SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to … Canada


Learn to say Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik: https://www.cbc.ca/kids/watch/video/1873627203893

Wild Canada: National Geographic Adventure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqBk3SC2tOw

Canadian wildlife A-Z: https://a-z-animals.com/animals/location/north-america/canada/

Poutine recipe: https://www.seasonsandsuppers.ca/authentic-canadian-poutine-recipe/


Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting the second biggest country in the world. Let’s see if you can guess where we’re heading. It has the most freshwater lakes in the world… it’s famous for ice hockey, maple syrup, and polar bears …

That’s right! Strap yourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we take off to take a squiz at Canada.


Canada is spread out over almost 10 million square kilometres, reaching from the northern border of the USA, right up to the Arctic circle.
About 35 million people live in Canada, and nine-tenths of them… meaning nine out of every ten Canadians … live within 160km of that border with the United States.

That’s a pretty skinny strip containing most of the citizens of a really big country. In contrast, only 200,000 people live in the massive 40% of Canada that’s up in the Arctic circle… along with most of the world’s polar bears!

Half of those human Arctic inhabitants are indigenous… and the name of Canada actually comes from an indigenous word, Kanata, which means village, or settlement.

Like in Australia, indigenous people occupied the land for thousands of years before white settlers came. The Inuit people were in the north, and Native Americans in the south. Together, they spoke around 60 languages.

French and English settlers came to Canada, getting rich by hunting and selling its natural resources – especially fish and beaver fur. The French were in the east, the English in the west… and in the 1700s, as both pushed inland, it came to war. The English won, and today, Canada’s system of government is similar to Australia’s. It’s an independent country, with its own elections and leaders… but the official head of state is King Charles III.

The capital of Canada is Ottawa… but it’s not the biggest city. That honour goes to Toronto, which is called “the most multicultural city in the world”, because people from more than 200 different ethnic backgrounds live there.

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….


We’ve already talked about how diverse Toronto is… one fifth of all the people living in Canada were born in another country, so LOTS of languages are spoken here! But the main language is English. And just like Australia, Canada has some slang that’s helpful to know when you visit. Luckily, we have Addison here to help us learn more… take it away, Addison!


Addison is actually the daughter of a kid that I played with when I was two years old, and my family lived in Canada … how cool is that? Thank you so much, Addison! If I had a loonie – what a great name for a one dollar coin – I’d send it your way!

Now Addison also speaks pretty fabulous French. That’s because seven million Canadians – or one fifth of the population – speak French as their first language. Most French speakers are concentrated in the province, or state, of Quebec… but wherever you go in Canada, you’ll see both French and English on street signs, and food packaging, and official government messages.

Now that we can ask for a warm hat – a tocque, remember – and a hot drink at Timmy’s, it’s…


If you’re a school kid in Quebec, then everything you do at school will be in French (except, of course, your foreign language lessons). In every other province, the language of instruction, as teachers say, is English.

School in Canada is reasonably similar to what you’re learning in Aussie schools, but there’s one big difference in how kids get to school. Have you ever watched the Magic School Bus, or another TV show or movie with a big yellow bus that takes kids to school? They are all over Canada, and there’s actually an official paint colour called “National School Bus Glossy Yellow”.

Why do you think they decided to make all the school buses the same bright yellow? I’ll give you a second to think… maybe pause the podcast if you want to discuss…

Yes, that’s right – it’s like the motorised version of wearing hi-vis! It’s pretty unusual to have yellow cars and buses, so they stand out really well… which helps motorists slow down and watch out for kids.

More than 50% of all Canadian schoolkids end up going to, and graduating from, university. It’s actually the only country in the world to have more than half of its grownups university-educated. (In Australia, according to the bureau of statistics, it’s 32%)

Okay, lesson over! I think it’s time to head out into nature… and back in time…


We’re heading back… way back… to around 14,000 years ago, and the end of the last Ice Age.

The massive sheets of ice covering Canada are melting… and underneath are huge basins that glaciers have carved into the land. Now, they’re felling up with what’s called meltwater… forming enormous freshwater lakes.

Fast forward to today… and Canada has two MILLION freshwater lakes. The 5 ‘Great Lakes’ alone contain 21% of the world’s surface fresh water! Isn’t that incredible? One fifth of the world’s surface freshwater in just five lakes.

My favourite lake is DEFINITELY a body of water in the province of Manitoba. I’m going to try to say its name, and then we’ll get a local to set me straight.

Here goes… the longest place name in Canada, with 31 letters, is a lake called: Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik

The name is Cree, one of Canada’s indigenous languages, and it means “where the wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks.” Watch the video in your episode notes from CBC Kids Canada – their version of our ABC kids – and you’ll be singing it fluently in no time!

Canada is famous not just for its lakes, but for its nature in general. Forty percent of the whole country is covered in forests, and one tenth of the entire world’s forests are in Canada. I’ll put a couple of videos in your episode notes so that you can explore those forests from home… maybe you’ll see some of the amazing wildlife, including bighorn sheep, elk, wolves, coyotes, moose, beavers, bald eagles, osprey, and bears.

I’m always hungry after a big hike in the woods! I think it might be…


Speak to any homesick Canadian, and they’ll probably tell you how much they miss something called poutine.

Poutine is a combination of hot chips … we know what they are… topped with a peppery gravy and melted cheese curds.

This is where many of you are probably thinking, what on earth is a cheese curd? Basically, it’s a baby cheddar. All cheese starts with bits of curdled milk, which are stuck together and aged. But in North America, those young cheese curds are a prized snack…

I’ve put a recipe in your episode notes for a traditional poutine… and if you can’t find cheese curds, they recommend a really good quality mozzarella. They also would like to remind you that, while eating regular hot chips with your fingers is fine, chips covered in gravy and melty cheese definitely require a fork. Enjoy!

This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. This is a tricky one… can you remember the FULL name for the colour of Canadian school buses?
Question 2. The Canadian one dollar coin has a picture of what kind of bird on it?
Question 3. Twenty one percent of the world’s surface freshwater is contained in how many Canadian lakes?