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Economy of Canada.
Until the early 20th century, Canada was primarily an agricultural nation.
Since then it has become one of the most industrialized countries in the
world. To a large extent the manufacturing industries are supplied with
raw materials produced by the agricultural, mining, forestry, and fishing
sectors of the Canadian economy.
The Canadian economy depends heavily on agriculture, which employs about 4 percent of the labor force. Because of its abundant production and relatively small population, Canada is a leading exporter of food products. Farms in Canada are about equally divided between crop raising and livestock production. Wheat is the most important single crop, and the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan form one of the greatest wheat-growing areas of the world, with an average annual production of more than one fifth of the world's supply. After wheat, the major eash receipts from field crops are obtained from sales of canola, vegetables, barley, maize, potatoes, fruits, tobacco, and soybeans. Fruit farming is done in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, with apples contributing about 40 percent of the total value. Berries, peaches, grapes, and cherries are other important crops. Tomatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, peas and beans are major vegetable crops.
Forestry is a major source of Canada's wealth, and forest products annually account for nearly 14 percent of Canadian export. Forests cover some 4, 2 million sq km of the country, and the provincial and federal governments own about 90 percent of this land. Canada has more than 150 varieties of native trees; about 80 percent of them are softwoods, such as spruce, Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, pine, and balsam. Forestry sustains a complex and diversified export and domestic industry, employing more than 250,000 people. Canada leads the world in newsprint production and accounts for more than one-half of world exports; most of the Canadian export is sent to the United States. The sawmill and planning-mill industry is centered in British Columbia. Quebec and Ontario lead the nation in pulp and paper production.
The fishing resources of the country are harvested from northwestern Atlantic and northeastern Pacific oceans and from the most extensive bodies of fresh water in the world. Canada is a leading exporter of fish products. The United States receive more than one-half of exports, followed by Japan and the nations of the European Union. The catch includes herring, redfish, scallops, salmon, flatfish, lobsters, and crab.
The natural variety of seasons and scenic wonders f Canada draw a large number of tourists. In the spring, blossom festivals flourish across Canada, especially in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.Noteworthy is the Ottawa Festival of Spring (Tulip Festival) in May. Alberta's Calgary Exhibition in July is world-famous. The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival and autumn-color tours in central Ontario and the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec are among the other attractions. Skiing centers and more than 730,000 sq km of natural areas preserved in Canadian federal and provincial parks also attract visitors.
From the 16th to the 18th century, the leadingCanadians items of export were fish and furs. During the 19th century, the exploitation of white-pine forests of the Laurentian region was initiated, and timber became the staple item of export. With the improvement of railroad lines early in the 20th century, the western prairie regions were opened, and wheat became the chief item of export. The mining industry began to grow at about the same time; valuable mineral deposits were discovered in the Laurentian region. Manufacturing industries developed to supply and process the goods of the three primary industries - agriculture, forestry, and mining.
Per capita foreign trade of Canada ranks among the highest of any nation in the world. Most of Canadian foreign trade is with the United States, which typically takes about four-fifth of Canada's exports and supplies more than twothirds of its imports. The value Canada-United States merchandise trade is greater than between any other two countries in the world. Components of Canadian exports are increasingly manufactured items; while resource export volume is decreasing.The leading products Canada sells abroad include automobiles, trucks, motor-vehicle parts, crude petroleum, lumber, newsprint, wood pulp, wheat,industrial machinery, natural gas, office machines and aluminum.Principal imports are general purpose and specialized machinery, chemicals, computers, telecommunications equipment, fruit and vegetables.