Key Facts About Canada's Provinces and Territories

Learn about Canada's provinces and territories with these quick facts

Breathtaking view at sunrise of Kananaskis Lake from peak of hike, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canada, North America
Tyler Lillico / Getty Images

As the fourth largest country in the world in terms of land area, Canada is a vast country with a lot to offer be it in terms of lifestyle or tourism, nature or bustling city life. Given heavy immigration flows into Canada and strong Aboriginal presence, it is also one of the worlds' most multicultural nations.

Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories, each boasting unique attractions.

Learn about this diverse country with these quick facts on Canadian provinces and territories.

Alberta 

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

It also features many different kinds of natural landscapes, such as forests, a portion of the Canadian Rockies, flat prairies, glaciers, canyons, and lots of farmland. Alberta is home to a variety of national parks where you can spot wildlife. Regarding urbanized areas, Calgary and Edmonton are popular large cities.

British Columbia

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

Unlike the rest of Canada, the First Nations of British Columbia--indigenous people who originally lived on these lands--have for the most part never signed officials territorial treaties with Canada. Thus, the official ownership of much of the province's land is disputed.

Manitoba

Manitoba is located in the center of Canada.

The province borders Ontario on the east, Saskatchewan on the west, Northwest Territories on the north, and North Dakota on the south. Manitoba's economy relies heavily on natural resources and farming.

Interestingly enough, McCain Foods and Simplot plants are located in Manitoba, which is where fast-food giants like 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 the Atlantic Ocean composes its eastern shore. A beautiful province, New Brunswick's tourism industry promotes its five main scenic drives as great road trip options: Acadian Coastal Route, Appalachian Range Route, Fundy Coastal Drive, Miramichi River Route, and River Valley Drive.

Newfoundland and Labrador

This is Canada's most northeastern province. Newfoundland and Labrador's economic mainstays are energy, fisheries, 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 cod fishery collapsed, that heavily impacted the province and lead to 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, Northwest Territories are bordered by 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 an unusually high rate of shipwrecks on Sable Island.

Nunavut 

Nunavut is Canada's largest and northernmost territory as it makes up 20% of the country's land mass and 67% of the coastline.

Despite its humongous size, 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 or sometimes snowmobiles. Inuit make up a heavy portion of Nunavut's population.

Ontario

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, Toronto. In the minds of many Canadians, Ontario is separated into two regions: north and south.

Northern Ontario is mostly uninhabited. Instead, it is rich in natural resources which explains why its economy heavily depends on forestry and mining. On the other hand, southern Ontario 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 red soil, potato industry, and beaches. PEI beaches are known for their singing sands. Caused by quartz sand, the sands sing or otherwise make sound when wind passes through or when walking over it.

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, musicals, movies, television series, and movies.

Province of Quebec

Quebec is the second most populous province, falling right behind Ontario.

Quebec is a mainly French-speaking society and Quebecois are very proud of their language and culture.

In protecting and promoting their distinct culture, Quebec independence debates are a main 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 Facts

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 permittance to buy land on the open market.

Yukon Facts

Canada's westernmost territory, Yukon has the smallest population of any province or territory. Historically, Yukon's major industry was mining and 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.

See Also: 

Capital Cities of Canadian Provinces