Canadian is a rural and residential suburb 3 km south-east of central Ballarat. Its residential part is along the Ballarat-Buninyong Road. To its immediate north there are the old suburbs of Golden Point (which includes Sovereign Hill historical park) and Eureka.
The suburb was named after the rich Canadian gold lead (1852), reputedly named after a man called Canadian Swift. The lead ran southwards, east of Canadian Creek where it crosses the Buninyong Road, branching into lesser leads as it passed by Sovereign Hill. The very rich 'jewellers shop' part of Canadian Lead was near today's Ellsworth Street.
Ellsworth Street in fact became the municipal boundary between Ballarat City and Buninyong Shire, putting Canadian in both municipalities. Rich as it was in gold, Canadian was not well regarded. The Buninyong Road north of Ellsworth Street was at times a morass, and in the south of Golden Point there was a lepers' camp. As a result, families in Canadian had no local school, and children were sent to the Eureka Street, Golden Point and Richards Street schools.
There was a railway station at Canadian during the life of the Ballarat to Buninyong line (1889-1947).
By the 1980s urban settlement spread south from Ballarat. In 1997 the three schools mentioned above, plus Millbrook school to the east, were amalgamated into the new Canadian Lead school in the north of Canadian, located next to Pennyweight Gully Creek.
Canadian has a botanical park, the Sparrow Ground reserve and a caravan park. Its census populations have been: