Canada: A brief overview

Land and climate

Canada is the second largest country on earth and has three ocean borders:

  • the Pacific Ocean in the west;
  • the Atlantic Ocean in the east; and
  • the Arctic Ocean to the north.

Canada also borders the United States in the south and in the northwest.

Canada has many different types of landscape. There are areas with high mountains, different types of forests, prairie grasslands and arctic tundra where the ground is permanently frozen. Canada is also home to many rivers and lakes.

Seasons

In Canada, there are four different seasons: spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter.

  • Summer lasts from around June to September and the weather varies from warm to hot, with daytime temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius or Centigrade (68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher. In southern Ontario and Quebec, it can often be very humid.

  • Fall and spring are transition seasons, which mean the weather starts getting colder or warmer, and there is a lot of rain.

  • Winter is very cold in most places with temperatures often below zero degrees Celsius. Snow covers the ground from around December to March or April. In southwest British Columbia (around Victoria and Vancouver), rain is more common in winter than snow.

Depending on where you are immigrating from, you may be quite surprised by the cold and snow during your first Canadian winter. Be sure to buy a winter coat, boots, gloves and a hat to keep you warm. With the right clothing, you will be prepared to enjoy the unique beauty of a Canadian winter.

The Atlas of Canada has information on Canada’s geography and climate. You can also see the weather forecasts for every city and town in Canada.

Cities, provinces and regions

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and is located on the Ottawa River between Ontario and Quebec.

Canada has 10 provinces and three territories, each with its own capital city. These provinces and territories are grouped into five regions:

Most people live in southern Ontario and Quebec, southwest British Columbia and Alberta. Much of the north has a very low population because of the cold climate.

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