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The name Canada is derived from the Iroquoian word kanata, which means village. Location and Geography. Canada is located in the northern portion of the continent of North America, extending, in general, from the 49th parallel northward to the islands of the Arctic Ocean. Its eastern and western boundaries are the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively. Its land area totals 3, square miles 9, square kilometers. The easternmost portion of the country is a riverine and maritime environment, consisting of the provinces of Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick.
The central portion of the country, in its southern areas, is primarily boreal forest the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. This forest region extends across the entire country from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains through to the Atlantic coast, and is dominated by coniferous trees.
A section of the country westward from the Great Lakes basin along the southern extent of this forest region is a prairie made up mostly of flat grasslands in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The westernmost portion of the country is dominated by the Rocky Mountains, with a narrow riverine environment, made up of northern rain forests, west of the mountains in the province of British Columbia. Between the southern Carolinian forest of the central regions of the country lies a region in Ontario and Quebec characterized by numerous lakes and expanses of exposed rock known as Tradition in canada Canadian Shield, an area left exposed after the most recent glacial retreat.
Across the northernmost portion of the country from east to west lies a region dominated by tundra and finally at its most northern reach, an arctic eco-zone in northern Ontario and Quebec and in the territories of Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon.
These variations have had important social and cultural effects. The largest segment of the population resides in the central Carolinian region, which has the richest and most varied agricultural land and, because the Great Lakes waterway system dominates the central portion of the country, is also where most of the major manufacturing is located.
The savanna or prairie region is more sparsely populated, with several large urban centers in a network across the region, which is dominated by grain farming, cattle and other livestock production, and more recently, oil and natural gas extraction. The two coastal regions, which have some agricultural production, are best characterized by the dominance of port cities through which import and export goods move. In the northern section of the center of the Tradition in canada, also sparsely populated, resource extraction of minerals and lumber, has predominated.
The effect of this concentration of the population, employment, and productive power in the central region of the country has been the concentration of political power in this region, as well as the development over time of intense regional rivalries and disparities in quality of Tradition in canada.
Equally important, as employment in the center came to dominate gross national production, immigration has tended to flow into the center. This has created a diverse cultural mix in the central region of the country, while the prairie and the eastern maritime region have stabilized ethnically and culturally. The consequence of these diverse geographies has been the development of a rhetoric of regional cultures: Prairie, Maritime, Central, and because of its special isolation, West Coast.
A final differentiation is between urban and rural. Local cultural identity is often marked by expressions of contrasting values in which rural residents characterize themselves as harder working, more honest, and more deeply committed to community cooperation, in contrast to urban dwellers Canada who are characterized by rural residents as greedy, dishonest, arrogant, and self-interested. Urban dwellers express their own identities as more modern and forward looking, more sophisticated, and more liberal in their overall social values, and perceive rural residents as conservative, overdependent on outmoded traditions, unsophisticated, and simple minded.
This distinction is most explicit in Quebec, but also plays a key role in political, social, and cultural contentions in Ontario. The official population at the last census calculation, inwas 29,, an increase over the census in of about 6 percent in five years. The five-year increase was almost 7 percent. There has been a slowing population increase in Canada over the last several decades, fueled in part by a decline in the crude birthrate. This slowing of growth has been offset somewhat by an increase in immigration over the last two decades of the twentieth century, coupled with a slowing of emigration.
Statistics Canada, the government Census management organization, is projecting a population increase of as much as 8 percent between andmostly through increased immigration. Linguistic Affiliation. Canada is bilingual, with English and French as the official languages. English takes precedence in statutory proceedings outside of Quebec, with English versions of all statutes serving as the final arbiter in disputes over interpretation.
As ofthe proportion of Canadians reporting English as their mother tongue was just under 60 percent while those reporting French as their mother tongue was slightly less than 24 percent. The percentage of native English speakers had risen over the decade, while that of French speakers had declined.
At the same time, about 17 percent of all Canadians could speak both official languages, though this is a regionalized phenomenon. In those provinces with the largest of native French speakers Quebec and New Brunswick38 percent and 33 percent respectively were bilingual, s that had been increasing steadily over the twenty years.
