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("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital =
Edmonton Edmonton () is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Alberta's central region. The city anchors the north ...

Edmonton
, largest_city =
Calgary Calgary ( is a city in the western Canadian province of Alberta. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, about east of the front ranges of the Cana ...

Calgary
, largest_metro =
Calgary Region The Calgary Metropolitan Region (CMR), also commonly referred to as the Calgary Region, is a conglomeration of municipalities centred on Calgary, the largest city in Alberta. With the Government of Alberta's establishment of the Calgary Metropoli ...
, Premier =
Jason Kenney Jason Thomas Kenney (born May 30, 1968) is a Canadian politician who has served as the 18th and current premier of Alberta since 2019, and as leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) since 2017. He was the last leader of the Alberta Progre ...
, PremierParty = UCP , Viceroy =
Salma Lakhani Salma Lakhani (born 1951 or 1952) is the 19th lieutenant governor of Alberta. Her appointment as lieutenant governor was made by Governor General of Canada Julie Payette on the constitutional advice of Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, effec ...
, ViceroyType = Lieutenant governor , Legislature = Legislative Assembly of Alberta , AdmittanceOrder = 9th/10th, with
Saskatchewan ("Strength from Many Peoples") , image_map = Saskatchewan in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Regina , largest_city ...
, AdmittanceDate = September 1, 1905 (split from NWT) , area_rank = 6th , area_total_km2 = 661848 , area_land_km2 = 640081 , area_water_km2 = 19531 , PercentWater = 2.95 , population_demonym = Albertan , population_rank = 4th , population_total = 4067175 , population_ref = , population_as_of = 2016 , population_est = 4436258 , pop_est_as_of = 2021 Q1 , pop_est_ref = , DensityRank = 6th , Density_km2 = 5.7 , GDP_year = 2015 , GDP_total = , GDP_rank = 3rd , GDP_per_capita = , GDP_per_capita_rank = 2nd , HDI_year = 2018 , HDI = 0.940 — Very high , HDI_rank = 1st , HouseSeats = 34 , SenateSeats = 6 , timezone1 =
Mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...
, utc_offset1 = −07:00 , timezone1_DST = Mountain DST , utc_offset1_DST = −06:00 , PostalAbbreviation = AB , PostalCodePrefix = T , iso_code = CA-AB , website = www.alberta.ca , flower = , tree =
Lodgepole pine ''Pinus contorta'', with the common names lodgepole pine and shore pine, and also known as twisted pine, and contorta pine, is a common tree in western North America. It is common near the ocean shore and in dry montane forests to the subalpine, ...
, bird =
Great horned owl The great horned owl (''Bubo virginianus''), also known as the tiger owl (originally derived from early naturalists' description as the "winged tiger" or "tiger of the air"), or the hoot owl,Austing, G.R. & Holt, Jr., J.B. (1966). ''The World of ...
Alberta () is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering , making it the world's second-largest country by total ...

Canada
. It is part of
Western Canada Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and more commonly known as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. British Columbia is culturally, economi ...
and is one of the three
prairie provinces The Canadian Prairies (usually referred to as simply the Prairies in Canada) is a region in Western Canada. It includes the Canadian portion of the Great Plains and the Prairie Provinces, namely Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. These province ...
.
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...

English
is the official language of the province. In 2016, 76.0% of Albertans were
anglophone#REDIRECT English-speaking world ...

anglophone
, 1.8% were
francophone This article details the geographical distribution of speakers of the French language, regardless of the legislative status within the countries where it is spoken. French-based creoles are considered separate languages for the purpose of this art ...
and 22.2% were
allophone In phonology, an allophone (; from the Greek , ''állos'', "other" and , ''phōnē'', "voice, sound") is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds, or ''phones'', or signs used to pronounce a single phoneme in a particular language. For ex ...
. Alberta is bordered by
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British Columbia ...
to the west,
Saskatchewan ("Strength from Many Peoples") , image_map = Saskatchewan in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Regina , largest_city ...
to the east, the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (abbr. NT or NWT) is a federal territory of Canada. At a land area of approximately and a 2016 census population of 41,790, it is the second-largest and the most populous of the three territories in Northern Canada. I ...
to the north, and
Montana Montana () is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Sa ...
to the south. It is one of the only two
landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basins. There are currently 44 landlocked countries and 5 partially recognized landlocked states. Kazakhstan is the world's ...
provinces in Canada. The eastern part of the province is occupied by the
Great Plains The Great Plains, sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of flat land (a plain), much of it covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland, located in the interior of North America. It lies west of the Mississippi River tallgrass prairie ...
, while the western part borders the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the So ...
. The province has a predominantly
continental climate Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * ''Continental'' (album), an album by Saint Etienne * ...
but experiences quick temperature changes due to air
aridity A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life. Environments subject to arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are ca ...
. Seasonal temperature swings are less pronounced in western Alberta due to occasional
chinook wind Chinook winds , or simply Chinooks, are föhn 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 P ...

chinook wind
s. Alberta is the 6th largest province by area, being approximately 660,000 square kilometers, and the 4th most populous, being home to 4,067,175 people. Alberta's capital is
Edmonton Edmonton () is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Alberta's central region. The city anchors the north ...

Edmonton
, while
Calgary Calgary ( is a city in the western Canadian province of Alberta. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, about east of the front ranges of the Cana ...

