Canada is a land of vast distances and rich natural beauty. For example, Canada is perfectly happy with its British heritage and many Canadians are proud of this. Much of Canada’s current built environment and influence has come primarily from two European nations, Britain and France. This dual nature is very different than in the United States, and in some parts of Canada, particularly Quebec and parts of Ontario and New Brunswick, Canadians primarily speak French. Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 by an act of the British Parliament, and is still a proud member of the Commonwealth of Nations. By 1931 it was more or less fully independent of the United Kingdom, although their last legal links were only severed in 1982. The Canadian government’s past, and according to many, ongoing colonial-style treatment of its Indigenous peoples is still a source of some contention. Though a medium-sized country by its population (35 million), Canada has earned respect on the international stage for its strong diplomatic skills, peacekeeping efforts, and respect for human rights. Canadians generally enjoy a very high quality of life – Canada consistently scores very well on indices of economic freedom, corruption, respect for civil rights, and more. Domestically, the country has displayed some success in negotiating compromises amongst its own culturally and linguistically varied population, a difficult task considering that language, culture, and even history can vary significantly throughout the whole country. Similarly to the United States’ traditional image of itself as a melting pot, there are many different minorities from all over the world living in Canada, particularly in urban centres. Canadians are, for the most part, used to living and interacting with people of different ethnic backgrounds on a daily basis and will usually be quite friendly and understanding if approached in public. The country is largely urban-based, where peoples of all backgrounds may rub elbows with one another.