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Interesting and Shocking Facts About the Provinces of Canada

Canada, the second-largest country in the world by land area, offers diverse landscapes, rich cultures, and fascinating histories. From the rugged Atlantic coastline to the majestic Rocky Mountains, and from the vibrant multicultural cities to the serene expanses of prairie land, each of Canada’s provinces offers its own unique story and set of attractions. 

This blog will take you on an informative and captivating journey through Canada’s ten provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. So let’s get started. 

The History of Canada and Its Provinces Joining Confederation

To know the provinces of Canada and why they evolved into their present age, it is important to know Canada’s history as well. Here is a short overview. 

1. Pre-Confederation Era

Before Canada became a unified country, the land was inhabited by diverse Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. These societies had their own complex cultures, languages, and governance systems. 

European exploration began in the late 15th century, with John Cabot’s arrival in 1497 marking the beginning of British claims to North American territories. French explorer Jacques Cartier followed in 1534, establishing French claims.

2. The Formation of New France and British North America

In the early 17th century, the French established New France, primarily in the St. Lawrence River region. Quebec City, founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, became the colony’s capital. British interests grew as well, with the establishment of settlements in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and other regions.

By the mid-18th century, conflicts between the French and British culminated in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the war, resulting in France ceding most of its North American territories to Britain, reshaping the political landscape.

3. The Road to Confederation

The idea of uniting British North American colonies gained momentum in the mid-19th century due to various factors, including economic challenges, defense concerns, and political deadlock. The Charlottetown Conference of 1864 was pivotal, where representatives from the colonies discussed the possibility of forming a confederation.

4. The Birth of Canada: 1867

On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act, 1867) united the colonies of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia into the Dominion of Canada. This marked the official birth of Canada, with Ottawa as the capital.

5. Expansion of Canada

  • Manitoba (1870): The Red River Rebellion, led by Louis Riel, highlighted the need for better representation and rights for Métis inhabitants. The Manitoba Act of 1870 created the province of Manitoba, ensuring land rights for the Métis and bringing it into Confederation.
  • British Columbia (1871): British Columbia joined the Confederation in 1871, driven by economic incentives and the promise of a transcontinental railway connecting the province to the rest of Canada. The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway was a crucial factor in its decision to join.
  • Prince Edward Island (1873): Initially hesitant, Prince Edward Island joined Confederation in 1873 due to financial difficulties and the promise of debt relief and a continuous ferry service to the mainland.
  • Alberta and Saskatchewan (1905): Alberta and Saskatchewan were created from the vast Northwest Territories in 1905. Their inclusion reflected the expansion and settlement of the western regions, facilitated by the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway and government policies encouraging immigration.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (1949): Newfoundland and Labrador was the last province to join Canada in 1949. After years of financial struggles and debates about its future, a referendum led to its decision to become a part of Canada, bringing strategic and economic benefits.

6. Modern Canada

Today, Canada is a federation of ten provinces and three territories, each with its own unique history and culture. The journey to Confederation and beyond has been shaped by negotiations, agreements, and sometimes conflicts, but it has created a diverse and dynamic nation.

List of 10 Provinces of Canada

From the initial four provinces in 1867 to the current ten provinces and three territories, Canada’s path to nationhood and unity highlights the importance of cooperation, compromise, and vision in building a strong and cohesive country. Here are some interesting facts about all of these provinces. 

1. Alberta

Alberta, established as a province in 1905, is home to some of Canada’s most breathtaking natural scenery. This includes Banff and Jasper National Parks. Banff was founded in 1885. It is Canada’s oldest national park. It draws millions of tourists with its stunning glacial lakes and towering peaks. 

Calgary is Alberta’s largest city. It hosts the world-famous Calgary Stampede each July, a rodeo and exhibition that began in 1912. On the other hand, Edmonton, the provincial capital, boasts the largest mall in North America, West Edmonton Mall, which opened in 1981. It includes over 800 stores, an amusement park, and a water park. The province is also a significant player in the oil industry, with the Athabasca oil sands being one of the largest petroleum reserves in the world. 

The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, established in 1985, houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of dinosaur fossils. It also underscores Alberta’s rich prehistoric past. Alberta’s diverse landscape also includes the Badlands, which feature unique geological formations and rich fossil beds. With its mix of urban sophistication and rugged natural beauty, Alberta offers a unique blend of attractions and experiences.

2. British Columbia

British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province. It joined the Confederation in 1871. Known for its stunning Pacific coastline and majestic mountains, BC is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Vancouver, the largest city, hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010 and is a gateway to Asia with its bustling port. 

