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The Province of Alberta

Alberta FlagAlberta is located in western Canada, bounded by the Provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the State of Montana in the USA to the south. See our map for more details.

Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single state (in the USA) and is also one of only two provinces, Saskatchewan being the second, that are landlocked. In other words, there is no ocean bordering these provinces.

Alberta is known as the province with oil, oil money, big trucks, proud people, and no provincial sales tax. Many people when talking of Alberta think of the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains, the five world famous National Parks, Banff, Jasper, Waterton, Wood Buffalo and the maybe less heard of Elk Island National Park. .

Here are some quick facts.

  • Total land area – 661,848km²
  • Population – 3,724,832
  • Coastline – No coastline but over 31,000 lakes
  • Capital – Edmonton
  • Language – English (see below)

Waterton LakeIf you compare Alberta with the Country of Sweden, Alberta is 1.4 times larger, 17 times larger then Switzerland, 2.8 times larger then Great Britain and about the same size as the State of Texas in the USA

Population wise, Sweden has 2.5 times more people, Switzerland twice as many, Great Britain 16.6 times more people and Texas 6.7 times.

Alberta History

The first people in Alberta were Paleo-Indians, they were here at least 10,000 years ago

Canola Field in AlbertaAfter the British arrival in Canada, approximately half of the province of Alberta, south of the Athabasca River drainage, became part of Rupert's Land which consisted of all land drained by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay.

Fur trade expanded in the north, but bloody battles occurred between the rival Hudson Bay Company and North West Company. In 1821 the British government forced them to merge and to stop the hostilities. The amalgamated Hudson's Bay Company dominated trade in Alberta until 1870. This is when the newly formed Canadian Government purchased Rupert's Land. Northern Alberta was then included in the North-Western Territory until the year 1870, when it and Rupert's land became Canada's Northwest Territories.

After a long campaign for autonomy, in 1905 the district of Alberta was enlarged and given provincial status, with the election of Alexander Cameron Rutherford as the first premier.

Prairie with mounatin backdropEven though Alberta is appearing quite uniform, Alberta can be divided into 2 distinct social regions; southern Alberta, with Calgary as its focal point; and central and northern Alberta, with Edmonton as the metropolitan centre. Edmonton is also the capital of Alberta.

This division has deep historic roots. Southern Alberta was once the domain of the Blackfoot nation. Up north the Cree and various woodland tribes held sway. In the early days of non-native settlement, the south welcomed the rancher, while the grain farmer opened the central agricultural region. More on the history of Alberta.

Language

The official language in Alberta is English. If you look at a survey done in 2006, there are many different ethnic back grounds in Alberta. The survey showed that 27.2% was English, German at 20.9%, Canadian at 20.5%, 20.3% Scottish, 16.6% Irish, 11.9% French, 10.2% Ukrainian, 5.3% Dutch, 5.2% Polish, 5.2% North American Indian, 4.4% Norwegian, and 4.2% Chinese.

Alberta Tourist Information

Elk in Banff National ParkThere is always something to do and see in Alberta. With all the parks there are lots of hiking opportunities, mountain climbing, fishing, camping, horseback riding, rafting, canoeing and kayaking, skiing, cycling, hunting and the list goes on.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a must, if you visit Alberta. The Museum is based on all the dinosaur fossils found in the area. Take one of the very informative hikes in the area around the museum which are interesting for both children and adults. You are not allowed to miss this opportunity.

We have been to the Royal Tyrrell Museum several times, and we will go again next time we are in the area. For more information check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum Website.

One of my favourite parks is Waterton National Park. We visited Waterton in 2010 and have some information and a movie on our blog. It is one of the most beautiful mountain parks. What makes Waterton so special, is that this is where the prairie meets the mountains, truly a very spiritual, majestic and grand park. The camping there is also wonderful and while you are there, don't miss out on the Red Rock Canyon, see our blog for more information.

We could go on forever about all the wonderful parks, but they are yours to discover now. More information on discovering Alberta at the Travel Alberta website.


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