Happy Birthday, Canada! How Old Are You Now?

Not only is tomorrow Canada Day, but this entire week is Canada History Week! What a perfect opportunity to get to know your host country a little better.

The Story of Canada

Canada Day Fireworks Ottawa

You might hear people say that Canada is turning 147 years old this year. What this really means is that we’re celebrating the 147th anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867, which established Canada as a country. In actuality, this place is a whole lot older than 147 years!

Long before European settlers showed up, this land was inhabited by Canada’s First Nations. In fact, they’ve been living in the place we now call Canada for at least 12,000 years. (Learn more about the first peoples of Canada.)

Of course, having lived here for such a long time, our various First Nations groups have their own unique explanations as to how our country came to be. Read some of those creation stories here—and find out why some know North America better as “Turtle Island.”

For the key events in Canadian history since Europeans came to our shores, see this summary of Canada’s history from the Canadian government (also available in French). It has an audio version, too!

How Big is Canada?

Canada is huge! It spans 9.9 million square kilometres—and it’s second in land mass only to Russia. It also has the world’s longest coastline at 243,000 km.

Despite being so big, when it comes to population size, Canada is only number 35 on this list. In other words, we have plenty of open space to discover!

Check out this collection of maps to help you explore Canada further.

More to Discover

Every Canadian who had a television in the ’90s will have many memories of Canadian Heritage Minutes—short films about important moments in Canadian history. Good news for newcomers: You can still get up to speed on your Canadian nostalgia, as all of the Heritage Minutes are available online! (Watch now.)

Want some more direction to help you enjoy all that Canada has to offer? Check out our top 10 summer vacation destinations. Or see our guide to trying traditional foods.

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