Institute of the Americas

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Canadian Studies

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The study of Canada is an integral part of the mission of the UCL Institute of the Americas. UCL is London’s global university and there are few better places to study Canada than at the Institute of the Americas, located in historic Gordon Square and situated close to the British Library, the University of London Library at Senate House, the Canadian High Commission and Quebec House.

Canada is the largest country in the Americas (and the second largest in the world, after Russia), stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Circle. As well as being a partner of the United States and Mexico in NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Association) and of the US in NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), it is also a member of the Organisation of American States, through which it has an important voice in issues affecting all of the Americas.

Given its vast size and natural resources it is easy to forget that Canada has a population of only 35 million – little more than one tenth of the US population and just over half the population of the UK. Historically Canada was part of the British Empire, playing a major role in the First and Second World Wars, and it is now a leading member of the Commonwealth.

It also has a strong francophone tradition, centred upon Quebec, as well as becoming a multicultural society in recent years, especially in its big cities such Toronto and Vancouver.

Beyond the Western hemisphere, Canada is a founder member of the UN and of NATO. It is also a major player in global economic and financial matters as a member of the G8 and the G20. It is rich in natural resources – a fact that has helped to underpin its economy during the current global recession. Canada is the seventh largest oil producer in the world, thanks largely to the vast oil sands of northern Alberta, and recent estimates suggest that it is second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of proven oil reserves. It is also the world’s third largest producer of natural gas and a major supplier of iron ore, gold, copper, uranium and forest products.

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