Requirements & transport
No visitor visa required for tourist visits of a duration of less than six months in Canada if you are a French citizen.
You should be up to date with your vaccinations (DT polio).
To work out the time difference between France and Canada, the fact that there are six time zones in Canada needs to be taken into account. Summertime starts on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. The time difference with Paris is as follows:
- 5 hours with Halifax ;
- 6 hours with Ottawa ;
- 7 hours with Regina ;
- 8 hours with Calgary ;
- 9 hours with Vancouver.
When it is 6pm in France, it is midday in Quebec and Ontario (so 6 hours behind); 1pm in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; 11am in Manitoba: 10am in Alberta, Saskatchewan and in the North Western Territories; 9am in Yukon and British Columbia. Note however that it is 1.30pm in Newfoundland. Note also that some of the National Parks in British Columbia (Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho and Kootenay) take the same time zone as the Rockies (so that of Alberta), which equate to one hour less than the rest of the province.
110 V 50/60Hz. An adapter is needed.
Country Code : +1
Canadian Embassy in France
35, avenue Montaigne - 75008 Paris
Tel. 01 44 43 29 00 / Fax. 01 44 43 29 99
French Embassy in Canada
42, promenade Sussex, Ottawa, Ontario K1M 2C9
Tel. +1 (613) 789 1795
Fax. +1 (613) 562 3735
Canada’s geography is vast and varied. Covering the majority of the northern part of the continent of North America (41%), Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of land surface area, after Russia.
Canada covers the immense stretch of land between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east (hence Canada’s motto, “From Sea to Sea”), and the United States to the south and northwest (Alaska), and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Greenland is to the northeast. Off the south coast of Newfoundland is Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, which is a French territory. Since 1925, Canada has reclaimed the Arctic region between the longitudes of 60°O and 141°O up to the North Pole, however this is not universally recognised.
Spread over 9,984,670 km² (land: 9,093,507 km²; water: 891,163 km²), Canada’s surface area is just under three fifths that of Russia. Canada’s total surface area is a little larger than the United States or China, although it is slightly smaller than these two countries in terms of land area only (China covers 9,596,960 km² and the United States covers 9,161,923 km²), making it the fourth largest country in terms of land surface area.
The magnetic north pole is located inside the Canadian border although recent observations have shown that it is moving towards Siberia.
There are four distinct seasons in Canada, which are more or less pronounced depending on the region. Latitude plays an important role in determining the weather. Due to temperatures tending to be lower towards the north of the country, the majority of the population is concentrated in the south where temperatures are milder. The climate is very humid along the east and west coasts, but rainfall mostly occurs in winter. The plains and prairies in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the east of Alberta are dry for most of the year. Canadian winters are long and hard: for over two thirds of the country the average January temperature is -18°C. The hottest months are July and August when temperatures in the south of the country often exceed 20°C.
However, it was only in 1867 that the Canadian Confederation was founded through the British North American Act, composed of four provinces: Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In 1870 a new province, Manitoba, was founded. The following year, British Columbia was founded and in 1873, Prince Edward Island joined the Confederation. The North Western territories were created in 1874, uniting all territories between Manitoba and British Columbia.
In 1905 the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were created in the North West Territories, taking the total number of provinces to nine. In 1949, Newfoundland chose to become a part of the Confederation via a referendum.
During this time, Canada became a sovereign state, following the 1926 Imperial Conference in London, and the promulgation of the Westminster Statute in 1931. The Canadian Constitution remained, in the absence of an agreement of the means of its repatriation, a law of British Parliament.
The economic crash in the 1930s was as spectacular as the growth that preceded it, even though Canada’s natural resources attracted numerous foreign investors. The recession convinced numerous Canadians of the need to reform their constitution in order to better share revenues and responsibilities between the two parts of the government: federal and provincial. The first attempts undertaken after 1935 were in vain and during World War Two, which saw the deployment of Canadian troops to Europe, questions surrounding the constitution were of secondary concern.
The years between 1945-65 were marked by a progressive expansion of federal politics and social care, as well as the adoption of a balancing out system which hugely benefited the poorer provinces. Only Quebec, and to a lesser extent Ontario, created reserves in respect of the centralisation of power in this domain.
