Alberta

Alberta

Overview
Alberta æ is a province
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces
Canadian Prairies
The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

. Alberta and its neighbour, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

, were established as provinces on September 1, 1905.

Alberta is located in western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

 to the north, and the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Alberta'
Start a new discussion about 'Alberta'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Alberta æ is a province
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces
Canadian Prairies
The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

. Alberta and its neighbour, Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

, were established as provinces on September 1, 1905.

Alberta is located in western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

 to the north, and the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S. state and is also one of only two provinces that are landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

.

Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, the capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of Alberta, is located near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's oil sands
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray...

 and other northern resource industries. Approximately 300 kilometres (186.4 mi) south of the capital is Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

, Alberta's largest city and a major distribution and transportation hub. According to recent population estimates, these two census metropolitan areas have now both exceeded 1 million people. Census agglomerations in the province include Lethbridge
Lethbridge
Lethbridge is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada, and the largest city in southern Alberta. It is Alberta's fourth-largest city by population after Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, and the third-largest by area after Calgary and Edmonton. The nearby Canadian Rockies contribute to the city's...

, Red Deer
Red Deer, Alberta
Red Deer is a city in Central Alberta, Canada. It is located near the midpoint of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor and is surrounded by Red Deer County. It is Alberta's third-most-populous city – after Calgary and Edmonton. The city is located in aspen parkland, a region of rolling hills...

, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, Wood Buffalo
Wood Buffalo, Alberta
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is a specialized municipality located in northeastern Alberta. Formed as a result of the amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143 on April 1, 1995, it is the second largest municipality in Alberta by area...

 (includes Fort McMurray), Lloydminster
Lloydminster
Lloydminster is a Canadian city which has the unusual geographic distinction of straddling the provincial border between Alberta and Saskatchewan...

, Brooks
Brooks, Alberta
Brooks is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada surrounded by the County of Newell. It is located on Highway 1 and the Canadian Pacific Railway, approximately southeast of Calgary, and northwest of Medicine Hat. The city has an elevation of .- History :The area that is now Brooks was originally...

, Okotoks, Camrose
Camrose, Alberta
Camrose is a city in central Alberta, Canada, amid some of the richest farmland in the prairies. It is a relatively small city which originally grew up along a railroad and now grows along Highway 13. Camrose is a scenic community with many parks, leading to its moniker "The Rose City"...

, Canmore
Canmore, Alberta
Canmore is a town in Alberta, Canada, located approximately west of the City of Calgary near the southeast boundary of Banff National Park. It is located in the Bow Valley within Alberta's Rockies. The town shares a border with Kananaskis Country to the west and south and the Municipal District of...

, Cold Lake
Cold Lake, Alberta
Cold Lake is a city in northeastern Alberta, Canada, named after the lake it is situated near.-Geography:The city is situated in Alberta's "Lakeland" district, 300 km northeast of Edmonton, near the Alberta-Saskatchewan provincial border. The area surrounding the city is sparsely populated,...

, and Wetaskiwin. Notable tourist destinations in the province include Canmore, Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Sylvan Lake is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is located west of the City of Red Deer along Highway 11 or Highway 11A. It is situated on the southeast edge of Sylvan Lake, a long freshwater lake, in Red Deer County....

, Drumheller, Banff
Banff, Alberta
Banff is a town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is located in Alberta's Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway, approximately west of Calgary and east of Lake Louise....

, and Jasper
Jasper, Alberta
Jasper is a specialized municipality in western Alberta, Canada. It is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies in the Athabasca River valley....

.

Alberta is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta
Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
The Princess Louise was a member of the British Royal Family, the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, Prince Consort.Louise's early life was spent moving between the various royal residences in the...

 (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Victoria, the Queen of Canada until 1901, and Albert, Prince Consort. Princess Louise was the wife of the Marquess of Lorne
John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll
John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll KG, KT, GCMG, GCVO, VD, PC , usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known between 1847 and 1900, was a British nobleman and was the fourth Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883...

, Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 from 1878 to 1883. Lake Louise
Lake Louise (Alberta)
Lake Louise is a lake in Alberta, Canada. The glacial lake is located in Banff National Park, from the hamlet of Lake Louise and the Trans-Canada Highway....

, the Village of Caroline
Caroline, Alberta
Caroline is a village in central Alberta, Canada. It is located southwest of Red Deer. It is most famous for being the hometown of figure skater Kurt Browning, for whom the local ice rink is named.- Demographics :...

, and Mount Alberta
Mount Alberta
Mount Alberta is a mountain located in the upper Athabasca River Valley of Jasper National Park, Canada. J. Norman Collie named the mountain in 1898 after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta.Mount Alberta is the sixth highest peak of the Canadian Rockies...

 were also named in honour of Princess Louise.

The current Premier
Premier of Alberta
The Premier of Alberta is the first minister for the Canadian province of Alberta. He or she is the province's head of government and de facto chief executive. The current Premier of Alberta is Alison Redford. She became Premier by winning the Progressive Conservative leadership elections on...

 of the province is Alison Redford
Alison Redford
Alison Merrilla Redford Q.C., MLA, is a Canadian politician, and the 14th and current Premier of Alberta, Canada. Upon winning the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, in October 2011, she became the first female premier in Alberta...

.

Geography



Alberta, with an area of 661848 square kilometre is the fourth largest province after Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, and British Columbia. To the south, the province borders on the 49th parallel north
49th parallel north
The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, separating it from the U.S. state of Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

, while on the north the 60th parallel north
60th parallel north
The 60th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 60 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 divides it from the Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

. To the east the 110th meridian west
110th meridian west
The meridian 110° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 separates it from the province of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

, while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the 120th meridian west
120th meridian west
The meridian 120° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the Continental Divide
Continental Divide
The Continental Divide of the Americas, or merely the Continental Gulf of Division or Great Divide, is the name given to the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas that separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain...

 at the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

, 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 1223 kilometres (759.9 mi) north to south and 660 kilometres (410.1 mi) east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is 3747 metres (12,293 ft) at the summit of Mount Columbia
Mount Columbia (Alberta)
Mount Columbia is the highest point in Alberta, Canada and the second highest peak in the Canadian Rockies after Mount Robson. It is located on the border between Alberta and British Columbia on the northern edge of the Columbia Icefield. Its highest point, however, lies within Jasper National Park...

 in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border, while its lowest point is 152 metres (499 ft) on the Slave River
Slave River
The Slave River is a Canadian river that flows from Lake Athabasca in northeastern Alberta and empties into Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories....

 in Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, is the largest national park in Canada at . The park was established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming Wood Bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000...

 in the northeast.

With the exception of the semi-arid
Semi-arid
A semi-arid climate or steppe climate describes climatic regions that receive precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not extremely...

 steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

 of the southeastern section, the province has adequate water resources
Water resources
Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water....

. There are numerous rivers and lakes used for swimming, fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 and a range of water sports. There are three large lakes, Lake Claire (1436 square kilometres (554.4 sq mi)) in Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, is the largest national park in Canada at . The park was established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming Wood Bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000...

, Lesser Slave Lake
Lesser Slave Lake
Lesser Slave Lake is a lake located in central Alberta, Canada, northwest of Edmonton. It is the second largest lake entirely within Alberta boundaries , covering and measuring over long and at its widest point. Lesser Slave Lake averages in depth and is at its deepest...

 (1168 square kilometres (451 sq mi)), and Lake Athabasca
Lake Athabasca
Lake Athabasca is located in the northwest corner of Saskatchewan and the northeast corner of Alberta between 58° and 60° N.-History:The name in the Dene language originally referred only to the large delta formed by the confluence the Athabasca River at the southwest corner of the lake...

 (7898 square kilometres (3,049.4 sq mi)) which lies in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. The longest river in the province is the Athabasca River
Athabasca River
The Athabasca River originates from the Columbia Glacier of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada...

 which travels 1538 kilometres (955.7 mi) from the Columbia Icefield
Columbia Icefield
The Columbia Icefield is an icefield located in the Canadian Rockies, astride the Continental Divide of North America. The icefield lies partly in the northwestern tip of Banff National Park and the southern end of Jasper National Park. It is about 325 km² in area, 100 to 365 metres in depth and...

 in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca. The largest river is the Peace River
Peace River (Canada)
The Peace River is a river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows to the northeast through northern Alberta. The Peace River flows into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River. The Mackenzie is the 12th longest river in the world,...

 with an average flow of 2161 m3/s. The Peace River
Peace River (Canada)
The Peace River is a river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows to the northeast through northern Alberta. The Peace River flows into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River. The Mackenzie is the 12th longest river in the world,...

 originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta and into the Slave River
Slave River
The Slave River is a Canadian river that flows from Lake Athabasca in northeastern Alberta and empties into Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories....

, a tributary of the Mackenzie River
Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River is the largest river system in Canada. It flows through a vast, isolated region of forest and tundra entirely within the country's Northwest Territories, although its many tributaries reach into four other Canadian provinces and territories...

.


Alberta's capital city, Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, is located approximately in the geographic centre of the province. It is the most northerly major city in Canada, and serves as a gateway and hub for resource development in northern Canada. The region, with its proximity to Canada's largest oil field
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

s, has most of western Canada's oil refinery
Refinery
A refinery is a production facility composed of a group of chemical engineering unit processes and unit operations refining certain materials or converting raw material into products of value.-Types of refineries:Different types of refineries are as follows:...

 capacity. Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 is located approximately 280 kilometres (174 mi) south of Edmonton and 240 kilometres (149.1 mi) north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. Almost 75% of the province's population lives in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor.

Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 along the southwestern boundary are largely forested (see Alberta Mountain forests
Alberta Mountain forests
The Alberta Mountain forests are a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion of Canada.-Setting:This ecoregion covers the grand Rocky Mountains of Alberta including the eastern outliers of the Continental Ranges. Located almost entirely in Alberta and taking in the Alberta-British Columbia border from...

 and Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests
Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests
The Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests are a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion of Canada.-Setting:This ecoregion covers two separate areas: the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, and further west a smaller area of the hills and valleys of central British Columbia...

). The southern quarter of the province is prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

, ranging from shortgrass prairie
Shortgrass prairie
The shortgrass prairie ecosystem of the North American Great Plains is a prairie that includes lands from the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains east to Nebraska and Saskatchewan, including rangelands in Alberta, Wyoming, Montana, North, South Dakota, and Kansas, and extending to the south...

 in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central aspen parkland
Aspen parkland
Aspen parkland refers to a very large area of transitional biome between prairie and boreal forest in two sections; the Peace River Country of northwestern Alberta crossing the border into British Columbia, and a much larger area stretching from central Alberta, all across central Saskatchewan to...

 region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, and then east to Lloydminster
Lloydminster
Lloydminster is a Canadian city which has the unusual geographic distinction of straddling the provincial border between Alberta and Saskatchewan...