Calgary
is its largest city. The two are Alberta's largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and both exceed 1 million people. More than half of Albertans live in either Edmonton or Calgary, which contributes to continuing the rivalry between the two cities. The province also has one other CMA,
Lethbridge Lethbridge () is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. With a recorded population of 101,482 in its 2019 municipal census, Lethbridge became the fourth Alberta city to surpass 100,000 people. The nearby Canadian Rocky Mountains contribute ...
, and 15 census agglomerations. While the vast majority of Albertans are city dwellers, the identity of the province is mainly rooted in a rural lifestyle (
rodeos Rodeo ( or ) is a competitive equestrian sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain and Mexico, expanding throughout the Americas and to other nations. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros an ...
,
western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
,
country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. The term also includes Western music (North America) which had similar origins in the Western United States and Rocky Mou ...
,
cowboy A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the ''vaquero'' ...
s). The oil and gas industry is also a part of the province's identity. Alberta's economy is based on
hydrocarbons In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons are examples of group 14 hydrides. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups called hydrocarb ...
, petrochemical industries,
livestock Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consu ...
,
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
and frontier technologies. The oil industry has been a pillar of Alberta's economy since 1947, when substantial oil deposits were discovered at Leduc No. 1 well. Since Alberta is the province most rich in hydrocarbons, it provides 70% of the oil and natural gas exploited on Canadian soil. In 2018, Alberta's output was CDN$338.2 billion, 15.27% of Canada's
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period. GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect differences in the cost of living and the inflation ...
. In the past, Alberta's political landscape hosted parties like the
left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in critique of social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others as ...
Liberals and the
agrarian Agrarian means pertaining to agriculture, farmland, or rural areas. Agrarian may refer to: Political philosophy *Agrarianism *Agrarian law, Roman laws regulating the division of the public lands *Agrarian reform *Agrarian socialism Society *Ag ...
United Farmers of Alberta The United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) is an association of Alberta farmers that has served different roles in its 100-year history – as a lobby group, a successful political party, and as a farm-supply retail chain. As a political party, it formed ...
, as well as the
right-wing Right-wing politics embraces the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition.T. Alexander Smith, Raymond ...
Social Credit Party and the Progressive Conservatives. Today, Alberta is generally perceived as a
conservative Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the traditional values or practices of the culture and civilization in which it appears. I ...
province. The longest political dynasty in Canada was held by the
Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (often referred to colloquially as Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta) was a provincial centre-right party in the Canadian province of Alberta. The party formed the provincial government, w ...
from 1971 to 2015. Before becoming part of Canada, Alberta was home to several
First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of Canadian indigenous peoples, distinct from the Inuit and Métis. Traditionally the First Nations lived south of the tree line, and mainly south of the Arctic Circle. There ...
and was a territory used by
fur trade The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of a world fur market in the early modern period, furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most val ...
rs of the
Hudson's Bay Company The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC; french: Compagnie de la Baie d'Hudson ''CBH'') is a Canadian retail business group. A fur trading business for much of its existence, HBC now owns and operates retail stores in Canada and the United States. In 2 ...
. The lands that would become Alberta were acquired by Canada as part of the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (abbr. NT or NWT) is a federal territory of Canada. At a land area of approximately and a 2016 census population of 41,790, it is the second-largest and the most populous of the three territories in Northern Canada. I ...
on July 15, 1870. On September 1, 1905, Alberta was separated from the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (abbr. NT or NWT) is a federal territory of Canada. At a land area of approximately and a 2016 census population of 41,790, it is the second-largest and the most populous of the three territories in Northern Canada. I ...
as a result of the
Alberta Act The ''Alberta Act'' (french: Loi sur l'Alberta), effective September 1, 1905, was the act of the Parliament of Canada that created the province of Alberta. The ''Act'' is similar in nature to the ''Saskatchewan Act'', which established the provi ...
and designated the 8th province of Canada. From the late 1800s to early 1900s, many immigrants arrived, the biggest wave of which was pushed by
Wilfrid Laurier Sir Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier ( ; ; 20 November 1841 – 17 February 1919) was a Canadian politician and statesman who served as the seventh prime minister of Canada, in office from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911. Laurier is often co ...
, to prevent the prairies from being annexed by
Americans Americans are the citizens and nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) ("Citizenship and nationality are not synonymous. While all citizens are nationals, not all natio ...
. Massive oil resources were discovered in Alberta in 1947. Alberta is renowned for its natural beauty, richness in
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin: , literally "obtained by digging") is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or ...
s and for housing important
nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area), is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features o ...
s. Alberta is home to six
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace an ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
s: The
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site is located in the Canadian Rockies. It consists of seven contiguous parks including four national parks: *Banff *Jasper *Kootenay *Yoho and three British Columbia provincial parks: *Hamber Pro ...
,
Dinosaur Provincial Park Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated a two hour drive east of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; or , about a half-hour drive northeast of Brooks. The park is situated in the Red Deer River valley, which is noted for its striki ...
, the
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 (11.2 mi) west of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada on highway 785. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ...
, Waterton–Glacier International Peace Park,
Wood Buffalo National Park Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park of Canada at . It is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories. Larger in area than Switzerland, it is the second-largest national park in the world. The park was ...
and
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is located about southeast of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, or east of the community of Milk River, and straddles the Milk River itself. It is one of the largest areas of protected prairie in the Alberta park syste ...
. Other popular sites include: Banff, Canmore,
Drumheller Drumheller is a town within the Red Deer River valley in the badlands of east-central Alberta, Canada. It is located northeast of Calgary, and south of Stettler. The Drumheller portion of the Red Deer River valley, often referred to as Dinos ...
,
Jasper Jasper, an aggregate of microgranular quartz and/or chalcedony and other mineral phases,Kostov, R. I. 2010. Review on the mineralogical systematics of jasper and related rocks. – Archaeometry Workshop, 7, 3, 209-213PDF/ref> is an opaque, impure ...
, Sylvan Lake and Lake Louise.


Etymology

Alberta was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was lo ...

Queen Victoria
. Princess Louise was the wife of ,
Governor General of Canada The governor general of Canada (french: le gouverneur général du Canada) is the federal viceregal representative of the . The , as a political sovereign, is shared equally with the 15 other Commonwealth realms and the 10 provinces of Canada, ...
(1878–83). Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were also named in her honour. The name "Alberta" itself is a feminine Latinized form of Albert, the name of Princess Louise's father, the
Prince Consort#REDIRECT Prince consort#REDIRECT Prince consort {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
(cf. lat-med,
Albertus Albertus Magnus (c. 1200 – November 15, 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great or Albert of Cologne, was a German Catholic Dominican friar, philosopher and bishop. Later canonised as a Catholic saint, he was known during his lifetime a ...
, masculine) and its
Germanic
Germanic
cognates, ultimately derived from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from pre-Proto-Germanic into three Germanic branches ...
''*Aþalaberhtaz'' (compound of "noble" + "bright/famous").


Geography

Alberta, with an area of , is the fourth-largest province after
Quebec ) , image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = French , capital = Quebec City , CapCoord = , largest_city ...
, Ontario and
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British Columbia ...
. Alberta's southern border is the
49th parallel north The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49° north of Earth's equator. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. The city of Paris is about south of the 49th parallel and is the largest ...
, which separates it from the U.S. state of
Montana Montana () is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Sa ...
. The
60th parallel north The 60th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 60 degrees north of Earth's equator. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. Although it lies approximately twice as far away from the Equator as f ...
divides Alberta from the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (abbr. NT or NWT) is a federal territory of Canada. At a land area of approximately and a 2016 census population of 41,790, it is the second-largest and the most populous of the three territories in Northern Canada. I ...
. The
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. The 110th meridian west forms a great c ...
separates it from the province of
Saskatchewan ("Strength from Many Peoples") , image_map = Saskatchewan in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Regina , largest_city ...
; while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the
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. The 120th meridian west forms a great ...
south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the
Continental Divide A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connec ...
at the
Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the So ...
, 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 north to south and east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is at the summit of Mount Columbia in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border while its lowest point is on the
Slave River The Slave River is a Canadian river that flows from the confluence of the Rivière des Rochers and Peace River in northeastern Alberta and empties into Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. The river's name is thought to derive from the nam ...
in
Wood Buffalo National Park Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park of Canada at . It is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories. Larger in area than Switzerland, it is the second-largest national park in the world. The park was ...
in the northeast. With the exception of the
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate of a region that receives precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate. There are different kinds of semi-arid climates, depending on ...
steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe b ...
of the south-eastern section, the province has adequate
water resources Water resources are natural resources of water that are potentially useful. 97% of the water on the Earth is salt water and only three percent is fresh water; slightly over two thirds of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. The remain ...
. There are numerous
rivers A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Sm ...
and
lakes A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, although like the much larger oceans, ...
used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports. There are three large lakes, Lake Claire () in
Wood Buffalo National Park Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park of Canada at . It is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories. Larger in area than Switzerland, it is the second-largest national park in the world. The park was ...
,
Lesser Slave Lake Lesser Slave Lake is located in central Alberta, Canada, northwest of Edmonton. It is the second largest lake entirely within Alberta boundaries (and the largest easily accessible by vehicle), covering and measuring over long and at its widest ...
(), and
Lake Athabasca Lake Athabasca (; French: ''lac Athabasca''; from Woods Cree: , "herethere are plants one after another") is located in the northwest corner of Saskatchewan and the northeast corner of Alberta between 58° and 60° N. The lake is 26% in Alberta and ...
() which lies in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. The longest river in the province is the
Athabasca River The Athabasca River (French: ''Rivière Athabasca'') is a river in Alberta, Canada, which originates at the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park and flows more than before emptying into Lake Athabasca. Much of the land along its banks is prot ...

