Provinces of Canada
In this series of articles we will talk about the provinces of Canada, covering demographic, economic and climatic aspects, among others.
Situated in western Canada, Alberta is the fourth largest and most populous province of the country with more than 4 million people. It is the most populous of the three Prairie Provinces (that also includes Saskatchewan and Manitoba). Most of its population is concentrated in two major urban centres: Edmonton, the capital of the province and Calgary, the largest city in the province. Each of these cities have a population around 1.5 million people. Each year the province welcomes more than 40,000 new residents that are attracted by the many opportunities it offers, including a strong economy.
Alberta is bordered by the provinces of British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the United States to the south. The province is surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the west and vast prairies and badlands to the east. It is also one of only two provinces in the country with no access to the ocean. The landscapes vary from tall mountains, glacial lakes and vast boreal forests to rolling hills, fertile prairies and desert badlands. Alberta has 245 rivers and more than 600 lakes, including the famous Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Alberta also has the greatest diversities and abundances of dinosaur fossils in the world.
Alberta stretches over 1,200 kilometers from north to south and the climate can vary considerably. Mostly, it has a continental climate, having more sunshine than any other Canadian province. Winters are dry, sunny, and cold and summers are warm and wet. During winter, temperatures can reach -65 °C in some parts of the north and in summer, temperatures of over 40 °C can be felt in the south. The average temperature in Edmonton is around -10 °C in the winter and 18 °C in the summer. Alberta also experiences the most tornadoes in Canada with an average of 15 per year.
English is the official and predominant language in Alberta with 92% of the population speaking only English at home. Some public services and education are offered in French. Many other languages that are spoken in the province include German, Ukrainian, and Dutch.
Alberta’s economy has many industries such as agriculture, forestry, education, healthcare, tourism, finance, technology and manufacturing, but the production of fossil energy since the 1940s has led its economy to be one of the strongest in Canada and in the world. Alberta has an estimated 1.4 billion cubic metres of oil resources in the oil sands surrounding the city of Fort McMurray, which leads Canada as one of the world's largest exporters of natural gas. In recent years, Alberta has become one of the most popular immigrant’s destination due to the abundance of well-paying jobs in the oil, finance, and tourism fields.
The school year in Canada starts in September and ends in June, with the months of July and August being the summer break. Like many other aspects of the country, it is the responsibility of the provinces to monitor and regulate education. In Alberta, all children from 6 to 16 years old are requested to go to school. Canadian citizens, permanent and temporary residents have access to free education from Kindergarten to Grade 12, starting at 5 years old, as long as certain requirements are met. French-language education is also provided by the province.
Alberta has two major universities: the University of Alberta, located in Edmonton is the oldest and largest university in the province and the University of Calgary. The Athabasca University, in Athabasca focuses on distance learning.
In addition to the immigration process offered by the federal government, it is also possible to choose one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) to immigrate to Canada. Alberta offers the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), which nominates people who have skills to fill job shortages or are planning to buy or start a business in Alberta, to apply for permanent residency. In general, recent graduates, skilled workers and entrepreneurs who meet the necessary requirements, can apply for the AINP.
Alberta has been a popular tourist destination because of the many attractions it has to offer, including national parks, National Historic Sites, urban arts, cultural festivals, and outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and camping. West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America, is a shopping destination for more than 30 million people per year.
Calgary, Edmonton, and regions in the Canadian Rockies, like Banff National Park and Jasper National Park are the most popular destinations for visitors. About 1.2 million people per year visit the Calgary Stampede, a celebration of Canada's Wild West and the cattle ranching industry. Another tourist destination is the Drumheller Valley, located northeast of Calgary, known as the "Dinosaur Capital of The World" and offers the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.
By Janayna Sercheli
If you wish to immigrate to Canada, contact Klaps Immigration Consulting for more information on immigration processes.