155 Captivating Facts About Canada: The Great White North

Fun about interesting facts about Canada

Canada is a vast and varied land boasting an equally astonishing number fascinating feats, facts, and other fun figures. So what is Canada known for?  

To celebrate Canada’s upcoming 155th Confederation anniversary, below you’ll find no less than 155 facts about Canada (impressive, eh?)  

General Canada Facts 

  • Canada has a population of 38.2 million, putting it at 39th in the world, between Poland and Morocco.  
  • Canada has one of the lowest population densities in the world, with a mere 4 people per km2 (3/mi2). 
  • Canada is the second largest country in the world, after Russia, at 9.985 million km2 (3.855 million mi 2). 
  • Canada is one of only 2 countries that touches 3 oceans (the other is Russia).  
Map of Canada with provinces and territories outlined.
Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories.
  • The youngest province is Newfoundland and Labrador (1949), and the youngest territory is Nunavut (1999). 
  • Some of Canada’s national parks are larger than entire countries. Wood Buffalo National Park, the second largest national park in the world, is larger than Denmark, Netherlands, Taiwan, or Israel.  
  • The name Canada is derived from the Huron-Iroquois word kanata, meaning “village.” In 1835, two indigenous youths referred to their village (present-day Quebec city) as kanata when speaking to the explorer Jacques Cartier, and he continued to use to word to refer to the area.  
  • The Canadian flag was not inaugurated until 1965. Before that, the Union Jack and Red Ensign were commonly used. The colors of the flag, white and especially red, are representative of Canada.  
A collage of Canadian symbols, including Canada flag, RCMP, maple syrup, and Parks Canada Red Chairs.
Some common symbols of Canada.
  • Symbols of Canada include the maple leaf (seen on the flag), the beaver, Canadian goose, Canadian horse, Hudson’s Bay point blankets, hockey, tuques (winter hats), beer, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Tim Horton’s coffee, totem poles, inuksuits, igloos, and Parks Canada red chairs.  
  • The national anthem O Canada was originally written in French in 1880, and an English version wasn’t made until 1906. In 2018, the lyrics were amended to be gender neutral. (“in all of thy sons command” was changed to “in all of us command.”) 
  • Although the Canadian Confederation dates to 1867, Canada did not become a fully independent country from England until 1982, when it made its own constitution.  
  • Canada remains a member of the British Commonwealth and accepts Elizabeth II as the Queen of Canada, but her role is ceremonial. 
View of Niagara Falls from the Canada side.
Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s most recognizable landmarks and formed by the immense Niagara Escarpment.
  • Famous landmarks in Canada include Niagara Falls, Lake Louise, the Rocky Mountains, CN Tower, Parliament Hill, West Edmonton Mall, Percé Rock, Parliament Hill, Confederation Bridge, Stanley Park, Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Hopewell Rocks, Notre-Dame Basilica, and Rideau Canal. 
  • Canadians use a mix of the imperial and metric systems for measurements. Distances are in kilometers but older people still think in miles, most people known their weight in pounds and height in feet but government IDs use kilograms and meters, grams and ounces are both common in foods, and outdoor temperatures are in Celsius but cooking stoves use Fahrenheit.  
  • English and French are the official national languages of Canada, with 56% and 24.4% of the country being native speakers, respectively. 20% of Canadians speak a language besides English or French at home. All food products in Canada must be labeled in English and French.  
  • 1 out of 4 Canadians are “visible minorities,” (non-European descent), plus another 5% are indigenous.  
Some Canadian people of various ethnic backgrounds.
Canada has an official policy of multiculturalism.
  • Canada is nicknamed “the Great White North”. Americans sometimes jokingly call call Canada the “51st State,” “Cold Mexico,” Canadia,” or “America’s Hat.” 
  • Canada Day is celebrated on July 1, three days before America’s Independence Day. 
  • The most common nickname for Canadians is “Canucks.” 