The landslide victory of John Diefenbaker’s Conservative party in 1958 marked the beginning of a new era in Canadian politics. From the beginning of the conservative Prime Minister’s term, the population became concerned about the high level of American investors, which placed Canada in a position of dependence with regards its powerful neighbour. Relations between Canada and America were also important concerns of Canadian politicians during the 60s and 70s.
However, at the time of the Confederation’s centenary in 1967, the question of constitutional reform – on hold for almost 30 years – came back to the fore. Quebec, where the dawn of nationalism dates back to the 1960s, rose up against restrictions imposed by the federal system, despite the efforts of the liberal government of Lester B. Pearson, elected in April 1963, to reach accommodations.
When the P.E. Trudeau’s liberal party took power at the end of the 1960s it marked a turning point in the affirmation of Canada’s identity in the face of Great Britain and, above all, it’s American neighbour. Trudeau’s policies - and the institutions that he created – focused on reinforcing Canada’s economic sovereign power over its territories and the consolidation of a national identity. It was in this spirit that an agreement was signed with the provinces to repatriate the Constitution.
At the same time, the economic problems of the 70s changed the country’s existing power struggles. The petrol boom, which benefited the producing provinces in the west, notably Alberta, affected the balance of the Confederation by reducing the traditional domination of central Canada (Ontario, Quebec), while inflation and unemployment hit the country as a whole.
In Quebec, the Parti Québécois came to power in November 1976. At the time of the Quebec Referendum in 1980, the Levesque Government did not obtain victory for the path toward sovereignty, but the PQ did however win the provincial elections in May 1981. Despite long negotiations, no agreement was reached on the constitutional issue: the federal prime minister P. Trudeau announced at this time his intention to renew its efforts to bring the Canadian Constitution under Canadian power and to include in it an amendment as well as a charter of liberties. His efforts paid off on the 5th November, 1981 when a conclusion of an agreement was reached between Ottawa and the nine English-speaking provinces, an agreement that Quebec refused to be associated with.
Nevertheless, this agreement was ratified on the 17th April, 1982, when the Queen declared the “Constitutional Law of 1981” in Ottawa, which ended British jurisdiction over the Canadian Constitution and put in place the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Quebec National Assembly adopted a special law at this point allowing Quebec laws to be retracted for five years from certain articles of the Canadian charter (as stipulated by a clause in the 1982 constitution).
When they came to power in 1984, the Conservatives returned to the constitutional negotiations. M. Brian Mulroney, the new Prime Minister, promised to bring Quebec back into the Canadian Confederation, “with honour and enthusiasm.” But due to his unpopularity, Brian Mulroney announced his resignation on the 24th February, 1993. The Liberal Party won the legislative vote of 25th October with 177 seats out of 295, mostly in Ontario and the east. The Progressive Conservative Party only managed to retain two seats. The official opposition party became Lucien Bouchard’s Bloc Quebecois, a federal political party in Canada defending the promotion of Quebec sovereignty.
Jean Chrétien created his first government on the 4th November, 1993, with two main focuses: stimulating employment (at this time, unemployment affected 11% of the active population) and a reduction of the budget deficit (the debt accumulated by the federal government was 500 billion Canadian dollars in January 1994). On the other hand, Chrétien refused to revisit the question of the constitution. Jean Chrétien’s liberal party came back to power in June 1997 by retaining a reduced majority (155 seats out of 301).
In Québec, the sovereign Parti Québécois won the legislative elections of September, 1994. The new Prime Minister, Jacques Parizeau, called for a referendum on the future of Quebec in October 1995. A very close result against the sovereign option (49.4% yes votes, against 50.6% no votes) led to the resignation of Jacques Parizeau and the arrival of Lucien Bouchard at the head of the Quebec government.
Relations between Ottawa and Quebec were marked by the adoption in Parliament, after heated debate, of the C-20 bill, also known as the Clarity Act, which defined the conditions under which the federal government could accept to undergo negotiations in the case of an eventual referendum in favour of the sovereignty of Quebec.
The liberal government, led by Jean Chrétian, won by a landslide victory in the federal elections of 27th November, 2000, increasing its majority (172 seats out of 301). The crisis at the heart of the Liberal party, caused by the power struggle between Jean Chrétien and his former Finance Minister, Paul Martin, the candidate announced to be his successor since mid-June 2002, led to him announcing his resignation as the country’s leader in December 2003. Paul Martin officially became Canada’s Prime Minister on 12th December, 2003.
