What are the Canadian Provinces?

Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

Canada, like other countries, is divided into smaller units. There are 13 in Canada: ten provinces and three territories. In this lesson, you'll find out a little about each one, and how they vary by size, population, and location.

Fun Facts About Canada

I'm sure you've heard of Canada, but did you know that it is the second largest country by area in the world? A few other fun facts about Canada:

The first explorer reached Canada way back in 1497, they haven't had Saturday mail delivery for 35 years, it has the longest coastline in the world (over 125,000 miles!), it shares a more than 5,000 mile border with the U.S., and it has over 30,000 lakes. The capital of Canada is Ottawa, the national icon is the beaver, and the name of the country comes from the word kanata, meaning 'settlement'. There are two national languages in Canada, French and English, and there are about 35 million people in this vast and beautiful land.

Canada, like other countries, has evolved and grown over time. Currently there are ten provinces and three territories in this country. Provinces are similar to the states of the U.S. in that they have their own governments, laws, and rules that are secondary to a federal government. Territories on the other hand do not have separate governance, and are instead governed by the federal government.

The ten provinces and 3 territories of Canada.
canadian provinces

Population wise, the provinces are much larger than the territories, but the territories are on the same latitude as most of the state of Alaska, so they are colder and more remote than the provinces.

Provinces of Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is the province farthest to the east. Newfoundland is the island portion of the province, while Labrador is the mainland portion. The capital is St. John's, and what's interesting is that the majority of the population resides on the island of Newfoundland, not Labrador. In total, this province has a population of about 527,000 people.

Prince Edward Island

Also to the east is Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.). This is the smallest of the provinces, its capital city is Charlottetown, and it was named in honor of Queen Victoria's father, Prince Edward. P.E.I. is also the smallest province population wise, with only about 146,000 people.

Nova Scotia

Next, we have Nova Scotia, which is another of the four Atlantic provinces. The capital is Halifax, and the name Nova Scotia means 'New Scotland' in Latin. It's made up of the mainland and Cape Breton Island, but also 4,000 other coastal islands. Nova Scotia has about 943,000 residents.

New Brunswick

Moving west, we find New Brunswick, our fourth Atlantic province and third smallest. About 754,000 people call this province home. It is named for the British royal family of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Fredericton is its capital. This province is made up of both mainland and small islands.


Up next is Quebec, the largest province and second largest in population (about 8 million people). Quebec is a French-speaking province; its capital city is Quebec City, but its largest city is the more well-known Montreal, where almost half of Quebec residents live.


Moving farther inland, we find our next province, Ontario. Ontario is home to the country's capital, Ottawa, as well as Toronto, London, and Windsor. Ontario is the second largest province but has the largest population (almost 14 million people). Almost half of Ontario's population lives in the greater Toronto area, but interestingly enough, almost half of the people in Toronto were born in another country!


Moving west, we come to Manitoba, which is one of three 'prairie' provinces because it is located in the central prairie of Canada. Manitoba means 'strait of the Great Spirit'. Its capital is Winnipeg, which has a population of over one million people. There are also many native people of different tribes in Manitoba, such as the Inuit, Swampy Cree, and Chipewyan.


Saskatchewan is the second of our three prairie provinces. Its capital is Regina, it has a population of over one million people, and one half of the land in this province is forested and a third of it is farmland. There are also some impressive sand dunes at Athabasca Provincial Park that reach almost 100 feet tall!


Alberta is our final prairie province. Alberta is the fourth largest province, with a population of over four million people. Its capital is Edmonton, but it is also home to the famous city of Calgary. These two cities are so popular, in fact, that two-thirds of Albertans call one of them 'home'.

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