In contrast, Ontario, which s for more than 30 percent of the total population of Canada, had an English-French bilingualism rate of about 12 percent. This is in part a result of the immigration patterns over time, which sees the majority of all immigrants gravitating to Ontario, and in part because all official and commercial services in Ontario are conducted in English, even though French is available by law, if not by practice. English-French bilingualism is less important in the everyday lives of those living outside of Quebec and New Brunswick. First Nations language groups make up a ificant, if small, portion of the nonofficial bilingual speakers in Canada, a fact with political and cultural importance as First Nations groups assert greater and more compelling claims on political and cultural sovereignty.
The three largest First Nations languages in were Cree, Inuktitut, and Ojibway, though incomplete census data on First Nations peoples continues to plague assessments of the extent and importance of these mother tongues. Changing immigration patterns following World War II affected linguistic affiliation. In the period, from tofor example, only 54 percent of immigrants had a nonofficial language as mother tongue, with Tradition in canada than two-thirds of this group born in Europe.
Almost a quarter of them reported Italian, German, or Greek as mother tongue. In contrast, 80 percent of the 1, immigrants who came to Canada between and reported a nonofficial language as mother tongue, with over half from Asia and the Middle East. Chinese was the mother tongue of just under 25 percent, while Arabic, Punjabi, Tagalog, Tamil, and Persian together ed for about 20 percent. Inthe three largest nonofficial mother tongue groups were German, Italian, and Ukrainian, reflecting patterns of non-English and non-French immigration that have remained relatively constant through most of the twentieth century.
In the period ending inthis had changed, with the rank order shifting to Chinese, Italian, and German. This is reflected in regional concentrations, with Italians concentrated heavily in Ontario, Germans in both Ontario and the Prairie regions, and Chinese and other Asians most heavily represented in southern Ontario and in British Columbia. A gradual decline in out-migration from Europe, coupled with political changes in China and throughout Asia, leading to increased out-migration from these areas, is changing the ethnic and linguistic makeup of Canada.
It should be stressed, however, that these changes are concentrated in two or three key urban centers, while linguistic affiliation elsewhere in the country remains stable. This is likely to change in the early twenty-first century as an aging cohort of European immigrants declines and out-migration from Europe continues to decrease. These shifts will come to have increasingly important cultural effects as immigrants from Asia and, most recently, from certain areas throughout the continent of Africa, come to influence the political and Tradition in canada life of the core urban centers in which they settle.
This is an area of considerable dispute in Canada, in large part because of the country's longstanding history of biculturalism English and French and perhaps Tradition in canada importantly because of its proximity to the United States, whose symbolic and rhetorical influence is both unavoidable and openly resisted. Ethnic and cultural diversity in Canada, in which different cultural groups were expected to maintain their distinctiveness rather than subsume it to some larger national culture, which is the historical effect of the English-French biculturalism built into the Canadian confederation, means that national symbols in Canada tend to be either somewhat superficial or regionalized.
There are, however, certain symbols that are deployed at both official and unofficial events and functions which are generally shared across the entire country, and can be seen as general cultural symbols, even if their uses may not always be serious. Canada is often symbolically connected with three key images—hockey, the beaver, and the dress uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Hockey, often described as Canada's national sport, is a vigorous, often violently competitive team sport and, as such, it carries the same kind of symbolic weight as baseball does for many Americans. What gives it its profound symbolic importance is the way in which hockey events, such as the winning goal scored by the Canadian national team during a competition with the Russian national team in the s, are used as special cultural and historical markers in political discourse.
Hockey is used, in its symbolic form, to ify national unity and a national sense of purpose and community. That most Canadians do not follow hockey in any serious way does not diminish its role as a key cultural symbol. The beaver, which appears often on Canadian souvenirs, might seem to be an odd animal to have as a national symbol. It is a ratlike character, with a broad flat tail and, in caricature, a comical face highlighted by front chewing teeth of considerable prominence.
