Let's play a guessing game. We're thinking of a country. It's famous for maple syrup and hockey. It's also known for its mountains and seemingly-endless miles of snow, ice, and tundra. One of its most famous nicknames is the Great White North. What country are we talking about? Canada, of course!
Not only does Canada take up most of the northern half of North America, it also stretches nearly to the North Pole! The town of Alert in the Nunavut territory sits just over 500 miles south of the North Pole and is the northernmost permanently-inhabited community in the world.
Most of Canada's approximately 35 million residents live much farther south. Canada covers over 3.85 million square miles, making it second only to Russia in total area. Most of that land, though, consists of rugged mountains, large forests, and large expanses of frozen tundra. Nearly 80% of Canada's population lives near the southern border with the United States.
In fact, Canada's border with the United States is the world's longest land border. When you consider Canada's climate, it's easy to understand why most people choose to live near the southern border. Most of Canada features an extremely cold climate, but the larger cities along the southern border enjoy warm summers.
Exactly how big is Canada? Its width stretches nearly 4,700 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. It spans six different time zones. Despite being the second largest country in the world, Canada has only one-half of one percent of the world's population. That makes it a very sparsely-populated country with plenty of vast, wild areas.
Southern areas feature diverse ecosystems, from lakes and rivers to mountains, plains, and forests. Northern Canada is an Arctic expanse of tundra, snow, ice, and large glaciers. The few people who inhabit the north are often Native Canadians called First Nations people, who make their living by hunting and fishing.
Canada's large expanses of land are home to a wide variety of wildlife that thrives in the cold climate. Some of the animals that live in these areas include bears, moose, caribou, musk oxen, wolves, beavers, deer, mountain lions, otters, raccoons, rabbits, and bison.
You'll also find Canada to be a fisherman's paradise. In addition to many large rivers, Canada has over 2 million lakes. Together, these bodies of water hold about 20% of the world's fresh water supply. They're also home to trout, salmon, and many other varieties of fish.