On 2nd December, 2006, Stéphane Dion became the 11th leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Regarding the issue of the relationship between Quebec and the rest of Canada, the Prime Minister succeeded in passing a motion recognising that Quebec formed a nation at the service of united Canada in the House of Commons, on the 27th November 2006, nearly unanimously.
On 7th September, 2008, the Prime Minister called for federal elections. On the 14th October – the day of the elections – Canada found itself again with a new minority government (143 seats against 126) – the third in four years. The leader of the PLC, Stéphane Dion, resigned following the Liberal Party’s failure (76 seats against 96).
At the 2nd May, 2011 elections, the conservative party obtained 39.6% of the votes and 166 seats at the House of Commons. This election allowed the party to create a majority government in parliament. The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, announced his resignation 3rd May, 2011 following the disappointing results of the last elections.
Bob Rae became interim leader and assumed office on 25th May, 2011.
Source: French Embassy of Canada
GDP: 247 billion USD
GDP/capita: 38,400 USD
Annual Growth: 2.7%
Main industry: Agriculture, mining, metal working, natural gas, petrol, hydroelectricity, forestry, automobile industry
Main partners: USA, EU (including UK and Germany) and Asia (including Japan and South Korea)
In 2008, Canada was the 13th largest economy in the world according to GDP or the 9th largest in the world according to GNP.
The Canadian economy is strongly linked to the US economy, due to geographical proximity and commercial treaties: the automobile treaty (1965-2001), the Free Trade Agreement (FTA or ALE in French) of 1989, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994. Canada has large amounts of natural resources (wood, petrol) and a highly educated population, and has seen average annual growth of 3% since 1993.
Tourism is one of Canada’s main revenue sources. It is the 5th most visited country by foreign tourists, putting it behind France, Spain, USA and Italy. The country has various points of interest in its different regions. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are the country’s most visited cities.
Canada is the United States’ principle partner. Business between the two countries exceeds 1.4 billion Canadian Dollars daily. By way of comparison, this amount exceeds American business with all the Latin American countries combined in 1999. The value of American exports to Canada exceeds the value of American exports to the EU. The importance of Canada for the US is not only linked to the American borders with Canada – Canada is also the principal destination for exports from 35 out of the 50 American states.
The French informal form of address, using “tu” rather than “vous”, is standard in Quebec. Here, “bonjour” can also be used when you take leave of someone, to mean “goodbye.” When driving, wherever you are on the road you must stop when a school bus has their hazard warning lights on, which means children are getting on or off the bus. In town, be careful when approaching crossroads as the traffic lights are positioned beyond the crossroad. Be very careful when parking as there is often no parking allowed during the night on certain roads and there is no let-up in these restrictions.
Quebec is the biggest maple syrup producer in the world. Canada produces some good cheese, particularly cheddar. On the east and west coasts you can find very good seafood at reasonable prices. Note that the sale of alcohol in Canada is governed by the law. In general, alcoholic drinks must be bought in liquor stores which are closed in the evening, on Sundays and on public holidays.
The majority of the population describe themselves as Catholic. Amongst Protestants, Anglicanism is the most prominent branch. Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto have a strong Jewish community. Recent immigration has also brought Islam and Hinduism to Canada.
Arts & music
Inuit Art, with sculptures made from stone or bone, is the most beautiful example of Canada’s cultural identity. There are also fine examples of American Indian sculpture, engraving and basket weaving.
With regards to music, several Canadian celebrities are well known on the other side of the Atlantic: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, les Cowboy Junkies, Robert Charlebois, Gilles Vigneault, Diane Dufresne, Linda Lemay, Garou, Isabelle Boulay and the international Quebec star, Céline Dion.
Official Country Name: Canada
Surface Area: 9,984,670 km²
Population: 33.2 million
People and Ethnicities: 28% descendant of British colonies, 23% French colonies, 3% German colonies,2% American-Indians, as well as significant communities of Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Greek, Polish and Chinese origin.
Language: English, French and 53 other minor languages
Religions: 42.6% Christian, 23.3% Protestant, 1.9% Muslim. Religion does not play a very important role in Canadian society.
Government: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy (Canada is part of the British Commonwealth). Federal state composed of 10 provinces and 3 territories. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor general. Executive power is granted to the Prime Minister.
Governor General: Michaëlle Jean
Prime Minister: Stephen Harper
The Canadian national flag is known as the Maple Leaf Flag and was adopted in 1965.
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)