Nature Facts about Canada 

  • Canada was totally covered in ice sheets from 100,000 to 50,000 years ago.  
  • Canada has the longest coastline in the world: 202,080 km (125567 mi 2). This is more than half of the world’s total coastline.  
Lake Superior viewed from Ontario.
Lake Superior, the largest lake in Canada, is shared with the US.
  • Canada has nearly 1 million lakes, more than any other county. It has 62% of the world’s lakes over 10 ha (0.1 km2) in size, and 563 lakes larger than 10,000 ha (100km2). This includes the 4 of the 5 Great Lakes that it shares with the US, the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world.  
  • Lake Superior is the world’s largest lake by area (or 2nd largest if Caspian Sea is considered a lake). It is shared by the US and Canada. From Thunder Bay, a series of mesas on the lake look like a Sleeping Giant. f
  • Great Bear Lake in NWT is the largest lake totally in Canada. 
  • Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is the world’s largest temperate rainforest.
  • Canada and USA share the longest border in the world, which is 8,890 km (5524 mi). 
  • Canada gets 19% of its energy from renewable sources, and 60% of its electricity from water power. 
A view of a boreal forest from above.
More than half of Canada is covered by boreal forest.
  • About 60% of Canada is covered by boreal forest, and 10% of the world’s forests are in Canada. 
  • Mount Logan in Yukon is Canada’s tallest peak, at 5,959 m (19,551 ft). It has some of the coldest temperatures on Earth and the largest base of any non-volcanic mountain in the world.  
  • Canada has 52,455 islands. If Baffin Island (the largest) were a country, it would be one of the top-50 largest in the world, similar in size to France, Spain, or Thailand.  
  • Quirky or unusual phenomena that can be witnessed in Canada include chinooks, hoodoos, aurora (Northern Lights), 24-hour darkness (or daylight) in the Arctic, singing sands, pingos, smoking hills, and the highest tidal range in the world at the Bay of Fundy.  
Northern lights in Canada.
Northern Lights in Churchill, Manitoba
  • Alert in Nunavut is the most northerly continuously inhabited place in the world. It is 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole. 
  • Canada’s highest recorded temperature, 49.7°C (121.5°F), was set in Lytton, BC on June 29, 2021. It was hotter than any temperature ever recorded in Europe or South America. The next day, a wildlife burned down most of the town.  
  • The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -62.8°C (-81.4°F) in Snag, Yukon on February 2, 1947. It was similar to the average temperature on Mars.  
A ship sailing towards a huge iceberg off the coast of Canada.
An iceberg off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
  • On Feb 11, 1999, Tahtsa Lake in BC received 145 cm (57 inches) of snow in one day, enough to bury an adult up to his or her shoulders. 
  • The largest hailstone ever found in Canada measured 11 centimeters in diameter, similar to a softball. It fell in Cedoux, Saskatchewan
  • Mythical, snake/plesiosaur-like creatures have been spotted thousands of times in Canada, including Caddy on the west coast, Ogopogo in Okanagan Lake, Seelkee in Chilliwack (BC), Manipogo in Lake Manitoba, Igopogo in Lake Simcoe (Ontario), and Memphre in Lake Memphremagog (Quebec).     
  • Famous dinosaurs first found in Canada include Albertosaurus, Edmontonia, Edmontosaurus, Gorgosaurus, Centrosaurus, Corythosaurus, Dromaeosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Styracosaurus, and Lambeosaurus. 
A dinosaur skeleton in Canada
Albertosaurus skeleton, RAM Museum in Edmonton
  • Arctic terns have the longest migration of any animal. Every year, they fly from Canada’s Arctic region to Antarctica and back.  
  • Endangered animals in Canada include badgers, cougars, gray foxes, whooping cranes, Peary caribou, great blue herons, narwhals, and orcas.  
  • There are an estimated 380,000 black bears, 26,000 grizzly bears, and 16,000 polar bears in Canada. Churchill, Manitoba is called the “Polar Bar Capital of the World.”  
A polar bear walking outside.
There are an estimated 16,000 polar bears in Canada.
  • Canada has the largest herds of caribou and wood bison in the world. 
  • Canada has the third largest oil reserve in the world, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.  
  • Canada is rich in diamonds, various minerals, and potash. From 1896–1899, there was a major gold rush in Yukon, called the Klondike Gold Rush.

