Norway's past, present and future are deeply interwoven with Canada. Some 1000 years ago Vikings landed on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland and established the first known European settlement in the New World at l'Anse aux Meadows. Later, fishermen followed them on the Grand Banks and merchant mariners, tradesmen and immigrants. In the final years of the nineteenth century Norwegian polar explorer Otto Sverdrup and his crew mapped large tracts of Canada's Arctic regions.
During World War II Norwegians and Canadians fought side by side to defeat Axis powers. A substantial part of Norway's merchant fleet served in North Sea convoy traffic from Halifax to Britain, supplying the Allied war effort and Norwegian air force pilots trained at "Little Norway" in Ontario before returning to the European war theater. Following World War II Norway and Canada continued their extensive cooperation through their membership in NATO.
In modern times Norwegian and Canadian interests continue to converge and correspond in many areas. As fellow members of the United Nations, Norway and Canada share the ideals of democracy and human rights, justice and peace; ideals that inspire Norwegians to serve as peacekeepers, side by side with Canadians in areas of unrest all over the world. The same ideals also inspire Norway and Canada to allocate substantial resources and attention to the task of preventing conflict, facilitating mediation in conflict, assisting in humanitarian crises and promoting long-term development assistance to poor regions of the world. The desire to promote these goals have brought Norway and Canada together in concerted efforts to promote human security, leading the way for the global community in specific issues such as the international ban on anti-personnel landmines, prevention of child labor, control of proliferation of small arms, efforts to help war-affected children, the establishment of the International Criminal Court, as well as promoting general respect for human rights and conflict prevention.
In addition to maintaining close and harmonious trade relations, both Norway and Canada have a global outlook on trade, and engage in substantial activity on global markets. As fellow members of the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Norway and Canada share and promote the ideals of a free and equitable world trade system governed by a universal set of rules.
Both Canada and Norway share a rich but fragile northern environment and consequently are committed to environmentally sustainable resource management. This has resulted in close cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the Arctic Council, established in Ottawa in 1996.
Protection of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples is an important part of the political agenda in both countries. Ties and contacts exist between the Saami in Norway and First Nations organizations in Canada.