Canada is the world's second-largest country (9 970 610 km2)
surpassed only by the Russian Federation.
The History of the National Anthem
"O Canada" was proclaimed Canada's national anthem on July 1, 1980,
100 years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880. The music
was composed by Calixa Lavallée, a well-known composer;
French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir
Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The song gained steadily in popularity.
Many English versions have appeared over the years.
The version on which the official English lyrics are based
was written in 1908 by Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir.
The official English version includes changes recommended in 1968
by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons.
The French lyrics remain unaltered.
The Canadian Flag
Several people participated in designing the Canadian flag.
Jacques St. Cyr contributed the stylized maple leaf, George Bist the
proportions, and Dr. Gunter Wyszechi the colouration. The final
determination of all aspects of the new flag was made by a 15-member
parliamentary committee which is formally credited with the design.
After lengthy debate, the new flag was adopted by Parliament.
It officially became the national flag on February 15, 1965,
now recognized as Canada's Flag Day.
The maple leaf has been associated with Canada for some time:
in 1868, it figured in coats of arms granted to Ontario and
Quebec; and in both world wars, it appeared on regimental badges.
Since the 1965 introduction of the Canadian flag, the maple leaf has
become the country's most important symbol.
Health Care and Social Security
Basic health care, with the exception of dental services, is free
at the point of delivery. And prescription drugs are in most cases
dispensed without charge to people over 65 and social aid recipients.
Canada also has an extensive social security network, including an old
age pension, a family allowance, unemployment insurance and welfare.