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Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Latin: Fortis et liber
("Strong and free")
Capital Edmonton
Largest city Calgary
Largest metro Calgary Region
Official languages English (see below)
Demonym Albertan
Lieutenant-Governor Norman Kwong
Premier Ed Stelmach (PC)
Federal representation in Canadian Parliament
House seats 28
Senate seats 6
Confederation September 1, 1905 (split from Northwest Territories) (9th Province)
Area  Ranked 6th
Total 661,848 km2 (255,541 sq mi)
Land 642,317 km2 (248,000 sq mi)
Water (%) 19,531 km2 (7,541 sq mi) (2.95%)
Population  Ranked 4th
Total (2009) 3,632,483 (est.)[1]
Density 5.38 /km2 (13.9 /sq mi)
GDP  Ranked 3rd
Total (2007) C$259.941 billion[2]
Per capita C$74,825 (2nd)
Postal AB
ISO 3166-2 CA-AB
Time zone UTC-7
Postal code prefix T
Flower Wild Rose.svg  Wild rose
Tree Lodgepole Pine
Bird Great Horned Owl
Rankings include all provinces and territories
Alberta Pronunciation: /ælˈbɜrtə/ is the most populous and fastest growing of Canada's three prairie provinces. It is approximately the same size as France or Texas and had a population of 3.7 million in 2009.[3] It became a province on September 1, 1905, on the same day as Saskatchewan.[4] It is economically important primarily because of its vast oil reserves, and its large tertiary and quaternary economic sector.
Alberta is located in western Canada, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the U.S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S. state (the others being New Brunswick and Yukon). It is also one of only two Canadian provinces that are landlocked (the other being Saskatchewan).
The capital city of Alberta is Edmonton, located just south of the centre of the province. Roughly 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, Alberta's largest city and a major distribution and transportation hub as well as one of Canada's major commerce centres. Edmonton is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's oil sands and other northern resource industries. According to recent population estimates, these two metropolitan areas have now both exceeded 1 million people.[5] Other municipalities in the province include Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Camrose, Lloydminster, Brooks, Wetaskiwin, Banff, Cold Lake, and Jasper.
Alberta is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. Princess Louise was the wife of the Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. Lake Louise, the village of Caroline, and Mount Alberta were also named in honour of Princess Louise. Since December 14, 2006, the Premier of the province has been Ed Stelmach, a Progressive Conservative.



Alberta covers an area of 661,848 square kilometres (255,500 sq mi), an area about 5% smaller than Texas or 20% larger than France.[6] This makes it the fourth largest province after Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. To the south, the province borders on the 49th parallel north, separating it from the U.S. state of Montana, while on the north the 60th parallel north divides it from the Northwest Territories. To the east the 110th meridian west separates it from the province of Saskatchewan, while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the 120th meridian west south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the Continental Divide at the Rocky Mountains, and from that point follows the line of peaks marking the Continental Divide in a generally southeasterly direction until it reaches the Montana border at 49°N.
The province extends 1,223 kilometres (760 mi) north to south and 660 kilometres (410 mi) east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is 3,747 metres (12,293 ft) at the summit of Mount Columbia in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border, while its lowest point is 152 metres (499 ft) on the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast.[7]
With the exception of the semi-arid steppe of the southeastern section, the province has adequate water resources. Alberta contains numerous rivers and lakes used for swimming, water skiing, fishing and a full range of other water sports. There are three large lakes and a multitude of smaller lakes less than 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi) each. Part of Lake Athabasca (7,898 square kilometres (3,049 sq mi)) lies in the province of Saskatchewan. Lake Claire (1,436 square kilometres (554 sq mi)) lies just west of Lake Athabasca in Wood Buffalo National Park. Lesser Slave Lake (1,168 square kilometres (451 sq mi)) is northwest of Edmonton. The longest river in Alberta is the Athabasca River which travels 1,538 kilometres (956 mi) from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca.[8]
Windmills and coulees in southern Alberta
Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located approximately in the geographic centre of the province, with most of western Canada's oil refinery capacity located nearby, in proximity to most of Canada's largest oil fields. Edmonton is the most northerly major city in Canada, and serves as a gateway and hub for resource development in northern Canada. Alberta's other major city, Calgary, is located approximately 280 kilometres (170 mi) south of Edmonton and 240 kilometres (150 mi) north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. Almost 75% of the province's population lives in the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor, in and between the two major cities.
Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are largely forested. The southern quarter of the province is prairie, ranging from shortgrass prairie in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central aspen parkland region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, and then east to Lloydminster, contains the most fertile soil in the province and most of the population. Much of the unforested part of Alberta is given over either to grain or to dairy farming, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south.[9]
The Alberta badlands are located in southeastern Alberta, where the Red Deer River crosses the flat prairie and farmland, and features deep gorges and striking landforms. Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, Alberta, showcases the badlands terrain, desert flora, and remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the then lush landscape.


Alberta has a dry continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The province is open to cold arctic weather systems from the north, which often produce extremely cold conditions in winter. As the fronts between the air masses shift north and south across Alberta, temperature can change rapidly. Arctic air masses in the winter produce extreme minimum temperatures varying from −54 °C (−65 °F) in northern Alberta to −46 °C (−51 °F) in southern Alberta. In the summer, continental air masses produce maximum temperatures from 32 °C (90 °F) in the mountains to 40 °C (104 °F) in southern Alberta.[10]
Because Alberta extends for over 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) from north to south, its climate varies considerably. Average temperatures in January range from −8 °C (18 °F) in the south to −24 °C (−11 °F) in the north, and in July from 24 °C (75 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. The climate is also influenced by the presence of the Rocky Mountains to the southwest, which disrupt the flow of the prevailing westerly winds and cause them to drop most of their moisture on the western slopes of the mountain ranges before reaching the province, casting a rain shadow over much of Alberta. The northerly location and isolation from the weather systems of the Pacific Ocean cause Alberta to have a dry climate with little moderation from the ocean. Annual precipitation ranges from 300 millimetres (12 in) in the southeast to 450 millimetres (18 in) in the north, except in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where rainfall can reach 600 millimetres (24 in) annually.[7] In the summer, the average daytime temperatures range from around 21 °C (70 °F) in the Rocky Mountain valleys and far north to near 30 °C (86 °F) in the dry prairie of the southeast. The northern and western parts of the province experience higher rainfall and lower evaporation rates caused by cooler summer temperatures. The south and east-central portions are prone to drought-like conditions sometimes persisting for several years, although even these areas can receive heavy precipitation. Alberta is a sunny province. Annual bright sunshine totals range between 1900 and 2500 hours per year. Northern Alberta receives about 18 hours of daylight in the summer. The long summer days make summer the sunniest season of the year in Alberta.[10]
Winter Climate (Calgary)
In southwestern Alberta, the winter cold is frequently interrupted by warm, dry chinook winds blowing from the mountains, which can propel temperatures upward from frigid conditions to well above the freezing point in a very short period. During one chinook recorded at Pincher Creek, temperatures soared from −18.9 °C (−2.0 °F) to 3.3 °C (38 °F) in one hour.[7] The region around Lethbridge has the most chinooks, averaging 30 to 35 chinook days per year, while Calgary has a white Christmas only 59% of the time as a result of these winds.
Northern Alberta is mostly covered by boreal forest and has fewer frost-free days than southern Alberta due to its subarctic climate. The agricultural area of southern Alberta has a semi-arid steppe climate because the annual precipitation is less than the water that evaporates or is used by plants. The southeastern corner of Alberta, part of the Palliser Triangle, experiences greater summer heat and lower rainfall than the rest of the province, and as a result suffers frequent crop yield problems and occasional severe droughts. Western Alberta is protected by the mountains and enjoys the mild temperatures brought by winter chinook winds. Central and parts of northwestern Alberta in the Peace River region are largely aspen parkland, a biome transitional between prairie to the south and boreal forest to the north. After southern Ontario, Central Alberta is the most likely region in Canada to experience tornadoes. Thunderstorms, some of them severe, are frequent in the summer, especially in central and southern Alberta. The region surrounding the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor is notable for having the highest frequency of hail in Canada, which is caused by orographic lifting from the nearby Rocky Mountains, enhancing the updraft/downdraft cycle necessary for the formation of hail.

