Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Various indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government. The country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and officially bilingual at the federal level. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.
Almost all Canadian cities are served by at least one daily newspaper, along with community and neighbourhood weeklies. In large cities which have more than one daily newspaper, usually at least one daily is a tabloid format. Bilingual cities like Montreal and Ottawa have important papers in both French and English. Canada currently has two major national newspapers, The Globe and Mail and the National Post. Le Devoir, though not widely read outside Quebec, is the French-language counterpart to the national newspapers. Canadian newspapers are mostly owned by large chains. In the 2000s, a number of online news and culture magazines have launched to provide alternative sources of journalism. The late 2010s have seen an expansion in online news partisan outlets with ties to the major political parties in Canada.
Art in Canada is marked by thousands of years of habitation by First Nations Peoples followed by waves of immigration which included artists of European origins and subsequently by artists with heritage from countries all around the world. Historically the Catholic Church was the primary patron of art in early Canada, especially Quebec, and in later times artists have combined British, French and American artistic traditions, at times embracing European styles and at other times working to promote nationalism by developing distinctly Canadian styles. Canadian art remains the combination of these various influences. Canadian visual art has been dominated by figures such as Tom Thomson – the country's most famous painter – and by the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven were painters with a nationalistic and idealistic focus, who first exhibited their distinctive works in May 1920. Associated with the Group was another prominent Canadian artist, Emily Carr, known for her landscapes and portrayals of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
A number of Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood significantly contributed to the creation of the motion picture industry in the early days of the 20th century. Over the years, many Canadians have made enormous contributions to the American entertainment industry, although they are frequently not recognized as Canadians. Canada has developed a vigorous film industry that has produced a variety of well-known films, actors and actresses. Canada has a well-developed media sector, but its cultural output is often overshadowed by imports from the United States. As a result, the preservation of a distinctly Canadian culture is supported by federal government programs, laws, and institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Given Canada's small market and its position next to the dominant producer of feature films (the United States), the Canadian film industry receives substantial assistance from the government. French Canadian films, on the other hand, are often more successful—as with French-language television, the language difference makes Quebec audiences much more receptive to Canadian-produced film. There is an established network of film festivals which also provide important marketing and audience opportunities for Canadian films. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is considered by many to be one of the most prevalent film festivals for Western cinema.
Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers. As a consequence of European colonization, the population of Canada's Indigenous peoples declined by forty to eighty percent, and several First Nations, such as the Beothuk, disappeared. In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I, founded St. John's, Newfoundland, as the first North American English colony. French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal (in 1605) and Quebec City (in 1608). The Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over control of the North American fur trade. Canada and most of New France came under British rule in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 established First Nation treaty rights, created the Province of Quebec out of New France. The Quebec Act of 1774 afforded Quebec special autonomy and rights of self-administration at a time the Thirteen Colonies were increasingly agitating against British rule. The American war of independence caused a large out-migration of Loyalists, the settlers who had fought against American independence. To accommodate the influx of English-speaking Loyalists in Central Canada, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province of Canada into French-speaking Lower Canada (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly. The Constitution Act officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the Constitution Act, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought Canada into World War I. In all, over a million Canadians served in the armed forces during World War II. Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the Maple Leaf Flag in 1965, the implementation of official bilingualism (English and French) in 1969, and the institution of official multiculturalism in 1971. Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the Canada Act , the patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country, although the Queen retained her role as monarch of Canada.
Canadian literature is often divided into French- and English-language literatures, which are rooted in the literary traditions of France and Britain, respectively. There are four major themes that can be found within historical Canadian literature; nature, frontier life, Canada's position within the world, all three of which tie into the garrison mentality. These themes, and Canada's literary history, inform the writing of successive generations of Canadian authors. By the 1990s, Canadian literature was viewed as some of the world's best. Canada's ethnic and cultural diversity are reflected in its literature, with many of its most prominent modern writers focusing on ethnic life. Arguably, the best-known living Canadian writer internationally (especially since the deaths of Robertson Davies and Mordecai Richler) is Margaret Atwood, a prolific novelist, poet, and literary critic. Numerous other Canadian authors have accumulated international literary awards; including Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, who has been called the best living writer of short stories in English; and Booker Prize recipient Michael Ondaatje, who is perhaps best known for the novel The English Patient.
The Canadian music industry is the sixth-largest in the world producing internationally renowned composers, musicians and ensembles. The music of Canada has reflected the multi-cultural influences that have shaped the country. Indigenous, the French, and the British have all made historical contributions to the musical heritage of Canada. The country has produced its own composers, musicians and ensembles since the mid-1600s. From the 17th century onward, Canada has developed a music infrastructure that includes church halls; chamber halls; conservatories; academies; performing arts centres; record companys; radio stations, and television music-video channels. The music has subsequently been heavily influenced by American culture because of its proximity and migration between the two countries. Canadian rock has had a considerable impact on the development of modern popular music and the development of the most popular subgenres. Patriotic music in Canada dates back over 200 years as a distinct category from British patriotism, preceding the first legal steps to independence by over 50 years. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presents Canada's music industry awards, the Juno Awards.
Canada's incredible geographical variety is a significant tourist attractor. Much of the country's tourism is centered in the following (busiest) regions: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver/Whistler, Niagara Falls, Vancouver Island, Calgary/Canadian Rockies, British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, and the national capital region Ottawa. The large cities are known for their culture, diversity, as well as the many national parks and historic sites. There are 20 World Heritage sites in Canada.