My wife Cecile and I recently took our Canadian citizenship, and I thought I should share with you a part of this country we have adopted as home.
Here are some things about this beautiful country - Canada:
3.9 million - Canada's total area, in square miles (10 million sq km). That makes it just about one Florida bigger than the United States. It also makes it the second largest country in the world. Only Russia spans more land than Canada.
1 - Number of countries that border Canada. It's just the United States. In fact, Canada and the United States share the longest international border in the world. Including the frontier between Canada and Alaska, it's more than 5,500 miles (8,800 km) long.
3 - Number of oceans that border Canada. Canada may only border one country, but it touches three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic. The Canadian arctic archipelago, composed of more than 36,500 islands north of mainland Canada, extends deep into the Arctic Circle.
33 million - Canada's total population. There are about the same number of people living in Afghanistan, and more than 3 million more living in California. Canada may have lots of land, but it does not have lots of people. With only about a tenth of the population of the United States, Canada is one of the least densely populated countries in the world.
90 - Percentage of the population that lives within 100 miles (160 km) of the United States. There, the weather is more temperate and the winters less harsh. Permafrost in the "Great White North" makes living there a challenge.
70 - Percentage of the population that lives in eastern Canada, especially in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Together, those two big eastern provinces get to elect 181 out of Canada's 308 members of parliament.
10 - Number of provinces in the Canadian confederation. In Canada's federal system of government, the 10 provinces have more power than U.S. states. Canadians often group the provinces this way. In the east, on the Atlantic coast, lie the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the 3 "maritime" provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Down the St. Lawrence Seaway lie French-speaking Quebec and populous Ontario. Inland are the "prairie" provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. And in the west, on the Pacific coast, lies British Columbia.
3 - Number of Canadian territories. Canada's territories--the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut--have fewer powers than the provinces. They're also all north of the 60th parallel and largely covered by arctic permafrost and ice. The territory of Nunavut was created most recently, in 1999, as a homeland for the Inuit peoples. Nunavut means "our land" in the language of the Inuit.