Average temperatures in cities

City[11] July(°C)[11] July(°F)[11] January(°C)[11] January(°F)[11]
Medicine Hat 27/12 81/54 -5/-16 23/3
Brooks 26/11 79/52 -6/-17 21/1
Airdrie 26/11 79/52 -3/-15 27/5
Lethbridge 26/10 79/50 -3/-15 27/5
Edmonton 23/12 73/54 -9/-17 16/1
Fort Saskatchewan 23/11 73/52 -8/-19 18/-2
Lloydminster 23/11 73/52 -10/-19 14/-2
Cold Lake 23/11 73/52 -11/-22 12/-8
Fort McMurray 23/10 73/50 -14/-24 7/-11
Red Deer 23/10 73/50 -6/-17 21/1
Calgary 23/9 73/48 -3/-14 27/7
Camrose 22/11 72/52 -8/-19 18/-2
Spruce Grove 22/11 72/52 -7/-16 19/3
St. Albert 22/10 72/50 -8/-17 18/1
Leduc 22/10 72/50 -8/-19 18/-2
Grande Prairie 22/9 72/48 -10/-21 14/-6
Wetaskiwin 21/9 70/48 -5/-16 23/3


Alexander Rutherford, Alberta's first premier
The province of Alberta, as far north as about 53° north latitude, was a part of Rupert's Land from the time of the incorporation of the Hudson's Bay Company (1670). After the arrival in the North-West of the French around 1731 they settled the prairies of the west, establishing communities such as Lac La Biche and Bonnyville. Fort La Jonquière was established near what is now Calgary in 1752. The North West Company of Montreal occupied the northern part of Alberta territory before the Hudson's Bay Company arrived from Hudson Bay to take possession of it. The first explorer of the Athabasca region was Peter Pond, who, on behalf of the North West Company of Montreal, built Fort Athabasca on Lac La Biche in 1778. Roderick Mackenzie built Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca ten years later in 1788. His cousin, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, followed the North Saskatchewan River to its northernmost point near Edmonton, then setting northward on foot, trekked to the Athabasca River, which he followed to Lake Athabasca. It was there he discovered the mighty outflow river which bears his name—the Mackenzie River—which he followed to its outlet in the Arctic Ocean. Returning to Lake Athabasca, he followed the Peace River upstream, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean, and so he became the first white man to cross the North American continent north of Mexico.[12]
U.S. Territories, showing the Louisiana Purchase
Most of Alberta's territory was included in Rupert's Land, transferred to Canada in 1870. The southernmost portion of Alberta was part of the French (and Spanish) territory of Louisiana, sold to the United States in 1803; in 1818, the portion of Louisiana north of the Forty-Ninth Parallel was ceded to Great Britain. Northern Alberta was included in the North-Western Territory until 1870, when it and Rupert's land became Canada's Northwest Territories.
The district of Alberta was created as part of the North-West Territories in 1882. As settlement increased, local representatives to the North-West Legislative Assembly were added. 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.


Alberta's population has grown steadily for over a century.
Alberta has enjoyed a relatively high rate of growth in recent years, mainly because of its burgeoning economy. Between 2003 and 2004, the province had high birthrates (on par with some larger provinces such as British Columbia), relatively high immigration, and a high rate of interprovincial migration when compared to other provinces.[13] Approximately 81% of the population live in urban areas and only about 19% live in rural areas. The Calgary-Edmonton Corridor is the most urbanized area in the province and is one of the most densely populated areas of Canada.[14] Many of Alberta's cities and towns have also experienced very high rates of growth in recent history. Over the past century, Alberta's population rose from 73,022 in 1901 to 2,974,807 in 2001[15] and 3,290,350 according to the 2006 census.[16]


Albertans have many different mother tongues. English is by far the most common, while French is rare.[17]
The 2006 census found that English, with 2,576,670 native speakers, was the mother tongue of 79.99% of Albertans. The next most common mother tongues were Chinese languages with 97,275 native-speakers (3.02%); followed by German with 84,505 native-speakers (2.62%); and French with 61,225 (1.90%); then Punjabi 36,320 (1.13%); Tagalog 29,740 (0.92%); Ukrainian 29,455 (0.91%); Spanish 29,125 (0.90%); and Polish 21,990 (0.68%); Arabic 20,495 (0.64%); Dutch 19,980 (0.62%); and Vietnamese 19,350 (0.60%). The most common aboriginal language is Cree 17,215 (0.53%). Other common mother tongues include Italian with 13,095 speakers (0.41%); Urdu with 11,275 (0.35%); and Korean with 10,845 (0.33%); then Hindi 8,985 (0.28%); Persian 7,700 (0.24%); Portuguese 7,205 (0.22%); and Hungarian 6,770 (0.21%).
(Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses.)[18]


Alberta's population came from many countries, most in Northern and Central Europe.[19]
Alberta has considerable ethnic diversity. In line with the rest of Canada, many immigrants originated from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but large numbers also came from other parts of Europe, notably Germans, French, Ukrainians and Scandinavians. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta is home to the second highest proportion (two percent) of Francophones in western Canada (after Manitoba). Many of Alberta's French-speaking residents live in the central and northwestern regions of the province. As reported in the 2001 census, the Chinese represented nearly four percent of Alberta's population, and East Indians represented more than two percent. Both Edmonton and Calgary have historic Chinatowns, and Calgary has Canada's third largest Chinese community. The Chinese presence began with workers employed in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s. Aboriginal Albertans make up approximately three percent of the population.
In the 2006 Canadian census, the most commonly reported ethnic origins among Albertans were: 885,825 English (27.2%); 679,705 German (20.9%); 667,405 Canadian (20.5%); 661,265 Scottish (20.3%); 539,160 Irish (16.6%); 388,210 French (11.9%); 332,180 Ukrainian (10.2%); 172,910 Dutch (5.3%); 170,935 Polish (5.2%); 169,355 North American Indian (5.2%); 144,585 Norwegian (4.4%); and 137,600 Chinese (4.2%). (Each person could choose more than one ethnicity.)[20]
Amongst those of British origins, the Scots have had a particularly strong influence on place-names, with the names of many cities and towns including Calgary, Airdrie, Canmore, and Banff having Scottish origins.


