According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and takeoff of aircraft". Runways may be a natural surface. In January 1919, aviation pioneer Orville Wright underlined the need for "distinctly marked and prepared landing places, the preparing of the surface of reasonably flat ground an expensive undertaking there would be a continuous expense for the upkeep." Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, the magnetic azimuth of the runway's heading in decadegrees. This heading differs from true north by the local magnetic declination. A runway numbered 09 points east, runway 18 is south, runway 27 points west and runway 36 points to the north; when taking off from or landing on runway 09, a plane is heading around 90°. A runway can be used in both directions, is named for each direction separately: e.g. "runway 15" in one direction is "runway 33" when used in the other. The two numbers differ by 18.
For clarity in radio communications, each digit in the runway name is pronounced individually: runway one-five, runway three-three, etc.. A leading zero, for example in "runway zero-six" or "runway zero-one-left", is included for all ICAO and some U. S. military airports. However, most U. S. civil aviation airports drop the leading zero. This includes some military airfields such as Cairns Army Airfield; this American anomaly may lead to inconsistencies in conversations between American pilots and controllers in other countries. It is common in a country such as Canada for a controller to clear an incoming American aircraft to, for example, runway 04, the pilot read back the clearance as runway 4. In flight simulation programs those of American origin might apply U. S. usage to airports around the world. For example, runway 05 at Halifax will appear on the program as the single digit 5 rather than 05. If there is more than one runway pointing in the same direction, each runway is identified by appending left and right to the number to identify its position — for example, runways one-five-left, one-five-center, one-five-right.
Runway zero-three-left becomes runway two-one-right. In some countries, regulations mandate that where parallel runways are too close to each other, only one may be used at a time under certain conditions. At large airports with four or more parallel runways some runway identifiers are shifted by 1 to avoid the ambiguity that would result with more than three parallel runways. For example, in Los Angeles, this system results in runways 6L, 6R, 7L, 7R though all four runways are parallel at 69°. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, there are five parallel runways, named 17L, 17C, 17R, 18L, 18R, all oriented at a heading of 175.4°. An airport with only three parallel runways may use different runway identifiers, such as when a third parallel runway was opened at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in 2000 to the south of existing 8R/26L — rather than confusingly becoming the "new" 8R/26L it was instead designated 7R/25L, with the former 8R/26L becoming 7L/25R and 8L/26R becoming 8/26.
Runway designations may change over time because Earth's magnetic lines drift on the surface and the magnetic direction changes. Depending on the airport location and how much drift occurs, it may be necessary to change the runway designation; as runways are designated with headings rounded to the nearest 10°, this affects some runways sooner than others. For example, if the magnetic heading of a runway is 233°, it is designated Runway 23. If the magnetic heading changes downwards by 5 degrees to 228°, the runway remains Runway 23. If on the other hand the original magnetic heading was 226°, the heading decreased by only 2 degrees to 224°, the runway becomes Runway 22; because magnetic drift itself is slow, runway designation changes are uncommon, not welcomed, as they require an accompanying change in aeronautical charts and descriptive documents. When runway designations do change at major airports, it is changed at night as taxiway signs need to be changed and the huge numbers at each end of the runway need to be repainted to the new runway designators.
In July 2009 for example, London Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom changed its runway designations from 05/23 to 04/22 during the night. For fixed-wing aircraft it is advantageous to perform takeoffs and landings into the wind to reduce takeoff or landing roll and reduce the ground speed needed to attain flying speed. Larger airports have several runways in different directions, so that one can be selected, most nearly aligned with the wind. Airports with one runway are constructed to be aligned with the prevailing wind. Compiling a wind rose is in fact one of the preliminary steps taken in constructing airport runways. Note that wind direction is given as the direction the wind is coming from: a plane taking off from runway 09 faces east, into an "east wind" blowing from 090°. Runway dimensions vary from as small as 245 m long and 8 m wide in s
Port of entry
In general, a port of entry is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It has border security staff and facilities to check passports and visas, inspect luggage to assure that contraband is not imported. International airports are ports of entry, as are road and rail crossings on a land border. Seaports can be used as ports of entry; the choice of whether to become a port of entry is up to the civil authority controlling the port. An airport of entry is an airport that provides customs and immigration services for incoming flights; these services allow the airport to serve as an initial port of entry for foreign visitors arriving in a country. The word "international" in an airport's name means that it is an airport of entry, but many airports of entry do not use it. Airports of entry can range from large urban airports with heavy scheduled passenger service, like John F. Kennedy International Airport, to small rural airports serving general aviation exclusively. Smaller airports of entry are located near an existing port of entry such as a bridge or seaport.