Random Interesting Facts about Canada 

  • The official phone number for information about Canada is 1-800-O-Canada.  
A group of people lying on the snow and wearing toques in Canada
Canadians never leave home without a tuque (toque) in winter.
  • There’s a town in Quebec called La Tuque. It has a hill that looks like a tuque.  
  • Canadians have a reputation for being overly polite, saying sorry a lot, and saying “eh.”  
  • The ancestors of the Inuit brought snowshoes and snow goggles to Canada.  
  • Things invented by Canadians include garbage bags, pagers, pacemakers, insulin, Archie (the first Internet search engine), Java programming language, wireless radio transmissions, walkie-talkies, paint rollers, odometers, IMAX films, snowmobiles, snow blowers, anti-gravity suits for astronauts, the Wonderbra, the board game Trivial Pursuit, egg cartons, Robertson screwdrivers, and electric wheelchairs. 
Things invented in Canada
You have Canada to thank for these inventions.
  • Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone while living in Canada.  
  • The Trans-Canada Highway is 7,476 km (4,645 mi) long, from Victoria in the west to St. John’s in the east. It takes 83 hours to drive the route, not counting any stops.  
  • There is a 24,000-km (15,000-mi) walking and cycling trail across Canada called the Trans Canada Trail. It is the longest multi-use trail in the world.
  • In 1980, Terry Fox ran 5373 kilometers across Canada with an artificial leg to raise money for cancer, dying along the way. To this day, over CAD800 million has been raised in his name.  
Mac the Moose in Saskatchewan, Canada
Mac the Moose in the largest moose in the world.
  • Canada is famous for its quirky roadside attractions, including many “largest in the world” statues. Sometimes called Giants of the Prairies, these include the world’s largest moose, perogy, T-Rex, apple, fiddle, cowboy boot, hockey stick, and lobster. 
  • More than half (27) of US states are at least partly north of Canada’s most southern point.  
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon are an overseas territory of France just off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada, and a remaining vestige of what was once New France. 
  • Canada stopped producing pennies ($0.01, or 1 cent coins) in 2013, but they remain in circulation, and items for sale are still priced in one-cent increments.  
  • The Royal Canadian Mint issued the world’s first million-dollar coin in 2007. It was made of pure gold.  
A Canadian flag with a pot leaf instead of maple leaf.
“Pot” is widely consumed in Canada.
  • Canada was the second country in the world (2018) to legalize weed, after Uruguay. 8% of Canadians use it daily.  
  • Only 16 out of 5000+ people who have fallen down Niagara Falls (accidental falls or daredevils) have survived. Stunting on the falls has been illegal since 1951 and comes with a fine of $25,000.  
  • The first Thanksgiving meal in Canada happened 43 years before the first one in America. Today, the festival is celebrated more than one month earlier in Canada than the US, mainly because the harvest comes earlier in Canada.  
  • No one actually lives in igloos anymore in Canada. These traditional Inuit homes are now primarily symbolic and sometimes built by Inuit hunters for overnight stays. The temperature inside an igloo can be up to 40 degrees higher than the outdoor temperature.  
View from the inside of an igloo in Canada, looking up at its ice roof.
The inside of an igloo
  • Canada’s first 3 Prime Ministers could not converse in French. All PMs since Lester B. Pearson (1963-1968), who spoke French poorly, have been bilingual.  
  • Some of the most famous Canadian companies include Tim Hortons, Air Canada, Westjet, Bell, Roots, IMAX, Shopify, Lululemon, Canadian Tire, MAC cosmetics, Joe Fresh, Saje Natural Wellness, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels, Scotiabank, Molsen Brewery, Blackberry, Rogers, and Sun Life Financial. 
  • Mukluks, the traditional caribou- or seal-skin boots worn by indigenous people in Canada’s Arctic, are flexible, weigh little, and can withstand extremely cold temperatures.   
  • In 2005, the Canadian military built an inuksuk on Hans Island in the Arctic to claim it for Canada, in a long-standing dispute with Denmark over the area.  
An Inukshuk beside the ocean.
Inuksuits are symbols of Canada and appear on the flag of Nunavut.
  • Chris Hadfield is one of the most famous astronauts of all time. He was the first Canadian to walk in space, and is well known for his videos and social media posts about life in space.  
  • Canadarm is a Canada-made robotic arm that NASA used for 30 years. It made a name for Canada in space.  
  • Canada produces the most waste per capita in the world, but this is mainly due to large waste output by the oil and chemical industry.  

