Alberta, Canada

About Alberta

Alberta is the most populous and fastest growing of Canada's three prairie provinces. It covers about the same land area as France or Texas, and had a population of 3.7 million in 2009. 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. Alberta covers an area of 661,848 square kilometres (255,500 sq mi), an area about 5% smaller than Texas or 20% larger than metropolitan France. This makes it the fourth largest province after Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. 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. 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.