Athabasca River
which travels from the
Columbia Icefield The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in North America's Rocky Mountains. Located within the Canadian Rocky Mountains astride the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, the ice field lies partly in the ...
in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca. The largest river is the
Peace River The Peace River (french: links=no, rivière de la Paix) 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 joins the Athabasca River in the P ...
with an average flow of 2161 m3/s. The Peace River originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta and into the
Slave River The Slave River is a Canadian river that flows from the confluence of the Rivière des Rochers and Peace River in northeastern Alberta and empties into Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. The river's name is thought to derive from the nam ...
, a tributary of the
Mackenzie River The Mackenzie River (Slavey: ' èh tʃʰò ''literally'' big river; Inuvialuktun: ' uːkpɑk''literally'' great river; French: ) is a river in the Canadian boreal forest. It forms, along with the Slave, Peace, and Finlay, the longest river syste ...
. Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located at about 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 fields, has most of western Canada's oil refinery capacity. Calgary is about south of Edmonton and north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. Almost 75% of the province's population lives in the
Calgary–Edmonton Corridor The Calgary–Edmonton Corridor is a geographical region of the Canadian province of Alberta. It is the most urbanized area in Alberta and is one of Canada's four most urban regions. It consists of Statistics Canada Alberta census divisions No. 11 ...
. The land grant policy to the railroads served as a means to populate the province in its early years. Most of the northern half of the province is
boreal forest Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic languages), generally referred to in North America as boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and la ...
, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are largely forested (see
Alberta Mountain forests The Alberta Mountain forests are a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion of Western Canada, as defined by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) categorization system. Setting This ecoregion covers the grand Rocky Mountains of Alberta including the easter ...
and Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests). The southern quarter of the province is
prairie Wheatfield intersection in the Southern Saskatchewan prairies, Canada. Prairies are ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and ...
, ranging from
shortgrass prairie The shortgrass prairie is an ecosystem located in the Great Plains of North America. The two most dominant grasses in the shortgrass prairie are blue grama (''Bouteloua gracilis'') and buffalograss (''Bouteloua dactyloides''), the two less dominan ...
in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central
aspen parkland Aspen parkland refers to a very large area of transitional biome between prairie and boreal forest in two sections, namely the Peace River Country of northwestern Alberta crossing the border into British Columbia, and a much larger area stretching ...
region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, and then east to
Lloydminster Lloydminster is a Canadian city which has the unusual geographic distinction of straddling the provincial border between Alberta and Saskatchewan. The city is incorporated by both provinces as a single city with a single municipal administration. ...
, 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 or to
dairy farming Dairy farming is a class of agriculture for long-term production of milk, which is processed (either on the farm or at a dairy plant, either of which may be called a dairy) for eventual sale of a dairy product. Common types Although any mamma ...
, with
mixed farmingMixed farming is a type of farming which involves both the growing of crops and the raising of livestock. Such agriculture occurs across Asia and in countries such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, South Africa, China, Central Europe, Canad ...
more common in the north and centre, while
ranch A ranch (from es, rancho) is an area of land, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle and sheep. These terms are most often applied to livestock-raising ...
ing and
irrigated agriculture Irrigation is the artificial process of applying controlled amounts of water to land to assist in production of crops. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during per ...
predominate in the south. The Alberta
badlands in southern Utah Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water."Badlands" in ''Chambers's Encyclopædia''. London: George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 2, p. 47. They ar ...
are located in southeastern Alberta, where the
Red Deer River The Red Deer River is a river in Alberta and a small portion of Saskatchewan, Canada. It is a major tributary of the South Saskatchewan River and is part of the larger Saskatchewan-Nelson system that empties into Hudson Bay. Red Deer River has a ...
crosses the flat prairie and farmland, and features deep canyons and striking landforms.
Dinosaur Provincial Park Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated a two hour drive east of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; or , about a half-hour drive northeast of Brooks. The park is situated in the Red Deer River valley, which is noted for its striki ...
, near
Brooks, Alberta Brooks is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada, surrounded by the County of Newell. It is located on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) and the Canadian Pacific Railway, approximately southeast of Calgary, and northwest of Medicine Hat. The city has ...
, showcases the badlands terrain, desert flora, and remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the then lush landscape.


Climate

Alberta has a
humid continental climate A humid continental climate is a climatic region defined by Russo-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1900, typified by four distinct seasons and large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (som ...
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, the temperature can change rapidly. Arctic air masses in the winter produce extreme minimum temperatures varying from in northern Alberta to in southern Alberta, although temperatures at these extremes are rare. In the summer, continental air masses have produced record maximum temperatures from in the mountains to over in southeastern Alberta. Alberta is a sunny province. Annual bright sunshine totals range between 1,900 up to just under 2,600 hours per year. Northern Alberta gets about 18 hours of daylight in the summer. Alberta extends for over from north to south; its climate, therefore, varies considerably. Average high temperatures in January range from in the southwest to in the far 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 A rain shadow is a dry area on the leeward side of a mountainous area (away from the wind). The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems and cast a "shadow" of dryness behind them. Wind and moist air are drawn by the prevailin ...
over much of Alberta. The northerly location and isolation from the weather systems of the Pacific Ocean cause Alberta to have a dry climate with little moderation from the ocean. Annual precipitation ranges from in the southeast to in the north, except in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where total precipitation including snowfall can reach annually. There was a big drought in 2002 in Alberta and other places across Northern USA. The province is the namesake of the
Alberta clipper An Alberta clipper, also known as a Canadian clipper, is a fast moving low pressure area weather system which generally affects the central provinces of Canada and parts of the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and New England, precipitating a sudden t ...
, a type of intense, fast-moving winter storm that generally forms over or near the province and pushed with great speed by the continental polar
jetstream Jet streams are fast flowing, narrow, meandering air currents in the atmospheres of some planets, including Earth. On Earth, the main jet streams are located near the altitude of the tropopause and are westerly winds (flowing west to east). Th ...
descends over the rest of Southern Canada and the northern tier of the United States. In the summer, the average daytime temperatures range from around in the Rocky Mountain valleys and far north, up to around 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, sometimes resulting in flooding. In southwestern Alberta, the cold winters are frequently interrupted by warm, dry
chinook wind Chinook winds , or simply Chinooks, are föhn 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 P ...

chinook wind
s 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 Pincher Creek is a town in the southwest of Alberta, Canada. It is located immediately east of the Canadian Rockies, west of Lethbridge and south of Calgary. History For centuries before European settlers reached this area and inhabited it, Ab ...
, temperatures soared from in just one hour. The region around Lethbridge has the most chinooks, averaging 30 to 35 chinook days per year. Calgary has a 56% chance of a white Christmas, while Edmonton has an 86% chance. Northern Alberta is mostly covered by
boreal forest Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic languages), generally referred to in North America as boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and la ...
and has a
subarctic climate#REDIRECT Subarctic climate#REDIRECT Subarctic climate {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
. The agricultural area of southern Alberta has a
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate of a region that receives precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate. There are different kinds of semi-arid climates, depending on ...
steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe b ...
climate because the annual precipitation is less than the water that evaporates or is used by plants. 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 In agriculture, the yield is a measurement of the amount of a crop grown, or product such as wool, meat or milk produced, per unit area of land. The seed ratio is another way of calculating yields. Innovations, such as the use of fertilizer, the cr ...
problems and occasional severe droughts. Western Alberta is protected by the mountains and enjoys the mild temperatures brought by winter
chinook wind Chinook winds , or simply Chinooks, are föhn 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 P ...

chinook wind
s. Central and parts of northwestern Alberta in the Peace River region are largely aspen parkland, a
biome A biome is a collection of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared p ...
transitional between prairie to the south and boreal forest to the north. After Saskatchewan, Alberta experiences the most
tornado A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclon ...
es in Canada with an average of 15 verified per year. Thunderstorms, some of them severe, are frequent in the summer, especially in central and southern Alberta. The region surrounding the
Calgary–Edmonton Corridor The Calgary–Edmonton Corridor is a geographical region of the Canadian province of Alberta. It is the most urbanized area in Alberta and is one of Canada's four most urban regions. It consists of Statistics Canada Alberta census divisions No. 11 ...
is notable for having the highest frequency of
hail Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It is distinct from ice pellets (American English "sleet"), though the two are often confused. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is called a hailstone. Ice pellets fall generally ...
in Canada, which is caused by
orographic lift cloud pattern—analogous to a ship wake—in the downwind zone behind the Île Amsterdam, in the far southern Indian Ocean. The island generates wave motion in the wind passing over it, creating regularly spaced orographic clouds. The wave crests r ...
ing from the nearby Rocky Mountains, enhancing the updraft/downdraft cycle necessary for the formation of hail.


Ecology


Flora

In central and northern Alberta the arrival of spring is marked by the early flowering of the prairie crocus
anemone ''Anemone'' () is a genus of flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Plants of the genus are commonly called windflowers. They are native to the temperate and subtropical regions of all continents except Australia, New Zealand and ...
; this member of the buttercup family has been recorded flowering as early as March, though April is the usual month for the general population. Other prairie flora known to flower early are the golden bean and . Members of the
sunflower ''Helianthus'' () is a genus comprising about 70 species of annual and perennial flowering plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. Except for three South American species, the species of ''Helianthus'' are native to North America and Central Ame ...
family blossom on the prairie in the summer months between July and September. The southern and east central parts of Alberta are covered by short prairie grass, which dries up as summer lengthens, to be replaced by hardy perennials such as the prairie coneflower, fleabane, and Sagebrush, sage. Both yellow and white Melilotus, sweet clover can be found throughout the southern and central areas of the province. The trees in the parkland region of the province grow in clumps and belts on the hillsides. These are largely deciduous, typically aspen, Populus, poplar, and willow. 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 thousands of square kilometres. aspen, Aspen poplar, Populus balsamifera, balsam poplar (or in some parts Populus deltoides, cottonwood), and Betula papyrifera, paper birch are the primary large deciduous species. Pinophyta, Conifers include jack pine, Rocky Mountain pine, Pinus contorta, lodgepole pine, both white and black spruce, and the deciduous conifer Larix laricina, tamarack.