Facts about Canadian Art & Entertainment 

  • Famous Canada-born actors and actresses include John Candy, Dan Akroyd, William Shatner, Jim Carrey, Pamela Anderson, Norm Macdonald, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Sandra Oh, Michael J. Fox, Tom Green, Rachel McAdams, Anna Paquin, Ryan Gosling, Rick Moranis, Mike Myers, Leslie Nielsen, Elliot Page, Martin Short, and Mary Pickford. 
Some famous Canadian celebrities.
Canadian celebrities Mary Pickford, Norm Macdonald, Pamela Anderson, Drake, Celine Dion, and Justin Bieber
  • Famous Canadian musicians include Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams, Neil Young, Drake, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, K.D. Lang, Sarah McLachlan, Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot, Nelly Furtado, and Corey Hart.  
  • Shania Twain’s “Come on Over” is the bestselling album by a Canadian artist and the bestselling country album of all time.  
  • Famous Canadian Bands include Rush, The Tragically Hip, Arcade Fire, Sum 41, the Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, April Wine, Broken Social Scene, Steppenwolf, Loverboy, Billy Talent, Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, Blue Rodeo, Our Lady Peace, Great Big Sea, Voivod, Death from Above, Alexisonfire, Gob, Simple Plan, the Planet Smashers, Propagandhi and SNFU. 
A painting of mountains in Canada by the Group of Seven
The Group of Seven painted classic Canadian landscapes.
  • Some of the most famous artists from Canada include Emily Carr, Bill Reid, and the Group of Seven.  
  • The films Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Titanic, Mean Girls, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Good Will Hunting, Juno, American Psycho, Twilight, Deadpool, Interstellar, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fantastic Four, Final Destination, and Suicide Squad were shot partially or entirely in Canada.  
  • A black bear cub from Canada at the London Zoo inspired Christopher Robin Milne to create Winnie the Pooh.  
  • The best-selling book by a Canadian author is Anne of Green Gables, selling over 50 million copies worldwide.  
Green Gables Heritage Place, PEI, Canada
Green Gables Heritage Place on Prince Edward Island was the setting for Anne of Green Gables
  • Two Canadians have won the Nobel Prize for literature: Saul Bellow in 1976 and Alice Munro in 2013.  
  • Cirque du Soleil, based in Montreal, is the world’s largest modern circus producer.  
  • Just for Laughs, held annually in Montreal since 1983, is the world’s largest comedy festival.  

