Less living space in Canada.
That may sound paradoxical, given our size, but it’s true.
In the US, you were able to have communities all along the eastern seaboard, with gradual westward settlement - by generational leaps. Some people would move west, settle down, raise families, and then their young’uns could move further west and repeat the process. Yes, there were mountains and rivers to get through, but there was arable land, of varying quality, of course, all through the area.
Contrast that to Canada. The Canadian Shield is 1,000 miles of rock. No arable land. That kind of leap-frogging settlement wasn’t possible. The North-West could only be settled once there was a strong enough government to provide the money for a railway to punch its way though to the Prairies.
Then there’s our climate. It’s challenging, to say the least. Because we’re farther north than the US, our areas of arable land are much more limited. Our growing season is shorter, and the range of crops that can be grown is more restricted. That also limited early settlement patterns.