The National Flag of Canada has a stylized red maple leaf with 11 points on a white background, with red borders down each side. The red and white used in the National Flag of Canada were proclaimed the official colours of Canada in 1921 by King George V. While the maple leaf did not have official status as an emblem of Canada before the proclamation of the national flag in 1965, it had historically been used as a Canadian symbol. The 11 points on the maple leaf have no special significance.
The Red Ensign, a red flag with the Royal Union Flag in the upper corner, was created in 1707. It was flown by the Hudson Bay Company across Canada long before Confederation. From approximately 1870 to 1904, it was used on land and sea with the addition of a shield bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,
In 1914, Canada as a nation was only 47 years old and had a population of just over seven million. As a result of government policy, immigrants had poured into Canada, attracted by the land available to them in the West. Between 1900 and 1914, the population had increased by 40 percent, some one million of them British immigrants. But not all of these newcomers were welcome, and ethnic tensions were high before the war, as some Canadians expressed anxiety about the threats to the Anglo-Saxon culture.
Canada is officially bilingual. The mother tongue of the majority of Canadians is English, but nearly a quarter of Canadians speak French. The native population is nearly 800,000. Historically, many immigrants came to Canada from Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. More recently, immigrants have come from Hungary, India, Asia, and Central America. Nearly 50 percent of the last decade's immigrants were born in Asian countries.
Canada is the world's second largest country by area, covering more than 3,381,000 square miles. It stretches from near the North Pole to Lake Erie in the south. it has a vast coastline, towering mountains in the west and a frozen and barren northland. More than 62 percent of Canada's 30 million people live in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Only six metropolitan areas have more than one million people. The balance of the population is widely dispersed across the country, but the vast majority live within 200 miles of the Canada/USA border.