On the other hand, some "former" airports of entry chose to leave their name with the word "international" in it though they no longer serve international flights. One example is Osaka International Airport; when it had ended all international services and became a purely domestic airport after the opening of Kansai International Airport in 1994, it kept its original name of "Osaka International Airport". Many airports in the nearby region have the same situation, like Taipei Songshan Airport. Songshan retained its official Chinese name, Taipei International Airport, after Chiang Kai-shek International Airport opened. Similar cases of transitions of international airports such as Seoul, Nagoya, Hong Kong, Tehran, etc. For the European Union, flights between countries in the Schengen Area are considered domestic regarding passport and immigration check. Several international airports have only intra Schengen-flights. Several of these have occasional charter flights to foreign countries; some cases of statelessness have occurred in airports of entry, forcing people to stay there for an extended period.
A famous case was of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an expelled Iranian who lived in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France for eighteen years after being denied entry to the country. There are two films about Tombés du ciel and The Terminal. Another case is Zahra Kamalfar who lived in the Sheremetyevo International Airport for many months before getting refugee status in Canada; the formal definition of a port of entry in the United States is something different. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, "the terms'port' and'port of entry' incorporate the geographical area under the jurisdiction of a port director." In other words, a port of entry may encompass an area that includes several border crossings, as well as some air and sea ports. This means that not every border crossing is a port of entry. There are two reasons for this: Every port of entry must have a Port Director, a higher pay grade than a typical border inspector; the U. S. government has determined. As a result, border stations like Churubusco and Fort Covington, New York are considered "stations" within the Trout River Port of Entry.
Many roads entering the U. S. had no border inspection station. Before September 11, 2001, it was permissible for persons entering the U. S. to do as long as they proceeded directly to an open border inspection station. In fact, the U. S. Customs Service and U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service rented property in houses, post offices, storefronts far from the physical border, people entering the U. S. were expected to travel to these locations without stopping so they could make their declarations. This policy has since changed, most of the roads entering the U. S. at locations other than an open and staffed border inspection station have since been barricaded. In some countries, immigration procedures are carried out by the armed forces rather than specific immigration officers. However, in most, the levying of duty on imports is still carried out by customs officers. Immigration clearance in some ports of entry have automated sections open to the country's own residents or citizens, such as the E-Channel found in Hong Kong and Macau, Global Entry found at some airports in the United States.
On some international borders, the concept of a port of entry does not exist. Travelers may cross the border wherever and whenever convenient, for example within the Schengen Area. In some cases this may be restricted to citizens of specific countries and to travelers who are not carrying goods over the customs limits. Border Border checkpoint Border control Customs Schengen Agreement
Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport or Montréal–Trudeau known as Montréal–Dorval International Airport, is an international airport serving Montreal, Canada, located on the Island of Montreal, 20 km from Downtown Montreal. The airport terminals are located in the suburb of Dorval, while one runway is located in the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent. Air Canada, the country's flag carrier has its corporate headquarters complex on the Saint-Laurent side of the airport, it serves Greater Montreal and adjacent regions in Quebec and eastern Ontario, as well as the states of Vermont and northern New York in the United States. The airport is named in honour of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada and father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; the airport is one of two managed and operated by Aéroports de Montréal, a not-for-profit corporation without share capital. Montréal–Trudeau is owned by Transport Canada which has a 60-year lease with Aéroports de Montréal, as per Canada's National Airport Policy of 1994.