Historical Facts about Canada 

  • Humans first crossed the Bering Strait from Asia to North America on an ice bridge as early as 30,000 years ago, then walked south through a corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran Ice Sheets. 
  • An estimated 200,000 to 500,000 indigenous people lived in Canada when Europeans first arrived. Studies of indigenous communities show that 60% of them died within a few years, mostly due to introduced diseases.   
L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada
L’Anse aux Meadows is the oldest European settlement in the Americas.
  • The oldest European settlement in the Americas is at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Vikings built a village there around 1000 years ago, 500 years prior to Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas.  
  • In 1497, five years after Columbus arrived in the Americas, Giovanni (John) Cabot stepped foot on the east coast of Canada. He called his it his “new-found-land”. 
  • Jacques Cartier first sailed up the St. Lawrence River in 1535. He also proved that Newfoundland was an island, discovered Prince Edward Island, and initiated the French Empire in North America.  
Thousand Islands National Park in Canada
1000 Islands National Park on the St. Lawrence River
  • Cartier brought what he thought were diamonds back to France, but they turned out to be quartz. This gave rise to the French expression “faux comme les diamants du Canada” (false as Canadian diamonds).  
  • In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City as the capital of New France.  
  • In 1610, Henry Hudson was the first European to see Hudson Bay. After his ship got stuck there for the winter, his crew mutinied and cast him off to sea. 8 of his crew of 22 made it back to England alive. 
  • The Hudson’s Bay Company was founded in 1670. The company controlled the fur trade and became the de facto government in many parts of Canada. In 1868, the company sold its huge area of land, called Rupert’s Land, to Canada.  
Street and castle in Old Quebec in Quebec City
The historic district of Old Quebec
  • After the 7 Years War (1756-63), the French ceded their lands in Canada to the British in the Treaty of Paris, which also established the border between Canada and the US.  
  • In 1791, Quebec was divided into Upper Canada (today’s Ontario) and Lower Canada (today’s Quebec).  
  • Other names that were initially considered for Canada included Albertsland, Albionora, Borealia, Britannia, Cabotia, Colonia, Efisga, Hochelaga, Norland, Superior, Transatlantia, Tuponia, and Victorialand. 
Esplanade Riel, a footbridge in Winnipeg, at night
Esplanade Riel footbridge in Winnipeg is named after Louis Riel.
  • The explorer and mapmaker David Thompson traveled more than 90,000 kilometers across Canada, leading to him being called the greatest mapmaker the world has ever produced. 
  • Scottish-Canadian Sir Sanford Fleming came up with the idea for standardized international time zones in 1878. He also designed Canada’s first postage stamp.  
A map of the Northwest Passage in Canada
The Northwest Passage
  • For centuries, Europeans tried to find a shipping route around North and South America to China. Roald Amundsen first completed the Northwest Passage through Canada’s Arctic in 1903-6. It still isn’t frequently used due to an excess of sea ice, but this is becoming less of an issue as a result of global warming. 
  • On April 14-15, 1912, the Titanic sank 600 km (370 mi) off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.  
  • In 1914, two ships crashed on the St. Lawrence River, causing 1012 deaths.  
  • The deadliest human-caused disaster in Canadian history was the explosion of the SS Mont-Blanc ship off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1917, causing over 2000 deaths in adjacent Halifax. It was the largest human-made explosion in the world prior to nuclear bombs.  
  • Around 55,000 people died from the Spanish Flu in Canada, roughly double the number of COVID deaths as of late 2021.  
  • Women gained the right to vote province-by-province in Canada, achieving suffrage first in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1916, and lastly in Quebec in 1940.  
Nika Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, Canada
Nikka Yuko Garden celebrates Japanese heritage in Canada.
  • Canada adopted its own constitution and became officially independent in 1982.  
  • Kim Campbell was the first and only female Prime Minister of Canada in 1993. She was only in office for 132 days.  
  • In the Quebec Referendum of 1995, 50.8% of Quebecois voters voted NOT to leave Canada, while 49.2% said yes. It had the largest turnout of any vote ever in Quebec. 
  • Canada joined the Afghanistan War in 2001, but refused to join the invasion of Iraq in 2003.   
A street with rainbow banners over it before a Pride Parade in Canada
Preparations for a Pride Parade in Canada
  • In 2004, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.  
  • In 2008, the government of Canada formally apologized to the indigenous people for the residential school system. The issue became a hot topic again in 2021, when thousands of bodies of indigenous children were discovered in mass graves outside of former residential schools.  
  • In 2022, the world’s eye turned to Canada as truckers mobilized and drove to Ottawa to protest against COVID restrictions, which they called the “Freedom Convoy.”

