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Geography and Landscape
Alberta, also known as the 'Princess Province', is a province in western Canada with an area of 661,848 km², Canada's largest province after Quebec (1,542,056 km²), Ontario (1,076,395 km²) and British Columbia (944,735 km²). Alberta is not adjacent to the sea and the total area consists of 642,317 km² of land and for 19,531 km² out of water. Alberta belongs to the so-called prairie provinces, along with Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Photo: Shaund, Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Alberta is three times the size of Great Britain, and the same size of France, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands together. The greatest distance from north to south is 1,221 kilometers, from east to west 634 kilometers.
Alberta is bordered to the west by British Columbia, to the east on Saskatschewan (1,223 km), in the south to the US state of Montana (298 km) and in the north to the Northwest Territories (644 km). Alberta's northernmost village is Indian Cabins, 9 miles from the Northwest Territories border.
Canada is divided into six time zones, Newfoundland Time (-4.5 hours), Atlantic Time (-5 hours), Eastern Time (-6 hours), Central Time (-7 hours), Mountain Time (-8 hours), and Pacific Time (-9 hours);Alberta is in the Mountain Time time zone.
Photo : Qyd, public domain
Combining physiography, climate, soil, and vegetation, Alberta has identified four biophysical regions.
The prairie region, which extends into the US state of Montana, encompasses most of Southern Alberta, more precisely the area south and east of an arc extending from Waterton in the southwest corner to the Saskatchewan border east of Red Deer. This gently sloping almost treeless grassland is relatively dry, but this landscape is interrupted in places by deep river valleys and heights from about 300 meters in the northeast to more than 1,460 meters in the Cypress Hills in the southeast. Prairadic areas with the original vegetation can only be found sporadically, they have been cultivated almost everywhere over the years to serve as a 'granary'.
Vegetation-free, erosion-damaged barren spots in the prairie with canyons, ravines and hoodoos are called the 'Alberta Badlands'. This area is east of Calgary and stretches south. It is also one of the most important paleontological regions in the world because of the many dinosaur finds.
Parkland, called 'Aspen Parkland' and a transition zone between forests in the north and prairie in the south, is predominant in central Alberta and is in the shape of a crescent moon west and north of the prairie region, including a much of the catchment area of the North Saskatchewan River.
The parkland ranges from lowlands formed by dry lake bottoms to rolling landscapes with numerous lakes and depressions. It contains both wooded areas, especially aspen, aspen and spruce, as well as grassy areas, with a soil that is extremely suitable for agricultural activities due to favorable climatic conditions.
Photo: Paulhami Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changesmade
The northern half of Alberta is covered with arctic forests, especially taiga coniferous forests, and peatlands. Together with many lakes and large rivers that flow towards the Arctic Ocean, they define the landscape. Soil and harsh climatic conditions make farming difficult in this part of Alberta, except in the Pacific Northwest area, where parkland allows grain to be grown on the world's most northerly acreage. This relatively flat land is interrupted by the Swan Hills (max. Altitude 1200 meters), the Birch Mountains and the Caribou Mountains (max. Altitude 1030 meters).
Photo: Gorgo in the public domain
To the west of the prairie, after a hilly area, the Rocky Mountain Foothills, loom the true Rocky Mountains, which lie in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta as far as Canada is concerned. This strip of mountains, sometimes over 3,700 meters high, starts in Alberta near the city of Grande Prairie and runs south along Alberta's western border with British Columbia.
Most of Alberta's mountains are found in the southwestern part of the province on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Other areas of mountains include the Caribou Mountains and the Cypress Hills. Mount Columbia, located on the border with British Columbia, is the highest mountain in Alberta at 3747 meters and the second highest mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (Mount Robson in British Columbia, 3954 meters). The Highwood Pass is located in Kananaskis Country, at 2206 meters the highest mountain pass in Canada with a paved road over it. The average elevation of Alberta is 725 meters. Alberta's lowest point (152 meters) is located in the northeast of the province at the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park. The city of Banff is the highest city in Canada (1,383 m), the village of Lake Louise is even higher, at 1,534 m.