, 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
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 or to dairy farming
Dairy farming
Dairy farming is a class of agricultural, or an animal husbandry, enterprise, for long-term production of milk, usually from dairy cows but also from goats and sheep, which may be either processed on-site or transported to a dairy factory for processing and eventual retail sale.Most dairy farms...

, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south.

The Alberta badlands
Badlands
A badlands is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often...

 are located in southeastern Alberta, where the Red Deer River
Red Deer River
The Red Deer River is a river in Alberta, Canada. It is a major tributary of the South Saskatchewan River.Red Deer River has a total length of and a drainage area of...

 crosses the flat prairie and farmland, and features deep canyon
Canyon
A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

s and striking landforms. Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about two and a half hours drive southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or , about a half hour drive, northeast of Brooks....

, near Brooks, Alberta
Brooks, Alberta
Brooks is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada surrounded by the County of Newell. It is located on Highway 1 and the Canadian Pacific Railway, approximately southeast of Calgary, and northwest of Medicine Hat. The city has an elevation of .- History :The area that is now Brooks was originally...

, showcases the badlands terrain, desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 flora, and remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s roamed the then lush landscape.

Climate


Alberta has a dry continental climate
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

 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 in northern Alberta to -46 C in southern Alberta. In the summer, continental air masses produce maximum temperatures from 32 °C (89.6 °F) in the mountains to 40 °C (104 °F) in southern Alberta.

Alberta extends for over 1200 kilometres (745.6 mi) from north to south; its climate, therefore, varies considerably. Average temperatures in January range from -8 C in the south to -24 C in the north, and in July from 24 °C (75.2 °F) in the south to 16 °C (60.8 °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
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

 over much of Alberta. The northerly location and isolation from the weather systems of the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 cause Alberta to have a dry climate with little moderation from the ocean. Annual precipitation ranges from 300 millimetres (11.8 in) in the southeast to 450 millimetres (17.7 in) in the north, except in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where rainfall can reach 600 millimetres (23.6 in) annually.

In the summer, the average daytime temperatures range from around 21 °C (69.8 °F) in the Rocky Mountain valleys and far north to 27 °C (80.6 °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.

In southwestern Alberta, the cold winters are 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 to 3.3 °C (37.9 °F) in one hour. The region around Lethbridge
Lethbridge
Lethbridge is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada, and the largest city in southern Alberta. It is Alberta's fourth-largest city by population after Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, and the third-largest by area after Calgary and Edmonton. The nearby Canadian Rockies contribute to the city's...

 has the most chinooks, averaging 30 to 35 chinook days per year, while Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 has a white Christmas
White Christmas
A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...

 only 59% of the time as a result of these winds.

Northern Alberta is mostly covered by boreal forest
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

 and has a subarctic climate
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

. The agricultural area of southern Alberta have a semi-arid steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

 climate because the annual precipitation is less than the water that evaporates or is used by plants
Evapotranspiration
Evapotranspiration is a term used to describe the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth's land surface to atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, canopy interception, and waterbodies...

. 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
Crop yield
In agriculture, crop yield is not only a measure of the yield of cereal per unit area of land under cultivation, yield is also the seed generation of the plant itself...

 problems and occasional severe drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

s. Western Alberta is protected by the mountains and enjoys the mild temperatures brought by winter chinook wind
Chinook wind
Chinook winds , often called chinooks, commonly refers to foehn winds in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.Chinook is claimed...

s. Central and parts of northwestern Alberta in the Peace River region are largely aspen parkland, a biome
Biome
Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a...

 transitional between prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

 to the south and boreal forest to the north.

After Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

, Central Alberta
Central Alberta
Central Alberta is a region located in the Canadian province of Alberta.Central Alberta is the most densely populated rural area in the province...

 is the most likely region in Canada to experience tornadoes. Thunderstorm
Thunderstorm
A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, a lightning storm, thundershower or simply a storm is a form of weather characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere known as thunder. The meteorologically assigned cloud type associated with the...

s, 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
Hail
Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is referred to as a hail stone. Hail stones on Earth consist mostly of water ice and measure between and in diameter, with the larger stones coming from severe thunderstorms...

 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 daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Alberta
City July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Medicine Hat 27/12 81/54
Brooks 26/11 79/52
Airdrie 26/11 79/52
Lethbridge 26/10 79/50
Edmonton 23/12 73/54
Fort Saskatchewan 23/11 73/52
Lloydminster 23/11 73/52
Cold Lake 23/11 73/52
Fort McMurray 23/10 73/50
Red Deer 23/10 73/50
Calgary 23/9 73/48
Camrose 22/11 72/52
Spruce Grove 22/11 72/52
St. Albert 22/10 72/50
Leduc 22/10 72/50
Lacombe 22/9 72/48
Grande Prairie 22/9 72/48
Wetaskiwin 21/9 70/48


Flora


In central and northern Alberta the arrival of spring brings the prairie crocus anemone
Anemone
Anemone , is a genus of about 120 species of flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae in the north and south temperate zones...

, the three flowered avens, golden bean, wild rose
Rosa acicularis
Rosa acicularis, also known as the prickly wild rose, the prickly rose, the bristly rose and the Arctic rose, is a species of wild rose with a Holarctic distribution in northern regions of Asia, Europe, and North America....

 and other early flowers. The advancing summer introduces many flowers of the sunflower
Sunflower
Sunflower is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence . The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads...

 family, until in August the plains are one blaze of yellow and purple. The southern and east central parts of Alberta are covered by a short, nutritious grass, which dries up as summer lengthens, to be replaced by hardy perennials such as the prairie coneflower, fleabane
Fleabane
Fleabane is a common name for some flowering plants in the family Asteraceae.Most are in the subfamily Asteroideae:* Conyza * Erigeron * Inula...

, and sage
Sagebrush
Sagebrush is a common name of a number of shrubby plant species in the genus Artemisia native to western North America;Or, the sagebrush steppe ecoregion, having one or more kinds of sagebrush, bunchgrasses and others;...

. Both yellow and white sweet clover fill the ditches with their beauty and aromatic scents.

The trees in the parkland region of the province grow in clumps and belts on the hillsides. These are largely deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

, typically aspen
Aspen
Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

, poplar
Poplar
Populus is a genus of 25–35 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar , aspen, and cottonwood....

, and willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

. Many species of willow and other shrubs grow in virtually any terrain. On the north side of the North Saskatchewan River evergreen forests prevail for hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. Aspen poplar
Aspen
Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

, balsam poplar
Balsam poplar
The balsam poplars — also known as Populus sect. Tacamahaca — are a group of about 10 species of poplars, indigenous to North America and eastern Asia, distinguished by the balsam scent of their buds, the whitish undersides of their leaves, and the leaf petiole being round in cross-section...

 (or cottonwood), and paper birch
Paper Birch
Betula papyrifera is a species of birch native to northern North America.-Description:...

 are the primary large deciduous species. Conifers include Jack pine
Jack Pine
Jack pine is a North American pine with its native range in Canada east of the Rocky Mountains from Northwest Territories to Nova Scotia, and the northeast of the United States from Minnesota to Maine, with the southernmost part of the range just into northwest Indiana...

, Rocky Mountain pine, Lodgepole pine
Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta, also known as Shore Pine, is a common tree in western North America. Like all pines, it is evergreen.-Subspecies:...

, both white and black spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

, and the deciduous conifer tamarack.

Fauna



The four climatic regions (alpine
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

, boreal forest, parkland
Aspen parkland
Aspen parkland refers to a very large area of transitional biome between prairie and boreal forest in two sections; the Peace River Country of northwestern Alberta crossing the border into British Columbia, and a much larger area stretching from central Alberta, all across central Saskatchewan to...

, and prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

) of Alberta are home to many different species of animals. The south and central prairie was the land of the bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

, commonly known as buffalo, its grasses providing pasture and breeding ground for millions of buffalo. The buffalo population was decimated during early settlement, but since then buffalo have made a comeback, living on farms and in parks all over Alberta.

Alberta is home to many large carnivore
Carnivore
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging...

s. Among them are the grizzly
Grizzly Bear
The grizzly bear , also known as the silvertip bear, the grizzly, or the North American brown bear, is a subspecies of brown bear that generally lives in the uplands of western North America...

 and black bears
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

, which are found in the mountains and wooded regions. Smaller carnivores of the canine
Canidae
Canidae is the biological family of carnivorous and omnivorous mammals that includes wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and domestic dogs. A member of this family is called a canid . The Canidae family is divided into two tribes: Canini and Vulpini...

 and feline
Felidae
Felidae is the biological family of the cats; a member of this family is called a felid. Felids are the strictest carnivores of the thirteen terrestrial families in the order Carnivora, although the three families of marine mammals comprising the superfamily pinnipedia are as carnivorous as the...

 families include coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

s, wolves, fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

, lynx
Lynx
A lynx is any of the four Lynx genus species of medium-sized wildcats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from Greek word "λύγξ", derived from the Indo-European root "*leuk-", meaning "light, brightness", in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes...

, bobcat
Bobcat
The bobcat is a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae, appearing during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago . With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States...

 and mountain lion (cougar).

Herbivorous animals are found throughout the province. Moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

, mule deer
Mule Deer
The mule deer is a deer indigenous to western North America. The Mule Deer gets its name from its large mule-like ears. There are believed to be several subspecies, including the black-tailed deer...

, and white-tail deer are found in the wooded regions, and pronghorn
Pronghorn
The pronghorn is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the prong buck, pronghorn antelope, or simply antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and...

 can be found in the prairies of southern Alberta. Bighorn sheep
Bighorn Sheep
The bighorn sheep is a species of sheep in North America named for its large horns. These horns can weigh up to , while the sheep themselves weigh up to . Recent genetic testing indicates that there are three distinct subspecies of Ovis canadensis, one of which is endangered: Ovis canadensis sierrae...

 and mountain goat
Mountain goat
The Mountain Goat , also known as the Rocky Mountain Goat, is a large-hoofed mammal found only in North America. Despite its vernacular name, it is not a member of Capra, the genus of true goats...

s live in the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

. Rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s, porcupine
Porcupine
Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend or camouflage them from predators. They are indigenous to the Americas, southern Asia, and Africa. Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. Most porcupines are about long, with...

s, skunk
Skunk
Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae and to the order Carnivora...

s, squirrel
Squirrel
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots , flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and have been introduced to Australia...

s and many species of rodents and reptiles live in every corner of the province. Alberta is home to only one variety of venomous snake
Venomous snake
"Poisonous snake" redirects here. For true poisonous snakes, see Rhabdophis.Venomous snakes are snakes which have venom glands and specialized teeth for the injection of venom...

