These little-known oddities include the country’s culture, geography and history. If you’re a Canadian or a deep-rooted local, view this list as a lighthearted challenge – how well do you know your homeland? For the rest of you, get your notebooks out to make note of some quirky facts and use them for your next trivia night or to simply satisfy your curiosity.
1. Canada and Mars
You can find plenty of craters on Mars resembling a shallow hole on the surface. As a tribute, some of them were named after locations in Canada like Gander, Newfoundland, due to its space research efforts.
2. “Eh” is an actual word
If you’re familiar with Canadian slang, you must have heard "eh" used in everyday conversations. The interjection is often used at the end of a question or to greet someone at a distance. It’s even listed in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary!
3. Santa is Canadian
Every year millions of children send letters to Santa Claus. Have you ever wondered where they go? They are all sent to a Canadian address: The North Pole’s postal address, H0H 0H0. In 2008, Santa also received Canadian citizenship issued by the Immigration Minister.
4. Maple syrup monopoly
For Canadians, pancakes and maple syrup are inseparable. But the relationship runs even deeper than that. Small towns all over Quebec are responsible for almost 80% of the world’s maple syrup production.
5. Home to superheroes
Loyal fans of superheroes know that not all of them are Hollywood creations. Characters like Superman were co-created by Torontonian artist Joe Shuster and Wolverine was first born in Cold Lake, Alberta.
6. 20% of the world's surface freshwater
Canada is a freshwater galore. Over two million lakes, streams and rivers, located within the country’s borders make up one-fifth of the world’s freshwater resources.
7. 192,444 Smiths
Do you know someone named Smith? The surname is ranked as the most popular in seven Canadian territories and provinces. Across the entire country, Smith shows up as frequently as one in every 192 people.
8. Less gravity
For decades, the Hudson Bay region was an unsolved mystery to scientists. The area has lower levels of gravity compared to the rest of the globe. You won't float, but you’ll weigh less!
9. Second-largest country in the world with forest
40% of Canada’s 979-million-hectare land is covered with trees. This ratio positions Canada as the second-largest country in the world in terms of forest and makes it home to 9% of the world’s forests.
10. Mac and Cheese fans
Although mac and cheese traces its roots back to Italy, Canada has certainly helped spread the love for this irresistibly creamy and cheesy dish. Every year, locals indulge in more boxed mac and cheese than Americans. Canadian consume an average of 1.7 million boxes out of the 7 million sold weekly.
11. Mars-like temperature
In 1947, Snag in the Yukon set the record for the lowest temperature at -2.8°C (-81.4°F). Frosty air from Siberia created nearly the same temperature in northern Canada as you’d find on the surface of Mars!
12. Give Canada a call
For those who want to reach out to Canada, the official phone number is 1-800-O-CANADA. The number provides a general information service, and – in infrequent instances – you may be contacted to deliver Government of Canada services.
13. The world’s northernmost settlement
Alert, in Nunavut, on Ellesmere Island, is the world’s northernmost settlement. In this area, the warmest months reach °F). During winter months, it drops to -32.19°C (-26°F). At just 817 kilometers from the North Pole, most inhabitants of Alert are members of the military and scientists.
14. Polar-bear shaped plates
Nunavut – a territory in Northern Canada – was only established in 1999 and is home to the Inuit community. When driving a car in Nunavut, don’t be surprised to see plates resembling white polar bears instead of standard ones.
15. The world’s longest coastline
The mainland coast of Canada together with the islands of Cape Breton, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island are bordered by three oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific. With all islands included, Canada’s oceanfront border measures 125,567 miles (202,080 km) long, which is the longest coastline in the world.
16. The fifth-largest crude oil producer in the world
Crude oil is also known as Black Gold, and not without reason. Many conflicts and wars have taken place to gain power over this energy resource. Canada has over 176 billion barrels of the semi-solid source of petroleum. That’s approximately 70% of the Earth’s overall resources.
17. Little Manitou Lake resembles the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea in Israel is known for its buoyant water. The water’s salt content is so dense that it is impossible to sink. A similar saltwater lake exists in Canada. Located in Saskatchewan, Little Manitou Lake has about half of the Dead Sea’s salinity, meaning you can float effortlessly!
18. The world’s largest island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island
Canada has a nameless and rather newly-discovered island within an island in the Arctic. Situated at 69.793° N, 108.241° W and surrounded by a larger island, the 4-acre strip of land is unknown because of its inaccessible location.
19. The highest tides in the world
You can experience the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. With a tidal range up to 38 ft. (12 meters), the tides flow in and out twice a day.
20. First UNESCO World Heritage Site
Built more than 300 years ago, Quebec’s fortifications make it the only fortified city in the country but also the first city in North America to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.