Unbelievable Yet True: 50 Bizarre and Fascinating Facts About Canada


I don’t think it will be a shock to read about some of the fun facts about Canada in this post which revolve around size and lakes. And of course, donuts. But I found some big surprises when writing this article about Canadian facts.

Canada has the longest freshwater beach in the world (I personally won’t be swimming in it as I am sure it is freezing), a rather interesting use for digit victims of frostbite, has a long-running very Canadian battle with Denmark and it is not a place where you want to forget your deodorant.

50 Fascinating and Fun Facts About Canada

1. Canada is home to the longest street in the world.

Yonge Street in Ontario starts at Lake Ontario and runs for almost 2,000 km all the way to the Minnesota border.

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Lake Ontario Skyline Ontario

2. The longest coastline in the world is in Canada.

It is over 202,000 kilometers long. It would take four and a half years to walk the length of Canada’s coastline. This coastline borders three different oceans: The Pacific, Atlantic, and the Arctic. The second-longest coastline in the world is in Indonesia and it is just over 1/4 of the length of Canada’s at 54,700 kilometers.

3. A bear from Canada inspired Winnie the Pooh.

London Zoo imported a bear cub from White River in Ontario in 1915. This bear from Winnipeg was the favorite part of the zoo for a young Christopher Robin Milne. This love inspired his father, AA Milne, who went on to write world-famous stories about Winnie the Pooh.

4. The United States has invaded Canada twice.

The two attacks took place in 1775 and 1812. They lost both times.

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Waterton lake alberta Canada

5. There are over 55,000 different species of insects in Canada

6. Beatlemania was coined in Canada

The term “Beatlemania” was used worldwide to describe the impact of the band The Beatles. The author of that term was Sandy Gardiner, a journalist with the Ottawa Journal in the 1960s.

7. Appropriately, the name Canada came about through a polite misunderstanding.

Jacques Cartier, an explorer from France, met with local natives who invited him to visit their Kanata, the local word for village. He and his group thought that Kanata or Canada was the name of the entire country.

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garibaldi lake canada

8. The world’s smallest jail is in Canada.

The world’s smallest jail is in Ontario. It is just over 24 square meters.

9. Canada has national parks that are bigger than many countries.

Wood Buffalo National Park in Albert is bigger than Denmark and Switzerland (just over 44,000 square kilometers) and Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories is bigger than Israel with over 30,000 square kilometers.

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Banff National Park in spring

10. The world’s northernmost settlement is in Canada.

Alert, Nunavut is at the top of Ellesmere Island and is only 817 kilometers from the North Pole. This settlement is home to scientific and military workers. However, it is a temporary home as in January the temperature has dropped to a low of -32 degrees Celcius.

11. Canada has 2 deserts

Canada has one desert which is located in British Columbia. It is 15 miles long and the only desert in the world with a boardwalk for visitors. The second desert is in northern Saskatchewan on the south bank of Lake Athabasca.

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Kluane lake yukon

12. Watch your toes in Canada

If you visit Dawson City in the Yukon, you could become a member of the Sour Toe Cocktail Club. A Sour Toe cocktail is any drink with a real human toe in the bottom. The rules are that you can have any drink you want and consume it at any pace but your mouth must touch the toe.

The toes have generally been donated by people who have suffered from frostbite. If you swallow the toe there is a fine of $2500.

13. The lowest recorded temperature ever in Canada was as cold as Mars.

On February 3, 1947, a temperature of – 63 degrees Celcius or -81.4 Fahrenheit was recorded in a small village in the Yukon called Snag. This is pretty much the same temperature as Mars.

14. Canada is the second-largest country in the world by total area.

Russia is the biggest.

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Mount Robson

15. Canada has some interesting ways to fight a war.

Canada and Denmark have fought over an uninhabited island in the Arctic since the 1930s. Their manner of warfare is quite unusual. They leave each other bottles of alcohol and change their flags. The Canadians leave Canadian Rye Whiskey and the Danish a bottle of Dutch schnapps.

