Canadian Provinces and Territories

Breathtaking view at sunrise of Kananaskis Lake from peak of hike, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canada, North America
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The fourth-largest country by land area, Canada is a vast nation with much to offer in terms of culture and natural wonders. Thanks to heavy immigration and a strong Aboriginal presence, it is also one of the world's most multicultural nations. Canada consists of 10 provinces and three territories, each boasting unique attractions.


Alberta is a western province sandwiched in between British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The province's strong economy relies mainly on the oil industry, given Alberta's abundance of natural resources.

The province features many different kinds of natural landscapes, including forests, a portion of the Canadian Rockies, flat prairies, glaciers, canyons, and wide tracts of farmland. Alberta is home to a variety of national parks where you can spot wildlife as well. Its largest cities are Calgary and Edmonton.

British Columbia

British Columbia, colloquially referred to as BC, is Canada's westernmost province, bordering the Pacific Ocean. Many mountain ranges run through British Columbia, including the Rockies, Selkirks, and Purcells. The capital of British Columbia is Victoria. The province is also home to Vancouver, a world-class city known for many attractions including the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Unlike Indigenous groups in the rest of Canada, the First Nations of British Columbia have for the most part never signed official territorial treaties with Canada. Thus, the official ownership of much of the province's land is disputed.


Manitoba is located in the center of Canada. The province borders Ontario to the east, Saskatchewan to the west, Northwest Territories to the north, and North Dakota to the south. Manitoba's economy relies heavily on natural resources and farming. McCain Foods and Simplot plants are located in Manitoba, which is where fast-food giants such as McDonald's and Wendy's source their french fries.

New Brunswick 

New Brunswick is Canada's only constitutionally bilingual province. It is located above Maine, to the east of Quebec, and along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. A beautiful province, New Brunswick has a prominent tourism industry built around the area's main scenic drives: Acadian Coastal Route, Appalachian Range Route, Fundy Coastal Drive, Miramichi River Route, and River Valley Drive.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador make up Canada's most northeastern province. Its economic mainstays are energy, tourism, and mining. Mines include iron ore, nickel, copper, zinc, silver, and gold. Fishing also plays a big role in Newfoundland and Labrador's economy. When the Newfoundland Grand Banks cod fishery collapsed in 1992, it heavily impacted the province and lead to an economic depression. In recent years, Newfoundland and Labrador have seen unemployment rates and economic levels stabilized and grow.

Northwest Territories 

Often referred to as NWT, the Northwest Territories are bordered by the Nunavut and Yukon territories, as well as British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. As one of Canada's northernmost provinces, it features a portion of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. In terms of natural beauty, Arctic tundra and boreal forest dominate this province.

Nova Scotia

Geographically, Nova Scotia is composed of a peninsula and an island called Cape Breton Island. Almost totally surrounded by water, the province is bordered by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Northumberland Strait, and the Atlantic Ocean. Nova Scotia is famous for its high tides and seafood, especially lobster and fish. It is also known for the unusually high rate of shipwrecks on Sable Island.


Nunavut is Canada's largest and northernmost territory as it makes up 20 percent of the country's landmass and 67 percent of its coastline. Despite its tremendous size, though, it is the second least populous province in Canada.

Most of its land area consists of the snow-and-ice-covered Canadian Arctic Archipelago, which is uninhabitable. There are no highways in Nunavut. Instead, transit is done by air and sometimes snowmobiles. Inuit make up a heavy portion of Nunavut's population.


Ontario is the second-largest province in Canada. It is also Canada's most populous province as it is home to the nation's capital, Ottawa, and the world-class city of Toronto. In the minds of many Canadians, Ontario is separated into two regions: north and south.

Northern Ontario is mostly uninhabited. It is rich in natural resources which explains why its economy heavily depends on forestry and mining. Southern Ontario, on the other hand, is industrialized, urbanized, and serves Canadian and U.S. markets.

Prince Edward Island

The smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island (also known as PEI) is famous for its red soil, potato industry, and beaches. PEI beaches are known for their "singing" sands. Because they are made of quartz sand, the beaches "sing" or otherwise make sounds when wind passes over them.

For many literature lovers, PEI is also famous as the setting for L.M. Montgomery's novel "Anne of Green Gables." The book was an instant hit back in 1908 and sold 19,000 copies in the first five months. Since then, "Anne of Green Gables" has been adapted for the stage and screen.


Quebec is the second-most populous province in Canada after Ontario. It is primarily a French-speaking society and the Quebecois are very proud of their language and culture. In protecting and promoting their distinct culture, Quebec independence debates are an important part of local politics. Referendums on sovereignty were held in 1980 and 1995, but both were voted down. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada recognized Quebec as a "nation within a united Canada." The province's most well-known cities include Quebec City and Montreal.


Saskatchewan boasts many prairies, boreal forests, and about 100,000 lakes. Like all Canadian provinces and territories, Saskatchewan is home to Aboriginal peoples. In 1992, the Canadian government signed a historic land claim agreement on both federal and provincial levels that gave the First Nations of Saskatchewan compensation and permission to buy land on the open market.


Canada's westernmost territory, Yukon has the smallest population of any province or territory. Historically, Yukon's major industry was mining, and it once experienced a large population influx thanks to the Gold Rush. This exciting period in Canadian history was written about by authors like Jack London. This history plus Yukon's natural beauty makes tourism an important part of Yukon's economy.

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Munroe, Susan. "Canadian Provinces and Territories." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, Munroe, Susan. (2021, July 29). Canadian Provinces and Territories. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "Canadian Provinces and Territories." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 29, 2023).