People and Culture
You’re moving to Canada. Here’s what you should expect.
Canada’s diverse blend of people offer a warm welcome to its pristine landscape with its rich history and vast plains and mountains. Canada is the second largest country in the world, and extends from the U.S. border to the south all the way to the Arctic Circle to the north.
Canada has ten provinces and three territories; the capital city of Canada is Ottawa, but there are several major cities you may have heard of such as Vancouver, Toronto and the French-speaking cities of Québec and Montréal.
Canada is a bilingual country, with English and French the two official languages, but you will find that most people speak English in the home. You will probably learn some common Canadian slang such as loonie (a dollar coin), chinook (a warm mid-winter wind from over the mountain) and Hog Town (a nickname for Toronto).
There are three groups of Indigenous people found in Canada – the First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
The First Nations first settled in Canada over 15,000 years ago and since then have developed many different communities across the land, each with its own customs, culture and character. Today in Canada there are 634 recognised First Nations governments or groups and these are mostly found in British Columbia and Ontario.
The Métis are the descendants the Thule culture and the Inuit live in the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska.
The Inuit are the descendants the Thule culture and live in the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska.
Many images of Canada are of the extreme cold and snow, but the weather in Canada is as varied as its landscape. In general you’ll experience these weather conditions in each season:
- Summer (June to August) - the weather is typically warm or even hot, with daytime temperatures somewhere between 20°C and 30°C.
- Autumn (September to November) - the weather will start to become colder and there is usually a lot of rain
- Winter (December to February) – the winter in Canada is very cold, the temperature will often stay below freezing all day.
- Spring (March to May) - the weather will start to become warmer and days are very pleasant.
Most parts of Canada have Daylight Saving Time so remember you’ll need to put your clock forward by one hour on the second Sunday every March. Daylight Savings ensures you get to make the most of the warmer weather in spring, summer and autumn, as you experience more daylight in the evenings.
Politics and government
Canada has a democratically elected Prime Minister, under a constitutional monarchy in Canada all decisions are made by the government led by the elected Prime Minister. Canada’s head of state is the Queen of the British royal family, and she is represented in Canada by the Governor-General.
In Canada there are three levels of government:
The federal level – led by the Prime Minister, the federal government deals with national and international matters such as national defence and foreign affairs.
- The provincial or territorial level – this level of government is authorized to change laws and manage the public land.
- The municipal (local) level – this level of government runs individual cities, towns or districts and is responsible for things such as roads, emergency services, public transport and some local health and social services.