Alberta has a large number of different religions, of which Catholic is the most common.
As of the Canada 2001 Census the largest religious group was Roman Catholic, representing 25.7% of the population. Alberta had the second highest percentage of non-religious residents in Canada (after British Columbia) at 23.1% of the population. Of the remainder, 13.5% of the population identified themselves as belonging to the United Church of Canada, while 5.9% were Anglican. Lutherans made up 4.8% of the population while Baptists comprised 2.5%. The remainder had a wide variety of different religious affiliations, although no individual group constituted more than 2% of the population.[21]
Baitunnur Mosque in Alberta, Largest in Canada
The Mormons of Alberta reside primarily in the extreme south of the province and made up 1.7% of the population. Alberta has a population of Hutterites, a communal Anabaptist sect similar to the Mennonites (Hutterites represented 0.4% of the population while Mennonites were 0.8%), and has a significant population of Seventh-day Adventists at 0.3%.Alberta is home to several Byzantine Rite Churches as part of the legacy of Eastern European immigration, including the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada's Western Diocese which is based in Edmonton.
Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus live in Alberta. Muslims constituted 1.7% of the population, Sikhs 0.8% and Hindus 0.5%. Many of these are recent immigrants, but others have roots that go back to the first settlers of the prairies.[21] Canada's oldest mosque the Al-Rashid Mosque is located in Edmonton.[22]
Jews constituted 0.4% of Alberta's population. Most of Alberta's 13,000 Jews live in Calgary (7,500) and Edmonton (5,000).[23]

Visible Minorities and Aboriginal Peoples

Visible Minority and Aboriginal Population as of the 2006 Census.
Alberta is the third most diverse province in terms of visible minorities after British Columbia and Ontario with 13.9% of the population consisting of visible minorities.[24] Calgary and Edmonton are very diverse cities in Canada with almost one quarter of their population belonging a visible minorities group.[25] Alberta has been attracting immigrants who are for the most part are visible minorities with the opportunities available in a booming economy.
Aboriginal Identity Peoples make up 5.8% of the population with half that consisting North American Indians and the other half consisting of Metis. There are also small number of Inuit people in Alberta.[26] The number of Aboriginal Identity Peoples have been increasing at a rate greater than the population of Alberta.[26]


Alberta's economy is one of the strongest in Canada, supported by the burgeoning petroleum industry and to a lesser extent, agriculture and technology. The per capita GDP in 2007 was by far the highest of any province in Canada at C$74,825. This was 61% higher than the national average of C$46,441 and more than twice that of some of the Atlantic provinces. In 2006 the deviation from the national average was the largest for any province in Canadian history.[27] According to the 2006 census,[28] the median annual family income after taxes was $70,986 in Alberta (compared to $60,270 in Canada as a whole).
The Calgary-Edmonton Corridor is the most urbanized region in the province and one of the densest in Canada. The region covers a distance of roughly 400 kilometres north to south. In 2001, the population of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor was 2.15 million (72% of Alberta's population).[29] It is also one of the fastest growing regions in the country. A 2003 study by TD Bank Financial Group found the corridor to be the only Canadian urban centre to amass a U.S. level of wealth while maintaining a Canadian style quality of life, offering universal health care benefits. The study found that GDP per capita in the corridor was 10% above average U.S. metropolitan areas and 40% above other Canadian cities at that time.
According to the Fraser Institute, Alberta also has very high levels of economic freedom. It is by far the most free economy in Canada,[30] and is rated as the 2nd most free economy of U.S. states and Canadian provinces.[31]


Mildred Lake mine site and plant at the Athabasca Oil Sands
Alberta is the largest producer of conventional crude oil, synthetic crude, natural gas and gas products in the country. Alberta is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of natural gas and the 4th largest producer.[32] Two of the largest producers of petrochemicals in North America are located in central and north central Alberta. In both Red Deer and Edmonton, world class polyethylene and vinyl manufacturers produce products shipped all over the world, and Edmonton's oil refineries provide the raw materials for a large petrochemical industry to the east of Edmonton.
The Athabasca Oil Sands (sometimes known as the Athabasca Tar Sands) have estimated unconventional oil reserves approximately equal to the conventional oil reserves of the rest of the world, estimated to be 1.6 trillion barrels (254 km³). With the development of new extraction methods such as steam assisted gravity drainage, which was developed in Alberta, bitumen and synthetic crude oil can be produced at costs close to those of conventional crude. Many companies employ both conventional strip mining and non-conventional in situ methods to extract the bitumen from the oil sands. With current technology and at current prices, about 315 billion barrels (50 km³) of bitumen are recoverable. Fort McMurray, one of Canada's fastest growing cities, has grown enormously in recent years because of the large corporations which have taken on the task of oil production. As of late 2006 there were over $100 billion in oil sands projects under construction or in the planning stages in northeastern Alberta.[33]
Another factor determining the viability of oil extraction from the Tar Sands is the price of oil. The oil price increases since 2003 have made it more than profitable to extract this oil, which in the past would give little profit or even a loss.
With concerted effort and support from the provincial government, several high-tech industries have found their birth in Alberta, notably patents related to interactive liquid crystal display systems.[34] With a growing economy, Alberta has several financial institutions dealing with civil and private funds.

Agriculture and forestry

Agriculture has a significant position in the province's economy. The province has over three million head of cattle,[35] and Alberta beef has a healthy worldwide market. Nearly one half of all Canadian beef is produced in Alberta. Alberta is one of the prime producers of plains buffalo (bison) for the consumer market. Sheep for wool and mutton are also raised.
Grain elevator in southern Alberta
Wheat and canola are primary farm crops, with Alberta leading the provinces in spring wheat production; other grains are also prominent. Much of the farming is dryland farming, often with fallow seasons interspersed with cultivation. Continuous cropping (in which there is no fallow season) is gradually becoming a more common mode of production because of increased profits and a reduction of soil erosion. Across the province, the once common grain elevator is slowly being lost as rail lines are decreasing; farmers typically truck the grain to central points.
Alberta is the leading beekeeping province of Canada, with some beekeepers wintering hives indoors in specially designed barns in southern Alberta, then migrating north during the summer into the Peace River valley where the season is short but the working days are long for honeybees to produce honey from clover and fireweed. Hybrid canola also requires bee pollination, and some beekeepers service this need.
The vast northern forest reserves of softwood allow Alberta to produce large quantities of lumber, oriented strand board (OSB) and plywood, and several plants in northern Alberta supply North America and the Pacific Rim nations with bleached wood pulp and newsprint.