Fauna

The four climatic regions (alpine climate, alpine,
boreal forest Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic languages), generally referred to in North America as boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and la ...
, Aspen parkland, parkland, and
prairie Wheatfield intersection in the Southern Saskatchewan prairies, Canada. Prairies are ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and ...
) of Alberta are home to many different species of animals. The south and central prairie was the land of the American bison, bison, 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. Herbivore, Herbivorous animals are found throughout the province. Moose, mule deer, elk, and white-tailed deer are found in the wooded regions, and pronghorn can be found in the prairies of southern Alberta. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats live in the Rocky Mountains. Rabbits, porcupines, skunks, squirrels and many species of rodents and reptiles live in every corner of the province. Alberta is home to only one variety of venomous snake, the Crotalus viridis, prairie rattlesnake. Alberta is home to many large carnivores such as grizzly bearss and American black bear, black bears, which are found in the mountains and wooded regions. Smaller carnivores of the canidae, canine and Felidae, feline families include coyotes, Gray wolf, wolves, fox, lynx, bobcat and Cougar, mountain lion (cougar). Central and northern Alberta and the region farther north is the nesting ground of many migratory birds. Vast numbers of ducks, goose, geese, swans and pelicans arrive in Alberta every spring and nest on or near one of the hundreds of small lakes that dot northern Alberta. Eagles, hawks, owls and crows are plentiful, and a huge variety of smaller seed and insect-eating birds can be found. Alberta, like other Temperate climate, temperate regions, is home to mosquitoes, fly, flies, wasps, and bees. Rivers and lakes are populated with Esox, pike, walleye, Freshwater whitefish, whitefish, rainbow trout, rainbow, Brook trout, speckled, brown trout, and sturgeon. Bull trout, native to the province, is Alberta's provincial fish. Turtles are found in some water bodies in the southern part of the province. Frogs and salamanders are a few of the amphibians 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 brown rat, Norwegian rats. Since the early 1950s, the Executive Council of Alberta, 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 reported 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 only be kept in the province by 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. A colony of rats were subsequently found in a landfill near Medicine Hat in 2012 and again in 2014.


Paleontology

Alberta has one of the greatest diversities and abundances of Late Cretaceous dinosaur fossils in the world. Taxon, Taxa are represented by complete fossil skeletons, isolated material, microvertebrate remains, and even Bone bed, mass graves. At least 38 dinosaur Type (biology), type specimens were collected in the province. The Foremost Formation, Oldman Formation and Dinosaur Park Formations collectively comprise the Judith River Group and are the most thoroughly studied dinosaur-bearing strata in Alberta. Dinosaur-bearing strata are distributed widely throughout Alberta. The Dinosaur Provincial Park area contains outcrops of the Dinosaur Park Formation and Oldman Formation. In the central and southern regions of Alberta are intermittent Scollard Formation outcrops. In the
Drumheller Drumheller is a town within the Red Deer River valley in the badlands of east-central Alberta, Canada. It is located northeast of Calgary, and south of Stettler. The Drumheller portion of the Red Deer River valley, often referred to as Dinos ...
Valley and
Edmonton Edmonton () is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Alberta's central region. The city anchors the north ...

Edmonton
regions there are exposed Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Horseshoe Canyon facies. Other Geological formation, formations have been recorded as well, like the Milk River Formation, Milk River 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 and St. Mary River Formations of the southwest and the northwestern Wapiti Formation. The Wapiti Formation contains two ''Pachyrhinosaurus'' bone beds that break its general trend of low productivity, however. The Bearpaw Formation 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.Ryan, M. J., and Russell, A. P., 2001. Dinosaurs of Alberta (exclusive of Aves): In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, pp. 279–297.


History

Paleo-Indians arrived in Alberta at least 10,000 years ago, toward the end of the last glacial period, last ice age. They are thought to have migrated from Siberia to Alaska on a Beringia, land bridge across the Bering Strait and then possibly moved down the east side of the Rocky Mountains through Alberta to Settlement of the Americas, settle the Americas. Others may have Coastal Migration#Coastal migration hypothesis in the New World, migrated down the coast of British Columbia and then moved inland. Over time they differentiated into various First Nations peoples, including the Plains Indians, Plains Indian tribes of southern Alberta such as those of the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Plains Cree people, Plains Cree, who generally lived by hunting buffalo, and the more northerly tribes such as the Woodland Cree and Chipewyan who hunted, trapped, and fished for a living. After the British America, British arrival in Canada, approximately half of the province of Alberta, south of the
Athabasca River The Athabasca River (French: ''Rivière Athabasca'') is a river in Alberta, Canada, which originates at the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park and flows more than before emptying into Lake Athabasca. Much of the land along its banks is prot ...

Athabasca River
drainage, became part of Rupert's Land which consisted of all land drained by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. This area was granted by Charles II of England to the
Hudson's Bay Company The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC; french: Compagnie de la Baie d'Hudson ''CBH'') is a Canadian retail business group. A fur trading business for much of its existence, HBC now owns and operates retail stores in Canada and the United States. In 2 ...
(HBC) in 1670, and rival fur trading companies were not allowed to trade in it. The Athabasca River and the rivers north of it were not in HBC territory because they drained into the Arctic Ocean instead of Hudson Bay, and they were prime habitat for fur-bearing animals. The first European explorer of the Athabasca region was Peter Pond, who learned of the Methye Portage, which allowed travel from southern rivers into the rivers north of Rupert's Land. Fur traders formed the North West Company (NWC) of Montreal 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 (Alberta), Lac la Biche in 1778. Roderick Mackenzie built Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca ten years later in 1788. His cousin, Sir Alexander Mackenzie (explorer), Alexander Mackenzie, followed the North 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 The Mackenzie River (Slavey: ' èh tʃʰò ''literally'' big river; Inuvialuktun: ' uːkpɑk''literally'' great river; French: ) is a river in the Canadian boreal forest. It forms, along with the Slave, Peace, and Finlay, the longest river syste ...
—which he followed to its outlet in the Arctic Ocean. Returning to Lake Athabasca, he followed the
Peace River The Peace River (french: links=no, rivière de la Paix) 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 joins the Athabasca River in the P ...
upstream, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean, and so he became the first European 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 (New France), Louisiana, Louisiana Purchase, sold to the United States in 1803; in 1818, the portion of Louisiana north of the 49th parallel north, Forty-Ninth Parallel 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 Politics of Canada, Canadian Government purchased Rupert's Land. Northern Alberta was included in the North-Western Territory until 1870, when it and Rupert's land became Canada's North-West Territories. First Nations negotiated treaties with the Crown in which the Crown gained title to the land that would later become Alberta, and the Crown committed to ongoing support of the First Nations and guaranteed their hunting and fishing rights. The most significant treaties for Alberta are Treaty 6 (1876), Treaty 7 (1877) and Treaty 8 (1899). The District of Alberta 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 as the first premier. Less than a decade later, the First World War presented special challenges to the new province as an extraordinary number of volunteers left relatively few workers to maintain services and production. Over 50% of Alberta's doctors volunteered for service overseas.


21st century

On June 21, 2013, during the 2013 Alberta floods Alberta experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding throughout much of the southern half of the province along the Bow River, Bow, Elbow River, Elbow, Highwood River, Highwood and Oldman River, Oldman rivers and tributaries. A dozen municipalities in Southern Alberta declared local states of emergency on June 21 as water levels rose and numerous communities were placed under evacuation orders. In 2016, a 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire, wildfire resulted in the largest fire evacuation of residents in Alberta's history, as more than 80,000 people were ordered to evacuate. Since 2020, Alberta has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta, COVID-19 pandemic.


Demographics

The Canada 2016 Census, 2016 census reported Alberta had a population of 4,067,175 living in 1,527,678 of its 1,654,129 total dwellings, an 11.6% change from its 2011 population of 3,645,257. With a land area of , it had a population density of in 2016. Statistics Canada estimated the province to have a population of 4,436,258 in Q1 of 2021. Since 2000, Alberta's population has experienced a relatively high rate of growth, 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 in Canada, interprovincial migration compared to other provinces. In 2016, Alberta continued to have the youngest population among the provinces with a median age of 36.7 years, compared with the national median of 41.2 years. Also in 2016, Alberta had the smallest proportion of seniors (12.3%) among the provinces and one of the highest population shares of children (19.2%), further contributing to Alberta's young and growing population. About 81% of the population lives in urban areas and only about 19% in rural areas. The
Calgary–Edmonton Corridor The Calgary–Edmonton Corridor is a geographical region of the Canadian province of Alberta. It is the most urbanized area in Alberta and is one of Canada's four most urban regions. It consists of Statistics Canada Alberta census divisions No. 11 ...
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 experienced very high rates of growth in recent history. Alberta's population rose from 73,022 in 1901 to 3,290,350 according to the Canada 2006 Census, 2006 census.


Census information

According to the 2016 Canadian Census, 2016 census, Alberta has 779,155 residents (19.2%) between the ages of 0-14, 2,787,805 residents (68.5%) between the ages of 15–64, and 500,215 residents (12.3%) aged 65 and over. English is the most common mother tongue, with 2,991,485 native speakers. This is followed by Tagalog language, Tagalog, with 99,035 speakers, German, with 80,050 speakers, French, with 72,150 native speakers, and hindi, with 68,695 speakers. 253,460 residents identify as Indigenous peoples in Canada, Aboriginal, including 136,585 as First Nations, 114,370 as Métis, and 2,500 as Inuit. There are also 933,165 residents who identify as a visible minority, including 230,930 South Asian people, 166,195 Filipinos, and 158,200 Chinese respondents. 1,769,500 residents hold a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree, 895,885 residents have obtained a secondary (high) school diploma or equivalency certificate, and 540,665 residents do not have any certificate, diploma or degree. The 2006 census found that English, with 2,576,670 native speakers, was the most common mother tongue of Albertans, representing 79.99% of the population. The next most common mother tongues were Chinese with 97,275 native speakers (3.02%), followed by German with 84,505 native speakers (2.62%) and French with 61,225 (1.90%). Other mother tongues include: Punjabi language, Punjabi, with 36,320 native speakers (1.13%); Tagalog language, Tagalog, with 29,740 (0.92%); Ukrainian language, Ukrainian, with 29,455 (0.91%); Spanish, with 29,125 (0.90%); Polish language, Polish, with 21,990 (0.68%); Arabic, with 20,495 (0.64%); Dutch language, Dutch, with 19,980 (0.62%); and Vietnamese language, Vietnamese, with 19,350 (0.60%). The most common aboriginal language is Cree language, Cree 17,215 (0.53%). Other common mother tongues include Italian with 13,095 speakers (0.41%); Urdu with 11,275 (0.35%); and Korean language, Korean with 10,845 (0.33%); then Hindi 8,985 (0.28%); Persian language, Farsi 7,700 (0.24%); Portuguese language, Portuguese 7,205 (0.22%); and Hungarian language, Hungarian 6,770 (0.21%). Alberta has considerable ethnic diversity. In line with the rest of Canada, many are descended from immigrants of Western European nations, notably English Canadians, England, Scottish Canadians, Scotland, Irish Canadians, Ireland, Welsh Canadians, Wales and French Canadians, France, but large numbers later came from other regions of Europe, notably German Canadians, Germany, Ukrainian Canadians, Ukraine and Scandinavia. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta is home to the second-highest proportion (two percent) of Geographical distribution of French speakers, Francophones in western Canada (after Manitoba). Despite this, relatively few Albertans claim French as their mother tongue. Many of Franco-Albertans, Alberta's French-speaking residents live in the central and northwestern regions of the province, after migration from other areas of Canada or descending from Métis. As reported in the 2001 census, the Chinese represented nearly four percent of Alberta's population, and South Asians represented more than two percent. Both Edmonton and Calgary have historic Chinatowns, 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. First Nations in Alberta, Aboriginal Albertans make up approximately three percent of the population. In the 2006 Census in Canada, Canadian census, the most commonly reported ethnic origins among Albertans were: 885,825 English (27.2%); 679,705 German (20.9%); 667,405 Canadian (20.5%); 661,265 Scottish (20.3%); 539,160 Irish (16.6%); 388,210 French (11.9%); 332,180 Ukrainian (10.2%); 172,910 Dutch Canadians, Dutch (5.3%); 170,935 Polish Canadians, Polish (5.2%); 169,355 Indigenous peoples of the Americas, North American Indian (5.2%); 144,585 Norwegians, Norwegian (4.4%); and 137,600 Chinese Canadians, Chinese (4.2%). (Each person could choose as many ethnicities as were applicable.) Amongst those of British heritage, the Scots have had a particularly strong influence on place-names, with the names of many cities and towns including Calgary, Airdrie, Alberta, Airdrie, Canmore, and Banff having List of Scottish place names in Canada, Scottish origins. Alberta is the third most diverse province in terms of Visible minority, visible minorities after British Columbia and Ontario with 13.9% of the population consisting of visible minorities in 2006. Over one third of the populations of Calgary and Edmonton belong to a visible minority group. Aboriginal Identity Peoples made up 5.8% of the population in 2006, about half of whom consist of First Nations and the other half are Métis in Canada, Métis. There are also small number of Inuit 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 2011 Census, 2011 National Household Survey, the largest religious group was Roman Catholic, representing 24.3% of the population. Alberta had the second-highest percentage of Irreligion, non-religious residents among the provinces (after British Columbia) at 31.6% of the population. Of the remainder, 7.5% of the population identified themselves as belonging to the United Church of Canada, while 3.9% were Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican. Lutheranism, Lutherans made up 3.3% of the population while Baptists comprised 1.9%. The remainder belonged to a wide variety of different religious affiliations, none of which constituted more than 2% of the population. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS Church are mostly concentrated in the extreme south of the province. Alberta has a population of Hutterites, a communal Anabaptism, Anabaptist sect similar to the Mennonites, and has a significant population of Seventh-day Adventist Church, Seventh-day Adventists. Alberta is home to several Byzantine Rite Churches as part of the legacy of Eastern European immigration, including the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada's Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Western Canada, Western Diocese which is based in Edmonton. Muslims made up 3.2% of the population, Sikhs 1.5%, Buddhists 1.2%, and Hindus 1.0%. Many of these are immigrants, but others have roots that go back to the first settlers of the prairies. Canada's oldest mosque, the Al-Rashid Mosque, is located in Edmonton, whereas Calgary is home to Canada's largest mosque, the Baitun Nur Mosque. Alberta is also home to a growing Jewish population of about 15,400 people who constituted 0.3% of Alberta's population. Most of Alberta's Jews live in the metropolitan areas of Calgary (8,200) and Edmonton (5,500).


