Although Canada is geographically the second largest country in the world, it is sparsely populated. Its 37 million people are mostly concentrated around large urban centres that are within one hundred miles of the US border.
With over two hundred distinct cultures, Canada is internationally known for its diversity. It is variously referred to as a “cultural mosaic”, or a “melting pot” of people who represent all nations, cultures and backgrounds.
People who come to Canada from other countries are encouraged to preserve their traditions and culture. Through the Multiculturalism Act, Canada strives to promote interaction and understanding between individuals and communities from different backgrounds. At the same time, the Indigenous Peoples of Canada are respected and recognized as the original inhabitants of the land.
The two official languages that are protected by Canada’s Charter of Rights & Freedoms are English and French. All services offered by the federal government, and by many provincial governments, are available in either language, and most products are sold with bilingual labeling and packaging.
Although Canada itself is bilingual, the only province that is officially bilingual is New Brunswick, while the province of Quebec is predominantly French. Montreal is recognized as the world’s largest French-speaking metropolis outside of France.
Provinces and territories other than New Brunswick and Montreal are English-speaking, with about 18% of Canadians being fully bilingual.