Canada’s five regions

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Canada is the second largest country in the world, with vast lands covering 10 million square kilometres. It occupies the northern half of North America and has the longest coastline of any country; spanning the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. It has diverse geography: rugged mountains and plateaus from British Columbia to the Alberta border, endless fields and the never-ending skies of the prairies, great lakes and seas from the Pacific coast to the Maritimes, and a fierce and majestic arctic region.

Canada is mainly divided into five regions:

The Atlantic Region

Provinces and capital cities:
Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s)
Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown)
Nova Scotia (Halifax)
New Brunswick (Fredericton)

Around 2.3 million people live in the Atlantic region. The region is known for fishing, farming, forestry, and mining. Aside from its natural coastal beauty, the area is also rich in history, with Nova Scotia known as the gateway to Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador as the oldest colony of the British Empire. The Atlantic Ocean brings cool winters and cool, humid summers in this region.

Central Canada

Provinces and capital cities:
Quebec (Québec City)
Ontario (Toronto)

This is where more than half of the population of Canada lives. Around 18 million people live in cities and towns near the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River in Southern Quebec and Ontario. This region is the industrial and manufacturing heartland of Canada. This is also where the National Capital, Ottawa, is located (eastern portion of southern Ontario). This region has cold winters and warm humid summers.

The Prairie Provinces

Provinces and capital cities:
Manitoba (Winnipeg)
Saskatchewan (Regina)
Alberta (Edmonton)

Known as Canada’s fastest growing region, the Prairies have a population of more than five million. The region is known for rich energy resources and some of the most fertile farmlands in the world. Mining and hydro-electric power generation thrive here. It is also considered the country’s breadbasket, with agriculture as one of its main industries. Aside from wheat, grains and oilseeds from Saskatchewan, Alberta is the country’s largest producer of oil and gas, as well as one of the world’s major beef producers. The region is mostly dry, with cold winters and hot summers.

The West Coast (also called the Pacific Region)

Province and capital city:
British Columbia (Victoria)

This region is composed of one province – British Columbia (BC) on the Pacific Coast. BC is known for its majestic mountains. It is Canada’s Pacific gateway. It has a population of four million, with most living in or near Victoria or Vancouver. It also has a large Asian population – Chinese and Punjabi are the most spoken languages after English. BC is known for its forestry products (lumber and paper products) as well as its mining, shipping, and fishing industries. It also has the most extensive park system in Canada, with approximately 600 provincial parks. The West Coast has a temperate weather due to the warm airstreams from the Pacific Ocean.

The Northern Territories

Provinces and capital cities:
Nunavut (Iqaluit)
Northwest Territories (Yellowknife)
Yukon Territory (Whitehorse)

The Northern Territories covers one-third of Canada’s land mass. But because of the cold arctic climate and its remoteness, only 100,000 people live there. The region is called the “Land of the Midnight Sun” because at the height of summer, daylight can last 24 hours. However, in winter, darkness sets in for three months. The region’s rich natural resources include gold, lead, copper, diamond and zinc. Some earn a living by hunting, fishing and trapping. The Northern Territories have long cold winters and short cool summers.

Sources: Discover Canada, Your Canada (Canadian regional geography)

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