Stephen Avenue, Calgary.
Alberta has been a tourist destination from the early days of the twentieth century, with attractions including outdoor locales for skiing, hiking and camping, shopping locales such as West Edmonton Mall, Calgary Stampede, outdoor festivals, professional athletic events, international sporting competitions such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, as well as more eclectic attractions. There are also natural attractions like Elk Island National Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, and the Columbia Icefield.
According to Alberta Economic Development, Calgary and Edmonton both host over four million visitors annually. Banff, Jasper and the Rocky Mountains are visited by about three million people per year.[36] Alberta tourism relies heavily on Southern Ontario tourists, as well as tourists from other parts of Canada, the United States, and many international countries.
Alberta's Rocky Mountains include well known tourist destinations Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The two mountain parks are connected by the scenic Icefields Parkway. Banff is located 128 km (80 mi) west of Calgary on Highway 1, and Jasper is located 366 km (227 mi) west of Edmonton on Yellowhead Highway. Five of Canada's fourteen UNESCO World heritage sites are located within the province: Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
About 1.2 million people visit the of Calgary Stampede,[37] a celebration of Canada's own Wild West and the cattle ranching industry. About 800,000 people enjoy Edmonton's Capital Ex (formerly Klondike Days).[38] Edmonton was the gateway to the only all-Canadian route to the Yukon gold fields, and the only route which did not require gold-seekers to travel the exhausting and dangerous Chilkoot Pass.
Another tourist destination that draws more than 650,000 visitors each year is the Drumheller Valley, located northeast of Calgary. Drumheller, "Dinosaur Capital of The World", offers the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Drumheller also had a rich mining history being one of Western Canada's largest coal producers during the war years. The Canadian Badlands has much to offer in the way of attractions, cultural events, celebrations, accommodations and service.
Located in east-central Alberta is Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, a popular tourist attraction operated out of Stettler. It boasts one of the few operable steam trains in the world, offering trips through the rolling prairie scenery. Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions caters to tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Alberta is an important destination for tourists who love to ski and hike; Alberta boasts several world-class ski resorts such as Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Marmot Basin, Norquay and Nakiska. Hunters and fishermen from around the world are able to take home impressive trophies and tall tales from their experiences in Alberta's wilderness.


The province's revenue comes mainly from royalties on non-renewable natural resources (30.4%), personal income taxes (22.3%), corporate and other taxes (19.6%), and grants from the federal government primarily for infrastructure projects (9.8%).[39] Albertans are the lowest-taxed people in Canada, and Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax (though residents are still subject to the federal sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax of 5%.) It is also the only Canadian province to have a single rate of taxation for personal income taxes which is 10% of taxable income.[40] The Alberta tax system maintains a progressive flavour by allowing residents to earn $16,161 before becoming subject to provincial taxation in addition to a variety of tax deductions for persons with disabilities, students, and the aged.[41] Alberta's municipalities and school jurisdictions have their own governments which (usually) work in co-operation with the provincial government.


David Thompson Highway outside of Banff National Park
Alberta has over 180,000 km (111,847 mi) of highways and roads, of which nearly 50,000 km (31,069 mi) are paved. The main north-south corridor is Highway 2, which begins south of Cardston at the Carway border crossing and is part of the CANAMEX Corridor. Highway 4, which effectively extends Interstate 15 into Alberta and is the busiest U.S. gateway to the province, begins at the Coutts border crossing and ends at Lethbridge. Highway 3 joins Lethbridge to Fort Macleod and links Highway 4 to Highway 2. Highway 2 travels northward through Fort Macleod, Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton. North of Edmonton the highway continues to Athabasca, then northwesterly along the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake into High Prairie, north to Peace River, west to Fairview and finally south to Grande Prairie. The section of Highway 2 between Calgary and Edmonton has been named the Queen Elizabeth II Highway to commemorate the visit of the monarch in 2005. Highway 2 is supplemented by two more highways that run parallel to it: Highway 22, west of highway 2, known as "the Cowboy Trail," and Highway 21, east of highway 2. Highway 43 travels northwest into Grande Prairie and the Peace River Country; Highway 63 travels northeast to Fort McMurray, the location of the Athabasca Oil Sands.
Alberta has two main east-west corridors. The southern corridor, part of the Trans-Canada Highway system, enters the province near Medicine Hat, runs westward through Calgary, and leaves Alberta through Banff National Park. The northern corridor, also part of the Trans-Canada network and known as the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16), runs west from Lloydminster in eastern Alberta, through Edmonton and Jasper National Park into British Columbia. One of the most scenic drives is along the Icefields Parkway, which runs for 228 km (142 mi) between Jasper and Lake Louise, with mountain ranges and glaciers on either side of its entire length.
Another major corridor through central Alberta is Highway 11 (also known as the David Thompson Highway), which runs east from the Saskatchewan River Crossing in Banff National Park through Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer, connecting with Highway 12 20 km (12 mi) west of Stettler. The highway connects many of the smaller towns in central Alberta with Calgary and Edmonton, as it crosses Highway 2 just west of Red Deer.
Urban stretches of Alberta's major highways and freeways are often called trails. For example, Highway 2, the main north-south highway in the province, is called Deerfoot Trail as it passes through Calgary but becomes Calgary Trail as it enters Edmonton and then turns into Saint Albert Trail as it leaves Edmonton for the city of St. Albert. Calgary, in particular, has a tradition of calling its largest urban expressways trails and naming many of them after prominent First Nations individuals and tribes, such as Crowchild Trail, Deerfoot Trail, and Stoney Trail.
Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge have substantial public transit systems. In addition to buses, Calgary and Edmonton operate light rail transit (LRT) systems. Edmonton LRT, which is underground in the downtown core and on the surface outside of it, was the first of the modern generation of light rail systems to be built in North America, while the Calgary C-Train, although operating mostly on the surface, has almost 4 times more track than the Edmonton LRT and the highest ridership of any LRT system in North America.
Alberta is well-connected by air, with international airports in both Calgary and Edmonton. Calgary International Airport and Edmonton International Airport are the fourth and fifth busiest in Canada respectively. Calgary's airport is a hub for WestJet Airlines and a regional hub for Air Canada. Calgary's airport primarily serves the Canadian prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) for connecting flights to British Columbia, eastern Canada, 15 major US centres, nine European airports, and four destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.[42] Edmonton's airport acts as a hub for the Canadian north and has connections to all major Canadian airports as well as 10 major US airports, 3 European airports and 6 Mexican and Caribbean airports.[43]
There are over 9,000 km (5,592 mi) of operating mainline railway, and many tourists see Alberta aboard Via Rail or Rocky Mountaineer. The Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway companies operate railway freight across the province.


