Canada joined Quota International’s network in 1925.
Canada occupies the northern half of the North American continent, and it is the second largest country in the world after Russia. Perhaps the country is most well known for its breathtaking natural beauty—282,000 square miles of unspoiled land are protected by the Canadian government in federal and provincial parks. Canada is geographically diverse, and a trip from one end of the country to the other will take you from the warm, moist air of British Columbia, through rugged mountains, across a prairie that stretches from Alberta to Manitoba, to the eastern island lowlands of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.
The first inhabitants of Canada were the Inuit, who migrated to North America across the Bering Straight land bridge. The Inuit were a nomadic people who had established trade relationships with other Native American tribes by the time the Vikings arrived from Europe around 1000 A.D. In 1497, John Cabot sailed west from Europe, looking for a northwest passage to the riches of Asia. Upon encountering Canada, he laid claim to the land for the British. Not to be outdone by their rivals, the French sent Jacques Cartier to look for a similar route to the Orient. He, too, was unsuccessful in finding a direct route, and instead he claimed the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding lands for France in 1534. Though relations between the colonists of the two European countries started out peacefully, by the late seventeenth century, the settlers clashed frequently, especially over fur trading, which was a lucrative enterprise for the British and French alike.
The dominion of Canada was created by the British North America Act in 1867. Although Queen Elizabeth II is still the titular head of state, Great Britain no longer controls Canadian matters of state. However, Canada still maintains close economic and cultural ties with both England and France, and both countries have had an influence on Canadian history. Almost 40 percent of all Canadian citizens are of British background and 27 percent claim French ancestry. English and French are the official languages of Canada.
Canadians value and respect the growing diversity of their populations, which now includes sizeable pockets of Italians, Germans, Ukrainians, Poles, Greeks, Chinese, and Central and South Americans. In fact, in 1988, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was passed, which serves as a set of guidelines that the government will follow to promote and achieve economic, social, cultural, and political equality for all citizens. Through this policy, the government is aiming to build a society based on respect for all citizens, regardless of their ethnic, racial, or religious backgrounds.
International President Dolores Brosky agrees. When asked to describe the attitude or ideas that she feels are valued by Canadians, she said: “Canadians are, for the most part, a law-abiding, neighborly, charitable group of people, whose ancestors came from many, many countries—yet we try to live in harmony with each other while respecting our different cultures and ways of life. I’m most proud of our peacekeeping efforts whenever there’s strife in the world, and also the fact that the United Nations named Canada as the best place in the world to live—for three years in a row!”