, the prairie rattlesnake
Rattlesnake
Rattlesnakes are a group of venomous snakes of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus of the subfamily Crotalinae . There are 32 known species of rattlesnake, with between 65-70 subspecies, all native to the Americas, ranging from southern Alberta and southern British Columbia in Canada to Central...

.

Central and northern Alberta and the region farther north is the nesting ground of many migratory birds. Vast numbers of duck
Duck
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

s, geese
Goose
The word goose is the English name for a group of waterfowl, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller....

, swan
Swan
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae...

s and pelican
Pelican
A pelican, derived from the Greek word πελεκυς pelekys is a large water bird with a large throat pouch, belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae....

s arrive in Alberta every spring and nest on or near one of the hundreds of small lakes that dot northern Alberta. Eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

s, hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

s, owl
Owl
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions . Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish...

s and crow
Crow
Crows form the genus Corvus in the family Corvidae. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents and several...

s are plentiful, and a huge variety of smaller seed and insect-eating birds can be found. Alberta, like other temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 regions, is home to mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae . The word Mosquito is from the Spanish and Portuguese for little fly...

es, flies
Fly
True flies are insects of the order Diptera . They possess a pair of wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax...

, wasp
Wasp
The term wasp is typically defined as any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that preys upon it or parasitizes it, making wasps critically important in natural control of their...

s, and bees. Rivers and lakes are populated with pike, walleye
Walleye
Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

, whitefish
Freshwater whitefish
The freshwater whitefish are fish of the subfamily Coregoninae in the salmon family Salmonidae. Along with the freshwater whitefish, the Salmonidae includes the freshwater and anadromous trout and salmon species as well as graylings...

, rainbow
Rainbow trout
The rainbow trout is a species of salmonid native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is a sea run rainbow trout usually returning to freshwater to spawn after 2 to 3 years at sea. In other words, rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species....

, speckled
Brook trout
The brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, is a species of fish in the salmon family of order Salmoniformes. In many parts of its range, it is known as the speckled trout or squaretail. A potamodromous population in Lake Superior are known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters...

, and brown
Brown trout
The brown trout and the sea trout are fish of the same species....

 trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

, and even sturgeon
Sturgeon
Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae, including the genera Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. The term includes over 20 species commonly referred to as sturgeon and several closely related species that have distinct common...

. Bull Trout
Bull trout
The bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus, is a char of the family Salmonidae native to northwestern North America. Historically, S. confluentus has been known as the "Dolly Varden" , but was re-classified as a separate species in 1980. Bull trout are listed as a threatened species under the U.S....

, native to the province, is the Alberta's provincial fish. Turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s are found in some water bodies in the southern part of the province. Frog
Frog
Frogs are amphibians in the order Anura , formerly referred to as Salientia . Most frogs are characterized by a short body, webbed digits , protruding eyes and the absence of a tail...

s and salamander
Salamander
Salamander is a common name of approximately 500 species of amphibians. They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with their slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. All known fossils and extinct species fall under the order Caudata, while sometimes the extant...

s are a few of the amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s that make their homes in Alberta.

Alberta is the only province in Canada—as well as one of the few places in the world—that is free of Norwegian rat
Brown Rat
The brown rat, common rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Brown Norway rat, Norwegian rat, or wharf rat is one of the best known and most common rats....

s. Since the early 1950s, the government of Alberta has operated a rat-control program, which has been so successful that only isolated instances of wild rat sightings are reported, usually of rats arriving in the province aboard trucks or by rail. In 2006, Alberta Agriculture reports zero findings of wild rats; the only rat interceptions have been domesticated rats that have been seized from their owners. It is illegal for individual Albertans to own or keep Norwegian rats of any description; the animals can be kept in the province by only zoos, universities and colleges, and recognized research institutions. In 2009, several rats were
found and captured, in small pockets in Southern Alberta, putting Alberta's rat-free status in jeopardy.

History



The first people in Alberta were Paleo-Indians who arrived in Alberta at least 10,000 years ago, toward the end of the last ice age. They probably migrated from Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 on a land bridge across the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

, and then may have moved down the east side of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 through Alberta to settle the Americas. Alternatively they may have migrated down the coast of British Columbia and then moved inland. Over time they differentiated into various First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 peoples, including the Plains Indian tribes of southern Alberta such as those of the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Plains Cree, who generally lived by hunting buffalo (American bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

), and the more northerly tribes such as the Woodland Cree
Woodland Cree
The Woodland Cree or the Sakāwithiniwak , calling themselves Nīhithawak, comprises the largest Amerindian group in northern Alberta. They are Algonquian linguistic stock...

 and Chipewyan
Chipewyan
The Chipewyan are a Dene Aboriginal people in Canada, whose ancestors were the Taltheilei...

 who hunted, trapped, and fished for a living.

After the British arrival in Canada
British America
For American people of British descent, see British American.British America is the anachronistic term used to refer to the territories under the control of the Crown or Parliament in present day North America , Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana...

, approximately half of the province of Alberta, south of the Athabasca River
Athabasca River
The Athabasca River originates from the Columbia Glacier of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada...

 drainage, became part of Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land, or Prince Rupert's Land, was a territory in British North America, consisting of the Hudson Bay drainage basin that was nominally owned by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870, although numerous aboriginal groups lived in the same territory and disputed the...

 which consisted of all land drained by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

. This area was granted by Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 to the Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 (HBC) in 1670, and rival fur trading companies were not allowed to trade in it. After the arrival of French Canadian
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

s in the west around 1731, they settled near fur trading posts, establishing communities such as Lac La Biche and Bonnyville
Bonnyville, Alberta
Bonnyville, Alberta is a town situated in east-central Alberta between the City of Cold Lake and the Town of St. Paul. It is the seat of the Municipal District of Bonnyville No...

. Fort La Jonquière was established near what is now Calgary in 1752.

The Athabasca River and the rivers north of it were not in HBC territory because they drained into the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

 instead of Hudson Bay, and they were prime habitat for fur-bearing animals. The first explorer of the Athabasca region was Peter Pond
Peter Pond
Peter Pond was born in Milford, Connecticut. He was a soldier with a Connecticut regiment, a fur trader, a founding member of the North West Company, an explorer and a cartographer.-Biography:...

, who learned of the Methye Portage
Methye Portage
The Methye Portage or Portage La Loche in northwestern Saskatchewan was one of the most important portages in the old fur-trade route across Canada. It connected the Mackenzie River basin to rivers that ran east to the Atlantic. It was reached by Peter Pond in 1778 and abandoned in 1883 when...

, which allowed travel from southern rivers into the rivers north of Rupert's Land. Fur traders formed the North West Company
North West Company
The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821. It competed with increasing success against the Hudson's Bay Company in what was to become Western Canada...

 (NWC) of Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 to compete with the HBC in 1779. The NWC occupied the northern part of Alberta territory. Peter Pond 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
North Saskatchewan River
The North Saskatchewan River is a glacier-fed river that flows east from the Canadian Rockies to central Saskatchewan. It is one of two major rivers that join to make up the 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
Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River is the largest river system in Canada. It flows through a vast, isolated region of forest and tundra entirely within the country's Northwest Territories, although its many tributaries reach into four other Canadian provinces and territories...

—which he followed to its outlet in the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. Returning to Lake Athabasca, he followed the Peace River
Peace River (Canada)
The Peace River is a river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows to the northeast through northern Alberta. The Peace River flows into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River. The Mackenzie is the 12th longest river in the world,...

 upstream, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, and so he became the first white man to cross the North American continent north of Mexico.

The extreme southernmost portion of Alberta was part of the French (and Spanish) territory of Louisiana
Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

, sold to the United States
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 in 1803; in 1818, the portion of Louisiana north of the Forty-Ninth Parallel
49th parallel north
The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 was ceded to Great Britain.

Fur trade expanded in the north, but bloody battles occurred between the rival HBC and NWC, and in 1821 the British government forced them to merge to stop the hostilities. The amalgamated Hudson's Bay Company dominated trade in Alberta until 1870, when the newly formed Canadian Government purchased Rupert's Land. Northern Alberta was included in the North-Western Territory
North-Western Territory
The North-Western Territory was a region of British North America until 1870. Named for where it lay in relation to Rupert's Land, the territory at its greatest extent covered what is now Yukon, mainland Northwest Territories, northwestern mainland Nunavut, northwestern Saskatchewan, northern...

 until 1870, when it and Rupert's land became Canada's Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

.

The district of Alberta
District of Alberta
The District of Alberta was one of four districts of the Northwest Territories created in 1882. It was styled the Alberta Provisional District to distinguish it from the District of Keewatin which had a more autonomous relationship from the NWT administration...

 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
Alexander Cameron Rutherford
Alexander Cameron Rutherford was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as the first Premier of Alberta from 1905 to 1910. Born in Ormond, Ontario, he studied and practised law in Ottawa before moving with his family to the Northwest Territories in 1895...

 as the first premier.

Demographics




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.

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. 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 and 3,290,350 according to the 2006 census
Canada 2006 Census
The Canada 2006 Census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian population. Census day was May 16, 2006. The next census following will be the 2011 Census. Canada's total population enumerated by the 2006 census was 31,612,897...

.
The 2006 census
Canada 2006 Census
The Canada 2006 Census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian population. Census day was May 16, 2006. The next census following will be the 2011 Census. Canada's total population enumerated by the 2006 census was 31,612,897...

 found that English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, with 2,576,670 native speakers, was the most common mother tongue of Albertans, representing 79.99% of the province's population. The next most common mother tongues were various Chinese languages with 97,275 native speakers (3.02%), followed by German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 with 84,505 native speakers (2.62%) and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 with 61,225 (1.90%).

Other mother tongues (in decreasing order) include: Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

, with 36,320 native speakers (1.13%); Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

, with 29,740 (0.92%); Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

, with 29,455 (0.91%); Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, with 29,125 (0.90%); Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, with 21,990 (0.68%); Arabic, with 20,495 (0.64%); Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, with 19,980 (0.62%); and Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

, with 19,350 (0.60%). The most common aboriginal language is Cree
Cree language
Cree is an Algonquian language spoken by approximately 117,000 people across Canada, from the Northwest Territories and Alberta to Labrador, making it the aboriginal language with the highest number of speakers in Canada. It is also spoken in the U.S. state of Montana...

