Encompassing six different time zones and having the world’s longest coastline, Canada is truly enormous, which makes way for many facts and peculiarities.
In celebration of Canada Day, here are 20 things about Canada that may surprise you.
1. The Apology Act was passed in 2009 to make apologies inadmissible in court. This is a result of Canada’s frequent use of the word “sorry”, so it means that any apologies are merely an expression of sympathy or regret, rather than an admission of guilt or fault. Only in Canada, eh?
2. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world. In fact, if you were to walk around the country (without sleeping, eating, or resting), it would take roughly four and a half years.
3. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! in Quebec is the only place in the world to have not one, but two exclamation marks in the name. In the 17th century, “ha ha” was the word for unexpected obstacles, and in the case of this town, the obstacle was Lake Témiscouata.
4. Canadians consume more Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinners than any other nation in the world.
5. Canada is well prepared for the arrival of aliens and in 1967, built a UFO landing pad in St Paul, Alberta.
6. The population is roughly 36 million. It’s the second largest country in the world, but only 0.5% of the world’s population reside in Canada.
7. Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s official Head of State.
8. The Canadian government has declared Santa as a Canadian citizen. In fact, you can mail your letter to the North Pole in any language (including Braille), and his trusted elves will answer them all. Yes, all 1.5 million of them.
9. Speaking of Santa, there are over 2.5 million Caribou (reindeers) in Canada.
10. Canada only officially became an independent country in 1982.
11. Manitoba has the largest concentration of snakes in the world. Around 70,000 snakes, particularly red-sided garter snakes, emerge in May as they come out of hibernation. For those with ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), stay away!
12. Basketball was actually invented by a Canadian.
13. Canada tops the list as the best G20 country to be a woman. Hurrah!
14. There are as many as 2 million lakes in Canada.
15. Canada is home to 15,500 of the world’s 25,000 polar bears. If seeing polar bears is on your bucket list, fly to Churchill in Manitoba, which also has the world’s only polar bear prison. At certain times of year, the town has more polar bears than people.
16. Hockey and lacrosse are Canada’s national sports.
17. The longest non-militarized border in the world lies between Canada and the USA. It creates some interesting divides, especially in places like Derby Line and Stanstead, where the public library straddles the two countries.
18. Many of Canada’s national parks are bigger than countries. Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta is larger than Denmark and Switzerland.
19. There are more donut shops per capita in Canada than any other country in the world. But who’s saying that’s a bad thing?
20. And if you didn’t think Canada could get any more weird or wonderful, Nanaimo in British Columbia hosts an annual aquatic bathtub race every year. Amazing!
Credits: Story by Alicia Haque of the Huffington Post