My country, Canada, has been in the news recently. Recent news stories, like THIS ARTICLE, have praised (said good things about) Canada for welcoming refugees (people who have run from their country because of war). As today is Canada Day I decided to write a blog post about my country – to share a few things you might not know and teach you some words you might not know as well. Enjoy and please see information on the next English Experiences intensive immersion course in English HERE.
Canada has been home to people for at least 13,800 Years
Today Canada is celebrating it’s 149th birthday, but in fact Canada has been home to people for much longer than that. The first people of Canada (the indigenous groups of people) are called “First Nations”. There are 634 First Nations of Canada who speak more than 50 languages. First Nations groups say they have been here since “time immemorial” (before anyone can remember) and scientists believe there is evidence (proof) of people living here in Canada between 14,000-17,000 years ago, with the oldest site (place) on the west coast of Canada, south of Alaska, having a date of 13,800 years ago. This is one of the oldest early human settlements (places where people live) in the Americas.
Canada is popular now for diversity and inclusion, but it has not always been like this
As the above quote (something someone said) shows, many Canadians now feel that we are a society which embraces (hugs, welcomes) all people wherever they come from or whatever they look like. I agree somewhat and believe in many ways Canada is much less racist (to not like someone because of the colour of their skin or the country or culture they come from) than other places in the world. Canada is a country of First Nations and Immigrants: the first people that lived here, then all the immigrants who arrived later from all over the world. Sadly, the history (past) of Canada is full of sad stories of racism, beginning with terrible racism against the First Nations of Canada. In early Canada the culture and language of the First Nations peoples were made illegal and children were forcibly taken away from their families to live in residential schools. Ships (boats) of refugees from India were not allowed to enter Canada, and during World War II Japanese people were forced to leave their things and their homes to live in prison camps. Their homes and things were sold and were not returned after the war. The Canadian government has apologized (said ‘sorry’) for all these things, and I am glad that the future of Canada look better than it’s past!
Canada is a VERY big country
Canada is the 2nd biggest country in the world, but has a small population. People who travel to Vancouver, where I live, are sometimes surprised to learn that is 5 DAYS by car or 5 HOURS by plane to travel to Toronto, another big city in Canada and probably 6 days by car to Niagra Falls. It is 8-9 hours by car to the Rocky Mountains from Vancouver. It takes more than one week to drive from one coast to the other coast in Canada (more than 6,500 km), and that is driving fast without stopping often for breaks! In Canada a one hour commute (travel to/from work or school) is common and people do not think this is far.
Canada is full of natural beauty and wild animals, but Canadians have to fight to protect these things
Canada is famous for it’s beautiful nature: the oceans, mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests. It is also famous for it’s wildlife (the animals who live in nature): bears, caribou, whales, eagles, moose, beavers, seals, and more! It is true that this is something that makes Canada special and amazing. But many people do not know that the nature and wildlife of Canada are in danger, just like that nature and wildlife in other parts of the world. Big companies own (they are the owners) too much of our trees, land and water. There are many forests (large place full of trees) that companies have cut down or are cutting down, Nestle is taking our water and only paying us pennies (penny = 1 cent, this means a very small amount of money), the extraction (to take out) of oil and natural gas is polluting our lakes, rivers and lands, and there are 521 species at risk in Canada (species = kind/type of plant or animal, at risk= in danger of being no more). Many people don’t know that Canadians have to work very hard to try to protect our beautiful nature and wildlife.
Canada’s social programs (health care, education, etc) are having a hard time because of less government money and there are many poor people in Canada
I have heard many people say their dream is to live in Canada. It is beautiful and mostly safe here. We have a universal health care system so people can go to the hospital to get help even if they are poor. But one thing you might not know is that Canada, like most countries in the world, is spending less and less money on social programs like health care and education. This is creating problems as people now have to wait a long time to see a specialist doctor and classrooms have more students. It is also very expensive to live in Canada and the cost of rent and food is getting to be more expensive every year, so more people in Canada are now working poor (working a lot but still poor). I tell you this to give you a real picture of Canada, to tell you something you might not know.
Canada is a beautiful, wonderful country and the people are very welcoming and polite. It is also a country that is not perfect, like every other country in the world! I hope you have learned some things you did not know before about this country of mine we call Canada……Happy Canada Day!!!