Facts about Canadian Sports 

  • The most famous athletes from Canada include Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Marie-Philip Poulin, and Sidney Crosby (hockey), Joey Votto (baseball), Steve Nash (basketball), Doug Flutie (football), Lennox Lewis (boxing), Donovan Bailey (sprinting), Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes (speed skating), Clara Hughes (skiing), and Georges St-Pierre (UFC).   
Statue of Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton, Canada
Wayne Gretzky holding the Stanley Cup
  • When Wayne Gretzky, aka “The Great One,” retired in 1999, he held 61 records, including most career points, most goals in a season, and most assists. Most of his records are considered unbeatable. Today, Gretzky owns a winery and brewery, with the beer and wine labels bearing his trademark number, 99.  
  • The Mi’kmaq people played an early version of hockey and designed the first curved hockey sticks. 
  • Canadian Donald Munro invented tabletop hockey in 1932 and sold the concept to Eaton’s Department Store. 
  • Canadian radio broadcaster Foster Hewitt coined the term “He shoots, he scores!” in 1923 during an intermediate playoff game between Toronto and Kitchener.  
  • Tim Horton, who lends his name to the famous Canadian doughnut chain, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. 
Some hockey players holding their sticks on the ice.
Hockey is Canada’s national sport.
  • The first recorded hockey game in Canada was in Kingston in 1839, while the first indoor hockey game took place in Montreal on March 3, 1875. The first hockey championship was at Montreal’s Winter Carnival in 1883.  
  • The first World Women’s Championship in hockey was held in Ottawa in 1990, with Canada winning. 
  • Lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in Canada. It originates in indigenous communities prior to European arrival. William George Beers created the National Lacrosse Association of Canada in 1867, and also popularized snowshoeing and tobogganing.  
  • Canadian James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 while he was a PE instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts.  
  • In 1969, the Montreal Expos became the first Canadian baseball team to join America’s National League.  
Youppi riding on the ice.
Youppi was the first mascot to be thrown out of a major league game.
  • Youppi, the mascot of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team and former mascot of the Montreal Expos, was the first mascot to ever be thrown out of a Major League Baseball game. 
  • The Grey Cup, the ultimate game and prize of the CFL (Canadian Football League) was named after Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada from 1904–1911. 
  • The CFL had teams named the Roughriders and Rough Riders, from Regina and Ottawa, respectively, until the latter ceased to be a team in 1996. Ottawa’s team is said to have chosen the name first.  
  • Rohan Marley, son of Bob Marley, played for the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1995.  
  • Canada has hosted the Olympics 3 times: the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
The Montreal Olympic Stadium
  • The Montreal Olympic Stadium has the largest capacity in Canada. It was also the first to get a retractable roof, in 1987, one year before the SkyDome (Now Rogers Centre) in Toronto. The Montreal Olympic Stadium also has the world’s tallest inclined tower, the Montreal Tower, next to it.  
  • At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada won more gold medals than any other country for the first time.  
  • Swimmer Penny Oleksiak has the most Olympic medals (7) of any Canadian athlete.  
  • The highest scoring game in the World Series was 15–14 in 1993, with the Toronto Blue Jays defeating the Philadelphia Phillies.  
A 5-pin bowling lane with a ball rolling towards the pins.
Five-pin bowling is a Canadian innovation.
  • Five-pin bowling was invented by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto in 1909. He created it after players complained that 10-pin bowling was too tiring. 
  • Curling, which originated in Scotland, is one of the most popular sports and the most televised women’s sport in Canada.  
  • Canada has 4000 kilometers of ski slopes at 296 ski resorts, accessed by 807 ski lifts.  
  • Although not popularly watched like in many other parts of the world, soccer is the most popularly played sport in Canada.  

