About Canada


As the second-largest country in the world, with almost ten million square kilometres of land, Canada is a vast landscape. Canada is a federation with nine provinces and three territories, with coastlines on three oceans (the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic). Even though Canada is so large, it has a relatively small population of only thirty-five million people, mostly clustered in urban areas.


Canada has two official languages: English and French. You'll find that almost all Canadians speak and understand English, the sole official language in most Canada. At the same time, French is the official language in Quebec. Two provinces use the two official languages (English and French) in New Brunswick, in Atlantic Canada. There are also many Indigenous languages recognized throughout Canada.


The overriding cultural policy - and public opinion - in Canada is in support of multiculturalism. Canadians are known to celebrate diversity and be inclusive and respectful of those from different origins and backgrounds.

Acknowledgment of Traditional Territory

The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous Peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

Symbols of Canada

The Beaver

The beaver is one of Canada's best-known emblems, as this animal is commonly seen in many areas of the country and is historically important for the development of the lands that would become Canada.

Some Beaver facts:

  1. The beaver is on the Canadian 5¢ coin.
  2. Beaver are very common in and around Edmonton today; you may see them in the river valley or nearby Elk-Island National Park; while you may not see the animals themselves, look for their dams (used to create ponds) and lodges (where they live)
  3. The beaver symbolizes UAlberta's Faculty of Engineering, as it is one of nature's most prolific "engineers."

The Canada Coat of Arms

The Canada Coat of Arms includes the symbols of Canada's four founding nations: England, France, Ireland, and Scotland. You will see the Royal Crown at the top, indicating that these are the Arms of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.

On the Canada Coat of Arms, you will see the motto of Canada inscribed, A Mari Usque Ad Mare, which is translated from Latin as "From Sea to Sea."

The Flag of Canada

George Stanley, a UAlberta alumnus, created the current flag of Canada. Consisting of a red, 11-pointed maple leaf over a white square on a red field, this flag has been in use since 1965, when it was adopted. You will see the flag flying above many buildings all over Canada and being integrated into government logos.

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