Canada Facts

Explore the History


16th Century and 17th Century

The first Europeans to reach Canada were the Vikings. In 986 a Viking called Bjarni Herjolfsson was blown off course by a storm and he spotted a new land. In 1001 a man named Leif Eriksson landed in the new land, which he named Vinland (it was part of Canada). Later the Vikings did establish a colony in North America but they abandoned it because of conflict with the natives.

In 1603 a Frenchman named Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) sailed up the St Lawrence River. In 1604 he founded Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia), and in 1608 he founded Quebec. The French settlers traded with the natives for furs and farmed the land. Unfortunately, they also brought European diseases like smallpox, to which the natives had no resistance. By 1685 the population of New France was about 10,000; by 1740 it was 48,000.

18th and 19th Century

In 1759 General Wolfe's victory at Quebec ensured that Canada would become British rather than French. In 1763 the French were forced to surrender all their territories in Canada to Britain by the Treaty of Paris. After the American Revolutionary War about 40,000 Americans who remained loyal to Britain migrated from the newly independent country to Canada. By 1775 Canada had a population of about 90,000 and was flourishing.

In 1791 Lower and Upper Canada were allowed an elected legislature. However, the king appointed councils with executive powers. Many French and English-speaking Canadians wanted a more democratic form of government. In 1837 some Canadians rebelled, led by William Lyon Mackenzie. Canada gained democratic government in 1867 when Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick were federated as the Dominion of Canada.

20th and 21st Century

In the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the population of Canada grew rapidly. The Canadian economy also expanded rapidly helped by the spread of railways. A transcontinental railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885.

More than 60,000 Canadian men died in the First World War. Manitoba was the first province to allow women to vote in provincial elections. Canada suffered from a huge drop in exports of timber, grain, and fish in the 1930s. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Canadian economy boomed and Canada became an affluent society.

Canada, like other nations, struggled during the 2009 recession. However, Canada quickly rebounded. In April 2012, Canada's unemployment rate was 8.1%. By September 2013, it had dropped to 6.9%. Canada is now an affluent country with abundant natural resources. Canada's population was 37 million in 2019.


Canada's population




Annual Births


Life Expectancy

Spotlight Location: Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park, one of Canada's wildest areas, offers multicolored landscapes at every turn. Views abound as hikers make their way from the summit of Mount Edith Cavell to the caves of Maligne Canyon. The park contains all of the expected natural features, such as mountains, rivers, and even glaciers, but the town of Jasper raises the area's potential. In addition to serving as a handy base camp, Jasper offers a number of tours and excursions for visitors to take advantage of. Not to mention that winter in Jasper allows visitors to enjoy cold-weather sports such as skiing in Marmot Basin or snowshoeing in the backcountry. There's always a reason to visit Jasper, no matter the season.

Best viewing train, comfortable and small town, mysterious and secluded valley, thrilling experience of ice walking, brave attempts on snow tracks. Thinking of the vigorous life under the snow, to the year-round harvest.

A absolutely stunning natural setting! There are several hiking trails and animals can be found. It's less busy than Banff, yet it's a lot more rural. However, there are still a lot of mosquitos! It takes a long time to reach anywhere in Jasper Park.

"Inexplicably gorgeous. No words, yet so many words!!! We drove to the ice field for the glacier tour and loved the gorgeous drive. We barely grazed the surface of exploring the park, but what we saw was incredible."

Easy hike and very beautiful but compared to other options in the area a little underwhelming. Not difficult at all. Still nice for an afternoon hike if you want to keep moving. We did see a large elk in the car park when we returned.