Alberta's Legislative Building in Edmonton.
The government of Alberta is organized as a parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature. Its unicameral legislature—the Legislative Assembly—consists of eighty-three members.
Locally municipal governments and school boards are elected and operate separately. Their boundaries do not necessarily coincide. Municipalities where the same body act as both local government and school board are formally referred to as "counties" in Alberta.
As Canada's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state for the Government of Alberta. Her duties in Alberta are carried out by Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong. Although the lieutenant governor is technically the most powerful person in Alberta, he is in reality a figurehead whose actions are restricted by custom and constitutional convention. The government is therefore headed by the premier. The current premier is Ed Stelmach who was elected as leader of the governing Progressive Conservatives on December 2, 2006. Stelmach was sworn in as the 13th Premier of Alberta on December 15, 2006.
The Premier is a Member of the Legislative Assembly, and he draws all the members of his Cabinet from among the members of the Legislative Assembly.
The City of Edmonton is the seat of the provincial government—the capital of Alberta.
Alberta's elections tend to yield results which are much more conservative than those of other Canadian provinces. Alberta has traditionally had three political parties, the Progressive Conservatives ("Conservatives" or "Tories"), the Liberals, and the social democratic New Democrats. A fourth party, the strongly conservative Social Credit Party, was a power in Alberta for many decades, but fell from the political map after the Progressive Conservatives came to power in 1971. Since that time, no other political party has governed Alberta. In fact, only four parties have governed Alberta: the Liberals, from 1905 to 1921; the United Farmers of Alberta, from 1921 to 1935; the Social Credit Party, from 1935 to 1971, and the currently governing Progressive Conservative Party, from 1971 to the present.
Alberta has had occasional surges in separatist sentiment. Even during the 1980s, when these feelings were at their strongest, there has never been enough interest in secession to initiate any major movements or referendums. There are several groups wishing to promote the independence of Alberta in some form currently active in the province.
In the 2008 provincial election, held on March 3, 2008, the Progressive Conservative Party was re-elected as a majority government with 72 of 83 seats, the Alberta Liberal Party was elected as the Official Opposition with nine members, and the Alberta New Democratic Party elected two members.[44]


Largest municipalities and metro areas by population
Census Metropolitan Areas: 2006 2001 1996
Calgary CMA 1,079,310 951,395 821,628
Edmonton CMA 1,034,945 937,845 862,597
Cities (10 Largest):
Calgary 988,193 878,866 768,082
Edmonton 730,372 666,104 616,306
Red Deer 82,772 67,707 60,080
Lethbridge 78,713 68,712 64,938
St. Albert (included in Edmonton CMA) 57,719 53,081 46,888
Medicine Hat 56,997 51,249 46,783
Grande Prairie 47,076 36,983 31,353
Airdrie (included in Calgary CMA) 28,927 20,382 15,946
Spruce Grove (included in Edmonton CMA) 19,496 15,983 14,271
Leduc (included in Edmonton CMA) 16,967 15,032 14,346
Districts (3 Largest):
Strathcona County (included in Edmonton CMA) 82,511 71,986 64,176
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo 51,496 42,581 35,213
Rocky View County (included in Calgary CMA) 34,171 29,925 23,326

Health care

As with all Canadian provinces, Alberta provides for all citizens and residents through a publicly funded health care system. Alberta became Canada's second province (after Saskatchewan) to adopt a Tommy Douglas-style program in 1950, a precursor to the modern medicare system.
Alberta's health care budget is currently $13.2 billion during the 2008-2009 fiscal year (approximately 36% of all government spending), making it the best funded health care system per-capita in Canada. Every hour more than $1.5 million is spent on health care in the province.[45]
A highly educated population and burgeoning economy have made Alberta a national leader in health education, research, and resources. Many notable facilities include the Foothills Medical Centre, the Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, Alberta Children's Hospital, Grace Women's Health Centre, The University of Calgary Medical Centre (UCMC), Tom Baker Cancer Centre and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, in Calgary; In Edmonton, the University of Alberta Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, the Stollery Children's Hospital, the Alberta Diabetes Institute, the Cross Cancer Institute, and the Rexall Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research in Edmonton. Currently under construction in Edmonton is the new $909 million Edmonton Clinic, which will provide a similar research, education, and care environment as the Mayo Clinic in the United States.[46]
The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society, a nonprofit organization, provides an air ambulance service to all but the most remote areas of Alberta, and some adjoining areas of British Columbia.[47]


As with any Canadian province, the Alberta Legislature has (almost) exclusive authority to make laws respecting education. Since 1905 the Legislature has used this capacity to continue the model of locally elected public and separate school boards which originated prior to 1905, as well as to create and/or regulate universities, colleges, technical institutions and other educational forms and institutions (public charter schools, private schools, home schooling).
Heritage Hall at SAIT Polytechnic.

Elementary schools

There are forty-two public school jurisdictions in Alberta, and seventeen operating separate school jurisdictions. Sixteen of the operating separate school jurisdictions have a Catholic electorate, and one (St. Albert) has a Protestant electorate. In addition, one Protestant separate school district, Glen Avon, survives as a ward of the St. Paul Education Region. The City of Lloydminster straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, and both the public and separate school systems in that city are counted in the above numbers: both of them operate according to Saskatchewan law.
For many years the provincial government has funded the greater part of the cost of providing K–12 education. Prior to 1994 public and separate school boards in Alberta had the legislative authority to levy a local tax on property, as supplementary support for local education. In 1994 the government of the province eliminated this right for public school boards, but not for separate school boards. Since 1994 there has continued to be a tax on property in support of K–12 education; the difference is that the mill rate is now set by the provincial government, the money is collected by the local municipal authority and remitted to the provincial government. The relevant legislation requires that all the money raised by this property tax must go to the support of K–12 education provided by school boards. The provincial government pools the property tax funds from across the province and distributes them, according to a formula, to public and separate school jurisdictions and Francophone authorities.
Public and separate school boards, charter schools, and private schools all follow the Program of Studies and the curriculum approved by the provincial department of education (Alberta Education). Home schoolers may choose to follow the Program of Studies or develop their own Program of Studies. Public and separate schools, charter schools, and approved private schools all employ teachers who are certificated by Alberta Education, they administer Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Examinations set by Alberta Education, and they may grant high school graduation certificates endorsed by Alberta Education.


St. Joseph’s College at University of Alberta
Alberta's oldest and largest university is Edmonton's University of Alberta established in 1908. The University of Calgary, once affiliated with the University of Alberta, gained its autonomy in 1966 and is now the second largest university in Alberta. There is also Athabasca University, which focuses on distance learning, and the University of Lethbridge, both of which are located in their title cities. In early September, 2009, Mount Royal University became Calgary's second public university, and in late September, 2009, a similar move made Grant MacEwan University Edmonton's second public university. There are 15 colleges that receive direct public funding, along with two technical institutes, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.[48] There is also a large and active private sector of post-secondary institutions, mostly Christian Universities, bringing the total number of universities to twelve, plus a DeVry University location in Calgary. Students may also receive government loans and grants while attending selected private institutions. There has been some controversy in recent years over the rising cost of post-secondary education for students (as opposed to taxpayers). In 2005, Premier Ralph Klein made a promise that he would freeze tuition and look into ways of reducing schooling costs.[49] So far, no plan has been released by the government of Alberta.