Trudeau is the busiest airport in the province of Quebec and the third-busiest airport in Canada by both passenger traffic and aircraft movements, with 19.42 million passengers and 240,159 movements in 2018. It is one of eight Canadian airports with United States border preclearance and is one of the main gateways into Canada with 12.2 million or 63% of its passengers being on non-domestic flights, the highest proportion amongst Canada's airports during 2018. It is one of four Air Canada hubs and, in that capacity, serves Quebec, the Atlantic Provinces and Eastern Ontario. On an average day, 53,000 passengers transit through Montréal-Trudeau. Airlines servicing Trudeau offer year-round non-stop flights to five continents, namely Africa, Europe, North America and South America, it is one of only two airports in Canada with direct flights to five continents or more, the other being Toronto Pearson International Airport. Trudeau airport is the headquarters of and a large hub for Air Canada, the country's largest airline.
It is the headquarters of Air Inuit and Air Transat, an operation base for Sunwing Airlines and Porter Airlines. It plays a role in general aviation as home to the headquarters of Innotech-Execair, Starlink, ACASS and Maintenance Repair & Overhaul facilities of Air Transat and Air Inuit. Transport Canada operates a Civil Aviation Maintenance and Overhaul facility on site, with a fleet of Government owned and operated civil aircraft. Bombardier Aerospace has an assembly facility on site where they build regional jets and Challenger business jets. By the 1940s, it was clear that Montreal's original airport, Saint-Hubert Airport, in operation since 1927, was no longer adequate for the city's needs; the Minister of Transport purchased land at the Dorval Race Track, considered the best location for an enlarged airport because of its good weather conditions and few foggy days. The airport opened on September 1941, as Dorval Airport/Aéroport Dorval with three paved runways. By 1946 the airport was hosting more than a quarter of a million passengers a year, growing to more than a million in the mid-1950s.
During World War II thousands of Allied aircraft passed through Dorval on the way to England. At one time Dorval was the major transatlantic hub for commercial aviation and the busiest airport in Canada, with flights from airlines such as British Overseas Airways Corporation; until 1959, it doubled as RCAF Station Lachine. Airport diagram for 1954 In November 1960 the airport was renamed Montreal–Dorval International Airport/Aéroport international Dorval de Montréal. On December 15 of that year the Minister of Transport inaugurated a new $30 million terminal; the structure was built by Illsley, Templeton and Larose. At its height, it was one of the biggest in the world, it was the gateway to Canada for all European air traffic and served more than two million passengers per year. Eight years Montréal–Dorval International Airport underwent a major expansion program. Despite this, the government of Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau predicted that Dorval would be saturated by 1985 and projected that 20 million passengers would be passing through Montreal's airports annually.
They decided to construct a new airport in Sainte-Scholastique, what became Montréal–Mirabel International Airport. As the first phase in the transition that would have seen Dorval closed, all international flights were to be transferred to the new airport in 1975. On November 29, 1975, Mirabel International Airport went into service. With an operations zone of 70 km2 and a buffer zone of 290 km2, it became the largest airport in the world. Many connecting flights to Canadian centres were transferred to Mirabel and 23 international airlines moved their overseas activities there; as a consequence, Montréal–Dorval was repurposed to serve domestic flights and transborder flights to the United States. Mirabel's traffic decreased due to the advent in the 1980s of longer-range jets that did not need to refuel in Montreal before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Montreal's economic decline in the late 1970s and 1980s had a significant effect on the airport's traffic, as international flights bypassed Montreal altogether in favour of Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Sunwing Airlines Inc. is a Canadian low-cost airline headquartered in the Etobicoke district of Toronto, Ontario. Sunwing Airlines offers scheduled and charter services from Canada and the United States to destinations within the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, South America. During the summer months, the company offers domestic services across Canada as well as services to European cities, it is a subsidiary of Sunwing Travel Group and its main Canadian bases are Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The company operates seasonal flight services from over 30 local Canadian gateways including Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Edmonton International Airport. By 2004, Sunwing Vacations had become the second largest tour operator in the Ontario area; that year, a former Skyservice employee named Mark Williams approached the CEO of Sunwing Travel Group, Colin Hunter, asked if he wanted to start an airline.
