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Happy Birthday, Canada: 153 facts about the True North strong and free

Last Updated Jul 1, 2020 at 10:30 pm EDT

Summary

British North America Act came into effect this day in 1867 creating the Dominion of Canada


Canada Day officially replaced Dominion Day as the official holiday in 1982


On July 1, 1867 the British North America Act came into effect, joining the colonies of Canada (later split into Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into the Dominion of Canada

Originally incorporated as Bytown in 1850, it was changed to Ottawa in 1855 which is derived from the Algonquin word ‘adawe’ which means ‘to trade’

On May 26, 1932 Parliament passes an Act establishing the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, a forerunner to the CBC

The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is home to the world’s longest skating rink in the winter

The Regina cyclone is the deadliest tornado to strike a Canadian city, killing 28 and injuring hundreds on June 20, 1912

English and French are the official languages of Canada

Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories

Canada got its name through a miscommunication after French explorer Jacques Cartier was invited by local natives to their “Kanata” – the native word for ‘village’

‘Buffalo’ was the proposed name of a new Canadian province in 1904 which was rejected and the territory divided up into what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan

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


In 2008, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney officially declared Santa Claus a Canadian citizen

Superhero Superman was the creation of Canadians Joe Shuster and American Jerry Siegal

Forests cover up to 42 per cent of Canada and one-tenth of the world’s forest can be found here

Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected to Toronto in 1974

The territory of Nunavut takes up one-fifth of Canada’s total landmass

Canada’s official phone number is 1-800-O-Canada

Dominion Day was officially declared and made a public holiday in 1879

In 2019, the population of Canada was 37.59 million

The snowmobile was invented in Canada

Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball. The first-ever game was played on December 21, 1891


Clara Hughes has won a total of six medals in two sports, cycling and speed skating, at the Summer and Winter Olympics

The Montreal Canadiens are the last Canadian-based team to win the Stanley Cup in 1993

West Edmonton Mall, once the largest in the world, still is home to the largest indoor amusement park

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was minus 63 C (minus 81.4 F) on February 3, 1947 in Snag, Yukon

Agnes Macphail becomes the first woman elected to the House of Commons on December 6, 1921

A Mari Usque ad Mare (From sea to sea) is the Canadian motto

Grise Fiord in Nunavut, population 129 (2016), is Canada’s northernmost civilian settlement

Yonge Street in Ontario is the longest street in the world, stretching from the foot of Lake Ontario and running north to the Minnesota border, almost 2,000 km

On November 7, 1885 the “last spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway was hammered at Craigellachie, B.C., connecting the province to Eastern Canada via a transcontinental railway.

Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, a parish municipality in Quebec located near the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, is the only town in the world with two exclamation points in its name


Halifax is named after Lord Halifax, the president of the British Board of Trade

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada was 45 C (113 F) on July 5, 1937 in two small towns in southeastern Saskatchewan

Seven Canadians have won an NBA championship with Rick Fox and Bill Wennington sharing the honour of three titles each

The Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains are the two major mountain ranges in Canada while the St. Lawrence and Mackenzie are the major rivers in the country

There have been 27 Nobel Prize winners from Canada – the last being Jim Peebles in 2019 who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics

The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883

Whitehorse was originally called White Horse after the foam in the nearby rapids on the Yukon River which looked similar to the manes on white horses.

St. John’s got its name from Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real, who recorded the name as Rio de San Johem in 1519. It wasn’t until the 1570s that the city reverted to its modern-day spelling

Banff National Park is Canada’s first and oldest national park

Dog food is tax-deductible in Canada, if it is for a service dog

Phil Edwards holds the record for most Olympic medals won by a Canadian athlete in the Summer Olympics with five bronzes in athletics from 1928 to 1936

Macaroni and Cheese is the most purchased packaged grocery item in Canada

Quebec City comes from the Algonquin language meaning ‘narrow passage’ or ‘straight’

You can go swimming with beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba

Canada has more donut shops per capita than the United States

Yellowknife got its name from the aboriginal group known as the “T’atsaot’ine” or “Yellowknives”

O Canada became the unofficial national anthem of Canada in 1967. It was officially adopted on July 1, 1980

St. John’s, Newfoundland sees about 212 days a year when at least some precipitation falls

The term trick or treat was first used in Alberta

Of the 54 first overall draft picks in the NHL, 39 have been Canadian born players. Connor McDavid was the last Canadian taken first overall in 2017 by Edmonton


A.A. Milne’s stories about Winnie-the-Pooh were inspired by a black bear cub from Canada named Winnipeg

Thoroughbred Northern Dancer became the first Canadian-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby in 1964 and is one of two non-humans inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Montreal becomes the first Canadian city to host the Summer Olympics on July 17, 1976. Calgary would become the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympics in 1988

At 3,855,103 square miles, Canada is the second-largest country in the world behind only Russia

Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world

Marilyn Bell became the first Canadian to swim Lake Ontario from Youngstown, N.Y. to Toronto in 1954 at the age of 16

Robert Stanley Weir’s 1908 version of O Canada was proclaimed the country’s national anthem by an act of Parliament in 1980. A version of the song was first performed in 1880 for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations

The North-West Mounted Police is formed on May 23,1873. Nine officers were among its first members. The force was renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920

Canada was the first country to declare war on Japan hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. The United States and Great Britain did so the next day.

