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Regions of Canada

Map of Canada

Atlantic Region

Province Capital
Newfoundland (NFLD)  St.John's
Prince Edward Island (PEI)  Charlottetown 
Nova Scotia (NS Halifax
New Brunswick Fredericton

Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are all of Canada's Atlantic Provinces. This is the part of Canada that the European explorers first came to and began to set up settlements. This area is both rich in natural resources and history.

The area was first inhabited by the First Nations people who hunted and fished here for thousands of years. In the late 1500's and early 1600's Jaques Cartier arrived from France which marked the beginning of settlements in Canada. French settlers who became known as Acadians were the first Europeans to settle permanently in Canada. Over time they were joined by settlers from the British Isles and Germany.

In the 1700's British refugees from the American War of Independence that were still loyal to the crown (called Loyalists) came to this area from the United States. Some of the earliest Black settlers moved to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Industries: fishing, farming, forestry, mining (oil, nickel, copper, cobalt), manufacturing (mainly processing natural resources), service industries, tourism

*New Brunswick is the only official bilingual province.


Central Canada

Provinces  Capital 
Quebec Quebec City
Ontario Toronto


Central Canada is made up of Quebec and Ontario. More than half of the population of Canada live in cities in southern Ontario and Quebec close to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River areas.

Quebec: The first inhabitants were the First Nations Peoples and Inuit who were the first to raise vegetable crops along the St. Lawrence River. In the 1600's French settlers came to this area. This French heritage is reflected in Quebec society today. More than 3/4 of the people who speak French live in Quebec. Over 1/3 of those who live in Quebec speak both official languages (highest level in Canada)

Industries: forestry, energy (hydroelectricity) and mining (asbestos, gold, copper, silver and iron ore), (main producer of) pulp and paper, farming, tourism, chemical, textile, transportation, aeronautics and space industry

Throughout Quebec's history there has been a strong nationalism sentiment. Over the years this has transferred into a separatist movement. The current provincial government of Quebec (Parti Quebecois) is a Separatist government and the third party in the House of Commons (Bloc Quebecois) is also devoted to the separatist cause. There are many reasons that many Quebecers want to separate. Some feel that they deserve to be recognized as a "distinct society" in the constitution - something to which there is major opposition to in other parts of Canada. Others feel that Quebec would be better off on its own economically, politically and socially. In 1982 Quebec did not sign the latest revision of the constitution. Therefore its' place in Canada is questionable. The last two attempts to include Quebec in the constitution have failed which has made the situation worse. Canadians have some serious thinking and talking to do if Quebec is to continue to remain a part of Canada in the 21st Century.

Ontario: The Algonquin and Iroquois First nations were the earliest people to live in the province. By the 1700's the population began to grow rapidly (partially due to the immigration of the United Empire Loyalist refugees from the American Revolution).

Throughout Canada's history the large population, rich resources and it's location have given Ontario a powerful economy. Major industries include service, manufacturing:( auto and auto parts, other transportation equipment, steel machinery, metal, plastic, chemical products), agriculture (fruit, dairy, beef, poultry, vegetable and grain crops), forestry, electricity (nuclear and hydro), and mining (nickel, gold, silver, platinum, uranium, zinc, copper)


The Prairie Provinces

Province Capital
Manitoba  Winnipeg
Saskatchewan  Regina
Alberta Edmonton 


Manitoba, Saskatchewan
and Alberta are known collectively as the Prairies. The Prairies are flat plains that stretch across the southern part of this region. The area has few trees and very fertile soil. Most of what was grasslands in now used for farming. In the north west regions there are hills, valleys, rivers (and cold temperatures!!!) In the south west part of the province of Alberta the open prairies meet the rocky mountains.

The First Nations people were the earliest inhabitants of the Prairies and were skilled buffalo hunters. Through marriage with the European settlers the Metis nation was formed who became important suppliers and traders to the region.* French speaking people have and continue to live in this area since the early days of the fur trade.

In the 1800's the Canadian government built a railway across Canada which made immigration to the west much easier. Many immigrants came from Europe to this area as the government offered cheap land to encourage settlement in the west.

As in the rest of Canada the service industry is the largest. Manufacturing: (machinery - food machinery, transportation equipment, metal products and clothing, food, and chemical products) This is the agricultural heartland of Canada. Manitoba: wide variety of grain crops and livestock, Saskatchewan: leading wheat producer in Canada (one of the world's most productive regions), Alberta: leads the country in beef cattle and feed grain products. Energy resources are another important industry. Alberta is a major producer of fossil fuels and of coal, Saskatchewan is a large producer of oil, natural gas, uranium and potash and Manitoba (the land of 100,000) lakes has the most important source of hydro-electric power in the Prairie region.

*Calgary Alberta was the home of the 1988 Winter Olympics


The West Coast

Province Capital
British Columbia  Victoria


Brititsh Columbia
(B.C.) borders the Pacific Ocean and is known for it's mountains and forests. The First Nations people were the first to inhabit the region. They developed a unique form of art which often represents and incorporates nature. It is probably best known through totem poles.

Due to the ever westward-moving fur trade, European settlers came to the region in the early 1800's. In the late 1800's many Chinese people immigrated to the region to help build the final section of the Pacific Railway. To this day many of their descendants live in the province. Today the population of BC includes many people from Asia and other parts of the world.

British Columbia's rich natural resources have always been important to the economy. BC has the most valuable forestry industry in Canada. (About 1/2 of all of the goods produced here are forestry products) Other industries include: Hydro-electricity, fishing*, agriculture (fruit farming in the Okanogan Valley) and tourism.

*Right now BC is embroiled in a major fishing dispute with the United States over a treaty. Canadian fishermen desire to protect the fever-dwindling salmon population but US fishermen are determined to harvest their crops so they can make their living. So far there have been several major protests and blockades. Canada has walked out of talks in protest.


The North

Territory  Capital
North West Territories Yellow Knife
Yukon White Horse
Nunavut Iqualuit

Canada's northern region is divided into the Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories (NWT). Together their land mass covers more than one third of Canada. Unlike the Provinces, the Canadian government is responsible for the territories but elected legislatures make decisions on most issues.

For it's great size this area has a small population. More than half of the people in NWT and one quarter of the people in the Yukon are Aboriginal Peoples. As a result of this high Native population, the Canadian government recognizes Aboriginal languages, along with English and French as official.

The Europeans first came to the North in the late 1600's because of the fur trade. The Hudson Bay company controlled the northern lands and fur trade for more than 300 years. Some people - including many Aboriginal peoples still earn money and obtain food through hunting and trapping.

Other important industries: Mining (gold, lead, zinc), oil, gas and co-operative businesses (art).

The north is sometimes called "The Land Of The Midnight Sun" In the height of the summer the daylight can last for 24 hours. During the brief summers the land blossoms. Winters in the north are long, cold and dark. The Yukon holds the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada -63 degrees Celsius!

Click here for more detailed information on Nunavut, Canada's newest territory.

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