What gives the beaver its special merit as a cultural symbol, however, are its industriousness, toiling to create elaborate nesting sites out of mud and twigs, and its triumph over the seasons. The beaver is humble, nonpredatory, and diligent, values that form a fundamental core of Canadian self-identification.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMPoften represented in their dress uniform which includes a tight-fitting red coat, Tradition in canada pants, high black boots, and broad-brimmed felt hat, also represent this Canadian concern with diligence and humility. Canada was opened to European occupation not by a pioneering spirit fighting against all odds to push open a wild and dangerous frontier, as in the United States, but by a systematic effort to bring the vastness of the Canadian landscape under police control.
The RCMP, along with agents of colonial economic interests such as the Hudson's Bay Company, expanded the scope of colonial control and Tradition in canada of Canada in a systematic and orderly way, not so much by conquest as by coordination. That is, Canada was opened to European occupation and control almost as a bureaucratic exercise in extending the rule of law. Where the American frontier was a lawless and wild place, later brought under control by centralizing government bodies, the Canadian frontier never quite existed.
Instead, Canada was colonized by law rather than by force. The core values that inform these symbols are cooperation, industriousness, and patience—that is, a kind of national politeness. The Canadian symbolic order is dominated by a concern for order and stability, which marks Canadian identity as something communal rather than individualistic.
Emergence of the Nation. Canada throughout its history might best be described as a nation of nations. Two European colonial powers dominate the history of Canada and its emergence as a nation: France and Great Britain. In time Britain emerged as the dominant political and cultural force in Canada, but that emergence exemplifies the sense of compromise and cooperation on which Canadian social identity is founded.
While Britain, and later English Canada, came to be and remain the most powerful part of the Canadian cultural landscape, this dominance and power exists in a system of t cultural identity, with French Canada, in Quebec and in other parts of eastern Canada, remaining a singular and distinctive cultural entity in its own right. The Canadian novelist Hugh McLennan, writing in the 's, spoke of the two solitudes which in many ways govern the cultural and political life of Canada.
Two communities, distinguished by language, culture, religion, and politics live in isolation from each other with divergent aspirations and very divergent views of the history of Canada as a nation. The peace between the French and English sides of the Canadian coin is a peace born in war, with Britain defeating French colonial forces in the late eighteenth century. It is a peace born of common purpose when the now English colony of Canada withstood invasion from the newly formed United States, with the sometimes uneven assistance of the remaining French community in Lower Canada, later to be called Quebec.
It is also a peace driven by controversy and scandal. During the opening of the westward railroad in the late nineteenth century, a process of pacification of the Canadian frontier most noteworthy for its having been planned and carried out by a series of government committees, French Canadians felt, not without cause, that they were being excluded from this nation building. And it is a peace marked, even today, by a deep sense of ethnic antagonism, most particularly in Quebec, where French Canadian nationalism is a vibrant, if not the dominant political force.
This complex antagonism, which has been a thread throughout Canada's emergence as a nation, has also led to a particular kind of nation. Most important, the development of the Tradition in canada nation, however uneven the power of the English and the French, has been characterized by discussion, planning, and compromise.
The gradual opening of all of Canada to European control, and its coming together in as a national entity, was not the result of war or revolution but instead, of negotiation and reconciliation. It was an orderly transition managed almost like a business venture, through which Canada obtained a degree of sovereignty and Great Britain continued to hold Canada's allegiance as a member of the British Empire. When, in the early s Canada would take the final step towards political independence by adopting its own constitution, it would do so through negotiation as well, and again, the antagonism between English and French Canada, which resulted in the Government of Quebec refusing to the constitutional enabling agreement would provide both the drama of the moment, and its fundamental character, one of compromise and collaboration.
It is these qualities of combining co-operation with ethnic independence which continue to shape Canada's development as a nation. Developments in human rights law, for example, with a new emphasis on the importance of group rights and in particular group rights under conditions of inequality among groups, were pioneered in Canada.Tradition in canada
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Canadian Traditions and Celebrations