Here we are, at Thanksgiving week 2017, and I have been thinking recently about the personal connection that comes from sitting around a table. Recently we started hosting lunches for foreign exchange clients of City National to discuss the global economy with our head trader, Alan Rose.

While these events are not as personal or intimate as a Thanksgiving table, our entrepreneurial clients find it valuable to learn about how the global economy may affect their businesses.

A few years ago I heard something about the Thanksgiving table that I took to heart: It is often a checkpoint for life's changes. New people join our Thanksgiving celebrations each year, while others have left the table.

For City National, this is our third celebration of the U.S. Thanksgiving as part of the Royal Bank of Canada team.

For those of us on the south side of the border, Alan, who drives the conversations around our FX round tables, found some interesting facts about Canada. Maybe you can use them around your dinner table this week.

  • Canada just celebrated its 150th birthday on July 12, 2017.
  • Canada is the second-largest country in the world in terms of land mass.
  • The Canadian/U.S. border is the longest common border between two countries in the world.
  • Some 75 percent of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border.
  • Canada is the most educated country in the world with slightly over 50 percent of its residents having a completed college degree; the U.S. equivalent is near 34 percent.
  • The population of Canada is near 36 million; the population of California alone is near 39 million.
  • Canada is the No. 2 trading partner of the U.S. behind China. It lost the No. 1 position recently, mainly due to the decline in oil prices.

At this time of year, of course we take stock of the many things we are grateful for: Certainly, for both RBC and City National, a strong economy is one of those things. Here's one more fast fact: GDP growth in the U.S. is skating along around 3 percent and Canada's GDP has been even better at 3.5 percent, the first time that level of growth has been sustained in three or four years.

On that note, from City National Foreign Exchange, we wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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