A few weeks official plans to launch the airline were in place. In November 2005, a Boeing 737-800 departing from Toronto was the airline's inaugural flight. In December 2005, Sunwing flew its first direct flight from Sudbury, Ontario to Varadero, making it one the first international flights directly from the Sudbury Airport. In November 2006, the company flew its first flight out of Montreal. By 2008, Sunwing Airlines had grown to operate in 29 cities. In 2015, it was announced that Sunwing had finalised a $350 million deal to acquire two Boeing 737-800 and four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Air Lease Corporation; the aircraft are due to be delivered over a four-year period from early 2016. Seneca College and the University of Waterloo launched a partnership with Sunwing in 2016 to form a cadet program which includes flight training and mentoring through Sunwing. Sunwing joined the Transportation Security Administration's expedited screening program, TSA PreCheck, in January 2017. At that time, the TSA PreCheck program was available at 180 United States airports and works with 30 airlines.
Sunwing took delivery of their first Boeing 737 MAX 8 on May 25, 2018. Sunwing Airlines flies to a wide range of vacation destinations across the Caribbean, Cuba and South America; the most popular destinations include Varadero, Punta Cana and Montego Bay. Its parent company, the Sunwing Travel Group, is Cuba's largest travel provider internationally, sending over 700,000 vacationers to the destination each year. In Canada, the airline operates several domestic routes, including Toronto to Vancouver which operated daily as of Summer 2015, as well as maintaining year-round service to its most popular destinations. Other connections include Gander and St John's from Toronto; as of Summer 2015, the airline operated service to Caribbean destinations from Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbus, Lansing, Nashville, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Rockford. In summer, Sunwing Airlines sends many of their 737-800 aircraft over to Europe to operate for the TUI Group during their busy season; the aircraft operate flights all around Europe for the company.
The Sunwing Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft as of January 2019: In the summer of 2014 police stormed a flight after a passenger made a threat January 5, 2018 - WestJet Flight 2425 was struck while parked and on approach to the gate by a Sunwing Airlines 737 being towed by Swissport contractor at Toronto Pearson International Airport. A fire on the Sunwing aircraft's tail was put out by fire crews at the airport. No passengers were injured on the WestJet aircraft, the Sunwing jet was empty as it was being towed, but a GTAA firefighter was hurt, but treated and released. Sunwing makes it easy for Canadians to extend their summer with savings of up to 50% on vacation packages Media related to Sunwing Airlines at Wikimedia Commons Official website Official travel website
Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John is the coastal port city of the Bay of Fundy in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The port is Canada’s third largest port by tonnage with a cargo base that includes dry and liquid bulk, break bulk and cruise. In 2016, after more than 40 years of population decline, the city became the second most populous city in the province for the first time, with a population of 67,575 over an area of 315.82 square kilometres. Greater Saint John covers a land area of 3,362.95 square kilometres across the Caledonia Highlands, with a population of 126,202. After the partitioning of the colony of Nova Scotia in 1784, the new colony of New Brunswick was thought to be named'New Ireland' with the capital to be in Saint John before being vetoed by Britain's King George III. Saint John is the oldest incorporated city in Canada. During the reign of George III, the municipality was created by royal charter in 1785. Saint John is the oldest of five chartered cities in Canada along with Montreal, Winnipeg and Lloydminster.
