Canada thinks it can teach the world a thing or two about dodging financial meltdowns.

Canada thinks it can teach the world a thing or two about dodging financial meltdowns.

The 20 world leaders at an economic summit in Toronto next weekend will find themselves in a country that has avoided a banking crisis where others have floundered, and whose economy grew at a 6.1 percent annual rate in the first three months of this year. The housing market is hot and three-quarters of the 400,000 jobs lost during the recession have been recovered.

World leaders have noticed: President Barack Obama says the U.S. should take note of Canada's banking system, and Britain's Treasury chief is looking to emulate the Ottawa way on cutting deficits.

The land of a thousand stereotypes — from Mounties and ice hockey to language wars and lousy weather — is feeling entitled to do a bit of crowing as it hosts the G-20 summit of wealthy and developing nations.

"We should be proud of the performance of our financial system during the crisis," said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

He recalled visiting China in 2007 and hearing suggestions "that the Canadian banks were perhaps boring and too risk-adverse. And when I was there two weeks ago some of my same counterparts were saying to me, 'You have a very solid, stable banking system in Canada,' and emphasizing that. There wasn't anything about being sufficiently risk-oriented."

The banks are stable because, in part, they're more regulated. As the U.S. and Europe loosened regulations on their financial industries over the last 15 years, Canada refused to do so. The banks also aren't as leveraged as their U.S. or European peers.

There was no mortgage meltdown or subprime crisis in Canada. Banks don't package mortgages and sell them to the private market, so they need to be sure their borrowers can pay back the loans.

It's a remarkable turnaround from 1993, when the Liberals took office facing a $30 billion deficit. Moody's downgraded Canada's credit rating twice. About 36 percent of the government's revenue went toward servicing debt.

As finance minister, Flaherty slashed spending. A weak currency and a booming U.S. economy also helped Canada balance the books.

"The rest of the world certainly thinks we're the model to follow," former Prime Minister Paul Martin, the man credited with killing off a massive government deficit in the 1990s when he was finance minister, leading to 12 straight years of budget surpluses. "I've been asked by a lot of countries as to how to go about it."