Facts about Canadian Food & Drinks 

  • Poutine is the dish that is most commonly associated with Canada. It consists of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Its origins are uncertain, but was invented sometime in the late 1950s in Quebec.  
A bowl of poutine on a restaurant table.
Poutine is the most famous Canadian dish.
  • Maple syrup is the quintessential Canadian ingredient, and Canada produces 75% of the world’s maple syrup supply. It is traditionally poured over pancakes, but you can also find it in cookies, doughnuts, lattes, and even cooked with bacon. It is one of the most popular souvenirs from Canada.  
  • A cabane à Sucre (Sugar Shack) is a traditional cabin in Eastern Canada where maple sap is boiled into maple syrup. A popular treat associated with them is maple taffy, made by pouring molten syrup onto snow so it takes on the consistency of thick caramel.  
Scoops of maple syrup on snow
Making maple taffy on snow
  • Over 1 billion doughnuts are sold every year in Canada. The doughnut and coffee shop Tim Hortons is symbolic of Canada. Canadians affectionately call it “Timmies” and have specific vocabulary for its coffees, like double-double (a coffee with two creams and two sugars).  
  • What other countries call “Canadian bacon” is in Canada usually referred to as “back bacon.” It is a cut of bacon, usually round or oblong, that includes pork loin from the back of the pig and sometimes a strip of belly fat.  
  • Indian Candy” is a Canadian dish with indigenous roots, in which salmon is smoked with maple syrup of other sweet ingredients.
A tourtière (meat pie) in Quebec
Tourtière is a French-Canadian specialty.
  • Food items invented in Canada include tourtière (Quebec-style meat pie), peanut butter, Hawaiian pizza, Nanaimo bars, sushi pizza, ketchup chips, butter tarts, canola oil, Pablum (children’s cereal), Montreal-style smoked meat, the London Fog latte, heart-shaped chocolate boxes, and Crispy Crunch & Coffee Crisp chocolate bars. 
  • Some of the first indigenous dishes encountered by European explorers were pemmican (dried/smoked meat mixed with hot fat and dried fruits) and early forms of bannock
  • The North American-style Chinese food buffet originated among Chinese migrant railway workers in BC.  
Nanaimo bars on a white tray
Nanaimo bars are named after Nanaimo, British Columbia
  • The McIntosh apple cultivar was created in Canada. It is Canada’s national apple.  
  • More ice cream is sold in winter than in summer in Canada. 
  • Canadians are the world’s largest consumers of 7-Eleven Slurpees, with 30 million sold per year. Winnipeg has been called the Slurpee Capital of the World, with each store there selling 188,833 Slurpees on average per month.  
  • Kraft Dinner is the Canadian version of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and has been called the “de facto national dish of Canada.” It is the most popular item purchased from grocery stores in Canada.  
A bowl of Kraft dinner macaroni and cheese.
Some consider Kraft Dinner (mac & cheese) Canada’s national dish.
  • Chef Hidekazu Tojo of Vancouver is one of several that claim to have invented the California roll (the others are all from California…) 
  • Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada. The average Canadian drinks 53.5 litres of beer per year.  
  • Despite the rapid proliferation of craft breweries in Canada, Labatt Brewing and Molson Canada still account for 75% of beer sales.  
  • Cocktails invented in Canada include the Caesar, Caribou (similar to European mulled wine but with maple syrup), and a shot called the B-52, which was invented at Banff Springs Hotel.  
A caesar cocktail with shrimp and asparagus.
The caesar is the most famous cocktail invented in Canada.
  • In Canada, a small amount of rye is usually used making whisky, so Canadian whisky is often called rye whisky or simply rye.  
  • Crown Royal, the #2 top-selling whisky brand in the United States, is Canadian.  

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