 17,215 (0.53%). Other common mother tongues include Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 with 13,095 speakers (0.41%); Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 with 11,275 (0.35%); and Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

 with 10,845 (0.33%); then Hindi 8,985 (0.28%); Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 7,700 (0.24%); Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 7,205 (0.22%); and Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

 6,770 (0.21%).
(Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses.)

Alberta has considerable ethnic diversity. In line with the rest of Canada, many immigrants originated from England
English Canadian
An English Canadian is a Canadian of English ancestry; it is used primarily in contrast with French Canadian. Canada is an officially bilingual state, with English and French official language communities. Immigrant cultural groups ostensibly integrate into one or both of these communities, but...

, Scotland
Scottish Canadian
Scottish Canadians are people of Scottish descent or heritage living in Canada. As the third-largest ethnic group in Canada and among the first to settle in Canada, Scottish people have made a large impact on Canadian culture since colonial times...

, Ireland
Irish Canadian
Irish Canadian are immigrants and descendants of immigrants who originated in Ireland. 1.2 million Irish immigrants arrived, 1825 to 1970, at least half of those in the period from 1831-1850. By 1867, they were the second largest ethnic group , and comprised 24% of Canada's population...

 and Wales, but large numbers also came from other parts of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, notably Germans, French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

, Ukrainians
Ukrainian Canadian
A Ukrainian Canadian is a person of Ukrainian descent or origin who was born in or immigrated to Canada. In 2006, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons residing in Canada of Ukrainian origin, making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group; and giving Canada the world's third-largest...

 and Scandinavians
Scandinavians
Scandinavians are a group of Germanic peoples, inhabiting Scandinavia and to a lesser extent countries associated with Scandinavia, and speaking Scandinavian languages. The group includes Danes, Norwegians and Swedes, and additionally the descendants of Scandinavian settlers such as the Icelandic...

. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta is home to the second highest proportion (two percent) of Francophones in western Canada (after Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

). Despite this, relatively few Albertans claim French as their mother tongue. Many of Alberta's French-speaking residents
Franco-Albertan
The Franco-Albertans are an extended community of French Canadians or French-speaking people living in Alberta. They are centred in the Bonnie Doon area of Edmonton, and there are tens of thousands of Franco-Albertans living in communities such as Legal north of Edmonton, Bonnyville, Plamondon, and...

 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 Chinatown
Chinatown
A Chinatown is an ethnic enclave of overseas Chinese people, although it is often generalized to include various Southeast Asian people. Chinatowns exist throughout the world, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. Binondo's Chinatown located in Manila,...

s, 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
Census in Canada
The Census in Canada is a census that takes place every five years. The census is conducted by Statistics Canada. The census provides demographic and statistical data that is used to plan public services including health care, education, and transportation, determine federal transfer payments, and...

, the most commonly reported ethnic origins among Albertans were: 885,825 English (27.2%); 679,705 German
German-Canadian
German Canadians are Canadians of ethnic German ancestry. The 2006 Canadian census put the number of Canadians of German ethnicity at 3,179,425. Only a small fraction of German Canadians are descendants of immigrants from what is today Germany...

 (20.9%); 667,405 Canadian (20.5%); 661,265 Scottish
Scottish Canadian
Scottish Canadians are people of Scottish descent or heritage living in Canada. As the third-largest ethnic group in Canada and among the first to settle in Canada, Scottish people have made a large impact on Canadian culture since colonial times...

 (20.3%); 539,160 Irish
Irish Canadian
Irish Canadian are immigrants and descendants of immigrants who originated in Ireland. 1.2 million Irish immigrants arrived, 1825 to 1970, at least half of those in the period from 1831-1850. By 1867, they were the second largest ethnic group , and comprised 24% of Canada's population...

 (16.6%); 388,210 French
French Canadian
French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

 (11.9%); 332,180 Ukrainian
Ukrainian Canadian
A Ukrainian Canadian is a person of Ukrainian descent or origin who was born in or immigrated to Canada. In 2006, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons residing in Canada of Ukrainian origin, making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group; and giving Canada the world's third-largest...

 (10.2%); 172,910 Dutch (5.3%); 170,935 Polish
Polish Canadians
Polish Canadians are Citizens of Canada with Polish ancestry, and Poles who immigrated to Canada from abroad. According to the 2001 census by Statistics Canada, 984,585 Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry.-History:...

 (5.2%); 169,355 North American Indian (5.2%); 144,585 Norwegian (4.4%); and 137,600 Chinese
Chinese Canadian
Chinese Canadians are Canadians of Chinese descent. They constitute the second-largest visible minority group in Canada, after South Asian Canadians...

 (4.2%). (Each person could choose as many ethnicities as were applicable.)

Amongst those of British origins, the Scots
Scottish Canadian
Scottish Canadians are people of Scottish descent or heritage living in Canada. As the third-largest ethnic group in Canada and among the first to settle in Canada, Scottish people have made a large impact on Canadian culture since colonial times...

 have had a particularly strong influence on place-names, with the names of many cities and towns including Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

, Airdrie
Airdrie, Alberta
Airdrie is a city in Alberta, Canada, located just north of Calgary within the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor. The City of Airdrie is part of Calgary's Census Metropolitan Area and a member community of the Calgary Regional Partnership . Due to its proximity to Calgary, Airdrie's population has been...

, Canmore
Canmore, Alberta
Canmore is a town in Alberta, Canada, located approximately west of the City of Calgary near the southeast boundary of Banff National Park. It is located in the Bow Valley within Alberta's Rockies. The town shares a border with Kananaskis Country to the west and south and the Municipal District of...

, and Banff
Banff, Alberta
Banff is a town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is located in Alberta's Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway, approximately west of Calgary and east of Lake Louise....

 having Scottish
Scottish place names in Canada
This is a list of placenames in Scotland which have subsequently been applied to parts of Canada by Scottish emigrants or explorers.For Nova Scotian names in Scottish Gaelic see Canadian communities with Scottish Gaelic speakers and Scottish Gaelic placenames in CanadaNote that, unless otherwise...

 origins.

Alberta is the third most diverse province in terms of visible minorities after British Columbia and Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 with 13.9% of the population consisting of visible minorities. Nearly one-fourth of the populations of Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 and Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

 belong to a visible minority group.

Aboriginal Identity Peoples make up 5.8% of the population, about half of whom consist of North American Indians and the other half are Metis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

. There are also small number of Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 people in Alberta. The number of Aboriginal Identity Peoples have been increasing at a rate greater than the population of Alberta.

As of the Canada 2001 Census
Canada 2001 Census
The Canada 2001 Census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian population. Census day was May 15, 2001. On that day, Statistics Canada attempted to count every person in Canada. The total population count of Canada was 30,007,094. This was a 4% increase over 1996 Census of 28,846,761. In...

 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
United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada is a Protestant Christian denomination in Canada. It is the largest Protestant church and, after the Roman Catholic Church, the second-largest Christian church in Canada...

, while 5.9% were Anglican. Lutherans made up 4.8% of the population while Baptists comprised 2.5%.

The remainder belonged to a wide variety of different religious affiliations, none of which constituted more than 2% of the population. 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 Hutterite
Hutterite
Hutterites are a communal branch of Anabaptists who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century. Since the death of their founder Jakob Hutter in 1536, the beliefs of the Hutterites, especially living in a community of goods and absolute...

s, a communal Anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

 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
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 at 0.3%. Alberta is home to several Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

 Churches as part of the legacy of Eastern European immigration, including the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton is a Ukrainian Catholic archdiocese that includes part of Canada. On January 26, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Auxiliary Bishop David Motiuk of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg as head of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton.As of 2007, the diocese...

, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada is an Eastern Orthodox Church in Canada, primarily serving Ukrainian Canadians. Its former name was the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada ...

's Western Diocese
Archbishop of Edmonton and Western Canada
The Western Eparchy is an eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, which itself is under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The current bishop for the eparchy is His Grace Bishop Ilarion , and he is stylized as: Bishop of Edmonton, and the Western Eparchy...

 which is based in Edmonton.
Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s, and Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s 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. Canada's oldest mosque, the Al-Rashid Mosque
Al-Rashid Mosque
The Al-Rashid Mosque was the first mosque built in Canada. It was constructed in Edmonton, Alberta.-History:Al-Rashid Mosque was expected to be the first mosque in North America but was built in 1938 just after the Mother Mosque of America in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and several years after the 1929...

 is located in Edmonton, whereas the Canada's largest mosque, the Baitun Nur mosque is located in Calgary. Jews constituted 0.4% of Alberta's population. Most of Alberta's 13,000 Jews live in Calgary (7,500) and Edmonton (5,000).

Municipalities


Largest metro areas and municipalities by population as of 2006
Census metropolitan areas: 2006  2001  1996 
Calgary CMA
Calgary Region
The Calgary Region is an area centred around Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It consists of the City of Calgary, Rocky View County and the municipalities it encloses, and the Municipal District of Foothills No. 31 and the municipalities it encloses. The Calgary Census Metropolitan Area and Calgary...

1,079,310 951,395 821,628
Edmonton CMA
Edmonton Capital Region
The Edmonton Capital Region , also commonly referred to as the Alberta Capital Region, Greater Edmonton or Metro Edmonton, is a conglomeration of municipalities centred around Edmonton – Alberta's provincial capital....

1,034,945 937,845 862,597
Urban municipalities (10 Largest): 2006  2001  1996 
Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

988,193 878,866 768,082
Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

730,372 666,104 616,306
Red Deer
Red Deer, Alberta
Red Deer is a city in Central Alberta, Canada. It is located near the midpoint of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor and is surrounded by Red Deer County. It is Alberta's third-most-populous city – after Calgary and Edmonton. The city is located in aspen parkland, a region of rolling hills...

82,772 67,707 60,080
Lethbridge
Lethbridge
Lethbridge is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada, and the largest city in southern Alberta. It is Alberta's fourth-largest city by population after Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, and the third-largest by area after Calgary and Edmonton. The nearby Canadian Rockies contribute to the city's...

78,713 68,712 64,938
St. Albert
St. Albert, Alberta
St. Albert is a suburban city in Alberta, located northwest of Edmonton, on the Sturgeon River. It was originally settled as a Métis community, and is now the second largest city in the Edmonton area. St...

