Sometimes overlooked by US online marketers, Canada is beginning to receive the attention it deserves and with good reason. Here are some great stats.

According to eMarketer’s Canada Online report, published today, online Canadians and Americans tend to exhibit similar attitudes and behaviors. eMarketer estimates that 58% of Canada’s population is online, which is only slightly behind the US penetration rate of 63%.

Canadian broadband growth has actually exceeded the US rate, with 59% of Canadian households connected via a high-speed Internet connection at the end of this year, compared with 44% of US households.

There are other significant differences between the two countries.

While Canadians are active online searchers and shoppers, only 56% of Internet users in Canada buy online, compared with 66% of users in the US.

The good news is that Canadian interest and usage are growing. Statistics Canada estimates that total e-commerce sales were C$39.2 billion (US$32.4 billion) in 2005, up 38.4% from 2004. The figures include both private and public sector sales over the Internet.

That was the fourth year in a row that the overall value of e-commerce sales in Canada increased by 38% or more. The increase in online sales was six times the rise in overall retail sales in Canada in 2005.

Statistics Canada also found the percentage of Canadian retailers with a Web site grew to 42% in 2005, from 38% in 2004.