On the border of British Columbia and Alberta are the 384-meter Takakkaw Falls, the Canada's second highest waterfall fed by meltwater from the Wapta Icefield. Other high or spectacular waterfalls are Crypt Falls (Waterton Lakes National Park, 150m), Upper Falls and Lower Falls (Banff National Park), Weeping Wall (Banff National Park, 100m), Bridal Veil Falls (Banff National Park), Panther Falls (Banff National Park), Upper Sunwapta Falls and Lower Sunwapta Falls (Jasper National Park), Athabasca Falls (Jasper National Park, 23 m).
Photo: Erik Lizee in the public domain
The Caribou Mountains are located in northern Alberta and form an elevated plateau in an otherwise flat landscape of wetlands. The mountains here reach a height of up to 1030 m, rising almost 700 m above the otherwise flat environment. In the far northwest of Alberta lies the Hay-Zama Lakes Wildland, a complex network of lakes, swamps and rivers, together an 800 km²large freshwater wetlands, one of the largest in Canada. About 300,000 ducks and geese reside here during the fall migration.
Covered with grassland and woodland, the Cypress Hills are located in southeast Alberta on the border with Saskatchewan and form the highest area between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador in the far west of Canada. The Cypress Hills reach a maximum height of 1468 meters.
Below are the top ten highest mountains in Alberta
|Mount Columbia||3747 meters|
|Twin Peaks Massif||3684 meters|
|Mount Alberta||3619 meters|
|Mount Forbes||3612 meters|
|Mount Temple||3543 meters|
|Mount Brazeau||3525 meters|
|Snow Dome||3520 meters|
|Mount Kitchener||3505 meters|
|Mount Lyell||3504 meters|
|Mount Hungabee||3492 meters|
Photo: Geoffl in the public domain
Rivers and lakes
Alberta has 245 rivers that flow into three different waters, the Arctic Ocean, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. That there is no riverand outflows from Alberta into the Pacific is through the 'Continental Divide', 'Great Divide' or 'Continental Divide', a mountain ridge that leads to Mexico via Alaska, Canada (including Alberta) and the United States. Rivers west of the Continental Divide waters drain into the Pacific or Pacific Ocean; rivers east of this dividing line drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the Continental Divide follows the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the United States. The Athabasca River Delta is the second largest river delta in the world after the Amazon River.
Below is an overview of Alberta's main rivers
|River name||Catchment area||Length|
|Athabasca River||Alberta||1231 km|
|Beaver River||Alberta and Saskatchewan||491 km|
|Hay River||Alberta and Northwest Territories||702 km|
|Milk River||Alberta and Montana||1173 km|
|North Saskatchewan River||Alberta and Saskatchewan||1287 km|
|Peace River||Alberta and British Columbia||1923 km|
|Slave River||Alberta and Northwest Territories||434 km|
|South Saskatchewan River||Alberta and Saskatchewan||1392 km|
Photo : Qyd in the public domain
Alberta has some 600 lakes, mainly formed in the last Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago. There are several lake types in Alberta, from glacial lakes in the Rocky Mountains, small shallow lakes on the prairies, lakes with brown water in the northern arctic forests, 'muskeg' swamp lakes to large lakes with sandy beaches in Central Alberta.
The largest lake that lies entirely within Alberta territory is Lake Claire. The vast Lake Athabasca is mostly in the province of Saskatchewan, but the Alberta portion is still much larger than Lake Claire. One of the most beautiful lakes in Canada and a real tourist attraction is the emerald green mountain lake Lake Louise, which lies at the foot of Mount Victoria and is named after Queen Victoria's daughter, Louise Caroline Alberta.
It is special in Jasper National Park located Medicine Lake, which drains into an underground cave system during the fall and winter and rises again in the Maligne Canyon.
Ten Largest Lakes in Alberta
|Lake Athabasca||Alberta and Saskatchewan||7850 km²(2295 km²in Alberta)|
|Lake Claire||Alberta||1436 km²|
|Lesser Slave Lake||Alberta||1160 km²|
|Bistcho Lake||Alberta||426 km²|
|Utikuma Lake||Alberta||296 km²|
|Cold Lake||Alberta and Saskatchewan||280 km²(248 km²in Alberta)|
|Lac la Biche||Alberta||236 km²|
|Beaverhill Lake||Alberta||139 km²|
|Calling Lake||Alberta||134 km²|
|Winefred Lake||Alberta||123 km²|
Alberta has the most park areas in Canada with its five national and 62 provincial parks. The national parks are Banff National Park, Elk Island Park, Jasper National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park.