There are 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada and Alberta is home to six of them including Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada

The Toronto Metros-Croatia was the first professional soccer team based in Canada to win a championship in the NASL in 1976

Chemist and pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson came up with the idea for a peanut paste for people who could hardly chew solid food and in 1884 he was awarded a patent for what would eventually become peanut butter

Montreal has more churches than houses

The Toronto Blue Jays were the first Major League Baseball team outside the United States to win the World Series in 1992. They followed it up with a second title in 1993

The electric light bulb was invented in Canada

Mount Logan is Canada’s highest mountain. It runs from Alaska in the west to the Yukon in the east

Originally known as Frobisher Bay, the city of Iqaluit reverted back to its original Inuktitut name – which means “place of many fish” – in 1987

Sidney Crosby’s “golden goal” in the final of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament at the 2010 Vancouver Games gave Canada 14 gold medals, more than any other nation has won in the history of the Winter Olympics

The Montreal Canadians are the oldest hockey team in the NHL (since 1917) and one of the oldest continuously existing sports franchises in the world (founded 1909)


Fredericton was known as ‘Ste. Anne’s Point’ until 1785 when governor Thomas Carleton changed it to “Fredericstown” after Prince Frederick, Duke of York. It was then shortened to Fredericton

There are 11 points on the Canadian flag’s maple leaf

Canada officially became its own country in 1982

Queen Elizabeth II is the Canadian head of State

Canada is home to the world’s smallest jail in Rodney, Ontario, measuring 270 square feet.

Until 2007, the CN Tower in Toronto was the world’s tallest free-standing structure. It remains the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere

Edmonton was originally known as “Fort Edmonton” by the Hudson Bay Company who used it as a fur-trading post

Built in 1695, Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico

Della Falls in British Columbia is considered by many to be the highest waterfall in Canada with a vertical drop of 440 metres (1,443 feet)

Athabasca Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan is home to the world’s most northerly sand dunes


Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach in the world

Alert in Nunavut is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. It has been permanently inhabited since April 1950. In 2016 the population was recorded at 62.

Churchill, Manitoba is the home to the world’s only prison for polar bears

Kingston was named the first capital of the United Province of Canada in 1841. Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria to be Canada’s capital in 1857 because it was centrally located between Montreal and Toronto

Steve Nash is the only Canadian to win the NBA’s MVP award on two separate occasions

No official celebrations took place during the first 12 years of Canada’s existence

The table-top hockey game – also known as rod hockey, stick hockey, and bubble hockey – was invented by Canadian Donald Munro Sr., in 1932 as a cheap Christmas gift for his family

On June 6, 1944 15,000 Canadian troops stormed and captured Juno Beach from Germany as part of the epic invasion of Normandy. Approximately 1 in 10 Allied soldiers on D-Day was Canadian.

Founded in 1786, Molson Coors Canada is the oldest brewery in North America and continues to produce beer on the site of the original brewery in Montreal

Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run off the Toronto Maple Leafs at Hanlan’s Point Stadium on Toronto Island in 1914


The world’s largest beaver dam is found in the far south of Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta and measures 850 metres long

Cindy Klassen holds the record for most Olympic medals won by a Canadians athlete in the Winter Olympics with six: 1 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze

The first known use of the term “Canuck” to refer to a Canadian was first used in 1835

Kraft Dinner is one of the top-selling grocery items in Canada

The House of Commons approves the Canadian Bill of Rights which guaranteed civil rights and freedoms to all Canadians on August 4, 1960

There are 48 national parks and national park reserves in Canada. Banff is the oldest and most visited.

On March 31, 1960 First Nations peoples were given the right to vote following changes to the Indian Act. The move came 10 years after Inuit peoples were afforded the same right

The world’s first UFO landing pad was built in 1967 in St. Paul, Alberta

There are 6 time zones in Canada – Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic, and Newfoundland

Terry Fox begins his Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, NL on April 12, 1980. He was forced to end his run five months later in Thunder Bay after cancer was discovered in his lungs.