16. Canadian police give out positive tickets when they see people, particularly kids, doing positive things.

17. 10% of the world’s forests are in Canada.

Canada has just under 400 million hectares of forest.

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garibaldi lake canada

18. Canada could so easily be the 51st state in America.

One of the 13 articles in the US Articles of Confederation states that it will automatically be accepted if Canada wants to be admitted into the United States.

19. Canada has more surface area covered by lakes than any other country.

Canada’s Great Lakes alone contain 18% of the world’s fresh lake water. And there are over 30,000 Canadian lakes including two of the biggest in the world, Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake. All this means that more than half of all the lakes in the world are located in Canada.

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Great Slave Lake Northwest Territories

20. Canada eats more doughnuts than any other country in the world.

They also have more doughnut shops per capita than any other country. Each year 30 million people eat over 1 billion donuts. It’s all down to Tim Hortons!

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21. In Churchill, Canada, residents commonly leave their cars unlocked.

This offers an escape to any pedestrians who see a polar bear. Residents also leave their homes unlocked for the same reason. About 15,500 of the 25,000 polar bears in the world live in Churchill. At times the town has more polar bears than it does people.

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22. License plates in the Canadian Northwest Territories are shaped like polar bears.

23. The province of Alberta has been rat-free for over 50 years.

24. Canada is bigger than the European Union.

It is also five times larger than Mexico and three times as big as India. It is even 30% larger than Australia.

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spotted lake

25. The Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Canada.

That’s pineapple on a pizza. This is the most popular type of pizza in Australia. Personally, it has never worked for me.

26. The province of Newfoundland has a town called Dildo.

Each year, they have a festival called Dildo Days, which is led by their mascot, Captain Dildo. Canada also has a town called Sexsmith in Alberta and Stoner in British Columbia.

27. There is a strip club in Ontario that doubles as a church on Sundays.

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Lake Ontario Frozen Ontario

28. The US/Canada border is the longest international border in the world.

It has no military defense. It stretches for nearly 9,000 kilometers and the border between Alaska and Canada alone is nearly 2,500 kilometers.

29. The official phone number for Canada is 1-800-o-canada.

Really. Try dialing it. Canada will answer.

30. There is a polar bear jail in Churchill, Canada.

It is for badly behaved polar bears who spend too much time in the town of Churchill or close by. The bears are hit with a tranquilizer dart and then carefully transported to the polar bear jail. They are tranquillized again and released into the wild at the end of the season.

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Polar Bear Jail

31. The only walled city in North America is in Canada.

It is the beautiful Quebec City. The French and then the English built up these walls and other fortifications during the 17th and 19th centuries. Quebec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest cities in North America. It dates back to 1608 when Samuel de Champlain founded it.

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The second of the only two urban centers in North America that have UNESCO designations is the lovely Lunenburg in Nova Scotia.

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Lunenburg Harbour

32. You will probably weigh less in Canada.

Large parts of Canada have less gravity than the rest of the Earth. Gravity isn’t uniform across the earth and these differences are driven by landmass. Canada is still recovering from the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. This means if you head to Hudson Bay you will weigh about a tenth of an ounce less than you would weigh elsewhere in the world.

You might enjoy reading my article on the best things to do in Surrey British Columbia.

33. Canadians Put Milk in Bags

Canadians buy milk in bags. Apparently, 75% of Canadian’s drink their milk from a bag. This is because milk in bags is more cost-effective than milk in bottles or cartons. Although a resident of Alberta has told me that they are all about cartons.

34. It is illegal to smell bad in Canada.

If you are in a public place with an offending smell, you may end up with two years in a Canadian jail. Which are probably really nice and I imagine have a Tim Horton’s.

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Changing of the Guard in Ottawa

35. Bigfoot is safe in Canada

It is illegal to kill a Sasquatch in British Columbia.

36. Canada has the 4th lowest population density on earth

Canada is home to just over 37 million people across an area of ten million square kilometers. This means it comes in at 3.7 people per square kilometer. That same square kilometer in the United States would have 35 people in it. Around 90% of Canada is uninhabited. And 90% of Canadians live within 500 kilometers of the border with the United States.