 (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
Airdrie, Alberta
Airdrie is a city in Alberta, Canada, located just north of Calgary within the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor. The City of Airdrie is part of Calgary's Census Metropolitan Area and a member community of the Calgary Regional Partnership . Due to its proximity to Calgary, Airdrie's population has been...

 (included in Calgary CMA)
28,927 20,382 15,946
Spruce Grove (included in Edmonton CMA) 19,496 15,983 14,271
Okotoks 17,145 11,689 8,528
Specialized
Specialized municipalities of Alberta
A specialized municipality is a type of municipal status used in the Canadian Province of Alberta. Alberta specialized municipalities are unique local governments that can be formed without resorting to special acts of Alberta's legislature...

/rural municipalities (5 Largest):
2006  2001  1996 
Strathcona County
Strathcona County, Alberta
Strathcona County is a specialized municipality in central Alberta, Canada between Edmonton and Elk Island National Park.It is located in Division No. 11 and is also part of the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area. More than half of the population lives in Sherwood Park, a large community east of...

 (included in Edmonton CMA)
82,511 71,986 64,176
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Wood Buffalo, Alberta
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is a specialized municipality located in northeastern Alberta. Formed as a result of the amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143 on April 1, 1995, it is the second largest municipality in Alberta by area...

51,496 42,581 35,213
Rocky View County (included in Calgary CMA) 34,171 29,925 23,326
Parkland County
Parkland County, Alberta
Parkland County is a municipal district in central Alberta, Canada.It is located west of Edmonton in Census Division No. 11, along the Parkland Highway...

 (included in Edmonton CMA)
29,265 27,252 24,769
Municipal District of Foothills No. 31
Foothills No. 31, Alberta
The Municipal District of Foothills No. 31 is a municipal district in southern Alberta, Canada adjacent to the south side of Calgary in Census Division No. 6...

19,736 16,764 13,714



Economy


Alberta's economy is one of the strongest in Canada, supported by the burgeoning petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 industry and to a lesser extent, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and technology. The per capita GDP in 2007 was by far the highest of any province in Canada at C$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

74,825. This was 61% higher than the national average of C$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

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
History of Canada
The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, among whom evolved trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and social hierarchies...

. According to the 2006 census, 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). 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
Quality of life
The term quality of life is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of...

, offering universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

 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.

The Fraser Institute
Fraser Institute
The Fraser Institute is a Canadian think tank. It has been described as politically conservative and right-wing libertarian and espouses free market principles...

 states that Alberta also has very high levels of economic freedom
Economic freedom
Economic freedom is a term used in economic and policy debates. As with freedom generally, there are various definitions, but no universally accepted concept of economic freedom...

 and rates Alberta as the freest economy in Canada, and the second freest economy amongst U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Industry



Alberta is the largest producer of conventional crude oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

, synthetic crude
Synthetic crude
Synthetic crude is the output from a bitumen/extra heavy oil upgrader facility used in connection with oil sand production. It may also refer to shale oil, an output from an oil shale pyrolysis. The properties of the synthetic crude depend on the processes used in the upgrading. Typically, it is...

, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 and gas products in the country. Alberta is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of natural gas and the 4th largest producer. Two of the largest producers of petrochemicals in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 are located in central and north-central Alberta. In both Red Deer and Edmonton, world class polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

 and vinyl
Vinyl
A vinyl compound is any organic compound that contains a vinyl group ,which are derivatives of ethene, CH2=CH2, with one hydrogen atom replaced with some other group...

 manufacturers produce products shipped all over the world, and Edmonton's oil refineries
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 provide the raw materials for a large petrochemical
Petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

 industry to the east of Edmonton.

The Athabasca oil sands
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray...

 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
Steam assisted gravity drainage
Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage is an enhanced oil recovery technology for producing heavy crude oil and bitumen. It is an advanced form of steam stimulation in which a pair of horizontal wells are drilled into the oil reservoir, one a few metres above the other...

, 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
Surface mining
Surface mining , is a type of mining in which soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit are removed...

 and non-conventional in situ
In situ
In situ is a Latin phrase which translated literally as 'In position'. It is used in many different contexts.-Aerospace:In the aerospace industry, equipment on board aircraft must be tested in situ, or in place, to confirm everything functions properly as a system. Individually, each piece may...

 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.

Another factor determining the viability of oil extraction from the oil 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
Liquid crystal display
A liquid crystal display is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals . LCs do not emit light directly....

 systems. With a growing economy, Alberta has several financial institutions dealing with civil and private funds.

Agriculture and forestry


Agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 has a significant position in the province's economy. The province has over three million head of cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, 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)
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

 for the consumer market. Sheep
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

 for wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

 and mutton
Lamb (food)
Lamb, mutton, and hogget are the meat of domestic sheep. The meat of a sheep in its first year is lamb; that of a juvenile sheep older than 1 year is hogget; and the meat of an adult sheep is mutton....

 are also raised.

Wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 and canola
Canola
Canola refers to a cultivar of either Rapeseed or Field Mustard . Its seeds are used to produce edible oil suitable for consumption by humans and livestock. The oil is also suitable for use as biodiesel.Originally, Canola was bred naturally from rapeseed in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur R...

 are primary farm crops, with Alberta leading the provinces in spring wheat production; other grains
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

 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
Grain elevator
A grain elevator is a tower containing a bucket elevator, which scoops up, elevates, and then uses gravity to deposit grain in a silo or other storage facility...

 is slowly being lost as rail lines are decreasing; farmers typically truck the grain to central points.

Alberta is the leading beekeeping
Beekeeping
Beekeeping is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive , to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers...

 province of Canada, with some beekeepers wintering hive
Beehive (beekeeping)
A beehive is an enclosed structure in which some honey bee species of the subgenus Apis live and raise their young. Natural beehives are naturally occurring structures occupied by honeybee colonies, while domesticated honeybees live in man-made beehives, often in an apiary. These man-made...

s 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
Clover
Clover , or trefoil, is a genus of about 300 species of plants in the leguminous pea family Fabaceae. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution; the highest diversity is found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, but many species also occur in South America and Africa, including at high altitudes...

 and fireweed
Fireweed
Epilobium angustifolium, commonly known as Fireweed , Great Willow-herb , or Rosebay Willowherb , is a perennial herbaceous plant in the willowherb family Onagraceae...

. Hybrid canola also requires bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

 pollination
Pollination
Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in plants, thereby enabling fertilisation and sexual reproduction. Pollen grains transport the male gametes to where the female gamete are contained within the carpel; in gymnosperms the pollen is directly applied to the ovule itself...

, and some beekeepers service this need.

The vast northern forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

 reserves of softwood
Softwood
The term softwood is used to describe wood from trees that are known as gymnosperms.Conifers are an example. It may also be used to describe trees, which tend to be evergreen, notable exceptions being bald cypress and the larches....

 allow Alberta to produce large quantities of lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

, oriented strand board (OSB)
Oriented strand board
Oriented strand board, also known as OSB and SmartPly , is an engineered wood product formed by layering strands of wood in specific orientations. In appearance, it may have a rough and variegated surface with the individual strips Oriented strand board, also known as OSB (UK) and SmartPly (UK &...

 and plywood
Plywood
Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

, and several plants in northern Alberta supply North America and the Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim
The Pacific Rim refers to places around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The term "Pacific Basin" includes the Pacific Rim and islands in the Pacific Ocean...

 nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

s with bleached wood pulp
Wood pulp
Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

 and newsprint
Newsprint
Newsprint is a low-cost, non-archival paper most commonly used to print newspapers, and other publications and advertising material. It usually has an off-white cast and distinctive feel. It is designed for use in printing presses that employ a long web of paper rather than individual sheets of...

.

Tourism



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
West Edmonton Mall
West Edmonton Mall , located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the largest shopping mall in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The mall was founded by the Ghermezian brothers, who emigrated from Iran in 1959. It was the world's largest mall until 2004.West Edmonton Mall covers a gross...

, Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway,...

, outdoor festivals, professional athletic events, international sporting competitions such as the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

 and Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

, as well as more eclectic attractions. There are also natural attractions like Elk Island National Park
Elk Island National Park
Elk Island National Park , is one of 43 national parks and park reserves administered by the Parks Canada Agency. This “island of conservation” is located 35 km east of Edmonton, Alberta along the Yellowhead Highway, which nearly bisects the park...

, Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, is the largest national park in Canada at . The park was established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming Wood Bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000...

, and the Columbia Icefield
Columbia Icefield
The Columbia Icefield is an icefield located in the Canadian Rockies, astride the Continental Divide of North America. The icefield lies partly in the northwestern tip of Banff National Park and the southern end of Jasper National Park. It is about 325 km² in area, 100 to 365 metres in depth and...

.

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. Alberta tourism relies heavily on Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

 tourists, as well as tourists from other parts of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and many international countries.

Alberta's Rocky Mountains include well known tourist destinations Banff National Park and Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km² . It is located in the province of Alberta, north of Banff National Park and west of the City of Edmonton. The park includes the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and...

. The two mountain parks are connected by the scenic Icefields Parkway
Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway , also known as Highway 93 north, is a scenic road in Alberta, Canada. It parallels the Continental Divide, traversing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies, travelling through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. It links Lake Louise with Jasper to the north....

. 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
Yellowhead Highway
The Yellowhead Highway is a major east-west highway connecting the four western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Although part of the Trans-Canada Highway system, the highway should not be confused with the more southerly, originally-designated...

. Five of Canada's fourteen UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World heritage site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s are located within the province: Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site is located in the Canadian Rockies. It consists of four national parks:*Banff*Jasper*Kootenay*Yohoand three British Columbia provincial parks:*Hamber Provincial Park...

, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the name of the union of the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and the Glacier National Park in the United States...

, Wood Buffalo National Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about two and a half hours drive southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or , about a half hour drive, northeast of Brooks....

 and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a buffalo jump located where the foothills of the Rocky Mountains begin to rise from the prairie 18 km northwest of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada on highway 785...

.


About 1.2 million people visit the of Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway,...

, a celebration of Canada's own Wild West and the cattle ranching industry. About 700,000 people enjoy Edmonton's Capital Ex (formerly Klondike Days). Edmonton was the gateway to the only all-Canadian route to the Yukon
Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

 gold field
Gold mining
Gold mining is the removal of gold from the ground. There are several techniques and processes by which gold may be extracted from the earth.-History:...

s, and the only route which did not require gold-seekers to travel the exhausting and dangerous Chilkoot Pass
Chilkoot Pass
Chilkoot Pass is a high mountain pass through the Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains in the U.S. state of Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. It is the highest point along the Chilkoot Trail that leads from Dyea, Alaska to Bennett Lake, British Columbia...