Also Read: Vibrant Coworking Spaces in Vancouver

Another city, Victoria, the provincial capital, is famed for its British colonial architecture and the beautiful Butchart Gardens that were established in 1904. BC’s economy thrives on natural resources, including forestry and fishing, but it’s also a tech hub, with Vancouver being dubbed “Hollywood North” due to its booming film industry. 

Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America, attracts millions of visitors annually. The Great Bear Rainforest, one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, is home to the rare Kermode bear, also known as the spirit bear. BC’s diverse culture is reflected in its vibrant arts scene and significant Indigenous heritage, with numerous communities preserving their languages and traditions. 

3. Manitoba

Manitoba joined Canada in 1870, is a province of striking contrasts, from its northern tundra to southern prairies. Winnipeg, the capital, is home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, opened in 2014, which stands as a testament to Canada’s commitment to global human rights.

The Forks, a historic site where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet, has been a gathering place for over 6,000 years. Churchill, located on the shores of Hudson Bay, is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” where visitors can see these magnificent creatures in the wild.

The province’s economy is heavily influenced by agriculture, with vast fields of wheat and canola. Lake Winnipeg, one of the largest lakes in the world, provides vital resources and recreational opportunities. 

Manitoba’s cultural diversity is celebrated annually at Folklorama, the world’s largest and longest-running multicultural festival. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cultural scene, Manitoba offers a unique and compelling experience for residents and visitors alike.

4. New Brunswick

New Brunswick is one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces. It joined the Confederation in 1867. Known for its picturesque landscapes and maritime heritage, the province offers unique attractions such as the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tides in the world. 

Hopewell Rocks, sculpted by these tides, reveal stunning flowerpot formations at low tide. Fredericton, the provincial capital, is rich in history and culture, home to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, which opened in 1959 and houses an impressive collection of British and Canadian art.

Furthermore, Saint John, Canada’s oldest incorporated city dates back to 1785. It features the historic Market Square and the reversing rapids phenomenon at the Saint John River. The province is also notable for its bilingual population, with a significant portion speaking both English and French.

The Miramichi River, famous for its salmon fishing, attracts anglers from around the world. With its blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural diversity, New Brunswick offers a captivating and multifaceted experience.

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s easternmost province, joined the Confederation in 1949. Known for its rugged coastline and rich maritime history, the province is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne National Park. The park showcases geological features dating back 1.2 billion years. 

St. John’s, the capital, is North America’s oldest city. It was established in 1497 by John Cabot. The city’s Signal Hill, where Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal in 1901, offers panoramic views and historical insights. The province is famous for its unique cultural heritage, with a distinctive dialect and traditions influenced by its British and Irish settlers. 

The L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site marks the location of a Norse settlement dating back to around 1000 AD. This site evidenced Viking exploration of North America. The province’s economy traditionally relied on fishing, but today oil and gas play a significant role. With its dramatic landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, Newfoundland and Labrador captivate all who visit.

6. Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is one of the four original provinces of Canada. It joined the Confederation in 1867. Known for its picturesque coastal scenery and vibrant maritime culture, the province boasts iconic sites like the Cabot Trail, a scenic drive through Cape Breton Island’s rugged terrain.

Halifax, the capital, is a bustling port city with a rich history, home to the Halifax Citadel, a star-shaped fortress dating back to 1749. Peggy’s Cove, with its famous lighthouse, is a quintessential Nova Scotian landmark. The province has a strong Scottish heritage, celebrated at the annual Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, one of the world’s largest indoor shows.

Nova Scotia is also the site of the first recorded European settlement in Canada, established by the French in 1605 at Port Royal. The Bay of Fundy, known for having the highest tides in the world, is a natural wonder that attracts visitors from around the globe. 

With its mix of natural beauty, historic charm, and vibrant cultural scene, Nova Scotia offers a compelling and diverse experience.

Also Read: Prime Ministers of Canada and their Contributions                

7. Ontario

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province; it joined the Confederation in 1867. Home to the nation’s capital, Ottawa, which boasts landmarks like Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Toronto, Ontario’s largest city, is a global metropolis known for its iconic CN Tower, which held the record as the world’s tallest free-standing structure from 1975 to 2007. Ontario is also home to Niagara Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, attracting millions of visitors annually. The province’s economy is diverse, with strengths in manufacturing, finance, and technology. 

Ontario’s natural beauty is showcased in its vast network of provincial parks, including Algonquin Provincial Park. It was established in 1893 and offers year-round outdoor activities. The province is also rich in cultural diversity, with vibrant communities from around the world contributing to a dynamic cultural scene. With its blend of bustling urban centers, historical landmarks, and stunning natural landscapes, Ontario is everything that would attract global tourists. 

8. Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is Canada’s smallest province. It joined the Confederation in 1873. Known for its red sand beaches, rolling countryside, and historic charm, PEI is also famous as the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic novel “Anne of Green Gables,” published in 1908. The Green Gables farmhouse in Cavendish attracts fans from around the world.

Charlottetown, the provincial capital, is known as the “Birthplace of Confederation,” where the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 led to the creation of Canada. PEI’s economy was traditionally centered on agriculture, especially potato farming, but tourism and the fishing industry, particularly lobster, are now significant contributors. 

The Confederation Bridge, completed in 1997, connects PEI to the mainland and is one of the longest bridges in the world. The island’s rich history and scenic beauty are celebrated annually at the PEI Fall Flavours Festival, showcasing local cuisine. With its charming landscapes, historical significance, and literary fame, PEI offers a unique and enchanting experience.

Also Read: Which Are the Most Expensive Cities In Canada?

9. Quebec

Quebec is Canada’s largest province by area. It joined the Confederation in 1867. Known for its rich French heritage, Quebec is the only province where French is the official language. Quebec City, the provincial capital, is one of North America’s oldest cities. It was founded in 1608, and its historic district, Old Quebec, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Montreal, the largest city, is a cultural hub famous for its festivals, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs comedy festival. 

The province’s economy is diverse, with strengths in aerospace, information technology, and hydroelectricity, the latter exemplified by the massive James Bay Project. Quebec’s natural beauty is showcased in places like the Laurentian Mountains and Gaspé Peninsula, home to the stunning Percé Rock. 

The province also has a strong tradition of winter sports, with popular ski resorts like Mont-Tremblant.

10. Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan, which joined Canada in 1905, is known for its vast prairies and agricultural heritage. The capital, Regina, hosts the RCMP Heritage Centre, which traces the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was established in 1873. 

Saskatoon, the largest city, is home to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, a National Historic Site that preserves over 6,000 years of Indigenous history. The province’s economy is heavily based on agriculture, mining, and energy, with Saskatoon being a significant hub for uranium and potash.

Prince Albert National Park was established in 1927. It offers diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. Saskatchewan’s cultural scene includes the Saskatchewan Festival of Words in Moose Jaw, celebrating literary arts, and the annual Regina Folk Festival. 

The province is also known for its extreme weather, with hot summers and harsh winters, contributing to its nickname, “Land of the Living Skies,” due to the dramatic cloud formations and stunning sunsets. 

Also Read: Top 10 Most Populated Cities In Canada 

ProvinceLargest CityYear Joined ConfederationArea (sq km)
British ColumbiaVancouver1871944,735
New BrunswickSaint John186772,908
Newfoundland and LabradorSt. John’s1949405,212
Nova ScotiaHalifax186755,284
Prince Edward IslandCharlottetown18735,660


Our journey through Canada’s ten provinces has unveiled a nation rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From Alberta’s majestic Rocky Mountains and the historical significance of British Columbia’s Pacific coastline to the unique cultural tapestry of Quebec and the maritime charm of the Atlantic provinces, each region offers a distinct experience that contributes to the diverse mosaic that is Canada.

We’ve explored the vital role each province plays in shaping the nation’s identity. Alberta’s oil sands and cattle ranches, Manitoba’s expansive prairies and cultural festivals, and Ontario’s bustling cities and iconic landmarks illustrate the varied economic and cultural contributions each region makes. Newfoundland and Labrador’s rugged coastlines and Viking heritage, Prince Edward Island’s literary fame, and Nova Scotia’s seafaring traditions further highlight the depth of Canada’s provincial narratives.


Q1. What is the oldest city in Canada?

A1. The oldest city in Canada is St. John’s. It is located in Newfoundland and Labrador. Established in 1497 by John Cabot, it is North America’s oldest city with a rich maritime history and cultural heritage.

Q2. Which Canadian province has the highest tides in the world?

A2. New Brunswick boasts the highest tides in the world, which can be observed in the Bay of Fundy. The tides can reach up to 16 meters (52 feet) and create fascinating natural phenomena, including the famous Hopewell Rocks.

Q3. What is the primary language spoken in Quebec?

A3. The primary language spoken in Quebec is French. This is significant because Quebec is the only province in Canada where French is the official language, reflecting its deep French heritage and cultural identity.

Q4. Which province is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”?

A4. Manitoba is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” specifically in the town of Churchill. Visitors can experience guided tours to see polar bears in their natural habitat, especially during the autumn months when the bears migrate to the Hudson Bay.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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