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Canada Information - Page 2
The Yukon was the first region to be inhabited in Canada. It is thought that the indigenous peoples of the Yukon migrated from Asia across a land bridge around ten thousand to twenty-five thousand years ago.

The Vikings were early seafarers who visited Canada, wintering in longhouses. Remains of these buildings have been found in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

John Cabot, in the service of Henry VII of England, reached Newfoundland in 1497. At this time Canada was occupied by the Inuit and people such as Algonkians and Huron-Iroquois.

In 1534 the Frenchman Jacques Cartier claimed an area of the St Lawrence River for France. However, colonists did not arrive until Samuel de Champlain founded the first French colony in Quebec. Later, in 1583, Newfoundland became Britain's first overseas colony in Canada.

Early settlers were fur traders; other traders and missionaries soon followed. In 1627 the French established the Company of New France to oversee its interests in Canada and in 1670 a group of London merchants formed the Hudson's Bay Company.

In 1763 Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War. Canada was ceded to Britain but the French-speaking colonists kept their language and way of life; the Quebec Act (1774) protected the use of French, educational rights and civil law.

More people moved to Canada including those who had fought for Britain in the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Migrants also came from the UK, Ireland and other European countries.

The black population of Canada also grew as slave-owning settlers arrived. In 1793 the governor of Upper Canada, John G. Simcoe, passed the Abolition Act making it illegal to bring in new slaves. In 1807 the British government passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act prohibiting the slave trade within the British Empire. (Slaves in the British colonies did not gain their freedom until the 1830s. The Abolition of Slavery Act 1833 began the process leading to emancipation).

The discovery of gold in the Fraser River (1858), and in the Klondike (1896), attracted many prospectors. In the same way that the Gold Rush in America led to the movement of many people similar events took place in Canada.

In 1867 the Confederation of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick formed a constitutional monarchy under the British Crown. Manitoba joined the Canadian federation in 1870, followed by British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1872, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905 and Newfoundland in 1949.

Canada's ties with Britain were strong and during the First World War (1914-18) Canadian troops supported the British. Canada also fought with the Allies during the Second World War (1939-45) when Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, attacked Poland, and Britain and France declared war upon Germany, followed by Canada and Australia.

Canada became an independent country in 1931 but remained a constitutional monarchy with the British monarch as head of state. Reforms took place in 1982 and Canada was free to adopt its own Constitution.

Canada is a high-tech industrial society with a developed infrastructure. There are major freight railway systems, waterways, ports and harbours and numerous airports. An advanced telecommunications system is in operation and large businesses are fully computerised.

Major industries are transportation equipment, chemicals, wood and paper products and food processing. Natural resources are timber, zinc, nickel, copper, gold, silver, lead, iron ore, potash, coal, petroleum, natural gas and hydropower.

Agricultural products include wheat, barley, peas, potatoes, apples, oilseed, maple syrup and tobacco. Dairy products are produced.

Canada's fishing grounds are amongst the most productive in the world.

The services sector provides the largest percentage of the Gross Domestic Product employing the largest number of the working population. Tourism is an important part of this sector.

Although affected by the global economic crisis at the end of 2008 and 2009 the economy showed a growth of three percent in 2010. (2011)

There are a number of aboriginal rock art sites in Canada including sites in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Artistic decoration was an integral part of life of the indigenous peoples such as the Cree and Ojibway people and the Inuit.

The first Canadian painter to gain international success was Montreal-born James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924). His early work was influenced by Whistler, whilst his later work was influenced by artists such as Matisse.

Before the First World War, a number of Toronto artists joined together to promote Canadian painting. One of the group was Tom Thomson who painted large canvases, influenced by Art Nouveau. In 1917 Thomson died and the remaining artists formed the Group of Seven. The ideals of the Group of Seven dominated Canadian painting in the 1920s and 1930s.

Other Canadian artists include Maxine Noel, who signs her work in her native Sioux language, Ioyan Mani - She Who Walks Beyond.

One of Canada's most famous novels is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Other authors include Margaret Duley (1894-1968), Edna Jaques (1891-1978) and Margaret Atwood. One of Canada's foremost novelists is Mordecai Richler whose novels, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Joshua Then and Now, have been made into films.

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet and songwriter, has achieved international fame. Other Canadian musicians include Bryan Adams, Alanis Morisette, Celine Dion and K.D Lang.

Canada also has a host of famous film actors such as Michael J. Fox, Jason Priestly and Dan Ackroyd.

Ice hockey is Canada's favourite sport, followed by baseball, football and lacrosse. Surfing, sailing, canoeing and fishing are also popular. Winter sports include skiing, skating and curling.

The Ironman Canada Triathlon is an annual Canadian event.

Canadian sportsmen and sportswomen compete successfully at international and Olympic level.

Canada hosted the Winter Olympics in January 2010.

Holidays such as Christmas and Easter are observed. Canada Day is on 1 July. Labour Day and Thanksgiving Day are celebrated in September and October respectively.

News from Canada can be found in Newslink.

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