.

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
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions is a heritage railway originating in Stettler, Alberta.The train runs between Stettler and Big Valley. The trips last five to six hours, with a stopover . Many trains are pulled by the No. 41 1920 Baldwin 2-8-0 steam locomotive.-External links:*...

, a popular tourist attraction operated out of Stettler
Stettler, Alberta
Stettler is a town in Alberta, Canada. It is located east of Red Deer at the junction of Highway 12 and Highway 56. The town is located in the eastern region of central Alberta and nicknamed "The Heart of Alberta."- History :...

. 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
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 and hike
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

; Alberta boasts several world-class ski resort
Ski resort
A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing and other winter sports. In Europe a ski resort is a town or village in a ski area - a mountainous area, where there are ski trails and supporting services such as hotels and other accommodation, restaurants, equipment rental and a ski lift system...

s such as Sunshine Village
Sunshine Village
Sunshine Village is a Canadian ski resort, located within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is one of three major ski resorts located in the Banff National Park. The Sunshine base area is located Southwest of the town of Banff, Alberta. By car, it is about one hour and thirty minute drive...

, Lake Louise
Lake Louise Mountain Resort
The Lake Louise Ski Area is a ski resort located in Banff National Park, near the village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It can be reached from Banff, from where it is a 35 to 45 minute drive west on Trans-Canada Highway, or Calgary, a 2-hour drive...

, Marmot Basin
Marmot Basin
Marmot Basin is an alpine ski area located in Alberta's Jasper National Park. It has offered a broad variety of basin and glade skiing since it first served enthusiasts in 1961 with a single rope tow driven by a truck engine....

, Norquay
Mount Norquay ski resort
Mt. Norquay is a mountain and ski resort in Banff National Park, Canada that lies directly northwest of the Town of Banff. The regular ski season starts early December and ends mid-April. Mount Norquay is one of three major ski resorts located in the Banff National Park.-History:The mountain was...

 and Nakiska
Nakiska
Nakiska is a ski resort in the Kananaskis Country region of the Canadian province of Alberta. It is located from Calgary, west on Highway 1 and south on Highway 40 ....

. Hunters and fishermen from around the world are able to take home impressive trophies
Trophy
A trophy is a reward for a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are most often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional level athletics...

 and tall tales
Tall Tales
Tall Tales may refer to:* Tall Tales , 2004* Tall Tales , by American band The Hot Club of Cowtown* "Tall Tales" , an episode of the television series Supernatural-See also:...

 from their experiences in Alberta's wilderness.

Taxation


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
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 primarily for infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

 projects (9.8%). Albertans are the lowest-taxed people in Canada, and Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

 (though residents are still subject to the federal sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax
Goods and Services Tax (Canada)
The Goods and Services Tax is a multi-level value added tax introduced in Canada on January 1, 1991, by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his finance minister Michael Wilson. The GST replaced a hidden 13.5% Manufacturers' Sales Tax ; Mulroney claimed the GST was implemented because the MST...

 of 5%.) It is also the only Canadian province to have a single rate of taxation
Flat tax
A flat tax is a tax system with a constant marginal tax rate. Typically the term flat tax is applied in the context of an individual or corporate income that will be taxed at one marginal rate...

 for personal income taxes which is 10% of taxable income.

The Alberta tax system maintains a progressive character 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. Alberta's municipalities and school jurisdictions have their own governments which (usually) work in co-operation with the provincial government.

Alberta also privatized alcohol distribution. The privatization increased outlets from 304 stores to 1,726; 1,300 jobs to 4,000 jobs; and 3,325 products to 16,495 products. Tax revenue also increased from $400 million to $700 million.

Transportation



Alberta has over 180000 km (111,847 mi) of highway
Highway
A highway is any public road. In American English, the term is common and almost always designates major roads. In British English, the term designates any road open to the public. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a...

s and roads, of which nearly 50000 km (31,069 mi) are paved. The main north-south corridor is Highway 2, which begins south of Cardston
Cardston, Alberta
-Demographics:The population of the Town of Cardston according to its 2007 municipal census is 3,578.In 2006, it had a population of 3,452 living in 1,234 dwellings, a 0.7% decrease from 2001...

 at the Carway
Carway, Alberta
Carway is a hamlet in southern Alberta, Canada within Cardston County. It is an entry point into Montana at Port of Peigan. Just on the other side of the border is the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Glacier County, Montana....

 border crossing and is part of the CANAMEX Corridor
CANAMEX Corridor
The CANAMEX corridor is a corridor linking Canada to Mexico through the United States. The corridor was established under the North American Free Trade Agreement.Currently the corridor is defined by a series of highways...

. Highway 4, which effectively extends Interstate 15
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 is the fourth-longest north–south Interstate Highway in the United States, traveling through the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana from San Diego to the Canadian border...

 into Alberta and is the busiest U.S. gateway to the province, begins at the Coutts
Coutts, Alberta
Coutts is a village in Alberta and the location of one of the busiest Canada – US border crossings in western Canada. It connects Highway 4 to Interstate 15, an important trade route between Alberta, American states along I-15, and Mexico.In 2004, a joint border facility opened in Coutts-Sweet...

 border crossing and ends at Lethbridge. Highway 3 joins Lethbridge to Fort Macleod
Fort Macleod, Alberta
Fort Macleod is a town in the southwest corner of the province of Alberta, Canada. It was founded as a North-West Mounted Police barracks, and is named in honour of the North-West Mounted Police Colonel James Macleod. The town's current mayor is Shawn Patience.- History and heritage preservation...

 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
Athabasca, Alberta
Athabasca is a town in northern Alberta, Canada. It lies north of Edmonton on Highway 2, on the banks of the Athabasca River. It is the centre of Athabasca County. Until 1913 it was known as Athabasca Landing.- History :...

, then northwesterly along the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake
Lesser Slave Lake
Lesser Slave Lake is a lake located in central Alberta, Canada, northwest of Edmonton. It is the second largest lake entirely within Alberta boundaries , covering and measuring over long and at its widest point. Lesser Slave Lake averages in depth and is at its deepest...

 into High Prairie, north to Peace River
Peace River, Alberta
Peace River is a town in northwestern Alberta, Canada, situated along the banks of the Peace River, at its confluence with the Smoky River, the Heart River and Pat's Creek. It is located northwest of Edmonton, and northeast of Grande Prairie, along Highway 2. The Peace River townsite is nearly ...

, west to Fairview and finally south to Grande Prairie, where it ends at an interchange with Highway 43. 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 Cowboy Trail, and Highway 21, east of Highway 2. Highway 43 travels northwest into Grande Prairie and the Peace River Country
Peace River Country
The Peace River Country is an aspen parkland region around the Peace River in Canada. It spans from northwestern Alberta to the Rocky Mountains in northeastern British Columbia, where the region is also referred to as the Peace River Block.- Geography :The Peace River Country includes the...

; 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
Trans-Canada Highway
The Trans-Canada Highway is a federal-provincial highway system that joins the ten provinces of Canada. It is, along with the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia's Highway 1, one of the world's longest national highways, with the main route spanning 8,030 km...

 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
Yellowhead Highway
The Yellowhead Highway is a major east-west highway connecting the four western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Although part of the Trans-Canada Highway system, the highway should not be confused with the more southerly, originally-designated...

 (Highway 16), runs west from Lloydminster in eastern Alberta, through Edmonton and Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km² . It is located in the province of Alberta, north of Banff National Park and west of the City of Edmonton. The park includes the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and...

 into British Columbia. One of the most scenic drives is along the Icefields Parkway
Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway , also known as Highway 93 north, is a scenic road in Alberta, Canada. It parallels the Continental Divide, traversing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies, travelling through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. It links Lake Louise with Jasper to the north....

, 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
David Thompson (explorer)
David Thompson was an English-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, known to some native peoples as "Koo-Koo-Sint" or "the Stargazer"...

 Highway), which runs east from the Saskatchewan River Crossing
Saskatchewan River Crossing, Alberta
Saskatchewan River Crossing is a place name in western Alberta, Canada. It is located in the administrative area Improvement District No. 9 , at the junction between Icefields Parkway and David Thompson Highway....

 in Banff National Park through Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer
Red Deer, Alberta
Red Deer is a city in Central Alberta, Canada. It is located near the midpoint of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor and is surrounded by Red Deer County. It is Alberta's third-most-populous city – after Calgary and Edmonton. The city is located in aspen parkland, a region of rolling hills...

, connecting with Highway 12 20 km (12 mi) west of Stettler
Stettler, Alberta
Stettler is a town in Alberta, Canada. It is located east of Red Deer at the junction of Highway 12 and Highway 56. The town is located in the eastern region of central Alberta and nicknamed "The Heart of Alberta."- History :...

. 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
Deerfoot Trail
Deerfoot Trail is a freeway section of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was formerly known as Blackfoot Trail Freeway, but was renamed to honour the first Native American to win the marathon....

 as it passes through Calgary but becomes Calgary Trail
Calgary Trail
Calgary Trail is a major one-way arterial in south Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is a major commuter route for communities south of Edmonton, such as Leduc....

 (for southbound traffic) and Gateway Boulevard
Gateway Boulevard
Gateway Boulevard is a one-way major arterial in south Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is a major commuter route for communities south of Edmonton, such Leduc....

 (for northbound traffic) as it enters Edmonton and then turns into St. Albert Trail as it leaves Edmonton for the City of St. Albert
St. Albert, Alberta
St. Albert is a suburban city in Alberta, located northwest of Edmonton, on the Sturgeon River. It was originally settled as a Métis community, and is now the second largest city in the Edmonton area. St...

. Calgary, in particular, has a tradition of calling its largest urban expressway
Limited-access road
A limited-access road known by various terms worldwide, including limited-access highway, dual-carriageway and expressway, is a highway or arterial road for high-speed traffic which has many or most characteristics of a controlled-access highway , including limited or no access to adjacent...

s trails and naming many of them after prominent First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 individuals and tribes, such as Crowchild Trail
Crowchild Trail
Crowchild Trail is an expressway located on the west side of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.The road was originally signed as 24th Street SW from North Glenmore Park to the Bow River, 24th Street NW from the Bow to the intersection with 16th Avenue NW , and Highway 1A from 16th Ave NW to the city limits...

, 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
Light Rail Transit
The name Light Rail Transit is used to refer to several light rail systems, as an official name or otherwise:* Please see List of tram and light-rail transit systems.-See also:* Light Rapid Transit * Light railway* Light rail...