37. Canada has the highest tides in the world

The Bay of Fundy in Canada is home to the highest tides in the world. The Bay of Fundy is between the fantastic Nova Scotia and wonderful New Brunswick provinces. Over 100 billion tons of water move through the bay twice daily. There are some fantastic places to visit in both provinces to see this extraordinary phenomenon.

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Hopewell Rocks from the stairs

38. Canada has the longest freshwater beach in the world.

Canada and beaches don’t seem to go naturally together but Wasaga Beach in Ontario is the longest freshwater beach in the world and is located on the Georgian Bay. The Georgian Bay is in Lake Huron. Canada also has the second-longest freshwater beach in the world, Sauble Beach.

39. Canada has the longest highway in the world.

The Trans Canada Highway #1 is 7821 kilometres long.

40. The world’s longest and largest skating rinks are in Canada

This one makes a lot more sense than the beaches. Winnipeg is home to the longest skating rink in the world. The largest skating rink in the world is the stunning Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

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The Rideau Canal

41. A Canadian invented basketball

An interesting fact about Canada is that Dr James Naismith defined the 13 rules that make up basketball in 1891 at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts.

42. a Canadian created Superman

Superman was co-created by Jerry Siegal and Canadian Joe Shuster. The Daily Planet is based on the Toronto Star and Metropolis is based on Toronto not New York City (which I always thought until I wrote this post).

43. Canada is the most educated country in the world

More than 50% of the Canadian population has a post-secondary education qualification. And Canada’s literacy rate is 99%.

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Vancouver with grouse mountain in the background

44. Canada has 3 of the 10 biggest islands in the world

These three islands are Baffin Island (which is twice the size of the United Kingdom), Vancouver Island and Ellesmere Island.

45. Canada is home to the world’s fourth-largest city with a French-speaking population (Paris is only 2nd!)

Montreal has more than four million inhabitants and is the fourth-largest city in the world after Kinshasa, Paris and Abidjan which has a French-speaking population. Toronto is Canada’s biggest city with over 6 million people, but it doesn’t have as many French speakers as Montreal.

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notre dame montreal 2

46. Santa Claus is Canadian

A fun fact about Canada is that in 2012, Canada’s Immigration Minister declared that Santa Clause was a Canadian citizen. Apparently, the red and white of his suit is based on Canada’s flag. And you can even contact Santa in Canada using the address: Santa Clause, North Pole, HOH OHO Canada. As this is Canada there are people who actually reply to every single one of these letters.

47. Canada is the snake capital of the world

I am Australian so I was shocked to discover this Canadian fun fact. Manitoba in Canada has the largest concentration of snakes in the world. Around 70,000 snakes come out of hibernation each year in the Praire province. The most popular type of snake is the red-sided garter snake.

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capilano suspension bridge

48. Canada’s official phone book has a section dedicated to UFO sightings.

Given Canada’s vast and open skies, numerous UFO sightings have been reported over the years. In recognition, some Canadian phone books have a section dedicated to documenting these sightings.

49. Canada consumes the most macaroni and cheese out of any nation.

Macaroni and cheese is considered Canada’s unofficial national dish. The Canadians consume 55% more of it than Americans do.

50. There’s a place in Canada where gravity seems not to apply.

In Saint Louis du Ha! Ha!, a small town in Quebec, there’s a gravity hill where cars seem to roll uphill on their own. This optical illusion is a major tourist attraction.

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moraine lake alberta

Canada Facts in Conclusion

How many of these Canada facts did you know? I was surprised with how many interesting facts about Canada I discovered. If you know of any further Canada fun facts or some weird facts about Canada drop me a line!

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Amanda O’Brien is the creator and editor of The Boutique Adventurer. She has visited 80 countries and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers as well as the IFTWTA. She is passionate about wine had has just completed Level 3 of the WSET. Born in Australia, she lives in London.