The Prairie Messenger will begin its usual summer schedule this month. We print every second week in July — with the next issues scheduled for July 19 and Aug. 2. Then we take a three-week break and print again the Aug. 30 issue.
In honour of Canada celebrating 150 years of Confederation this year, Statistics Canada released some numbers comparing Canada today to yesteryear.
In 2013 93 per cent of Canadians believed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is “the country’s most important national symbol,” followed by the national flag (91 per cent), the national anthem (88 per cent), the RCMP (87 per cent), and hockey (77 per cent). No figure is given for medicare, also considered an important Canadian identity and value
Canada’s population is 10 times the size it was in 1870, the year of the first census after Confederation. Here is an analysis of the people who make up our country:
• 35.2 million: the population in 2016.
• 3.5 million: the population in 1870.
• 41: the average age of a citizen in 2016.
• 1.4 million: number of people who reported having an indigenous identity in 2011 (4.3 per cent of the country’s total population).
• 17 million: number of people from around the world who have made their home in Canada since 1867.
• 20.6 per cent: proportion of the population listed as foreign born in 2011 (the highest among G8 countries).
• 6.2 million: number of people who self-identify as being part of a visible minority group in 2011 (the three largest identify as South Asian, Chinese and black, and make up 60 per cent of the visible minority population).
• Over 200: number of ethnic origins reported in 2011.
In geographical terms, Canada is the world’s second largest country. It includes 10 provinces and three territories. We have:
• 9,984,670 square km: total area.
• 5,514 km: longest distance from east to west.
• 4,634 km: longest distance from north to south.
• 1,169,561 square km: total area of fresh water.
Immigrants to Canada can be alert to what Canadians eat and drink:
• $9.2 billion: value of all beer sold by liquor stores, agencies and other retail outlets in Canada in 2016.
• $263.4 million: value of potatoes exported from Canada in 2016.
• $57.9 million: value of salmon, Pacific, fresh/chilled from Canada in 2016.
• $287: what the average household spent on cheese in 2015.
• $163: what the average household spent on coffee and tea in 2015.
• $10: what the average household spent on ketchup in 2015.
• The Athabasca sand dunes, in the northwest corner of Saskatchewan near the Northwest Territories, is the most northerly active sand dune formation in the world. The dunes stretch for approximately 100 kilometres along the south shore of Lake Athabasca.
• The first automated teller machine in Canada was developed by Saskatchewan credit unions in 1977 and first went into service at two Sherwood Credit Union branches in Regina.
• Canada is the leading exporter of pulse crops in the world, and most of them are grown in Saskatchewan.
• There are more roads in Saskatchewan than in any other province in Canada. The total road surface of 160,000 kilometres in Saskatchewan is enough to circle the equator four times.
• Cree is the second most commonly spoken language in Saskatchewan. There are over 20,000 residents who speak Cree.
These facts are of interest for trivia buffs — or maybe they can initiate a family conversation, instead of everyone focusing on their own digital games.