Canada got its name from the French explorer Jacques Cartier. The word "Canada" is derived from the Huron-Iroquois word "Kanata" which means "village" or "settlement." In 1535 Jacques Cartier heard about a route that would take him Kanata from two Aboriginal youths. Following the path that would lead him to the village of Stadacona, now known as Quebec City, he ended up in Canada. Cartier used the word "Canada" to describe the village of Stadacona, and the name extended beyond the village to the entire surrounding area.
By 1547, everything north of the St. Lawrence River was being referred to as Canada, on maps and such.
Canada was used officially as a name in 1791, when the province of Quebec divided itself up into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, which were then united in 1841, and called "the Province of Canada."