It’s no question that Canada is home to many talented individuals.
Born in Toronto, Drake began his career in Canada on “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” In 2009, Drake signed with Young Money. By 2010, he was a household name after releasing his album, “Thank Me Later,” which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.
Jim Carrey is one of the most well-known comedians and actors in the United States, yet he was born in Newmarket, Ontario. He spent much of his childhood in Canada and was even homeless in the country for a short while.
His career took off when Rodney Dangerfield discovered him at a Canadian comedy club.
You can check out Jim Carrey’s memoir here.
Most people don’t know that Justin Bieber was born and raised in Canada until he was 13-years-old. Once Usher discovered Bieber, his musical career took off, and he and his family relocated to California.
Today, Justin Bieber is one of the most well-known young musical stars in the world.
Like Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogan was born in Vancouver. This Jewish actor is a dual-citizen but claims to feel more “in-tune” with his Canadian side, as this is where he spent his childhood. Starting out as a stand-up comedian, Seth Rogen became famous from the movie, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”
Check out Seth Rogan’s biography here.
Rachel McAdams is a brilliant, talented actress well-known in the United States, but was born in London, Ontario. She attended university in Toronto and graduated in 2001. By 2004, McAdams’s career began to flourish after appearing in “Mean Girls” and “The Notebook.”
Ryan Reynolds, famed actor for movies like “Just Friends” and “Deadpool,” was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. He grew up in Vancouver’s West Side in the Kitsilano neighborhood, where he also attended school.
Canada Has Diverse Wildlife
Canada is as known for its wildlife as it is for protecting it.
The country has a three-part act that protects at-risk wildlife and 40 protected national parks. There are wildlife viewing opportunities throughout every province where visitors can observe moose, whales, eagles, beavers, and bears, all in their natural habitat.
Most people don’t truly appreciate the size of a moose until they see one in person. These massive creatures are found throughout Canada, near lakes and streams. Their imposing size is not the only thing that makes them intimidating, as they’re a dangerous wild animal, especially when provoked or protecting their young.
With its massive coastline, Canada is the ideal place to see whales in their natural habitat. The country is home to dozens of whale watching tours where tourists can view over 30 species of whales. From Newfoundland to British Columbia, you can view belugas, humpbacks, orcas, minke, blue, and fin whales.
Most of Canada’s bald eagle population is found in the western mountains and prairies of British Columbia. Still, you can also find these and Golden Eagles nesting in the forests of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
One of the most iconic Canadian animals once prized for their fur pelts, the beaver is one of the most Canadian animals out there. It is on the 5 cent coin, as well as in pop culture. The beaver more than any other animal helped build Canada. It was the main animal that was hunted by early explorers and even helped set up Canada’s first company, the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Canada is home to massive amounts of untouched land, making it a prime location for wildlife to flourish, including bears. British Columbia is home to grizzlies and has well over 10,000 of them. But it’s not just grizzlies that enjoy living among Canada’s lush scenery and mountains. Throughout different regions, you’ll find polar bears and black bears as well.
The Country Boasts Breathtaking Scenery
Canada is famed for its vast landscapes and breathtaking beauty. Not only can you view the magnificent northern lights in most of Canada, but the country boasts the world’s longest coastline, rocky mountains, turbulent rivers, open prairies, and raging waterfalls.
Because much of Canada is undeveloped, there are plenty of spaces for viewing the northern lights without obscurity from light pollution. Much of Canada is within the auroral oval, making it a prime location for viewing this phenomenal sky display.
World’s Largest Coastline
Canada is home to the world’s longest coastline—124,567 miles (202,080 km) of coastline, to be exact. The coast stretches from the Pacific ocean up to the Arctic and back down to the Atlantic. Other countries don’t even come close to matching this coastline, with even Russia coming in at only 23,341 miles (37,564 km) of coastal shoreline.
With more lakes than every country in the world combined, it’s no water that Canada is known for its world-famous bodies of water. Freshwater covers nearly 553,743 square miles (891,163 square km) of Canada, including about ⅓ of the Great Lakes.
Snow and Ice
Tourists from warm zones flock to Canada to experience its cold weather, including ice and snow. The majority of Canada is covered in snow for over six months out of a year, so it’s the ideal place to view the beauty of winter.
The Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies are much more magnificent than the Rocky Mountain range in the United States. In Alberta, you’re able to see much more of the stony mountain range than in the United States, where much of the bare, rocky mountain is obscured by tree cover.
This massive waterfall (it’s actually three waterfalls) is famous for good reason. In fact, it’s been referred to as the “8th Natural Wonder” of the world. These falls are an absolute must-see for tourists visiting Lake Ontario.
Visitors may view the falls from the United States, but the Canadian border offers the best vantage point where all three waterfalls can be seen. In addition, you can visit the Skylon Tower to grab a bite to eat while viewing Niagara Falls from the sky.
Canada’s long coastline boasts many small coastal towns that still maintain working lighthouses. This is a common sight in Canada, from British Columbia to Quebec, as these historic structures dot the coastline from east to west, with the most famous lighthouse found in Nova Scotia.
When you think of Canada, you might imagine snow, mountains, and geese, but this vast country has much more to offer.
Canada is a prime tourist destination for people watchers, foodies, sports fans, music and movie enthusiasts, and nature-lovers. There’s something for everyone in Canada—and kind people to help you find your way around.
If you’re looking for a country that’s inclusive, progressive, culturally diverse, welcoming, enthusiastic about food and sports, and offers multiple opportunities for hikes and wildlife viewing, Canada is the tourist destination for you.