After 13 different flag designs since 1597, a new national flag of Canada was adopted on December 15, 1964, and after receiving royal assent from Queen Elizabeth, it was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill on February 15, 1965

The Beaver has been Canada’s national symbol since 1975

Research In Motion developed the Blackberry Smartphone in Waterloo

On February 23, 1909, John Alexander Douglas McCurdy flew the Silver Dart for one kilometre becoming the first powered flight of a heavier than air machine in Canada

John Cabot was the first explorer to map Canada’s Atlantic shore, setting foot on what he called ‘New Founde Land” in 1497

At least two-thirds of the world’s polar bear population lives on Canadian territory with Churchill, Manitoba often called the ‘polar bear capital of the world’

Winnipeg comes from the Cree name given to the lake 40 miles north, meaning “Win” (muddy) “nipee” (water)

Canada’s female track and field team won two gold, two silver and a bronze at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam – the first time women were allowed to compete in track and field events at the Games

In 1874, McGill University challenged Harvard University to a game of “foot ball” that eventually led to what we now know is the modern version of football

Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolate insulin as a treatment for diabetes at the University of Toronto on July 27, 1921. The two would receive the Nobel Prize for their achievement


After arriving on the Island of St. John (now known as PEI) in 1764, Captain Samuel Holland recommended the name ‘Charlotte Town’ to honour Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III of England

Calgary is considered the sunniest city in Canada, receiving an average of 2,396 hours of sunshine every year or 333 sunny days annually

There are more than 55,000 species of insects in Canada

The vaccine for the Ebola virus was discovered by researchers at Canada’s Public Health Agency in 2014

Wilfrid Laurier becomes Canada’s first French-Canadian prime minister on June 23, 1896

Standard time was invented in Canada

The first indoor hockey game was played on March 3, 1875 in Montreal

The border between Canada and the United States, at 5,525 miles, is the world’s longest unprotected border

Victoria also started as a trading post founded by Hudson Bay Company, known as “Fort Victoria”

Pekwachnamaykoskaskwaypinwanik Lake is the longest place name in Canada


Mike Weir became the first Canadian, male or female, to win a major golf championship, the Masters in 2003

According to Guiness World Records, the largest lobster caught was off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977. It weighed just over 20 kg (44 pounds)

Toronto Raptors became the first NBA team outside the United States to win the league championship in 2019

The Montreal AAA hockey team defeated the Ottawa Generals 3-1 to win the first-ever Stanley Cup on March 22, 1894

In 1917, women were given the right to vote in federal elections, however, it was limited to nurses on the battlefront and women related to men in active wartime service. It wasn’t until 1918 when most women aged 21 and over were granted the right to vote.

Lacrosse is the official summer sport of Canada while Ice Hockey was declared the official winter sport in 1994

Jacques Villeneuve is the only Canadian – and the third driver ever – to have won the CART Championship, Indianapolis 500 and Formula One World Championship in his career

The first organized game of hockey was played in Montreal in 1875. The town of Windsor, Nova Scotia is the self-proclaimed ‘birthplace of hockey’ based on a claim of an 1844 reference to a game of hurley

Hockey player Wayne Gretzky and skier Nancy Greene were named Canada’s male and female athletes of the 20th century

Maple syrup, butter tarts, and poutine are considered Canada’s most ‘iconic’ foods


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Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins are the only Canadians selected with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft

The Hudson Bay Company is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world, having been incorporated in 1670

The Big Nickel in Sudbury is the world’s largest coin measuring nine metres in diameter

Toronto is derived from an Iroquois term meaning ‘where there are trees in water’

Montreal is home to the world’s second-largest French-speaking population after Paris

In 1793, Upper Canada – under the leadership of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe – became the first province in the British Empire to abolish slavery.

The province of British Columbia passed the “Apology Act” in 2006 to enable the provincial government to apologize to large groups of voters without giving rise to potential lawsuits and damage claims.

The Northwest Territories is home to two of the largest lakes in the world – Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake

Lionel Conacher, a multi-sport athlete, and track and field star Bobbie Rosenfeld were voted Canada’s male and female athletes of the first half of the century

Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian, male or female, to win a Grand Slam tennis title at the U.S. Open in 2019


Edward Hanlan becomes Canada’s first world sports champion, defeating E.A. Trichett of Australia in the world’s championship of singles rowing on November 15, 1880

Royal Montreal Golf Club is the oldest golf club in Canada, founded in 1873

The Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917, killed more than 1,600 people and injured 9,000 in what was Canada’s worst disaster at the time

Ottawa is the second coldest capital city in the world after Moscow

Canada becomes the fourth nation to recognize same-sex marriages in 2005

The Bank of Canada was created in 1934 to manage the money supply and bring stability to the financial system during the Great Depression

Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world

On March 31, 1949, Newfoundland became the 10th and final province to enter the Dominion of Canada

Since 1915 the Montreal Canadiens have appeared in 34 Stanley Cup finals, winning 24 times.

Paul Henderson scores the winning goal with 34 seconds left as Canada defeated the Soviet Union 6-5 in the final game of the Canada-Russia Summit Series in 1972


Canada is the largest producer of Ice Wine

Originally known as Oskana-Ka-asateki or “the place where bones are piled” Princess Louise suggested a more regal name was needed 1882 and settled on Regina after her mother, Queen Victoria

Canada Day officially replaced Dominion Day as the official holiday in 1982