Banff National Park (6641 km2) was Canada's first national park (1885) and worldwide the third. The national park is located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and, in addition to mountains, valleys, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes and grasslands, is also known for its sulfuric hot springs. The water of the Upper Hot Springs Pool at Sulfur Mountain averages 38°C. Particularly noteworthy are the ‘hoodoos’ , over 20,000 year old slate rock formations in the form of high tables. The highest point of Banff National Park is Mount Forbes (3612 m), the largest lake is the 28 km long Lake Minnewanka, there are 320 km of roads through the park and approximately 1500 km of hiking trails.
Photo: Darren Kirby Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made
Established in 1907 and a national park since 1930, Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly of the four national parks in the Rocky Mountains. It covers an area of 10,878 km² with mountains, valleys, glacial lakes, Columbia Icefields, a 400 year old ice sea, 325 km² large with a thickness of up to 400 meters, and the 30 meter high Athabasca Falls.
Columbia Icefields is one of the largest non-polar icy seas in the world. Miette Hot Springs has the warmest spring water (to nearly 54°C) in the Rockies with a high mineral content. Jasper National Park has about 1000 km of hiking trails and thousands of camping spots.
Photo : Carlos Delgado Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
The Athabasca Glacier is the largest glacier in the Rocky Mountains, six kilometers long and with a total area of 300 km². The glacier is an offshoot of the Columbia Icefield, the largest field of ice and snow in North America outside of the polar regions.
Elk Island National Park (194 km²), less than an hour's drive from Edmonton, was established in 1906 as Canada's first animal sanctuary. The nature in the park consists of rolling meadows, forests, ‘wetlands’ and some 250 lakes; about 20% of the surface consists of water. Elk Island Park, in addition to being a haven for moose, wood bison and prairie bison, is a true bird paradise with about 250 different species, including the trumpeter swan. The rare pygmy shrew is also found here.
Photo: Qyd in the public domain
Wood Buffalo National Park (established 1922) is the largest national park in Canada and one of the largest in the world (44,807 km2), about the same size as Denmark (The largest national park in the world is the Greenland Northeast Greenland National Park, 972,001 km2). The park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 and encompasses three types of landscape: a highland, a plateau with marshes and streams and the Peace and Athabasca river delta, full of seals, marshes and shallow lakes. Several thousand forest bison live in this national park. With a length of 800 meters, this is home to the largest beaver dam in the world.
Waterton Lakes National Park, founded in 1895, is a relatively small national park with 525 km2. Here are a number of elongated lakes that extend into the American Montana. Waterton Lakes National Park has formed the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park since 1932, together with the Glacier National Park in Montana. This entire area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
Photo: Jon Sullivan in the public domain
Fish Creek, located in CalgaryProvincial Park is one of the largest city parks in the world (1189 ha).
Photo: Cszmurlo, Creative Commons License Attribution-Share equally 3.0 no changes made
Outside the valley of the Red Deer River stretch the ‘badlands’ from Alberta, a stony desert with ravines, table mountains, plateaus and rocky pillars, the so-called ‘hoodoos’ . This lunar landscape is one of the richest dinosaur fossil sites in the world.
Climate and Weather
Photo: Hedwig in Washington Creative Commons CC-BY 2.5 no changes made
Due to Alberta's northern location, the province is located in a cool temperate climate zone, and due to the absence of a moderating influence from the ocean, it has a continental climate. As a result, it cools down quickly and heats up quickly. Alberta has cold, snowy winters and relatively short, dry and warm summers. Northern Alberta has a sub-arctic climate.
But the main factors determining the height of temperature and the amount of precipitation are the height and width of the Rocky Mountains and the direction of the prevailing winds. The mountain ranges intercept moist air from the Pacific Ocean and cause a decrease in precipitation. For this reason, the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains are in rain shadow and the skies over Alberta are generally clear. The weather in the Rocky Mountains can change rapidly within a day from a sunny winter day with freezing temperatures to bitter cold, strong winds and snowfall. Precipitation levels throughout the province are quite limited, ranging from about 300mm per year in the southeast to 400-450mm in the north, with the exception of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where rainfall is 550-600mm per year. In Edmonton an average of 460 mm falls per year. About half of all precipitation falls in the period June to August. Calgary has a 56% chance of a White Christmas, Edmonton is quite snow sure at Christmas (86%).
