The United States is a federation of 50 states. Canada is something similar but is called a Confederation. While the United States is made up of states (and a few commonwealths and territories), Canada is made up of provinces and territories. The provinces of Canada and what languages are spoken there are some of the questions newbies have when visiting Canada.Unlike Canada, the United States has many external territories - some are as large as Puerto Rico and others are far-flung islands devoid of any population. Some of the least explored parts of the great USA are its various territories - some are very difficult to reach.


What To Know About The Development of Canada and Canada Today

After the America War of Independence, Britain was still left with a bunch of colonies north of the Thirteen Colonies. In 1867 four of them Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick proclaimed the Canadian Confederation. Similar to the United States, Canada then expanded Westwards while also absorbing the remaining Atlantic provinces with the last one, Newfoundland, joining in 1948.

  • Newfoundland: Only Joined Canada in 1948

Today Canada is slightly larger than the United States in land area and is made up of ten provinces and three territories. It has a population of around 38 million people (just a little less than the state of California which has around 39.5 million).

Canada's capital city is Ottawa, although the largest city is Toronto. The next most important metropolitan areas are Montreal and Vancouver.

  • Size: 9.98 million km2 (3.85 million sq. miles)
  • Population: 38 Million
  • Capital: Ottawa

The main difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that the power and authority of the province stem from the Constitution Act, 1867. The territories, on the other hand, have their powers delegated to them by the Parliament of Canada.

  • Formed: Canada Formed From the Constitution Act, 1867

Canada is today parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy - this means that Queen Elizabeth II is the current head of state of Canada.

  • Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II

Related: Visiting Canada For The First Time? Here Are Some Things You Should Know

Visa Policy of Canada

Canada allows for visa-free access for United States citizens and most of the developed world (like the European Union, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, etc.). Travelers can normally spend up to 6 months in Canada. Both arriving by air need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) - this does not apply to Americans.

  • Visa Policy: Visa-Free For 6 Months For Americans and Most Europeans

The Languages of Canada

Canada is famously lingual and on the federal level, everything must be in both French and English and both have equal status. On the regional level, things are a little different.

  • Official Languages: English and French

English is the dominant language in Canada being the mother tongue of around 56% of the population with French being around 21% (may of the remainder list another language like Chinese, Punjabi, and Spanish as their mother tongue).

The 1977 Charter of the French Language made French the official language of Quebec. Quebec is by far the main province in which French is spoken. Around 85% of the people in Quebec are French-speaking. The only other province where French is official is New Brunswick there it is co-official with English and is spoken by around 33% of the population.

  • Provinces Officially French Speaking: Quebec and New Brunswick (Officially Bilingual)

There are also French-speaking populations in other parts of Canada like Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. Other provinces have no official languages as such, but English is dominant. French has some legal status in Ontario but not to the degree of English.

In different provinces and territories, various native languages are also regionally recognized.

Related: Oh, Canada: A Guide To Each Province & Which You Should Visit

Provinces and Territories of Canada

Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories, here is a summary of the provinces.

Name Main City Official Language Population
Ontario Toronto English 14 Million
Quebec Montreal French 8.5 Million
British Columbia Vancouver English 5 Million
Alberta Calgary English 4.2 Million
Manitoba Winnipeg English 1.3 Million
Saskatchewan Saskatoon English 1.1 Million
Nova Scotia Halifax English 969,000
New Brunswick Moncton English and French 772,000
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's English 510,000
Prince Edward Island Charlottetown English 154,000

In addition, Canada has three territories, these are very sparsely populated but cover vast tracks of Arctic land in northern Canada. The territories are the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territory, and Nunavut. All three have populations of around 40,000. The Yukon Territory is the easiest one to reach by road, while there is no road access to Nunavut.