 (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
C-Train
C-Train is the light rail transit system in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It has been in operation since May 25, 1981. The system is operated by Calgary Transit, a department of the Calgary municipal government.-Operations:...

 has one of the highest number of daily riders of any LRT system in North America.

Alberta is well-connected by air, with international airport
International airport
An international airport is any airport that can accommodate flights from other countries and are typically equipped with customs and immigration facilities to handle these flights to and from other countries...

s in both Calgary and Edmonton. Calgary International Airport
Calgary International Airport
Calgary International Airport, , is the international airport that serves Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the surrounding region; it is situated approximately northeast of downtown Calgary...

 and Edmonton International Airport
Edmonton International Airport
Edmonton International Airport is the primary air passenger and air cargo facility in the Edmonton region in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is a hub facility for Northern Alberta and Northern Canada providing regularly scheduled nonstop flights to over fifty communities in Canada, the United...

 are the fourth and fifth busiest in Canada respectively. Calgary's airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 is a hub for WestJet Airlines
WestJet
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service to 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Founded in 1996, WestJet is currently the second largest Canadian air carrier, behind Air Canada, operating an average of...

 and a regional hub for Air Canada
Air Canada
Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

. 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, one Asian airport and four destinations in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. 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.

There are over 9000 km (5,592 mi) of operating mainline railway, and many tourists see Alberta aboard Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 or Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian tour company offering Western Canadian vacation packages that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta.-Background:...

. The Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 and Canadian National Railway
Canadian National Railway
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

 companies operate railway freight across the province.

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
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

) to adopt a Tommy Douglas
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician...

-style program in 1950, a precursor to the modern medicare
Medicare (Canada)
Medicare is the unofficial name for Canada's publicly funded universal health insurance system. The formal terminology for the insurance system is provided by the Canada Health Act and the health insurance legislation of the individual provinces and territories.Under the terms of the Canada Health...

 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.


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
Foothills Medical Centre
Foothills Medical Centre is the largest hospital in Alberta, Canada and is located in the City of Calgary. It is one of Canada's most recognized medical facilities and is one of the leading hospitals in Alberta, providing advanced healthcare services to over two million people from Calgary,...

, the Peter Lougheed Centre
Peter Lougheed Centre
Peter Lougheed Centre is a large hospital in Alberta, Canada. It is located in the City of Calgary, and runs under the auspices of Alberta Health Services, formerly the Calgary Health Region, providing medical and surgical services not only to Calgary, but also Southern Alberta...

, Rockyview General Hospital
Rockyview General Hospital
Rockyview General Hospital is a large hospital in Alberta, Canada. It is located in the city of Calgary, on the shores of the Glenmore Reservoir and is administered by the Alberta Health Services and formerly by the Calgary Health Region....

, Alberta Children's Hospital
Alberta Children's Hospital
Alberta Children's Hospital is the largest public hospital for sick children in the prairie provinces, and is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It is operated by Alberta Health Services - Calgary Health Region. The new facility opened on September 27, 2006 and is the first free-standing...

, Grace Women's Health Centre, The University of Calgary Medical Centre (UCMC), Tom Baker Cancer Centre
Tom Baker Cancer Centre
Tom Baker Cancer Centre, renamed The Cancer Centre, is a tertiary care facility for Southern Alberta, and is located in Calgary, Alberta. It is a leading Cancer Centre in Alberta for prevention, research and treatment programs and provides many advanced medical services, as well as supportive care...

 and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta
Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta
The Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta is a partnership between the Calgary Health Region and the University of Calgary. Its mandate comprises all cardiovascular research, education and service delivery, with a service area extending from Saskatchewan, Southern Alberta and Eastern British...

, in Calgary; In Edmonton, the University of Alberta Hospital
University of Alberta Hospital
The University of Alberta Hospital is a research and teaching hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Alberta and run by Alberta Health Services, formerly Capital Health, the health authority for Alberta...

, 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
Cross Cancer Institute
The Cross Cancer Institute is the comprehensive cancer centre for northern Alberta, and is one of two tertiary cancer centres in the province. It provides inpatient and outpatient services for cancer patients and counselling and support services for patients and their families...

, and the Rexall Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research in Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

. Currently under construction in Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

 is the new $909 million Edmonton Clinic
Edmonton Clinic
The Edmonton Clinic, formerly known as the Health Sciences Ambulatory Learning Centre , will be an interdisciplinary health science facility located on the University of Alberta main campus, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada....

, which will provide a similar research, education, and care environment as the Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice and medical research group specializing in treating difficult patients . Patients are referred to Mayo Clinic from across the U.S. and the world, and it is known for innovative and effective treatments. Mayo Clinic is known for being at the top of...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Health Care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 in Alberta is administered by the unified Alberta Health Services Board
Alberta Health Services
Alberta Health Services is the province-wide organization responsible for providing hospital and other health care in the Canadian province of Alberta. Known as the "superboard", it was created in May 2008, with the abolition of nine previous regional health authorities, the Alberta Mental Health...

. Prior to July 1, 2008, Alberta was divided into nine health regions
Health regions of Canada
Health regions of Canada are used to administer public health to Canadians. Public health is primarily a provincial jurisdiction in Canada's federal system, so health regions are organized and given responsibilities by the provinces, causing differences among the health units across the country.-...

: Aspen Regional Health Authority
Aspen Regional Health Authority
Aspen Regional Health Authority was the governing body for healthcare regulation in an area of the Canadian province of Alberta. The area region included the communities of:* Athabasca* Barrhead* Bonnyville* Boyle* Calling Lake* Cold Lake* Edson...

: Calgary Health Region
Calgary Health Region
Calgary Health Region was formerly the governing body for healthcare regulation in an area of the Canadian province of Alberta. It was amalgamated with other regional health authorities in 2008 to become part of Alberta Health Services...

, Capital Health
Capital Health
Capital Health was a public health authority part of Alberta Health Services providing complete health services to Edmonton, Alberta's capital city, and its surrounding central Alberta communities...

 (Edmonton), Chinook Health, David Thompson Regional Health Authority, East Central Health
East Central Health
East Central Health was the governing body for healthcare regulation in an area of the Canadian province of Alberta. The area region included the communities of:* Lamont* Willingdon* Myrnam* Tofield* Mundare* Vegreville* Two Hills* Mannville* Islay...

, Northern Lights Health Region, Palliser Health Region and Peace Country Health Region
Peace Country Health Region
Peace Country Health Region was the governing body for healthcare regulation in an area of the Canadian province of Alberta until 2008 when the regional health authorities were merged into a single "super board"...

.

The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society
Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society
The Alberta Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society was formed in Calgary, Alberta to provide emergency medical care and transport to the critically ill and injured...

, a nonprofit organization, provides an air ambulance
Air ambulance
An air ambulance is an aircraft used for emergency medical assistance in situations where either a traditional ambulance cannot reach the scene easily or quickly enough, or the patient needs to be transported over a distance or terrain that makes air transportation the most practical transport....

 service to all but the most remote areas of Alberta, and some adjoining areas of British Columbia.

Government




The government of Alberta is organized as a parliamentary democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 with a unicameral legislature. Its unicameral legislature—the Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
The Legislative Assembly of Alberta is one of two components of the Legislature of Alberta, the other being the Queen, represented by the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. The Alberta legislature meets in the Alberta Legislature Building in the provincial capital, Edmonton...

—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
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state for the Government of Alberta. Her duties in Alberta are carried out by Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell
Donald Ethell
Donald Stewart Ethell is a retired Canadian soldier, the 17th and current Lieutenant Governor of Alberta since April 2010.-Career:...

. Although the lieutenant governor is technically the most powerful person in Alberta, he is in reality a figurehead
Figurehead
A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and 19th century.-History:Although earlier ships had often had some form of bow ornamentation A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and...

 whose actions are restricted by custom and constitutional convention
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

. The government is therefore headed by the premier
Premier of Alberta
The Premier of Alberta is the first minister for the Canadian province of Alberta. He or she is the province's head of government and de facto chief executive. The current Premier of Alberta is Alison Redford. She became Premier by winning the Progressive Conservative leadership elections on...

. The current premier is Alison Redford
Alison Redford
Alison Merrilla Redford Q.C., MLA, is a Canadian politician, and the 14th and current Premier of Alberta, Canada. Upon winning the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, in October 2011, she became the first female premier in Alberta...

 who was elected as leader of the governing Progressive Conservatives on October 1, 2011. Redford was sworn in as the 14th Premier of Alberta
Premier of Alberta
The Premier of Alberta is the first minister for the Canadian province of Alberta. He or she is the province's head of government and de facto chief executive. The current Premier of Alberta is Alison Redford. She became Premier by winning the Progressive Conservative leadership elections on...

 on October 7, 2011.

The Premier is a Member of the Legislative Assembly, and she draws all the members of her 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
Alberta Liberal Party
The Alberta Liberal Party is a provincial political party in Alberta, Canada. Originally founded in 1905, when the province was created, it was the dominant political party until 1921 when it was defeated. It has never been in government since that time...

, and the social democratic New Democrats
Alberta New Democratic Party
The Alberta New Democratic Party or Alberta NDP is a social-democratic political party in Alberta, Canada, which was originally founded as the Alberta section of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation...

. A fourth party, the strongly conservative Social Credit Party
Social Credit Party of Alberta
The Alberta Social Credit Party is a provincial political party in Alberta, Canada, that was founded on the social credit monetary policy and conservative Christian social values....

, 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
United Farmers of Alberta
The United Farmers of Alberta is an association of Alberta farmers that has served many different roles throughout its history as a lobby group, a political party, and as a farm-supply retail chain. Since 1934 it has primarily been an agricultural supply cooperative headquartered in Calgary...

, 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
Alberta separatism
Alberta separatism is a movement that advocates the secession of the province of Alberta from Canada either by forming an independent nation, or by creating a new federation with one or more of Canada's other three westernmost provinces.-Foundations:...

. 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
Alberta Liberal Party
The Alberta Liberal Party is a provincial political party in Alberta, Canada. Originally founded in 1905, when the province was created, it was the dominant political party until 1921 when it was defeated. It has never been in government since that time...

 was elected as the Official Opposition with nine members, and two Alberta New Democratic Party
Alberta New Democratic Party
The Alberta New Democratic Party or Alberta NDP is a social-democratic political party in Alberta, Canada, which was originally founded as the Alberta section of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation...

 members were elected.

Education




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).

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
St. Albert, Alberta
St. Albert is a suburban city in Alberta, located northwest of Edmonton, on the Sturgeon River. It was originally settled as a Métis community, and is now the second largest city in the Edmonton area. St...

