Canada has a total of 10 provinces (plus three northern territories). The three territories up north are Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories. What makes a territory different from a province is mainly its form of governance. In alphabetical order, the 10 provinces are:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Territories have powers delegated to them from the Parliament of Canada and are grouped together under one federal government. Provinces, however, have their own constitutional powers. This does create some inequality in local autonomy but is currently being rectified by giving local governments more power.
In any case, each of these provinces and territories has its own attractions for drawing in tourists and visitors, and most tourist programs are often composed of outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
Bordering the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia or B.C. is Canada’s westernmost province. It is filled with coastal islands, mountains, and some of the most temperate places in Canada. This kind of environment attracts kayakers, mountain bikers, skiers, and similar adventurers from all over the world.
Major cities of B.C. include Vancouver, Kelowna, and Whistler. Its provincial capital is Victoria. British Columbia is known for its fishing, skiing, golf, whale watching, and many other outdoor adventures. It is also known for the wine region of Okanagan.
Sharing the Canadian Rocky Mountain Range with British Columbia, Alberta is the first of Canada’s three Prairie Provinces. It is also a famous destination for skiing and hiking. It is also Canada’s supply and service hub for its many northern resource industries, such as crude oil.
Alberta also has a rich cowboy culture, which they show off at the annual Calgary Stampede. Other things Alberta is known for are the Edmonton Mall, Edmonton Folk Festival, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, and the Rocky Mountains. Calgary, Jasper, and Banff are some of its major cities. Its provincial capital is Edmonton.
The next of the three Prairie Provinces is Saskatchewan, and since it’s the middle of the three, it’s landlocked, with the majority of the population living within the southern parts such as Regina and Saskatoon. Saskatchewan has thriving agriculture, natural gas, mining, and oil industries. Its major cities include Saskatoon and Prince Albert, while Regina is its provincial capital. The region is also popular for outdoor adventures as well as fishing and hunting.
Completing the three Prairie Provinces is Manitoba, which also happens to be Canada’s longitudinal center. Much like its middle counterpart Saskatchewan, most of the people who live in this region are from the southern areas. Meanwhile, the north is home to the Arctic tundra and the rocks of the Canadian Shield, leaving it largely uninhabited. Manitoba has also been the home of the Metis and other Aboriginal Canadians for over 6,000 years. Today they continue to greatly influence the province’s culture.
Major cities of Manitoba include Churchill and Winnipeg, the capital. One interesting fact about Manitoba is that it’s called the polar bear capital of the world. It is also known for two festivals, the Festival du Voyageur in winter and the food and cultural festival Folklorama.
The most populous province of Canada, Ontario is home to approximately 40% of the country’s overall population, the majority of which reside to the south of the province near Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. Ontario is also the financial capital of Toronto, while Ottawa is the federal capital. Ontario is known to tourists for Algonquin Park, the Niagara wine region, the CN Tower, the Bruce Trail, and many lakes and forests.
After Ontario, the second-most populous province in Canada is Quebec, most of its residents are of the French-speaking demographic. In fact, it is the biggest province in terms of land area, with most residents living near the St. Lawrence River and near Montreal. Visitors come here for the number of attractions, including great ski resorts, the historic Plains of Abraham, and Old Montreal.New Brunswick
Another type of province in Canada comprise the Maritime Provinces, the first of which is New Brunswick, a water-bound cluster along the east coast south of Quebec and along the US state of Maine. Its provincial capital is Fredericton and some of its major cities include St. John and Moncton. As a maritime province, New Brunswick is known for its many lighthouses, beautiful coastlines, and specific attractions like the Appalachian Range and the Bay of Fundy.
Aside from being one of the three Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia is also the second smallest province. Despite its size, however, it is also Canada’s second most densely populated province. Its capital is Halifax and its major cities include Peggy’s Cove, Sydney, and Wolfville. Tourists are drawn to Nova Scotia for its Celtic culture, lobster dinners, coastline views, scenic drives, and specific attractions like the Annapolis Valley, the Fortress of Louisburg, and the Cabot Trail.
Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.)
The last of Canada’s three maritime provinces is Prince Edward Island, which is actually composed of 232 islands, with the largest of them having the same name as the province. It is also the smallest of all the Canadian provinces, both in terms of land area and population. Its capital is Charlottetown. The province is visited by outsiders for its mussels, which are a local delicacy. P.E.I. itself is known for Anne of Green Gables, a novel written by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Newfoundland and Labrador
This is the easternmost province of Canada and sits on the North Atlantic coast. Its name is derived from the fact that it comprises the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador. About 90% of the people who live there reside in Newfoundland and the surrounding islands. Its capital is St. John’s and people know it for Gros Morne National Park, whale watching, icebergs, and friendly people.
Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut
Of the three territories, Yukon is the smallest and lies the furthest west, while Northwest Territories is the most populous. The largest of the three is Nunavut.
Canada is known to be a nice country to visit overall, but hopefully this list will help you keep in mind that every province has its own charm.