French colonist Samuel de Champlain landed at Saint John Harbour on June 24, 1604 and is where the Saint John River gets its name although Mi'kmaq and Maliseet peoples lived in the region for thousands of years prior calling the river Wolastoq. After over a century of ownership disputes over the land surrounding Saint John between the French and English, the English deported the French colonists in 1755 and constructed Fort Howe above the harbour in 1779. Saint John, as a major settlement, was established by refugees of the American Revolution when two fleets of vessels from Massachusetts, one in the spring and a second in the fall, arrived in the harbour; these Loyalist refugees wished to remain living under Great Britain and were forced to leave their U. S. homes during the American Revolution. In 1785, the City of Saint John was formed from the union of Carleton. Over the next century, waves of Irish immigration, namely during the Great Famine via Partridge Island, would fundamentally change the city's demographics and culture.
Predated by the Maritime Archaic Indian civilization, the northwestern coastal regions of the Bay of Fundy is believed to have been inhabited by the Passamaquoddy Nation several thousand years ago, while the Saint John River valley north of the bay became the domain of the Maliseet Nation. The Mi'kmaq ventured into the territory and named the area"Měnagwĕs", which means "where they collect the dead seals."Samuel de Champlain landed at Saint John Harbour in 1604, though he did not settle the area. The region was conquered by the British by the end of the Seven Years' War. After being incorporated as a city in 1785 with an influx of Loyalists from the northern of the former Thirteen Colonies and immigrants from Ireland, the city grew as a global hub for shipping and shipbuilding. In 1851 the city cemented itself as a global shipbuilding hub when the Marco Polo, built from a Saint John yard, became the fastest in the world. However, the city would struggle with its success. From 1840 to 1860 sectarian violence was rampant in Saint John resulting in some of the worst urban riots in Canadian history.
The city experienced a cholera outbreak in 1854 with the death over 1,500 people, as well as a great fire in 1877 that destroyed 40% of the city and left 20,000 people homeless. 1785: Saint John becomes the first incorporated city in what would become Canada. 1785: First quarantine station in North America, Partridge Island, established by the city's charter. In the early 19th century, it greeted sick and dying Irish immigrants arriving with inhospitable conditions. 1820: The first chartered bank in Canada, the Bank of New Brunswick. Canada's oldest publicly funded high school, Saint John High School 1838: The first penny newspaper in the Empire, the tri-weekly Saint John News, was established. 1842: Canada's first public museum known as the Gesner Museum, named after its Nova Scotian founder Abraham Gesner, the first modern commercial producer of kerosene. The museum is now known as the New Brunswick Museum. 1851: Marco Polo ship launched. She carried emigrants and passengers to Australia from England and was the first vessel to make the trip in under six months.
1849: Canada’s first labour union, the Laborer’s Benevolent Association was formed when Saint John’s longshoremen banded together to lobby for regular pay and a shorter workday. One of their first resolutions was to apply to the city council for permission to erect the bell, which would announce the beginning and end of the labourer’s 10-hour workday. 1854: The automated steam foghorn was invented by Robert Foulis. 1867: Saint John's Paris Crew rowing team became Canada's first international sporting champions when they defeated England at the International Regatta in Paris, France. 1870: Canada's first Y. W. C. A. was established. 1870: First Knights of Pythias in British Empire. 1872: Monitor top railroad cars in the world invented by James Ferguson. The original model is in the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John. 1880: First clockwork time bomb developed in 1880. 1906: The first public playground in Canada was inaugurated. 1907: The first orchestra to accompany a silent moving picture, on the North American continent, was in the old nickel theatre.
1918: One of the first police unions in Canada, the Saint John Police Protective Association, was formed in Saint John. 2010: Stonehammer UNESCO Geopark, the first Geopark in North America and centred around Saint John is formed. Situated in the south-central portion of the province, along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River, the city is split by the south-flowing river and
St. John's International Airport
St. John's International Airport is in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, it is an international airport located at the northern limits of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador that serves the St. John's metropolitan area and the Avalon Peninsula; the airport is part of the National Airports System, is operated by St. John's International Airport Authority Inc; the airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport can handle aircraft with no more than 165 passengers. However, they can handle up to 450. Concern was expressed in the Canadian Parliament as early as September 1939 for the security of Dominion of Newfoundland in the event of a German raid or attack, it was felt that a permanent airfield defense facility was needed and as a result discussions were carried out among Canada and the United Kingdom during 1940. In late 1940 the Canadian Government agreed to construct an air base near St. John's. Early in 1941, Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King informed Newfoundland Governor Sir Humphrey T. Walwyn of the intended location in Torbay.
