Canada's sheer amount of elbow space can make you dizzy. At 6.1 million sq. km (3.8 million sq. miles), 322,000 sq. km (200,000 sq. miles) more than the United States, this colossal expanse contains only 33 million people -- fewer than the state of California alone. Most of the population is clustered in a relatively narrow southern belt that boasts all the nation's large cities and nearly all its industries. The silent Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut -- where 100,000 people dot 2.4 million sq. km (1.5 million sq. miles) -- remain a frontier, stretching to the arctic shores and embracing thousands of lakes no one has ever charted, counted, or named.

It's impossible to easily categorize this land or its people -- just when you think you know Canada, you discover another place, another temperament, a hidden side.

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