Summer brings many festivals to the province of Alberta, especially in Edmonton. The Edmonton Fringe Festival is the world's second largest after Edinburgh's. The Folk music festivals in both Calgary and Edmonton are two of Canada's largest and both cities host a number of annual multicultural events. With a large number of summer and winter events, Edmonton prides itself as being the "Festival City". The city's "heritage days" festival sees the participation of over 70 ethnic groups. Edmonton's Churchill Square is home to a large number of the festivals, including the large Taste of Edmonton & The Works Art & Design Festival throughout the summer months.
Calgary is also home to Carifest, the second largest Caribbean festival in the nation (after Caribana in Toronto). Edmonton has Cariwest, a smaller Caribbean Parade in the downtown streets. Both Edmonton and Calgary are also known for decent Film festivals. The city of Calgary is also famous for its Calgary Stampede, dubbed "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth." The Stampede is Canada's biggest rodeo festival and features various races and competitions, such as calf roping and bull riding. In line with the western tradition of rodeo are the cultural artisans that reside and create unique Alberta western heritage crafts. The Banff Centre also hosts a range of festivals and other events including the internationally known Mountain Film Festival. These cultural events in Alberta highlight the province's cultural diversity and love of entertainment. Most of the major cities have several performing theatre companies who entertain in venues as diverse as Edmonton's Arts Barns and the Francis Winspear Centre for Music. Both Calgary and Edmonton are home to Canadian Football League and National Hockey League teams. Soccer, rugby union and lacrosse are also played professionally in Alberta.

See also


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. "Canada's population estimates 2009-26-03". Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  2. ^ "Gross domestic product, expenditure-based, by province and territory". Statistics Canada. 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  3. ^ Ministry of Finance and Enterprise (2009). "Quarterly Demographic Statistics (Alberta Population Reports)". Demographics. Government of Alberta. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  4. ^ "Alberta becomes a Province". Alberta Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  5. ^ "Statistics Canada—CMA population estimates". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  6. ^ Statistics Canada (February 2005). "Land and freshwater area, by province and territory". Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  7. ^ a b c "Climate and Geography". About Alberta. Government of Alberta. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  8. ^ "Athabasca River". The Canadian Heritage Rivers System. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  9. ^ "Alberta". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  10. ^ a b "Climate of Alberta". Agroclimatic Atlas of Alberta. Government of Alberta. 2003.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sag6299. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "National Climate Data and Information Archive". Environment Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  12. ^ Dictionary of Canadian Biography. "Alexander Mackenzie Biography". Retrieved 2006-01-05. 
  13. ^ "Components of population growth, by province and territory". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  14. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs (2006-05-16). "Types of Municipalities in Alberta". Archived from the original on 2006-12-14. Retrieved December 18, 2006. 
  15. ^ "Population urban and rural, by province and territory". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  16. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  17. ^ "Language Highlight Tables". 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  18. ^ "Detailed Mother Tongue (186), Knowledge of Official Languages (5), Age Groups (17A) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2001 and 2006 Censuses - 20% Sample Data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  19. ^ "Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada Highlight Tables". 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  20. ^ "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  21. ^ a b "Selected Religions, for Canada, Provinces and Territories - 20% Sample Data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  22. ^ "Al-Rashid Mosque". Canadian Islamic Congress. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  23. ^ AM Yisrael—The Jewish Communities of Canada
  24. ^ "Visible minority groups, percentage distribution (2006), for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  25. ^ "Visible minority groups, percentage distribution (2006), for Canada and census subdivisions (municipalities) with 5,000-plus population - 20% sample data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  26. ^ a b "Aboriginal identity population by age groups, median age and sex, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  27. ^ Statistics Canada (September 2006). "The Alberta economic Juggernaut:The boom on the rose" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  28. ^ "Median earnings for economic families with earnings, both senior and non-senior families, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  29. ^ "Calgary-Edmonton corridor". Statistics Canada, 2001 Census of Population. 2003-01-20. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  30. ^ The Fraser Institute (November 2006). "Alberta Rated as Best Investment Climate". Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  31. ^ The Fraser Institute (2008). "Economic Freedom of North America 2008 Annual Report". Retrieved 2008-08-01.  ISBN 0-88975-213-3
  32. ^ "Alaska and Alberta - An Overview". Government of Alaska. Archived from the original on 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  33. ^ "Canada Oilsands Opportunities". U.S. Commercial Service. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  34. ^ Interactive display system—US Patent U.S. Patent No. 5,448,263; U.S. Patent for Touch Sensitive Technology—SMART Technologies
  35. ^ Alberta Livestock Inspections—August 2006—Alberta Government, Department of Agriculture
  36. ^ "Living in Canada : Alberta". AKCanada. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  37. ^ "History of the Stampede". Calgary Stampede. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  38. ^ "Fair History". Northlands. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  39. ^ "Budget 2009, Building On Our Strength". Government of Alberta. Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  40. ^ "What are the income tax rates in Canada for 2009?". Canada Revenue Agency. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  41. ^ "Alberta Tax and Credits". Government of Alberta. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  42. ^ "Calgary Airport Authority". Calgary Airport Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  43. ^ "EIA". Edmonton International Airport. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  44. ^ "2008 Alberta Election Results". CTV. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  45. ^ "Health Care Funding Allocations 2009–2010". Government of Alberta. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  46. ^ "Edmonton Clinic". Alberta Health Services; University of Alberta. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  47. ^ "STARS; About Us". STARS. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  48. ^ "Service Centres". Government of Alberta. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  49. ^ "Advocacy". University of Alberta Students Unions. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

This article is for quotes about the province of Alberta, Canada.
Alberta is one of Canada's prairie provinces. It became a province on September 1, 1905. Alberta is located in Western Canada, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, Northwest Territories to the north, and by the U.S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of two provinces (the other being New Brunswick) to border only a single U.S. state. It is also one of two provinces that are land-locked (the other being Saskatchewan).


By Canadians

Stephen Harper

  • It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta, to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdiction.
    • source: Stephen Harper National Post, January 24, 2001, “Open Letter to Ralph Klein”

By non-Canadians


Steve Smith: "Part of the learning curve in Edmonton is learning to hate Calgary."
    • source:Steve Smith: Hockey
    • notes: Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, and Calgary is slightly more populous than Edmonton.

John Cleese

  • Come to me. I want to plow you like a Calgary driveway at Christmas.
    • source: Unsourced attributed to John Cleese
    • notes: Calgary is a large city of Alberta.

Stargate Atlantis

Jeannie: I can't believe I am betting my life on your sense of direction!
Dr. McKay: What are you talking about?! I've got an excellent sense of direction!
Jeannie: Oh, really? Remember when we went to West Edmonton Mall and Dad had to call the police to find you?
Dr. McKay: That mall was huge!
Jeannie: There were maps every seven metres!
Dr. McKay: Misleading ones!
    • source: Miller's Crossing [4.09] Stargate Atlantis
    • notes: Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta

See also

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park
Peyto Lake, Banff National Park
Alberta [1] is the second westernmost of the 10 provinces in Canada. (only British Columbia is farther west) It includes parts of the Canadian Rockies and is known for its oil and natural gas fields and cattle farming.
Alberta has a lot to offer visitors. It is a surprisingly diverse province in many ways, from the beauty of the Rockies to the serene flatness of prairie to the wilderness of the northern forests. The two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton offer the amenties that most cities in North America have, and also have some unique attractions of their own.
Alberta regions
Alberta regions
Alberta covers 8 regions.
  • Alberta Badlands - in eastern Alberta and features majestic beauty. Experience very undescribeable land formations from over thousands of years or see a lot of fossils from dinosaurs.
  • Alberta Rockies - one of Canada's most beautiful places. It has the amazing Rocky Mountains sprinkled with the vibrant national parks of Jasper and Banff which are home to much skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities, not to mention shopping.
  • Calgary Region - the metropolitan region of Calgary. It is the densest area in the province and is growing fast. The area is home to a lot of attractions.
  • Central Alberta - this part has a lot of nature and due to the foothills, a lot of ranches. It also has a lot of cabins and rolling hills. There is a lot of agriculture here.
  • Eastern Alberta - mostly forestry and small farms. It is mostly plains and there are some lakes and rivers for fishing and hunting. It also has a very large oil industry.
  • Edmonton Capital Region - the metro area of Edmonton. It is the second highest population in Alberta and is home to a lot of really cool stuff to do from skiing to discovering history. Edmonton is the capital of Alberta.
  • Peace River Valley - breathtaking nature takes this region as its beauty. It has a ton of forestry and small towns.
  • Southern Alberta - this area is quite interesting. It has windfarms, rolling hills, lush Waterton Lakes National Park, Lethbridge, as well as beautiful farms.
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta.
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta.
Edmonton is the second largest city and is the mighty capital.
Edmonton is the second largest city and is the mighty capital.
Below are 9 cities frequently considered to have the most interest for the visitor.
  • Edmonton - the capital city of Alberta and the second largest urban population (752,000 city; 1,102,000 metro region). It is home to a vibrant cultural community, the largest urban parkland system in North America, North America's largest mall, Canada's only Indy race, and is dubbed Canada's Festival City. Aside from that, there is so much more stuff like a pretty good science centre and a awesome conservatory, just explore and also read our guide.
  • Calgary - Alberta's largest city (1,040,000 city; 1,139,000 metro region). It is home to a beautiful river, nice museum, cool towers, bustling economy, world class zoo, cool shopping, and is most famous for the 88 Olympics.
  • Banff - vacation destination in the Rockies offering a variety of outdoor activities
  • Drumheller - site of the Royal Tyrell Museum, the largest paleontology museum in Canada
  • Fort McMurray - fast growing community deep in northern Alberta, most famous as the center of the oil sands industry
  • Jasper - Banff's northerly neighbour - less visited than Banff but no less stunning
  • Lethbridge - is a city in southern Alberta with a population of about 78,700 and most famous for its canyons
  • Medicine Hat - is in southern Alberta with a population nearing 57,000 and is interesting
  • Red Deer - is a city in between Edmonton and Calgary at about 82,800 people (2006) and is a major service center
  • Banff National Park - probably the most famous national park, and home to the town of Banff which holds unique shopping and entertainment. Outside that, there's Lake Louise and world class skiing, hiking, and camping
  • Kananaskis Country - Major natural recreation area in southern Alberta at the foot of the Rockies south of Calgary
  • Lake Louise - Major ski resort and village just to the north of Banff, noted for its very blue lake


Alberta was formed as a province in 1905. Its capital is Edmonton, located roughly in the middle of the province, while most oil business headquarters are located to the south in Calgary. Most of the population of Alberta lives along the "Highway 2 Corridor" between Edmonton and Calgary, although Lethbridge to the south, Grande Prairie to the northwest, and Fort McMurray to the northeast are also major centres.
The original inhabitants were the First Nations People, but significant immigration occurred when the Canadian Pacific Railway was built and the Government offered incentives for settlers to come to Alberta. Since then the province has enjoyed steady immigration and population growth, though it is notable that there are few groups who immigrated in vast numbers such as Chinese to Vancouver did.
This is the richest province in Canada, its wealth is derived mainly from Crude Oil production, though historically farming and cattle raising were important. Ranching maintains a high place in the economy and especially in the culture, especially in Southern Alberta. Seventy percent of the Canadian Herd (of cattle) is located in Alberta. In 2003 the price of oil rose beyond $55 a barrel making the vast reserves of oilsands in the Northern part of the province economically viable. Since then Alberta has enjoyed rapid growth, but also experienced significant problems along with that growth.
It is also noteworthy that Alberta is widely considered to be the most conservative area of Canada, however this is a complicated issue. Regional politics affected Alberta significantly, including the much hated National Energy Program in the 1980s. So the region votes Conservative both as an expression of regional preference as much as politic preference. This won't affect the average traveller, and may benefit as Alberta's taxes are lower than that of the rest of Canada (there is no PST).


English is the main language spoken by most people in Alberta. Significant minority languages include Ukrainian, German, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Hindi.
French is uncommon but available at all Federal Governmental institutions. There is a French-language university in Edmonton - the Faculté Saint-Jean, now a part of the University of Alberta, which offers undergraduate degrees in several disciplines with instruction completely in French.
First Nations languages such as Cree, Déné, Blackfoot, etc. are spoken to varying degrees among those communities as both mother tongue and as a second language.

Get in

By Air

Both Calgary and Edmonton have international airports. Calgary's is the third largest in Canada (by passenger volume). It serves as the base of low-priced airline Westjet, which provides service to North American (mainly Canadian), Mexican and Caribbean destinations. Edmonton's is the fastest growing in Canada, with multiple expansions in place. International Service is provided by multiple carriers at both locations, including multiple direct flights to London and Frankfurt each day and selected flights to New Delhi, India and Hong Kong, other destinations are usually connecting through Vancouver or Toronto. Both airports act as collection points, Calgary for the prairie provinces, and Edmonton for regions in the Canadian North like Grande Prairie and Yellowknife.

Get around

By Car

Alberta is quite large, as are most Canadian provinces. A rough comparison is that the island of Great Britain can fit into Alberta more than six times over. Also noteworthy is that most Albertan cities, and especially Calgary have historically grown horizontally rather than vertically and are thus really big. Car travel is essential unless you plan on staying within Edmonton or Calgary (where you can walk, bus, transit). However most towns and cities in rural Alberta are more than accesible by Greyhound Bus.
Driving regulations are the same as in most of Canada. Turning right (far right lane into far right lane) on a red light is allowed. It goes without saying that drunk driving is taken very seriously, but is disproportionally seen in rural areas, take care when driving there at night. Wildlife are another major concern. When highway driving keep to a reasonable speed and look for sudden movements on the side. The most common animal hit is the deer, which is usually not fatal for the car. But running into an elk or moose could possibly be so. Elk and moose are very dark coloured so keep a close eye out for them. If you see animals on the side of the road it is common to want to slow down. Do so in a safe manner and don't needlessly impede traffic. Don't get out of your car to see the animals.
The AMA (Alberta Motor Association) is a good source of specific information and offers the most widely used driving courses. Both Calgary and Edmonton offer traffic radio stations - government funded radio that only reports accidents, construction and weather. You signs for the frequency in those cities.
Do not heed any warning about Albertan drivers being the most aggressive drivers in Canada - a common myth. They are not more so than Toronto and certainly are nothing compared with Southern Europe. High speeds and lane changes without signaling are generally the worst it gets.

