Fascinating facts about Canada

Canada is a land of superlatives: longest, highest, oldest and biggest. It is also a land of rich heritage and colourful inhabitants. Here is Canada in a statistical nutshell:

Canadian triviaCanadian flag

  • The first Prime Minister of Canada was Sir John Macdonald, appointed on 1 July 1867.

  • The Bay of Fundy in the Maritimes has the world's highest tides. (This is challenged in some sources.)

  • Canada has the world's longest coastline at over 244,000km.

  • The highest point in Canada is Mount Logan in the Yukon. It rises to almost 6000m.

  • The most northern point in mainland Canada is Murchison Promontory on Boothia Peninsula, Nunavut.

  • The most southern point in mainland Canada is Point Pelee, Ontario.

  • The most western point in mainland Canada is the Alaskan border in the Yukon.

  • The most eastern point in mainland Canada is Cape St Charles, Labrador.

  • The largest lake inside the borders of Canada is Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories.

  • Nunavut is the newest territory, having been incorporated in 1999.

  • The Trans-Canada Highway is said to be the longest national highway in the world.

  • Arthur "Foxy" Irwin, born in Toronto, but raised in the United States, is credited with inventing the first baseball glove.

  • The North Pole is not owned by Canada (or any other country).

  • In the most roundabout fashion, Winnie-the-Pooh was named for the city Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. A Canadian lieutenant named Harry Colebourn bought a bear from a hunter, and named the bear Winnipeg in honour of his hometown. Colebourn sold the bear Winnipeg to the London Zoo, where he was seen by A.A. Milne's son Christopher, who named his own stuffed teddy bear after Colebourn's Winnipeg.

  • Before becoming a famous actor, Keanu Reeves ran a pasta shop in Toronto.

  • Half of Canada's land mass is covered in forest.

  • Canada is the second largest country in the world, next to Russia.

Canadian inventions and discoveries

  • Basketball – invented by James A. Naismith in 1891.

  • Electric light bulb – Henry Woodward of Toronto made improvements to the existing light bulb, then sold the Canadian patent to Thomas Edison, who perfected it further.

  • Electron microscope – the first practical microscope of this sort was invented by Eli Franklin Burton of the University of Toronto.

  • Standard time – although a standard time had been used in the past by British railroads, it was Canadian Sandford Fleming who proposed that a standard time be used to coordinate train schedules in North America.

  • Telephone – a displaced Brit, Alexander Graham Bell, moved with his family to Canada in the early 1920s. He subsequently split his time between his home in Brantford, Ontario and Boston in the United States. With his partner Thomas A. Watson he was successful in transmitting the human voice. He maintained homes in both countries for the rest of his life.

  • Insulin – Frederick Banting and Charles Best were the first to inject insulin into diabetic patients, thereby discovering that blood sugar could be controlled.

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