Municipalities

;Largest metro areas and municipalities by population as of 2016


Economy

Alberta's economy was one of the strongest in the world, supported by the burgeoning petroleum industry and to a lesser extent, agriculture and technology. In 2013, Alberta's per capita GDP exceeded that of the United States, Norway, or Switzerland, and was the highest of any province in Canada at This was 56% higher than the national average of 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 History of Canada, Canadian history. 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). In 2014, Alberta had the second-largest economy in Canada after Ontario, with a GDP exceeding . The GDP of the province calculated at basic prices rose by 4.6% in 2017 to $327.4 billion, which was the largest increase recorded in Canada, and it ended two consecutive years of decreases. Alberta's debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to peak at 12.1% in fiscal year 2021–2022, falling to 11.3% the following year. 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 Toronto-Dominion Bank, 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, offering universal health care benefits. The study found that GDP per capita in the corridor was 10% above average U.S. metropolitan areas and 40% above other List of cities in Canada, Canadian cities at that time. The Fraser Institute states that Alberta also has very high levels of economic freedom and rates Alberta as the freest economy in Canada, and second-freest economy amongst U.S. states and Canadian provinces. In 2014, Merchandise exports totalled US$121.4 billion. Energy revenues totalled $111.7 billion and Energy resource exports totalled $90.8 billion. Farm Cash receipts from agricultural products totalled $12.9 billion. Shipments of forest products totalled $5.4 billion while exports were $2.7 billion. Manufacturing sales totalled $79.4 billion, and Alberta's ICT industries generated over $13 billion in revenue. In total, Alberta's 2014 GDP amassed $364.5 billion in 2007 dollars, or $414.3 billion in 2015 dollars. In 2015, Alberta's GDP grew despite low oil prices; however, it was unstable with growth rates as high 4.4% and as low as 0.2%. Should the GDP remain at an average of 2.2% for the last two-quarters of 2015, Alberta's GDP should exceed $430 billion by the end of 2015. However, RBC Economics research predicts Alberta's real GDP growth to only average 0.6% for the last two-quarters of 2015. This estimate predicts a real GDP growth of only 1.4% for 2015. A positive is the predicted 10.8% growth in Nominal GDP, and possibly above 11% in 2016.


Agriculture and forestry

Agriculture has a significant position in the province's economy. The province has over three million head of cattle, and Alberta beef has a healthy worldwide market. Nearly one half of all Canadian beef is produced in Alberta. Alberta is one of the top producers of plains American bison, buffalo (bison) for the consumer market. Sheep for wool and mutton are also raised. Wheat and canola are primary farm crops, with Alberta leading the provinces in spring wheat production; other cereal, grains 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 is slowly being lost as rail lines are decreasing; farmers typically truck the grain to central points. Alberta is the leading beekeeping province of Canada, with some beekeepers wintering Beehive (beekeeping), hives indoors in specially designed barns in southern Alberta, then migrating north during the summer into the Peace River (Alberta), Peace River valley where the season is short but the working days are long for Western honey bee, honeybees to produce honey from clover and fireweed. Hybrid (biology), Hybrid canola also requires bee pollination, and some beekeepers service this need. Forestry plays a vital role in Alberta's economy, providing over 15,000 jobs and contributing billions of dollars annually. Uses for harvested timber include pulpwood, hardwood, engineered wood and bioproducts such as chemicals and biofuels. Recently, the United States has been Canada and Alberta's largest importer of hardwood and pulpwood, although Canada-United States softwood lumber dispute, continued trades issues with the U.S. have likely been a contributing factor towards Alberta's increased focus on Asian markets.


Industry

Alberta is the largest producer of petroleum, conventional crude oil, synthetic crude, natural gas and gas products in Canada. Alberta is the world's second-largest exporter of natural gas and the fourth-largest producer. Two of the largest producers of petrochemicals in North America are located in central and north-central Alberta. In both Red Deer and Edmonton, polyethylene and Polyvinyl chloride, vinyl manufacturers produce products that are shipped all over the world. Edmonton's oil refinery, oil refineries provide the raw materials for a large petrochemical industry to the east of Edmonton. The Athabasca oil sands surrounding Fort McMurray have estimated unconventional oil reserves approximately equal to the Petroleum, conventional oil reserves of the rest of the world, estimated to be 1.6 trillion barrels (254 km3). Many companies employ both conventional surface mining, strip mining and non-conventional in situ methods to extract the Asphalt, bitumen from the oil sands. 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 profitable to extract this oil, which in the past would give little profit or even a loss. By mid-2014, however, rising costs and stabilizing oil prices were threatening the economic viability of some projects. An example of this was the shelving of the Joslyn north project in the Athabasca region in May 2014. 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 systems. With a growing economy, Alberta has several financial institutions dealing with civil and private funds.


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, Calgary Stampede, outdoor festivals, professional athletic events, international sporting competitions such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, as well as more eclectic attractions. According to Alberta Economic Development, Calgary and Edmonton both host over four million visitors annually. Banff,
Jasper Jasper, an aggregate of microgranular quartz and/or chalcedony and other mineral phases,Kostov, R. I. 2010. Review on the mineralogical systematics of jasper and related rocks. – Archaeometry Workshop, 7, 3, 209-213PDF/ref> is an opaque, impure ...
and the Canadian Rockies, Rocky Mountains are visited by about three million people per year. Alberta tourism relies heavily on Southern Ontario tourists, as well as tourists from other parts of Canada, the United States, and many other countries. There are also natural attractions like Elk Island National Park,
Wood Buffalo National Park Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park of Canada at . It is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories. Larger in area than Switzerland, it is the second-largest national park in the world. The park was ...
, and the
Columbia Icefield The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in North America's Rocky Mountains. Located within the Canadian Rocky Mountains astride the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, the ice field lies partly in the ...
. Alberta's Rockies include well-known tourist destinations Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The two mountain parks are connected by the scenic Icefields Parkway. Banff is located west of Calgary on Alberta Highway 1, Highway 1, and Jasper is located west of Edmonton on Yellowhead Highway. Five of Canada's fourteen
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace an ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
s are located within the province:
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site is located in the Canadian Rockies. It consists of seven contiguous parks including four national parks: *Banff *Jasper *Kootenay *Yoho and three British Columbia provincial parks: *Hamber Pro ...
, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Wood Buffalo National Park,
Dinosaur Provincial Park Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated a two hour drive east of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; or , about a half-hour drive northeast of Brooks. The park is situated in the Red Deer River valley, which is noted for its striki ...
and
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 (11.2 mi) west of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada on highway 785. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ...
. A number of these areas hold ski resorts, most notably Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Lake Louise, Marmot Basin, Mount Norquay ski resort, Norquay and Nakiska. About 1.2 million people visit the Calgary Stampede, a celebration of Canada's own Wild West and the cattle ranching industry. About 700,000 people enjoy Edmonton's K-Days (formerly Klondike Days and Capital EX). Edmonton was the gateway to the only all-Canadian route to the Yukon Gold mining, gold fields, and the only route which did not require gold-seekers to travel the exhausting and dangerous Chilkoot Pass. Another tourist destination that draws more than 650,000 visitors each year is the Drumheller Valley, located northeast of Calgary.
Drumheller Drumheller is a town within the Red Deer River valley in the badlands of east-central Alberta, Canada. It is located northeast of Calgary, and south of Stettler. The Drumheller portion of the Red Deer River valley, often referred to as Dinos ...
, "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. Another attraction in east-central Alberta is Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, a popular tourist attraction operated out of Stettler, Alberta, Stettler, that offers train excursions into the prairie and caters to tens of thousands of visitors every year.


Government and politics

The Government of Alberta is organized as a Parliamentary system, parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature. Its Unicameralism, unicameral legislature—the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Legislative Assembly—consists of 87 members elected First-past-the-post voting, first past the post (FPTP) from single-member constituencies. Locally municipal governments and school boards are elected and operate separately. Their boundaries do not necessarily coincide. As Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II is the head of state for the Government of Alberta. Her duties in Alberta are carried out by Lieutenant Governor
Salma Lakhani Salma Lakhani (born 1951 or 1952) is the 19th lieutenant governor of Alberta. Her appointment as lieutenant governor was made by Governor General of Canada Julie Payette on the constitutional advice of Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, effec ...
. The Queen and lieutenant governor are figureheads whose actions are highly restricted by custom and constitutional convention (political custom), constitutional convention. The lieutenant governor handles numerous honorific duties in the name of the Queen. The government is headed by the Premier of Alberta, premier. The premier is normally a member of the Legislative Assembly, and draws all the members of the Cabinet from among the members of the Legislative Assembly. The City of Edmonton is the seat of the provincial government—the capital of Alberta. The premier is
Jason Kenney Jason Thomas Kenney (born May 30, 1968) is a Canadian politician who has served as the 18th and current premier of Alberta since 2019, and as leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) since 2017. He was the last leader of the Alberta Progre ...
, sworn in on April 30, 2019. Alberta's elections have tended to yield much more conservative outcomes than those of other Canadian provinces. Since the 1960s, Alberta has had three main political parties, the Progressive Conservatives ("Conservatives" or "Tories"), the Liberals, and the social democratic New Democrats. The Wildrose Party, a more conservative party formed in early 2008, gained much support in the 2012 Alberta General Election, 2012 election and became the Opposition (parliamentary), official opposition, a role it held until 2017 when it was dissolved and succeeded by the new United Conservative Party created by the merger of Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives. The strongly conservative Social Credit Party of Alberta, Social Credit Party was a power in Alberta for many decades, but fell from the political map after the Progressive Conservatives came to power in 1971. For 44 years the Progressive Conservatives governed Alberta. They lost the 2015 Alberta general election, 2015 election to the NDP (which formed their own government for the first time in provincial history, breaking almost 80 consecutive years of right-wing rule), suggesting at the time a possible shift to the left in the province, also indicated by the election of progressive mayors in both of Alberta's major cities. Since becoming a province in 1905, Alberta has seen only five changes of government—only six parties have governed Alberta: the Liberals, from 1905 to 1921; the
United Farmers of Alberta The United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) is an association of Alberta farmers that has served different roles in its 100-year history – as a lobby group, a successful political party, and as a farm-supply retail chain. As a political party, it formed ...
, from 1921 to 1935; the Social Credit Party, from 1935 to 1971; the Progressive Conservative Party, from 1971 to 2015; from 2015 to 2019, the Alberta New Democratic Party; and from 2019, the United Conservative Party, with the 2019 Alberta general election, most recent transfer of power being the first time in provincial history that an incumbent government was not returned to a second term.


