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Moraine lake in Banff National park, Canada

Canada is the second largest country on earth, covering an area of 10 million square kilometers (3.9 million square miles). Three oceans border Canada: the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Altogether, Canada has over 200,000 kilometers (125,000 miles) of coastline. Canada shares two borders with the United States: a very long border in the south and another long frontier in the northwest.

Ottawa cityscape panorama in the day over river with historical architecture

Canada has an extremely varied topography. In the east, the mountainous maritime provinces have an irregular coastline on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic. The St. Lawrence plain, covering most of southern Quebec and Ontario, and the interior continental plain, covering southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan and most of Alberta, are the principal cultivable areas. They are separated by a forested plateau rising from Lakes Superior and Huron.

Westward toward the Pacific, most of British Columbia, the Yukon, and part of western Alberta are covered by parallel mountain ranges, including the Rockies. The Pacific border of the coast range is ragged with fjords and channels. The highest point in Canada is Mount Logan (19,850 ft; 6,050 m), which is in the Yukon. The two principal river systems are the Mackenzie and the St. Lawrence. The St. Lawrence, with its tributaries, is navigable for over 1,900 mi (3,058 km).

Like Canada’s landscapes, the climate varies across the country. In the areas where most of the population lives, there are generally four distinct seasons – summer, fall, winter and spring.

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Toronto skyline panorama over lake


Canada is a federation of ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut). Formally considered a constitutional monarchy, Canada is governed by its own House of Commons. While the governor-general is officially the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, in reality the governor-general acts only on the advice of the Canadian prime minister.

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