Which Country is Known As the Great White North?

Snowscape of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
Snowscape of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.

The Great White North is one of the nicknames used to refer to Canada. The name “Canada” has been in use since the 16th century when French colonists derived the name from Iroquoian word “kanata” meaning “settlement,” "land,” or “village.” It is unclear who came up with the name Great White North, but the nickname has been used for many decades to describe the country.

Why "Great"?

Canada covers about 3.9 million square miles. It is the second-largest country on the planet after Russia. Despite the size, 80% of the country is nearly uninhabited with 80% of the population residing within 100 miles of the southern border with the United States. The country also has the longest coastline of all countries stretching for about 125,567 miles (202,080 km). Furthermore, there is a general notion that Canadians are extra nice and humble people.

Why "White"?

The “white” part of the nickname comes from the fact that about 580,000 square miles the country’s territory lies within the Arctic Archipelago and is occupied by less than 20,000 people. Some parts of Canada remains untouched and unexplored because they are covered by snow. During winter, the entire northern section of the country received heavy snowfall while the southern receive a substantial amount. Furthermore, snowfall in the country is not limited to winter because some regions receive constant snowfall for 5 to 6 months of the year.

Why "North"?

The “North” part of the name is derived from the fact that both Canada and the United States are found in North America and the former is located north of the latter. In the United States, moving north means moving to Canada while in Canada, moving south means moving to the United States.

Other Nicknames for Canada

Other nicknames of Canada include Borealia (also meaning "northern"), Lumberjack Country, Nova Britannia, and the Land of Maple Syrup as Canada produces 71% of the world’s pure maple syrup.


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