By Bus

Greyhound Canada offers service between almost all centres, large and small. Be aware that Greyhound does the so-called "milk runs" stopping at almost every location, usually to drop off or pickup passengers and cargo. There are other bus lines offering service between major centres, such as Red Arrow between Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Jasper and Banff.

By Rail

VIA Rail is the only passenger rail service into Alberta, and it goes into Edmonton from Vancouver, British Columbia and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There is no passenger rail service into Calgary.


Driving west out of Calgary towards British Columbia, the Rockies rise dramatically and quickly. The drive through Banff, Jasper or Glacier National Park can be quite spectacular. The Icefields Parkway between the towns of Banff and Jasper is definitely not to be missed.
In Edmonton, West Edmonton Mall is one of the province's larger attractions. With over 800 retail shops and the world's largest indoor entertainment centre, it's entertaining even for the non-shoppers. Also Edmonton is dubbed, "Canada's Festival City" to the exceedingly high ammount of festivals of every kind. The city also boasts the North American largest urban parkland system, of which is very beautiful and completes the skyline, that's the North Saskatchewan River Valley. It also has other shopping, other great attractions and has Canada's only Indy.
Calgary offers the Stampede, the wild west-themed festival held every July complete with rodeos and fairs. And one should check out the Calgary Zoo and get a view from the top of the Calgary Tower.


The ski resorts of Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Norquay, all in Banff National Park dish up almost every kind of terrain for the hardcore skier, yet allow novice skiers to have fun through green runs and long cruisng runs. If the crowds bother you, there are a number of other ski areas in the province.
Great hiking can be had in the Rockies, and there are a few lakes that allow one to do boating, jetskiing or most other watersports despite Alberta's landlocked nature.
There are many excellent golf courses available to the public across the provinces. Areas of particular interest include the mountain parks where Banff Springs, Jasper Park Lodge, Kananaskis Country, Stewart Creek, and Silver Tip are recognized as some of Canada's best courses. Central Alberta also offers several excellent courses, including Wolf Creek and Alberta Springs. In the Edmonton area, popular courses include the Northern Bear, Cougar Creek, The Ranch, and Goose Hummock. In Drumheller, the back nine of the Dinosaur Point Golf Course features several very dramatic and spectacular holes.
Dinosaur Provincial Park two hours southeast of Calgary (the closest notable city being Brooks)can be rather interesting. There is camping available and general admission is free, however to see many of the restricted areas one must pay for a guide. There are many trails and hoodoos to climb, the scenery is fantastic and it is generally just a very fun place to be. There are a few safety precautions to take into consideration if you do choose to visit however. A large abundance of rattlesnakes, scorpians, and black widow spiders call this park home so exercise caution if you ever run into them. Also it gets very hot during the summer so you should bring some sunscreen and a water bottle (if you forget there's a concession as well). Cacti can also be a bit of a nuisance if you decide to climb the hoodoos so just keep your eyes out. You should note that a very large percentage of the worlds dinosaur bones have been found here, and it's very common to find small bone fragments on the ground as you explore (however it is strictly against the rules to take any)! However most of the greatest discoveries made here are displayed at the Royal Tyrell Museum located in Drumheller.


There is a surprising array of restaurants to choose from, especially in the major cities. Tastes range from simple burger joints to haute cuisine in the finest restaurants. Alberta is world renowned for its beef and the steak can be considered the regional dish for Alberta.


The drinking age is 18 - younger than most other provinces in Canada. Alcohol is available from the many private liquor stores and beer/wine stores throughout the province. Unlike other provinces, liquor retail is privatized; however, unlike most American states, you cannot buy alcohol directly in grocery stores although most grocery stores and many convenience stores have attached but separate liquor stores.

Stay safe

The following areas of Alberta are considered higher risk areas with respect to crime.
  • Calgary - walking during night hours should be avoided in the East Village, Victoria Park, and the Bow River Pathway between Eau Claire and the zoo. These areas are prone to drugs and prostitution. There are panhandlers in on various downtown streets.
  • Edmonton - an area during northeast of downtown is a prostitution stroll. There is also a stretch of Whyte Avenue that can be a problem after 7pm, given its high bar concentration.
Otherwise, Alberta as a whole is a relatively safe area. However common sense should be applied. Do not leave valuables visible in vehicles and lock all vehicle doors.
Growth in urban centers in Alberta has led to increased traffic. Allow plenty of time to reach a destination, especially during rush hour or during adverse weather.
Alberta's weather is very changeable and volatile, especially in the mountains and the foothills and also during the spring season. Driving conditions can deteriorate quickly. Before going out, always check the local forecast. Road conditions are available through the Alberta Motor Association.
Strong chinook winds in the foothills, especially south of Calgary, can blow a vehicle off the road. Highways 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22 and 23 south of Calgary are the most vulnerable to these conditions, with Highway 22 usually being the worst. Extra caution is advised, particularly for higher-height vehicles such as trucks and SUVs.
Alberta has had cases of the West Nile Virus. In the spring and summer, it is wise to be protected using Deet-based repellants.
The area within and around the mountain parks is bear country. Hikers, hunters and campers in these areas should follow all bear safety tips. Campsites should be kept clean, all dishes properly washed, and all tables wiped clean after a meal. Never leave any food or garbage loose or unattended. Hikers should travel as a group, make noise regularly and stay on established trails. Pets should be kept out of bear country.
Taxis can be in short supply in Calgary and Edmonton at times, especially during holidays, poor weather, and on weekends. It is advisable to phone ahead in the daytime for a reservation if you realize you may need a taxi. In most cases, taxis are easily available at the airports.

Get out

Though probably the most beautiful province in western Canada, neighboring provinces have much to offer. British Columbia has much great scenery as well, but also world-class cities like Vancouver and Victoria
To the east is Saskatchewan, which has a large amount of grassland but is also home to over 100,000 lakes and offers some of the most beautiful skyline. With the more action packed Regina and Saskatoon
This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:
Alberta's flag
Alberta's location in Canada





Proper noun

  1. Province in western Canada which has Edmonton as its capital.
  2. A female given name, a feminine form of Albert.
    • 1936, George Weller, Clutch and Differential, Ayer, 1970, ISBN 0836936590, page 196,
      Alberta is more like a man's name than any other name that comes from a men's, more than Georgianna which is just like a magnolia blossom or Henrietta which most people change to Etta or Geraldine which nobody ever thinks of coming from a man's Irish name like Gerald. Alberta also sounds sort of Canadian, and everything from Canada is masculine the way everything from Mexico is feminine, even the men. In saying it carelessly or reading it you hardly notice the a in the end.

Derived terms





Proper noun

Alberta f.
  1. Alberta



Proper noun

Alberta f.
  1. A female given name, feminine form of Alberto.



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)
Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Gentianales
Familia: Rubiaceae
Subfamilia: Ixoroideae
Genus: Alberta
Species: A. humblotii - A. magna - A. minor - A. orientalis - A. regalis - A. sambiranensis


Alberta E.Mey.


  • Linnaea 12: 258. 1838

Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 15, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Calgary, which are similar to those in the above article.

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