Canada is a vast country with great diversity in its landscape, industry, culture and communities. The healthcare issues and concerns of people living in rural and remote areas are as fully diverse as the people and the landscape. This article describes the context of rural and remote nursing practice in Canada and discusses issues of health status and the social determinants of health, geographical isolation, professional isolation and cultural safety. It concludes with current initiatives in practice, education, research and policy. Particular issues facing nurses in rural and remote First Nations communities are highlighted.