SVG is a language for describing 2D graphics in XML.
In SVG, each drawn shape is remembered as an object. If attributes of an SVG object are changed, the browser can automatically re-render the shape.
Canvas is rendered pixel by pixel. In canvas, once the graphic is drawn, it is forgotten by the browser. If its position should be changed, the entire scene needs to be redrawn, including any objects that might have been covered by the graphic.