Culture of Canada

The culture of Canada is shaped through geography, politics, and history. Canadian culture has been historically influenced by European Culture. However, the Aboriginal peoples of Canada as well as immigrant cultures have been incorporated into the mainstream. It is also influenced by the USA to its proximity and the migration taking place between Canada and the USA.

The Federal Government influences Canada with many laws, institutions, and programs. Crown corporations have been established to promote Canadian culture such as the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There are also legal minimums set in order to protect the local culture by using Canadian content. Cultural protectionism evolved to limit foreign influences – especially American influences.

The official systems of the country are the beaver, Canadian Horse, and the maple leaf. Official systems such as the national flag have evolved to become more Canadian and remove references from the UK. However, there are national symbols especially in the armed forces such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In Canadian literature, it is divided into English and French-language literature. Many of these authors have done well internationally, such as Michael Ondaatje, Yann Martel, and Margaret Atwood winning the Man Booker Prize. Carol Shields also won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The music industry is assisted by regulation which encourages Canadian music. Regulations require that Canadian radio stations play at least 36% of Canadian music. This has assisted the national music scene to grow and is home to popular music festivals, especially folk music. The Juno Awards recognise achievements in popular music. There are a number of composers and musicians who have also enjoyed international fame such as David Foster, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams, Michael Buble, Nelly Furtado, Diana Krall, Nickelback, and Teagan and Sara.

There is a thriving theatre scene in Canada which draws tourists from around the world. This includes the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The Edmonton International Fringe Festival is the 2nd largest fringe festival in the world.

Canada plays an important role in film and television – mostly as a Hollywood productions site. Vancouver and Toronto is sometimes called “Hollywood North” with American television shows and movies such as 21 Jump Street, Degrassi High, X-Files, The L Word, Queer as Folk, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, The Outer Limits, Transformers, X-Men, and Smallville filmed here. In addition, the premiere North American film festival is the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sports are an integral part of the Canadian culture. Many of these are either unique or imported from the USA. Ice hockey (just known as 'hockey' to the locals) is the official winter sport of Canada. Lacrosse is the oldest sport in Canada and is the official summer sport as it has Aboriginal origins. Football (grid iron) is a popular spectator sport, with the Grey Cup being the largest annual sporting event. Other popular sports include curling, ringette, cricket, street hockey, softball, rugby, and soccer. In terms of individual sports, popular sports include skiing, skateboarding, rode, ice skating, hiking, golf, horse racing, MMA, cycling, boxing, auto racing, wrestling, bobsledding, triathlon, tennis, snowboarding, and swimming. Winter sports are popular due to the cool climate and Canada broke the record for the most amount of gold medals won by any 1 country in the history of the Winter Olympics.