Administrative divisions

The province is divided into 10 types of Incorporation (municipal government), local governments – urban municipalities (including city, cities, towns, villages and summer villages), specialized municipalities, rural municipalities (including List of municipal districts in Alberta, municipal districts (often named as List of municipal districts in Alberta, counties), improvement districts, and special areas), Métis settlements, and Indian reserves. All types of municipalities are governed by local residents and were incorporated under various provincial acts, with the exception of improvement districts (governed by either the provincial or federal government), and Indian reserves (governed by local first nation, First Nations people under federal jurisdiction).


Law enforcement

Policing in the province of Alberta upon its creation was the responsibility of the North-West Mounted Police, Royal Northwest Mounted Police. In 1917, due to pressures of World War I, the Alberta Provincial Police was created. This organization policed the province until it was disbanded as a Great Depression-era cost-cutting measure in 1932. It was at that time the now renamed Royal Canadian Mounted Police resumed policing of the province, specifically RCMP "K" Division. With the advent of the Alberta Sheriffs Branch, the distribution of duties of law enforcement in Alberta has been evolving as certain aspects, such as traffic enforcement, mobile surveillance and the close protection of the Premier of Alberta have been transferred to the Sheriffs. In 2006, Alberta formed the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) to combat organized crime and the serious offences that accompany it. ALERT is made up of members of the RCMP, Sheriffs Branch and various major municipal police forces in Alberta.


Military

Military bases in Alberta include CFB Cold Lake, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Cold Lake, CFB Edmonton, CFB Suffield and CFB Wainwright. Air force units stationed at CFB Cold Lake have access to the CFB Cold Lake, Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. CFB Edmonton is the headquarters for the 3rd Canadian Division. CFB Suffield hosts British troops and is the largest training facility in Canada.


Taxation

According to Alberta's 2009 budget, government revenue in that year came 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 Government of Canada, federal government primarily for infrastructure projects (9.8%). In 2014, Alberta received $6.1 billion in bitumen royalties. With the drop in the price of oil in 2015 it was down to $1.4 billion. In 2016, Alberta received "about $837 million in royalty payments from oil sands Royalty Projects". According to the 2018–21 fiscal plan, the two top sources of revenue in 2016 were personal income tax at $10, 763 million and federal transfers of $7,976 million with total resource revenue at $3,097 million. Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax. Alberta residents are still subject to the federal sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax (Canada), Goods and Services Tax of 5%. From 2001-2016, Alberta was the only Canadian province to have a flat tax of 10% of taxable income, which was introduced by then-Premier, Ralph Klein, as part of the Alberta Tax Advantage, which also included a zero-percent tax on income below a "generous personal exemption". In 2016, under then-Premier Rachel Notley, while most Albertans continued to pay the 10-per-cent income tax rate, new tax brackets 12-per-cent, 14-per-cent, and 15-per-cent for those with higher incomes ($128,145 annually or more) were introduced. Alberta's personal income tax system maintained a Progressive tax, progressive character by continuing to grant residents personal tax exemptions of $18,451, 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 who usually work in co-operation with the provincial government. By 2018, most Albertans continued to pay the 10-per-cent income tax rate. According to a March 2015 Statistics Canada report, the median household income in Alberta in 2014 was about $100,000, which is 23 per cent higher than the Canadian national average. Based on Statistic Canada reports, low income Albertans, who earn less than $25,000 and those in the high-income bracket earning $150,000 or more, are the lowest-taxed people in Canada. Those in the middle income brackets representing those that earn about $25,000 to $75,000According to a 2018 CBC article, Albertans whose annual income is less than $25,000 pay the least income tax in Canada; those that earn about $50,000 "pay more than both Ontarians and British Columbians". Residents of British Columbia who earn about $75,000 pay $1,200 less in provincial taxes than those in Alberta. Albertans who earn about $100,000, "pay less than Ontarians but still more than people in B.C." Alberta taxpayers who earn $250,000 a year or more, pay $4,000 less in provincial taxes than someone with a similar income in B.C. and "about $18,000 less than in Quebec." pay more in provincial taxes than residents in British Columbia and Ontario. In terms of income tax, Alberta is the "best province" for those with a low income because there is no provincial income tax for those who earn $18,915 or less. Even with the 2016 progressive tax brackets up to 15%, Albertans who have the highest incomes, those with a $150,000 annual income or more—about 178,000 people in 2015, pay the least in taxes in Canada. — About 1.9 million Albertans earned between $25,000 and $150,000 in 2015. Alberta also privatized alcohol distribution. By 2010, privatization had 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. In 2017/18 Alberta collected about $2.4 billion in education property taxes from municipalities. Albertan municipalities raise a significant portion of their income through levying property taxes. The value of assessed property in Alberta was approximately $727 billion in 2011. Most real property is assessed according to its market value. The exceptions to market value assessment are farmland, railways, machinery & equipment and linear property, all of which is assessed by regulated rates. Depending on the property type, property owners may appeal a property assessment to their municipal 'Local Assessment Review Board', 'Composite Assessment Review Board,' or the Alberta Municipal Government Board.


Culture

Summer brings many festivals to the province of Alberta, especially in Edmonton. The Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Edmonton Fringe Festival is the world's second-largest after the Edinburgh Festival. Both Calgary and Edmonton host a number of annual festivals and events, including folk music festivals. The city's "heritage days" festival sees the participation of over 70 ethnic groups. Edmonton's Churchill Square (Edmonton), Churchill Square is home to a large number of the festivals, including the large Taste of Edmonton & The Works Art & Design Festival throughout the summer months. The City of Calgary is also famous for its Stampede, 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 and bull riding. In line with the western tradition of rodeo are the cultural artisans that reside and create unique Alberta western heritage crafts. The Banff Centre hosts a range of festivals and other events including the international Banff Mountain Film Festival, Mountain Film Festival. 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. Both Calgary and Edmonton are home to Canadian Football League and National Hockey League teams (the Calgary Stampeders, Stampeders/Calgary Flames, Flames and Edmonton Football Team/Edmonton Oilers, Oilers respectively). Soccer, rugby union and lacrosse are also played professionally in Alberta. In 2019 the then Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda announced the Alberta Artist in Residence program in conjunction with the province's first Month of the Artist to celebrate the arts and the value they bring to the province, both socially and economically, The Artist is selected each year via a public and competitive process is expected to do community outreach and attend events to promote the arts through out the province. The award comes with $60,000 funding which includes travel and materials costs. On January 31, 2019 Lauren Crazybull named Alberta's 1st Artist in Residence. Alberta is the first province to launch an Artist in Residence program in Canada.


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 regulate universities, colleges, technical institutions and other educational forms and institutions (public charter schools, private schools, home schooling).


Elementary and secondary

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, Alberta, St. Albert) has a Protestant 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 a 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. State school, Public and separate school boards, charter schools, and private schools all follow the Program of Studies and the curriculum approved by the provincial department of education (Alberta Education). Homeschooling, Homeschool tutors 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.


