Generally speaking, determining country-name etymology is quite difficult. What is the significance of a name? What´s the story behind it? That isn´t the case for Canada. The story has been handed down over the ages – the name is the result of a charming misunderstanding.
In the language of the Iroquois, Canada´s native people, the word “kanata” means a “cluster of dwellings” or a “Settlement”. In the 16th century the French explorer Jacques Cartier sailed to North America. Because the Iroquois used the term kanata so often, Cartier misunderstood the word to mean the entire territory rather than the generic noun for a settlement. And that is how kanata became Canada.
Moraine Lake, Banff-Nationalpark
The maple leaf has been a symbol of Canada´s diverse and often spectacular natural environment for a very long time. Over the years, another facet has been added to this Symbol – the people of Canada also identify with the maple leaf. It is to be found on the reverse face of Canadian coins, for example, and an image of the maple leaf has appeared on the Canadian flag since 1965. It replaced the Union Flag of Great Britain – symbolizing Canada´s growing independence and autonomy. The historian George Stanley designed the present – day Canadian national flag, which was inaugurated on February 15, 1965. Since then, the “National Flag of Canada Day” is observed annually on that date.
The most famous lake monster is undoubtedly the Loch Ness Monster, or “Nessie”. But Nessie is not the only monster of its kind. Another monster in Okanagan Lake, British Columbia, Canada, strikes fear into people´s hearts: Ogopogo is a serpent-like monster 3 to 14 meters long. Its head is said to resemble that of a horse or a goat. Ogopogo is believed to have dark green skin with lots of humps.
Even though the name does not sound all that scary, there is a dark history to Ogopogo. Legend has it that Ogopogo was in cahoots with a serpent-like lake demon called “N´ha-a-itk” that attacked travelers if they did not offer it a living sacrifice. That is why travelers used to take small animals such as hens with them on their journey to placate the lake monster in an emergency.