Canada Day: 5 Reasons to Love Our Neighbor to the North

Our neighbor to the north is celebrating its 145th birthday.

June 29, 2012— -- intro: Canada may be young, but it has an awful lot to brag about.

The country, which turns 145 Sunday, leads the G7 nations in safety, opportunities and overall quality of life, according to the government's website. Factor in the friendly people and beautiful backdrop; you have a great place to live, or at least visit.

Here are a few reasons to love our neighbor -- or neighbour -- to the north.

quicklist: 1category: 5 Reasons to Love Canadatitle: The Landscapeurl: text: As the world's second-largest country, Canada has a lot to work with: ocean shores; mountain ranges; sprawling prairies; arctic tundra; Great Lakes -- the list goes on.

The panorama is a source of pride for nature-loving Canadians, whose homeland ranks second among G7 nations on ecosystem vitality, natural resource management and efforts to reduce environmental stresses on human health, according to the government's website.

And let's not forget the cities: From scenic Vancouver to cosmopolitan Toronto, to historic Montreal in French-speaking Quebec, Canada's urban hubs are as culturally unique as Canadians themselves.

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quicklist: 2category: 5 Reasons to Love Canadatitle: The Cultureurl: text: Multiculturalism is more than an ideal in Canada; it's the law. Thanks to the Multiculturalism Act, enacted in 1988 to honor the country's English, French and aboriginal roots, Canada is home to people from more than 200 ethnicities. And in 2010 it welcomed 280,636 immigrants, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The country is also known for its culture of kindness, and its quirky Canada-isms from "eh" to "zed." Whether it's a friendly "hello" or an unwarranted "sore-ee," a sincere smile and subtle accent make it easy to spot a Canuck.

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quicklist: 3category: 5 Reasons to Love Canadatitle: The Health Careurl: text: They might have to wait a while, but every Canadian -- rich or poor -- gets the health care they need, thanks to a publicly funded universal health insurance program.

The program stemmed from the idea that health care is a social good, not a purchasable commodity, according to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. And beyond having the top quality of life, Canadians live almost three years longer than Americans on average, according to "The Truth About Getting Sick in America," by ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Tim Johnson.

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quicklist: 4category: 5 Reasons to Love Canadatitle: The Foodurl: text: Canada may be less famous for its cuisine than countries like France and Italy, but savory staples like peameal bacon, Montreal bagels, and poutine -- a heap of fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds -- make Canadian fare a force to be reckoned with. The country also has ketchup-flavored potato chips, which are hard to come by south of Point Pelee.

For those with a sweet tooth, Timbits, beavertails, butter tarts and Nanaimo bars -- decadent stacks of crumbly cake, creamy icing and chocolate -- are quintessentially Canadian.

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quicklist: 5category: 5 Reasons to Love Canadatitle: The Peopleurl: text: The world can thank the creative minds of Canadians for telephones, basketball and insulin, not to mention five-pin bowling and instant mashed potatoes. The country has also spawned superstars like Ryan Gosling, Seth Rogen and 2012 Oscar winner Christopher Plummer.

Hockey "Great One" Wayne Gretzky was born in Brantford, Ontario. And Winnipeg-born cyclist and speed skater Clara Hughes is the only athlete to have won multiple medals in both summer and winter Olympic Games.

And then there's the music. From indie favorites Feist and Arcade Fire to pop stars Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen -- and let's not forget the legendary Joni Mitchell and Neil Young -- Canadian musicians are among the world's best.

ABC News' Katie Moisse was born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario, home of the BlackBerry.

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