If you are one of those who seek a high quality of life above anything else, Canada is the place for you. It has been consistently ranked by the UN as the number one country in the world to live in.

Canada is an immense country. It is very diverse in its people, its landscape, its climate and its way of life. However, Canadians do share the same important values. These values of pride, a belief in equality and diversity, and respect for all individuals in society. Women, men, children and seniors are all equally respected in Canada. Canadians may be different from each other but it is these shared values that make Canada a friendly, caring, peace-loving and secure society in which to live.

Fairness, tolerance and respect. Canadians want fairness and justice for themselves, their children and their families. And most are fair and just to others, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Diversity and cooperation. Canadians understand the value of cooperation. In a country as large and diverse as Canada, people must be able to learn to resolve or ignore small conflicts in order to live happily and peacefully.

Equal opportunity. Canadians believe in equality. Each person is equal before the law and is treated equally by the law. Women and men have the same opportunity for success. Canadians let people live as the wish, as long as they do not limit how others live.

Civil responsibility. Canadians appreciate their rights and freedoms, which are the same without regard to gender, race or ethnicity. Most also want to contribute to our society. As a newcomer, you should be aware of your rights and responsibilities. The right to participate in Canadian society implies an obligation to help it succeed. Canadian citizenship is about caring enough to want to get involved and make Canada even better.

Environmental responsibility. Canadians are especially conscious of their natural environment and the need to both respect and protect it for the future. Canadians believe that economic growth should not come at the expense of a healthy environment and social well-being. There are some simple things we all can do to work toward sustainable development, such as participating in recycling programs that help convert garbage into usable materials; keeping parks and streets clean by putting garbage into garbage cans; cleaning up after out pets; not smoking in public places where it is banned; using public transportation, riding a bicycle or walking rather than using a car, and volunteering with community groups.

The Land

Canada is a vast and diverse nation. Its 10 million square kilometres of territory embrace great fertile prairies, immense lakes surrounded by boreal forests, rugged mountain ranges and expanses of wind-swept tundra.

Canada’s first inhabitants were Aboriginal peoples. They established distinct cultures, reflecting a complex interaction between humans and all other living things. Later, immigrants arrived and the land supplied them with the raw materials needed for economic progress.

While Canadians continue to draw resourced and energy from the environment, many Canadians are also working closely with government to protect.

The Weather

Beyond question, Canada is a cold country. During the winter, no place within its boundaries escapes the bite of frost. On the other hand, its southern regions have hot or even scorching summers. In fact, this vast country is home to several climates; an arctic climate in the Far North, a relatively cold and wet climate in the east, a continental climate in the centre, and a mild, wet climate on the West Coast. Latitude, reflecting the
distance from the equator, the proximity of a large body of water, location in relation to high mountain chains; altitude; and the flow of air masses- these are all factors that influence temperatures and precipitation.

The farther south, the less severe the winter chill. Thus, while in January the inhabitants of Yellowknife cope with an average temperature of -28oC, Torontonians experience -7oC. But it is in Canada’s far west, more specifically in Victoria, British Columbia, that the winters are the mildest, with an average temperature of 3oC in January. The entire coast of British Columbia enjoys a clement winter climate, since it is swept by westerly winds warmed over the Pacific. Since the Cordillera stops these air masses from moving east, the Prairie provinces are subject to bitterly cold blizzards that sweep down onto the plains from the Arctic.

Only a small region in southern Alberta enjoys a few episodes of respite during the winter, thanks to a warm, dry wind from the Pacific that sometimes manages to find its way there. This wind is called the Chinook, meaning ‘he who eats snow,’ because it can make the temperature jump 25oC in an hour. The moderating effect of the ocean is also felt on the East Coast, but to a lesser extent because of the west-to-east flow of air masses and the frigid Labrador Current along the Atlantic coast.

During the summer, air masses from the American southwest and the Gulf of Mexico exhale their hot breath onto the southern part of Canada. They bring especially hot summers to the Prairies, where nothing intervenes to temper their effects. Summer temperatures are lower on the coasts, which are cooled by ocean air. In Canada’s North, there’s a nip in the air all summer, since warm winds seldom visit such high latitudes.

The number of frost-free days, which provides a good idea of the growing season, is of prime importance for agriculture. Southwestern British Columbia, which has from 200 to 250 frost-free days, is definitely the most favoured region of Canada in this regard, but its arable land is limited. Thus the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes lowlands, whose southern part enjoys a frost-free period of 125 to 175 days, are known as the farming centre of Canada. Farmers in valleys on the Atlantic coast must cope with a somewhat shorter season, while those on the Prairies are clearly limited in their choice of crops, with a frost-free season of only 90 to 120 days.

The Economy

The Canadian economy of the 21st century is diversified. Although Canada sells goods and services around the world, more than 80% of exports and 70 of imports are with the United States. Canada is evolving into a knowledge- based economy. Service industries now employ three out of four Canadians. More and more, Canadians work in offices, stores or warehouses rather than famrs, mines, or factories. Canada’s economic well-being is tied to many factors: the wealth of natural resources; the strength of its manufacturing and construction industries; the health of the financial and service sectors; the ability to span distances using communications and transportation technologies; dynamic trade relationships with other nations; and the ability to compete in a global marketplace. Canada has come a long way from the economic revolution sparked by the railway and the telegraph in the early 1800s. Over the years, a steady tide of technological progress has profoundly reshaped our economy, making possible the combustion engine, the assembly line, computer networks and professional consultants. Today, economic progress rides an electronic expressway of automation, information and instant communication. Advances in technology, the increased globalization of markets and the emergence of liberal trading regimes are fundamentally changing the way we conduct our business. Long removed from an economy based almost exclusively on natural resources, Canada is rapidly moving toward a knowledge-based economy built on innovation and technology. Canada’s knowledge-intensive industries are generating advances in our ability to produce high-tech machinery and equipment, and encouraging industrial innovation as a result.

Canadian businesses are ‘getting connected’ more than ever before, exploiting advances in communications technology to reach out into the global marketplace in search of buyers for their products. Indeed, with a small domestic market, the steady expansion of multilateral trade is critical to the structure of our economy and the continued prosperity of our nation.