A map of Canada Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. Much of its vast territory is little more than wilderness, stretching from the Arctic islands of the north across tundra, evergreen forests, mountains and wide prairie grasslands. Northern and central parts of Canada have a polar to subpolar climate, with long, bitterly cold winters and short, cool summers. Southern regions are warmer, while coastal areas have high precipitation. Canada is made up of ten provinces, with some self-government, and three territories, governed directly by the Canadian government.
The northernmost part of Canada is made up of hundreds of islands, many of them lapped by the freezing polar waters of the Arctic Ocean. Some islands are mountainous, and most are permanently covered by ice. The northern Canadian mainland is a frozen wasteland, known as tundra, where the topsoil is frozen for about nine months of the year, the deeper soils (called permafrost) permanently so. This region is mainly home to the Inuit and native Canadians, or First Nations people, who still live by hunting and fishing. Farther south, the tundra gives way to a landscape of dense coniferous forest and lakes.
The name “Canada” is thought to come from “Kanata”, a native Huron and Iroquois word meaning “village”.
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