) has a Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 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 school
Charter school
Charter schools are primary or secondary schools that receive public money but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school's charter...

s, and private school
Private school
Private schools, also known as independent schools or nonstate schools, are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students' tuition, rather than relying on mandatory...

s 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.

Universities



The University of Alberta
University of Alberta
The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president, it is widely recognized as one of the best universities in Canada...

, established in Edmonton in 1908, is Alberta's oldest and largest university. The University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...

, 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
Athabasca University
Athabasca University is a Canadian university in Athabasca, Alberta. It is an accredited research institution which also offers distance education courses and programs. Courses are offered primarily in English with some French offerings. Each year, 32,000 students attend the university. It offers...

, which focuses on distance learning, and the University of Lethbridge
University of Lethbridge
The University of Lethbridge is a publicly-funded comprehensive academic and research university, founded in the liberal education tradition, located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with two other urban campuses in Calgary and Edmonton. The main building sits among the coulees on the west side of...

, 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
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and provides technical training and applied education designed to meet the demands of Alberta's industries...

 and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
-Academics:SAIT Polytechnic offers two full baccalaureate degrees , four applied degrees, 66 diploma and certificate programs, 32 apprenticeship trades and 1,600 continuing education and corporate training courses....

.

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
DeVry University
DeVry University and DeVry Institute of Technology are divisions of DeVry Inc , a proprietary, for-profit higher education organization that is also the parent organization for Keller Graduate School of Management, Ross University, American University of the Caribbean, Apollo College, Western...

 in Calgary, the only location in Canada. 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. So far, no plan has been released by the government of Alberta.

Culture



Summer brings many festivals to the province of Alberta, especially in Edmonton. The Edmonton Fringe Festival is the world's second largest after Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

's. Both Calgary and Edmonton host a number of annual festivals and events including folk music festivals. 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
Churchill Square (Edmonton)
thumb|300px|right|Churchill Square looking towards [[Edmonton City Hall|City Hall]]Churchill Square is the main downtown square in Edmonton, Alberta, which plays host to a large majority of festivals and events including: the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, Edmonton Fashion...

 is home to a large number of the festivals, including the large Taste of Edmonton & The Works Art & Design Festival
The Works Art & Design Festival
The Works Art & Design Festival is a thirteen day celebration held at the end of June and the beginning of July in downtown, Edmonton, Canada. The festival displays the work of artists and designers from across Canada as well as featured exhibits from international presenters.-Overview:The Works...

 throughout the summer months.
The City of Calgary is also famous for its Stampede
Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway,...

, 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
Calf roping
Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping, is a rodeo event that features a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by...

 and bull riding
Bull riding
Bull riding refers to rodeo sports that involve a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck off the rider....

. In line with the western tradition of rodeo are the cultural artisans that reside and create unique Alberta western heritage crafts.

The Banff Centre
Banff Centre
The Banff Centre, formerly known as The Banff Centre for Continuing Education, is an arts, cultural, and educational institution and conference complex located in Banff, Alberta...

 hosts a range of festivals and other events including the international Mountain Film Festival
Banff Mountain Film Festival
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an international film competition and an annual presentation of short films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports, and environment. It was launched in 1976 as The Banff Festival of Mountain Films by The Banff Centre and is held every fall in Banff,...

. These cultural events in Alberta highlight the province's cultural diversity. 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
Francis Winspear Centre for Music
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is a performing arts centre located in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.Built in 1997, it is the home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The center is named after Dr. Francis G. Winspear, who donated $6 million to the construction of the facility - the...

. Both Calgary and Edmonton are home to Canadian Football League
Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League or CFL is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football....

 and National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 teams. Soccer, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 and lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

 are also played professionally in Alberta.

Paleontology



Alberta has one of the greatest diversities and abundances of Late Cretaceous
Late Cretaceous
The Late Cretaceous is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous period is divided in the geologic timescale. Rock strata from this epoch form the Upper Cretaceous series...

 dinosaur fossils in the world. Taxa are represented by complete fossil skeletons, isolated material, microvertebrate remains, and even mass graves
Bone bed
A bone bed is any geological stratum or deposit that contains bones of whatever kind. Inevitably, such deposits are sedimentary in nature. Not a formal term, it tends to be used more to describe especially dense collections...

. At least 38 dinosaur type specimens are known from the province. The Foremost Formation
Foremost Formation
The Foremost Formation is a geological formation in Alberta, Canada whose strata date back to the Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation.-Dinosaurs:...

, Oldman Formation
Oldman Formation
The Oldman Formation is the middle member of the Judith River Group, a major geologic unit in southern Alberta. The formation is widely recognized as bearing a great number of well preserved dinosaur skeletons, as well as other fossils.-Age:...

 and Dinosaur Park Formation
Dinosaur Park Formation
The Dinosaur Park Formation is the uppermost member of the Judith River Group, a major geologic unit in southern Alberta. It was laid down over a period of time between about 76.5 and 75 million years ago. The formation is made up of deposits of a high-sinuosity fluvial system, and is capped...

s collectively comprise the Judith River Group and are the most thoroughly studied dinosaur bearing strata in Alberta. The stratigraphy of the Judith River Group
Judith River Group
The Judith River Group is a group of geologic formations in western North America dating from the late Cretaceous and noted as a site for the extensive excavation of dinosaur fossils. The formation is named after the Judith River in Montana. The group is also called the Judith River Wedge...

 has a confusing history due partly to the use of the Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

-Alberta border as an artificial division between equivalent strata. The modern Judith River Group stratigraphy was not finalized until 1993 when Eberth and Hamblin divided the Oldman Formation in two to create the new Dinosaur Park Formation. The resulting paleontological confusion was resolved by Phil Currie
Phil Currie
Philip John Currie, AOE is a Canadian palaeontologist and museum curator who helped found the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta and is now a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton...

 who relocated old quarries
Quarries
Quarries - The "Royal Quarries" — not found in Scripture — is the namegiven to the vast caverns stretching far underneath the northern hill, Bezetha, on which Jerusalem is built. Out of these mammoth caverns stones, a hard limestone, have been quarried in ancient times for the buildings in the...

 dinosaurs had been found in and determined their distribution within the modern stratigraphic framework.

Dinosaur-bearing strata are distributed widely through-out Alberta. The Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about two and a half hours drive southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or , about a half hour drive, northeast of Brooks....

 area contains outcrops of the Dinosaur Park Formation and Oldman Formation. In the central and southern regions of Alberta are intermittent Scollard Formation
Scollard Formation
-References:* Ryan, M. J., and Russell, A. P., 2001. Dinosaurs of Alberta : In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, pp. 279-297....

 outcrops. In the Drumheller Valley and Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

 regions there are exposed Horseshoe Canyon
Horseshoe Canyon Formation
The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is part of the Edmonton Group and is up to 230m in thickness. It is Late Campanian to Early Maastrichtian in age and is composed of mudstone, sandstone, and carbonaceous shales...

 facies
Facies
In geology, facies are a body of rock with specified characteristics. Ideally, a facies is a distinctive rock unit that forms under certain conditions of sedimentation, reflecting a particular process or environment....

. Other formations
Geologic formation
A formation or geological formation is the fundamental unit of lithostratigraphy. A formation consists of a certain number of rock strata that have a comparable lithology, facies or other similar properties...

 have been recorded as well, like the Milk River
Milk River Formation
The Milk River Formation is a near- shore to terrestrial sedimentary unit deposited during the Late Cretaceous in southern Alberta...

 and Foremost Formations. However, these latter two have a lower diversity of documented dinosaurs, primarily due to their lower total fossil quantity and neglect from collectors who are hindered by the isolation and scarcity of exposed outcrops. Their dinosaur fossils are primarily teeth recovered from microvertebrate fossil sites. Additional geologic formations that have produced only few fossils are the Belly River Group
Belly River Group
The Belly River Formation is a stratigraphical unit of Late Cretaceous age in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.It takes the name from the Belly River, a tributary of the Oldman River in southern Alberta, and was first described in outcrop on the banks of the Oldman River and Bow River by...

 and St. Mary River Formation
St. Mary River Formation
The St. Mary River Formation is a geological formation in Alberta, Canada whose strata date back to the Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation. The St. Mary River Formation has produced only a few dinosaur fossils in its Albertan...

s of the southwest and the northwestern Wapiti Formation
Wapiti Formation
The Wapiti Formation is a geological formation in Alberta, Canada whose strata date back to the Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation. The Wapiti Formation outcrops in northwestern Wapiti Formation...

. The Wapiti Formations contains two Pachyrhinosaurus
Pachyrhinosaurus
Pachyrhinosaurus is a genus of ceratopsid dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous period of North America. The first examples were discovered by Charles M. Sternberg in Alberta, Canada, in 1946, and named in 1950. Over a dozen partial skulls and a large assortment of other fossils from various species...

 bone beds that break its general trend of low productivity, however. The Bearpaw Formation
Bearpaw Formation
The Bearpaw Formation, also called the Bearpaw Shale, is a sedimentary rock formation found in northwestern North America. It is exposed in the U.S. state of Montana, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, east of the Rocky Mountains...

 represents strata deposited during a marine transgression. Dinosaurs are known from this Formation, but represent specimens washed out to sea or reworked from older sediments.

Friendship partners



Alberta has relationships with several provinces, states, and other entities worldwide. Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Special Relationships Hokkaido
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Special Relationships Gyeongsangnam-do
Gyeongsangnam-do
Gyeongsangnam-do is a province in the southeast of South Korea. The provincial capital is located at Changwon. It contains the major metropolitan center and port of Busan. Located there is UNESCO World Heritage Site Haeinsa, a Buddhist temple that houses the Tripitaka Koreana and attracts many...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Special Relationships Khanty–Mansi, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Special Relationships Yamalo-Nenets, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Special Relationships Neuquén
Neuquén
Neuquén is the name of the following things:* Neuquén, Argentina* Neuquén Province* Neuquén River* Neuquén Group...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Economic MOUs Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga , is a province of South Africa. The name means east or literally "the place where the sun rises" in Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, north of KwaZulu-Natal and bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Governance Projects Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Special Relationships Tyumen
Tyumen
Tyumen is the largest city and the administrative center of Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located on the Tura River east of Moscow. Population: Tyumen is the oldest Russian settlement in Siberia. Founded in 16th century to support Russia's eastward expansion, the city has remained one of the most...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Special Relationships Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

, United States of America, Transboundary Partnerships Gangwon-do, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Special Relationships

External links