Post-secondary

The University of Alberta, located in Edmonton and established in 1908, is Alberta's oldest and largest university. The University of Calgary, once affiliated with the University of Alberta, gained its autonomy in 1966 and is now the second-largest university in Alberta. Athabasca University, which focuses on distance learning, and the University of Lethbridge are located in Athabasca and Lethbridge respectively. In early September 2009, Mount Royal University became Calgary's second public university, and in late September 2009, a similar move made 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 and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Two of the colleges, Red Deer College and Grande Prairie Regional College, were approved by the Alberta government to become degree granting universities There are also many private post-secondary institutions, mostly List of colleges in Alberta#Private Colleges, Christian Universities, bringing the total number of universities to 12. Students may also receive government loans and grants while attending selected private institutions. There was some controversy in 2005 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.


Health care

Alberta provides a publicly funded health care, publicly funded, fully integrated health system, through Alberta Health Services (AHS)—a quasi-independent agency that delivers health care on behalf of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Health (Alberta), Ministry of Health. The Alberta government provides health services for all its residents as set out by the provisions of the ''Canada Health Act'' of 1984. Alberta became Canada's second province (after
Saskatchewan ("Strength from Many Peoples") , image_map = Saskatchewan in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Regina , largest_city ...
) to adopt a Tommy Douglas-style program in 1950, a precursor to the modern Medicare (Canada), medicare system. Alberta's health care budget was $22.5 billion during the 2018–2019 fiscal year (approximately 45% of all government spending), making it the best-funded health-care system per-capita in Canada. Every hour the province spends more than $2.5 million, (or $60 million per day), to maintain and improve health care in the province. Notable health, education, research, and resources facilities in Alberta, all of which are located within Calgary or Edmonton. Health centres in Calgary include: *Alberta Children's Hospital *Foothills Medical Centre *Grace Women's Health Centre *Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta *Peter Lougheed Centre *Rockyview General Hospital *South Health Campus *Tom Baker Cancer Centre *University of Calgary Medical Centre (UCMC) Health centres in Edmonton include: *Alberta Diabetes Institute *Cross Cancer Institute *Edmonton Clinic *Grey Nuns Community Hospital *Lois Hole Hospital for Women *Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute *Misericordia Community Hospital *Rexall Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research *Royal Alexandra Hospital (Edmonton), Royal Alexandra Hospital *Stollery Children's Hospital *University of Alberta Hospital The University of Alberta in Edmonton, Edmonton Clinic complex, completed in 2012, provides a similar research, education, and care environment as the Mayo Clinic in the United States. All public health care services funded by the Government of Alberta are delivered operationally by Alberta Health Services. AHS is the province's single health authority, established on July 1, 2008, which replaced nine regional health authorities. AHS also funds all ground ambulance services in the province, as well as the province-wide Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) air ambulance service.


Transportation


Air

Alberta is well-connected by air, with international airports in both Calgary and Edmonton. Calgary International Airport and Edmonton International Airport are the fourth- and List of the busiest airports in Canada, fifth-busiest in Canada, respectively. Calgary's airport is a hub for WestJet, WestJet Airlines and a regional hub for Air Canada, primarily serving the prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) for connecting flights to British Columbia, eastern Canada, 15 major U.S. centres, nine European airports, one Asian airport and four destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Edmonton's airport acts as a hub for the Canadian north and has connections to all major Canadian airports as well as airports in the United States, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean .


Public transit

Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge have substantial Public transport, public transit systems. In addition to buses, Calgary and Edmonton operate Light rail, light rail transit (LRT) systems. Edmonton Light Rail Transit, Edmonton LRT, which is underground in the downtown core and on the surface outside the CBD, was the first of the modern generation of light rail systems to be built in North America, while the Calgary C-Train has one of the highest number of daily riders of any LRT system in North America.


Rail

There are more than of operating mainline railway in Alberta. The vast majority of this trackage is owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway companies, which operate railway Cargo, freight across the province. Additional railfreight service in the province is provided by two shortline railways: the Battle River Railway and Forty Mile Rail. Passenger trains include Via Rail's Canadian (Toronto–Vancouver) or Jasper–Prince Rupert trains, which use the CN mainline and pass through Jasper National Park and parallel the Yellowhead Highway during at least part of their routes. The Rocky Mountaineer operates two sections: one from Vancouver to Banff and Calgary over CP tracks, and a section that travels over CN tracks to Jasper.


Road

Alberta has over of highways and roads, of which nearly are paved. The main north–south corridor is Alberta Highway 2, Highway 2, which begins south of Cardston at the Carway, Alberta, Carway border crossing and is part of the CANAMEX Corridor. Alberta Highway 4, Highway 4, which effectively extends Interstate 15 into Alberta and is the busiest U.S. gateway to the province, begins at the Coutts, Alberta, Coutts border crossing and ends at Lethbridge. Alberta Highway 3, Highway 3 joins Lethbridge to Fort Macleod and links Highway 2 to Highway 4. Highway 2 travels north through Fort Macleod, Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton. North of Edmonton, the highway continues to Athabasca, Alberta, Athabasca, then northwesterly along the south shore of
Lesser Slave Lake Lesser Slave Lake is located in central Alberta, Canada, northwest of Edmonton. It is the second largest lake entirely within Alberta boundaries (and the largest easily accessible by vehicle), covering and measuring over long and at its widest ...
into High Prairie, north to Peace River, Alberta, Peace River, west to Fairview, Alberta, Fairview and finally south to Grande Prairie, where it ends at an interchange with Alberta Highway 43, 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: Alberta Highway 22, Highway 22, west of Highway 2, known as ''Cowboy Trail'', and Alberta Highway 21, Highway 21, east of Highway 2. Highway 43 travels northwest into Grande Prairie and the Peace River Country; Alberta Highway 63, 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 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 (Alberta Highway 16, Highway 16), runs west from Lloydminster in eastern Alberta, through Edmonton and Jasper National Park into British Columbia. One of the most scenic drives is along the Icefields Parkway, which runs for between Jasper and Lake Louise, with mountain ranges and glaciers on either side of its entire length. A third corridor stretches across southern Alberta; Alberta Highway 3, Highway 3 runs between Crowsnest Pass and Medicine Hat through Lethbridge and forms the eastern portion of the Crowsnest Highway. Another major corridor through central Alberta is Alberta Highway 11, Highway 11 (also known as the David Thompson (explorer), David Thompson Highway), which runs east from the Saskatchewan River Crossing, Alberta, Saskatchewan River Crossing in Banff National Park through Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer, Alberta, Red Deer, connecting with Alberta Highway 12, Highway 12 west of Stettler, Alberta, Stettler. 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 as it passes through Calgary but becomes Calgary Trail (for southbound traffic) and Gateway Boulevard (for northbound traffic) as it enters Edmonton and then turns into St. Albert Trail as it leaves Edmonton for the City of St. Albert, Alberta, St. Albert. Calgary, in particular, has a tradition of calling its largest urban limited-access road, expressways ''trails'' and naming many of them after prominent First Nations individuals and tribes, such as Crowchild Trail, Deerfoot Trail, and Stoney Trail.


Friendship partners

Alberta has relationships with many provinces, states, and other entities worldwide. * Gangwon Province, South Korea, Gangwon-do, South Korea (1974) * Hokkaido, Japan (1980) * Heilongjiang, China (1981) *
Montana Montana () is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west; North Dakota and South Dakota to the east; Wyoming to the south; and by the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Sa ...
, United States (1985) * Tyumen, Russia (1992) * Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Khanty–Mansi, Russia (1995) * Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Yamalo-Nenets, Russia (1997) * Jalisco, Mexico (1999) * Alaska, United States (2002) * Saxony, Germany (2002) * Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine (2004) * Lviv, Ukraine (2005) * California, United States (1997) * Guangdong, China (2017)


See also

* Index of Alberta-related articles * Outline of Alberta * Symbols of Alberta


Notes


References


Further reading

* * * * * *


External links


Government of Alberta website
*
Alberta Encyclopedia

List of streets in Alberta with maps
{{Authority control Alberta, 1905 establishments in Canada Provinces of Canada States and territories established in 1905 Canadian Prairies