INTRODUCTION TO CANADA
Canada is a country in North America that extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east, to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Ottawa is the capital of Canada. It is bordered by the United States of America both to the south and to the west (Alaska). The geography of Canada is mostly plains with mountains in the west. By area, Canada is the second largest country in the world after Rusia but has a low population density, with approximately 31 million inhabitants (Canadians). The independence day of Canada is the 1st July 1867. Canada consists of ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan), three territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon). It can be divided into five areas:
1. The East (also called the Atlantic region) includes the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
2. The Central region includes the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
3. The Prairies include Manitoba, Saskatchewan and some parts of Alberta.
4. The West includes Alberta and British Columbia.
5. The North is made up of the three territories of Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
As of 2001, 66% of Canadians are of European descent (mostly British and French origins), 26% are of mixed backgrounds, and 6% are of solely non-European descent, mostly from Asia. Only 2% of the population is formed by the native population. Canada’s two official languages are French and English; French is mostly spoken in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick. English (official) 58.8%, French (official) 21.6%, other 19.6%. Most Canadians are Christians, Roman Catholic 42.6%, Protestant 23.3% (including United Church 9.5%, Anglican 6.8%, Baptist 2.4%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4.4%, Muslim 1.9%, other and unspecified 11.8%, none 16%.
The government system is a parliamentary democracy, a federation and a constitutional monarchy. This means that the Queen or King of Canada is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government. Canada has a market economic system in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. Canada is a member of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada has lots of natural resources. Its large amounts of fish have been used for centuries for food and money. Hydroelectric power (electricity by water) is abundant because of Canada’s many rivers. Forests of the west are used for wood. Besides these renewable resources, Canada has metal ores and oil deposits. Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary.
Many people from other parts of the world think of Canada as a very cold and snowy place. While it is true that much of Canada is very far north, most Canadians live in the southern parts, where the weather is much milder. Nearly two Canadians in three live less than 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the U.S. border. In some cities the temperature can get very cold in the winter, especially in the inland. Warm air systems moving in from the Pacific Ocean bring more rain than snow to the Pacific coast, while colder temperatures further inland do result in snow. Most of Canada can get quite hot in the summer, often over 30 degrees Celsius. Canadians are known to play winter sports such as ice hockey and skiing and snowboarding, and also enjoy many summer sports and games.
SPORTS IN CANADA
Canada is widely known as a sports-loving country. The Canadian people always like to do some physical activity to avoid obesity and most importantly, to cope with the cold environment. Canada is a generous country where people all of the world are settled in here and share their own sports and culture with the native Canadians. Thus Canada has become a country of variety of games and sports. The country have also showed their dominance in world sports as well as in Olympic games. It is already known that, winter sports in Canada are very much popular all over the world.
Canada is a leading sport nation. How sport is practiced in Canada today is influenced by a number of factors, including the seasons, geographic and social diversity. For example, lacrosse, the national summer sport, has been played by Aboriginal peoples for close to a thousand years. Hockey, the national winter sport, was invented in Canada in the 1800s.
Hockey is the sport most played by Canadians, with 1.65 million participants. Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent’s net to score points. Ice hockey teams usually consist of four lines of three forwards, three pairs of defencemen, and two goaltenders. Normally, each team has five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team. Teams normally have a goaltender as their sixth on-ice player, whose job is to prevent the puck from entering the goal. Ice hockey is the official national winter sport of Canada, where the game enjoys immense popularity.
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team’s scoring area (end zone). It should be noted that when Canadians speak of “football,” they are referring to the rugby-inspired game sometimes known as “American Football” or “Gridiron”. Rugby football in Canada originated in the early 1860s, and over time, the game known as Canadian football developed.
Lacrosse is a contact team sport played between two teams using a small rubber ball (62.8-64.77 mm, 140-147 g) and a long-handled stick called Lacrosse or lacrosse stick. It is often considered as a rough sport, although injuries are less frequent than in American football and other contact sports. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh designed to catch and hold the lacrosse ball. Offensively, the objective of the game is to score by shooting the ball into an opponent’s goal, using the lacrosse stick to catch, cradle, and pass the ball to do so. Defensively, the objective is to keep the opposing team from scoring and to gain the ball through the use of stick checking and body contact or positioning.
Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. It is related to bowls, boules and shuffleboard. Two teams, each with four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called rocks, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game usually consists of eight or ten ends.
Soccer has gained popularity in Canada over many years. Although, soccer in Canada was played under a variety of rules, the main concept of soccer was there. The first soccer game had taken place in Toronto in October 1876 between two local clubs. The game has not achieved as much popularity as in Europe, but the Canadian Women soccer team has succeeded numerous times in international level. The team qualified for the 2012 London summer Olympics and performed remarkably well throughout the tournament. They met favourite United States in the Semi-final and lost the game by 4-3 in the overtime. But, the American win came through some controversial decisions against Canada. However, Canada secured the third place with Bronze medal, defeating France by 1-0. Canada is organizing the 2015 FIFA Women’s World cup and the tournament is about to finish this month. Soccer ranks 3rd in the list of top 10 most popular sports in Canada.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each who take turns batting and fielding. The offense attempts to score runs by hitting a ball that is thrown by the pitcher with a bat swung by the batter, then running counter-clockwise around a series of four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. A run is scored when a player advances around the bases and returns to home plate.
Players on the batting team take turns hitting against the pitcher of the fielding team, which tries to prevent runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team who reaches a base safely can later attempt to advance to subsequent bases during teammates’ turns batting, such as on a hit or by other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn batting for both teams, beginning with the visiting team, constitutes an inning. A game comprises nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins. Baseball is the only major team sport in America with no game clock, although almost all games end in the ninth inning.
Originally, Basketball is a team sport, which is invented by a Canadian, James Naismith in 1891. He invented the sport considering it’s indoor recreational value. He was trying to find a safer sport, which requires skill, not power to throw ball. Now, basketball has progressed to a highly skilled sport all over the world. It is documented that, basketball was played in Canada prior to 1900. The official governing body for basketball in Canada is named “Basketball Canada”, which was formed in 1928. A new era of Canadian basketball had begun in 1994, when NBA of United States awarded franchises to 2 Canadian teams, the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies. Professional basketball came to Canada through that initiatives for the first time.
It’s hard to find a sport that’s not played at least somewhere in Canada, and almost all of them have their own uniquely Canadian heroes — though their profiles may be decidedly lower than some of the folks mentioned above.
Ultimate Fighting has come to enjoy considerable popularity in Canada in recent years, in large part due to the successes of French-Canadian star fighter, Georges St. Pierre (b. 1981), who has definitely done a lot to dispel the “polite Canadian” stereotype.
Skating has long been both a casual pastime and competitive sport in Canada, and the two most decorated Canadian Olympians of all time, Clara Hughes (b. 1972) and Cindy Klassen (b. 1979), are both speed skaters.
Skiing, of both the cross-country and downhill variety, is one of Canada’s major entertainment industries, and every year thousands of tourists join locals to participate in the long Canadian ski season, which usually lasts from November to April. The rocky mountain provinces of British Columbia and Alberta are home to some of the world’s largest and most glamorous ski resorts, with a few smaller-scale ones in Quebec as well.
Other sports that have some degree of mainstream popularity in modern Canada include golf, volleyball, tennis, rugby, boxing, swimming, wrestling, track and field, rowing, mountain climbing, cycling and bowling. Most major Canadian cities will have some manner of organized league for all of them.
• There are a number of sports that are played in Canada, both individually and with teams, with some of the most popular being golf, ice hockey, swimming, basketball and baseball. Hockey is known as the national sport of Canada. Other popular sports played in Canada include soccer, volleyball, tennis, cycling, skiing and curling
• Because of the nation’s climate and terrain, winter sports are extremely popular in Canada. Canadian men tend to gravitate to sports like ice hockey, baseball and golf while women enjoy sports like volleyball, swimming, golf and soccer. The most popular spectator sports in Canada include ice hockey, Canadian football, baseball and soccer. Canada often does well during the Winter Olympic Games and actually finished as the top medal-winning country at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.