THE CANADA MALL
To the World from Canada

Canada is a federal country composed of ten provinces and three territories. Occupying most of northern North America, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Canada shares land borders with the United States to the south and northwest. By total area, it is the second largest country in the world.
The lands have been inhabited for millennia by aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored and later settled the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years War. In 1867, Canada was formed through an act of union of three British North American colonies. A gradual process of independence from the United Kingdom culminated in the Canada Act 1982, severing the last vestiges of dependence on the British parliament; the country remains a Commonwealth Realm.

The name Canada comes from a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word meaning "village" or "settlement." In 1535, inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct explorer Jacques Cartier toward the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word 'Canada' to refer to not only that village, but the entire area subject to Donnacona, Chief at Stadacona. By 1545, European books and maps began referring to this region as Canada.

The French colony of Canada referred to the part of New France along the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes. Later, it was split into two British colonies, called Upper Canada and Lower Canada until their union as the British Province of Canada in 1841. Upon Confederation in 1867, the name Canada was adopted for the entire country, and was frequently referred to as the Dominion of Canada until the 1950s. As Canada asserted its political autonomy from Britain, the federal government increasingly simply used Canada on legal state documents and treaties. The Canada Act 1982 refers only to "Canada" and, as such, it is currently the only legal (and bilingual) name. This was reflected in 1982 with the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day.