Newfoundland agreed, but stipulated that Canada was to assume all expenses and that the aerodrome not be used for civil purposes without first receiving Newfoundland's permission. The Canadian Government agreed, in April 1941 McNamara Construction Company began construction on the runway. At a cost of $1.5 million, a pair of runways, aprons and other facilities were built and in operation by the end of 1941. The Royal Canadian Air Force opened Torbay Airport on December 15, 1941, it was jointly used by the RCAF, Royal Air Force, the United States Army Air Corps until December 1946. On October 18, 1941, three American B-17 Flying Fortress and one RCAF Digby made the first unofficial landings on the only serviceable runway available; that month a British Overseas Airways Corporation B-24 Liberator en route from Prestwick, Scotland, to Gander, made the first sanctioned landing during a weather emergency. The first commercial air service at the facility went into operation on May 1, 1942 with the arrival at Torbay of a Trans-Canada Air Lines Lockheed Lodestar aircraft with five passengers and three crew.
The first terminal building at the site was constructed in 1943. The small wooden structure was replaced by a larger brick building in 1958. In 1942 the aerodrome was listed as RCAF Aerodrome - Torbay, Newfoundland at 47°37′N 52°44′W with a variation of 29 degrees west and elevation of 460 ft; the field was listed as "All hard surfaced" and had three runways listed as follows: Although the airfield was not used as much as Argentia, Gander and Goose Bay airports in the movement of large numbers of aircraft to England, it was still quite busy. The Royal Air Force had its own squadron of fighters and weather aircraft stationed there; the RCAF personnel strength on the station during the peak war years was well over 2000. Through an agreement between the US, Canadian and Newfoundland governments early in 1947, the United States Air Force took over the use of the airport facilities and used about ten of the airport buildings; the US Military Air Transport Service needed Torbay Airport in order to complete its assigned mission at that time.
Maintenance of the airport and facilities was done by the Canadian Department of Transport. On April 1, 1946, the airport became a civilian operation under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Department of Transport. Confusion was caused by the presence of American military personnel at a civilian airport operated by the Canadian government in a foreign country. On 1 April 1953 control was returned to the Department of National Defence. On April 15, 1953 the RCAF Station at Torbay was reactivated and RCAF personnel started to move in and to provide the necessary administration and operation of the facility to support the mission of its co-tenant, the USAF. In early 1954 a rental agreement was signed between the USAF and the RCAF, the USAF acquired use of additional buildings; the control tower constructed during the war burned down in an extensive fire on March 17, 1946, which caused $1.5 million worth of damage. Construction was not begun on a new tower until 1951. A new Tower/Communications Building replaced that structure in March 1976.
The tower was equipped with radio navigation and landing aids including precision approach radar, non-directional beacon and VHF omni-directional range. The Transport Department maintained control over the terminal building; the facility remained RCAF Station Torbay until April 1, 1964, when it was returned to the jurisdiction of the Transport Department under the name St. John's Airport. St. John's Airport is still referred to as "Torbay" within the aviation community. For example, in aeronautical radio communications, air traffic controllers, flight dispatchers and pilots refer to the weather in "Torbay" and in flight clearances controllers clear aircraft to or over St. John's with the phrase "Cleared direct Torbay". In the latter case this is a clearance to the VOR serving the region, which continues to be named Torbay on all official aeronautical charts. In addition to tradition, this usage avoids confusion with Saint John, New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada. Additionally the "T" in airport codes CYYT and YYT continues to reflect the Torbay origin.
In 1981 the terminal building housed the offices of the airport staff. There were ticket offices for Eastern Provincial Airways, Air Canada, Gander Aviation and Labrador Airways, a large waiting ar
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000