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11. Canada GENERAL INFORMATION: Canada is the second largest country in the world It also has the world's longest coastline (more than 243,000 km) Despite its size there are only 33 million people living here. The reason for that is that many places in Canada are inhabitable and the climate in the north is very cold. Most people live on the Canadian – US border. The name “Canada” comes from the ancient Indian word “kanata”, which means “village”, or “settlement”. Canada’s capital city is Ottawa. Other famous cities are Montreal, Vancouver or Toronto. HISTORY The history of Canada started when migrating people from Asia entered North America Many of them died during the European colonization from diseases carried by the settlers European exploration began after 1480 when the explorers were looking for a North West Passage by sea from Europe to Asia's riches The voyage to Newfoundland in 1497 of John Cabot began further exploration and laid the basis for English claims to Canada Canada was a British colony until Confederation in 1867 when the Dominion of Canada was born and the first Prime Minister (Sir John Alexander Macdonald) began to build the country we know today POLITICAL SYSTEM Along with Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and others, Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations Canada is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its reigning monarch She is the head of state, and the Governor General is her representative in Canada. He must sign all new laws before they can be passed Canada’s political system is very similar to the British one. They have a parliament with two chambers. The leader of the party that won the elections is the prime minister (he appoints the Governor General). THE FLAG Parliament adopted the Canada's National Flag in 1964. It has a maple leaf emblem and the red and white colours which are Canada's official colours. Later, the maple leaf was the symbol used by Canadian soldiers during the WWI and WWII. HOLIDAYS National holiday is the 1st of July known as Canada Day. It marks the founding of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 and is celebrated with fireworks and barbecues and parades They also celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. It is traditionally a time to give thanks for the harvest and enjoy meals like roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.