A patriotic celebration of Canada's superlatives.
Canada is the second largest country in the world by area. People around the world recognize its flag. But what truly sets it apart is the amazing geography -- physical and human -- within its borders.
In this unique encyclopedia about Canada 1,000 fascinating facts, figures and feats portray a country that offers an abundance of natural and manmade attractions that will make Canadians proud and leave visitors amazed.
More than 500 photographs show the places, people and phenomena that make up this colorful portrait. Readers will see a one-of-a-kind country and society that are very different from the "hewers of wood and drawers of water" often used to describe them.
Featuring a variety of photographs, maps and illustrations throughout, Canadian Geographic Biggest and Best of Canada presents "the true north strong and free" as the irreplaceable and special place it is, such as:
Canada's vast landscape and waters break many records, including:
Canada's landscape, its mountains, seas and lakes, its people and its achievements mark it as one of the greatest and most beautiful countries in the world. Canadian Geographic Biggest and Best of Canada is a colorful tribute that all readers will enjoy.
Canadian Geographic magazine is the official publication of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in Ottawa. Aaron Kylie is the senior editor of Canadian Geographic.
The best of Canada. For those who love the nation, there's so much to appreciate in this country. As the editor of Canadian Geographic, I have the privilege of exploring the best of Canada every day. The magazine, founded by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, has been celebrating the nation for nearly 85 years, since its very first issue in May 1930. Its mandate is to make Canada better known to Canadians and the world.
Canadian Geographic shares the interesting people and places and the wildlife and wonders of the country, but the focus of this book is the exploration of what is best in Canada: the biggest, tallest, highest and longest, as well the firsts and the world bests. The Biggest and Best of Canada is a compendium of Canadian superlatives, from the nation's geography and weather to its animals and communities, its innovations and amazing people. It covers the gamut of the nation's most notable aspects, with sections on all of these topics, as well as business and industry, transportation, communication, pop culture, sports and leisure, other miscellaneous feats and renowned roadside attractions.
In terms of geography, few items are as noteworthy as the world's oldest rocks. In 2008, researchers from Canada and the United States discovered that rocks from along the coast of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec are about 4.28 billion years old. If you think old rocks aren't exciting, take heed of the statement made in the journal Science by Jonathan O'Neil, the lead author of the study: "Our discovery not only opens the door to further unlock the secrets of the Earth's beginnings. Geologists now have a new playground to explore how and when life began, what the atmosphere may have looked like, and when the first continent formed."
When it comes to weather, we all know Canada is snowy and cold (and we have the records to back it up!), but Canadians also invented, of all things, the UV Index. The Ultraviolet Index is, according to Environment Canada, "a measure of the intensity of the sun's ultraviolet radiation in the sunburn spectrum." It was created by Environment Canada researchers in 1992 to help Canadians appreciate the severity of sunburn when they are exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Subsequently, other countries around the world developed similar indexes.
The story of Canada's first zoo is particularly interesting. Established in Halifax by naturalist Andrew Downs in 1847, the Down's Zoological Gardens was a favourite destination for visitors to the city. Famed sportsman Campbell Hardy said this about it: "Every visitor desirous of acquaintance with wild life in the woods or water of Acadie, went to Downs for advice or reference." What of the zoo today? It was sold in 1867 and ultimately became New York's Central Park Zoo.
You might be surprised by the location of a significant number of Canada's record-setting structures -- Montreal. The city is home to the eighth-tallest building in the country, the largest hockey arena, the largest stadium, the largest church, the largest cemetery, the continent's first commercial movie theatre and the nation's busiest bridge. No wonder UNESCO named it a City of Design in 2006. If you're a fan of hotdogs, you'll be happy to learn that Saskatchewan is the world's largest producer of mustard. What Canadian wouldn't be proud of this proclamation from the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission: "The Canadian mustard industry is supported by the most experienced scientific development and research teams, and employs the most technologically advanced production methods in the world." Who knew?
Canada is home to one of the world's leading publishers of books for women. Toronto-based Harlequin Romance had 92 titles spend a combined total of 313 weeks on the New York Times best-seller lists in 2012. And four titles nabbed the Number-One spot. The company sells 95 percent of their books outside Canada and Harlequin has offices in 12 international cities, from Sydney, Australia, to London, England.
When it comes to innovations, the nation clearly has a refined palette -- at least if you consider the number of edible advancements that have come from Canada. There's the McIntosh and Spartan apples, Red Fife and Marquis wheat, canola, the continent's first chocolate nut bar, frozen fish, Pablum, peanut butter, Canada Dry, Yukon Gold and Shepody potatoes and the Bloody Caesar. And Canadians are also responsible for dozens of non-edible inventions.
For some reason, the province with the most roads is Saskatchewan. It has the most road surface in Canada, with 250,000 km of roadways. Saskatchewan has the most roads per capita of any place in the world. The vast majority of the roads are gravel, with paved municipal roads making up less than 1 percent of the province's roadways (just 1,500 km). It seems that not only can you see for miles on the Prairies, but you can drive for hundreds of them, too.
There's little question as to why Canada has earned the moniker "Hollywood North." After all, the first kiss in movie history involved a Canadian, the first Hollywood star to be known by her real name was Canadian, one of the founders of Warner Bros. Pictures was Canadian, and the first actress with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was Canadian. The first Oscar for a documentary film was won by a Canadian, the only siblings to win Oscars in the same year were Canadians and the writer and director of the two top-grossing movies ever is a Canadian. The oldest actor to win an Oscar is Canadian, and the famed Hollywood sign itself was built by a Canadian.
Canadians seem to have a talent for creating sports. The country is the birthplace of hockey, lacrosse, ringette and 5-pin bowling. And a Canadian invented basketball. While the nation may not be able to lay claim to the origin of baseball, the first recorded baseball game was played in Beachville, Ontario, legend Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Toronto, and Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in Major League Baseball's modern era, played his first professional games in Montreal . Oh, and Montreal's McGill University played in the first "American" football game in the world.
There are hundreds more of these biggest and best facts and figures about Canada in the pages that follow. As a collection of Canadian claims to fame, this book celebrates the nation in all its superlative grandeur.
Introduction Geography Weather Wildlife Structures/Communities Business/Industry Communications Innovations Transportation Pop Culture Sports and Leisure People, Places and Things Photo Credits Index