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The rural areas are less populated, with more and more people leaving for the larger towns and cities. The lands to the north are much less developed, but as some of these areas are utilized for their ample natural resources, populations are growing.
Although Canada is known for long and cold winters, this is good news for those who enjoy being outdoors in the snow. Canada has opportunities for winter sports and activities that are unsurpassed. The summers can be fairly hot in many areas, though with so many lakes, rivers and coastal regions, there is a huge variety of summer recreational possibilities to help beat the heat. The West Coast of British Columbia tends to have much milder winters than the rest of the country, and very pleasant moderate summer temperatures.
Depending on the location, spring arrives in Canada between March and May and is always the start of new growth, and cause for celebrating the end of the winter and a new beginning. Days are long and often comfortably warm. Whatever part of the country you are in, the fall brings magnificent colours, cooler but still very pleasant days, and attractions tend to be less crowded.
This means that Canada has a wonderful cultural mosaic from which to draw on. This is manifested in the great variety of cultural and ethnic events and festivals held year round throughout the country. Perhaps because Canadian citizens are encouraged to remember their origins, it is sometimes difficult for people who live within Canada to see themselves as purely Canadian, and a lot of people pose the question "What exactly is it that makes Canadians Canadian?" Some say Canada's true identity lies in its diversity, that it is this mosaic that makes Canada unique. In the last thirty years mass immigration has taken place from all over the world, rather than mainly from Europe and the United States as it had in the past. This has led to even more cultural diversity than before. Of course for the visitor, this only adds to the attraction of a trip to Canada.
Though Canada's history has been relatively short, (Canada was only actually founded in 1867) it has certainly been eventful. Canadians are fascinated by their past and this is reflected in the many historical sites throughout the country. In Central and Eastern Canada, amongst other factors, the history entails the early struggles of the first European settlers, and of how the two major cultural groups of the time (British and French) overcame their differences and were able to build a great nation together. In today's highly charged political arena, with on-going talk of Québec independence, this earlier relationship is too often forgotten. The history of Central and Eastern Canada is also very much tied in with the American Revolution, when thousands of people loyal to the British crown crossed the border and settled in these areas in order to remain under British rule. The struggle with the United States continued until after the war of 1812, and this part of Canada's history can be seen in the many historic sites from this period.
For the whole of Canada, the history is also largely reflected in adaptation to the forces of nature and climate. In Atlantic Canada the ocean has played a very significant role in the history and culture of the area. In Western Canada much of its history revolves around the building of the railway westwards, while this brought progress and development to, and even helped create many communities, a lot of sacrifice and challenges were necessary for the railway to be completed. The history of Western Canada is also synonymous with the growth and development of the Hudson Bay Company that started off in the fur trade, and was responsible for the discovery and later habitation of many places. Similarly the North West Mounted Police (now part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) helped form and develop the west and in undertaking this, the legend of the 'Mounties' was born. Throughout the country, it is interesting to see how the laws and even the mores of earlier times have shaped today's society.
One cannot mention the history of Canada, without reference to its indigenous peoples. Their history began thousands of years before the first European settlers. Throughout Canada you can learn about the cultures of these people and their contribution to Canada. Regrettably the people that came to settle what became Canada did not appreciate much of the aboriginal culture and traditions. When you visit some of the indigenous historic sites, you will realize how developed and organized these societies were, long before the arrival of Europeans. There is much to be learned from their way of life and the innovative ways they made their livelihood.
Canada is so large that it would take many visits in order to see everything. For the first time visitor it is probably best to choose one or two regions of interest and concentrate on those. Each region is totally unique and shows the visitor a completely different perspective of Canadian life. At the same time, every region maintains a high standard of facilities for the visitor, and whatever part of Canada you are in, the visitor is valued and welcomed, and treated to world-renowned Canadian hospitality.
Eastern Canada is also known as The Maritimes (not including Newfoundland) or The Atlantic Provinces. These consist of the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Experience the wild beauty of Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park. Take a trip across the longest covered bridge in the world at Hartland, New Brunswick. Visit the places that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery when she wrote Anne of Green Gables, and see the museum dedicated to this work at Park Corner, Prince Edward Island.
The great St Lawrence River that cuts through the province provides much in the way of attractions for the visitor. From the beautiful Gaspé Peninsula where you can go whale watching (one of several places for this in the province) to the world famous view of the Québec City skyline, that is best seen from the river. Québec has a multitude of different sights and attractions. See the great forests and national and provincial parks and reserves, and the incredible fjords of the Saguenay River.
Ontario is in the centre of Canada, and also is the centre for Federal Government, much of the economy and the arts. Apart from geographic location, Ontario has a much larger concentration of population and heavy industry than other parts of the country so its domination is understandable (though other centres are now challenging this). Toronto the largest city in Canada is here, and this is also considered to be one of the finest cities anywhere. The beautiful capital Ottawa is also in Ontario as is the world famous Niagara Falls.
The communities of Whitehorse and Dawson City have an interesting history going back to the days of the great Klondike Gold Rush. The Northwest Territories have some highway access, but most long-distance travel is by aircraft. Nunavut used to a part of the Northwest Territories but was recently formed into a new territory. It is totally isolated from the rest of the country except by aircraft. It is this relative isolation though, that helps make Northern Canada such a great place to visit.