The dry clear air provides the people of Alberta with plenty of sunshine, ranging from 1,900 hours in the north to 2,300 hours a year in southern Lethbridge, more than anywhere else in Canada. Calgary is the sunniest city in Canada with an average of 333 days of sunshine per year. After that comes Medicine Hat with an average of 330 days of sunshine. Toronto, a lot further east, has 'only' 303 days of sunshine a year. Northern Alberta receives approximately eighteen hours of daylight during the summer period. The influence of the Pacific air masses diminishes in eastern Alberta, making way for continental air masses from the Arctic and the midwestern United States.
These air masses normally bring daytime temperatures of 5°C in the south to -15°C in the north and nighttime temperatures from -15°C in the south to -25°C in the north with peaks between -30°C and -40°C. In summer, maximum daytime temperatures range from 20°C in the north to 25°C in the south, with peaks around 35°C.
In early January 2015, the city of Grande Prairie was one of the coldest places on Earth with a temperature of -40°C and a wind chill of -4 °C. In Calgary it was less cold at that time with -20°C and a wind chill of -27°C.
The ‘chinook’ is a powerful föhn wind that descends from the mountains and blows from the west. During a chinook, the temperature can shoot up to 20°C in the middle of winter in a short time, while recently it was tens of degrees below zero. The region around Lethbridge, in southern Alberta, has the most 'chinook days' per year, about 30-35.
Another climatic phenomenon are the 'Alberta clippers', low pressure areas that rise above the Alberta prairies and carry very cold, generally dry air. Due to strong winds, the temperature can drop to around -40°C.
Alberta is also regularly hit by very severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, particularly in the South and Central Alberta. In 1987 Edmonton was hit by a tornado, in 2000 the area around Pine Lake was hit. In total, several dozen people were killed in these tornadoes. Hailstorm Alley is an area regularly hit by heavy hailstorms, running from Calgary to Red Deer and Edmonton.
Waterton Lakes National Park is the windiest place in all of Canada. The average daily wind speed is around 30 km/h, speeds of 100 km/h are quite normal in this area.
This particular climatic condition occurs mainly around Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Lethbridge, but Calgary is also regularly affected by the Chinook. Red Deer, which is still more to the north of Calgary, also has to do with the chinook, up to, but that is very exceptional, even Grande Prairie in the west of the province.
Photo: Giftagger, C C Namensnennung–Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 nicht portier no changes made
Plants and Animals
In Central and Northern Alberta, the arrival of spring is heralded by the early flowering of a variety of the common man's herb, Pulsatilla patens. This member of the buttercup family can bloom as early as March, but April is the normal flowering time. Other early bloomers on the prairie are Thermopsis rhombifolia, also called 'golden bean' or 'buffalo bean', and Rosa acicularis, a variety of the wild rose. The Rosa acicularis, which grows from Quebec to British Columbia, was chosen by schoolchildren in 1930 as the official flower of Alberta.
Members of the sunflower family bloom on the prairie in the summer months between July and September. The southern and central-eastern parts of Alberta are covered by short prairie grass, which withers during the summer and is then 'replaced' by hardy perennials such as Ratibida columnifera or 'Mexican hat', a fine jet species and sage. Both the lemon yellow honey clover and the white honey clover are found in Southern and Central Alberta. The trees in the parkland of Central Alberta, deciduous trees such as aspen, poplar and willow, grow in bushes on the hills. North of the North Saskatchewan River, forests dominate the landscape over thousands of square kilometers. American aspen, balsam poplar, and paper birch are the primary large deciduous species. Evergreen conifers include shrub, Rocky Mountain scots pine, twirled, white spruce, black spruce and the deciduous conifer Larix laricina or tamarack.
Photo: Linda Baird-White in the public domain
Other trees and conifers typical of Alberta: Larix lyallii or 'alpine larch', Pinus flexilis or 'limber pine', ash gray pine, balsam fir, Douglas fir, Engelmann fir, Rocky Mountin maple, feather maple or California maple, American red maple, Rocky Mountain juniper, American larch, American or American black poplar, Western American balsam poplar, American white pine.
Watch out for the common 'poison ivy', touching this plant can be enough for successively unbearable itching, inflammation and ulcers.
Photo: public domain
Alberta's four landscape types (mountains, arctic forests, parklands and prairies) are home to many different types of animals. There are not many places in the world with such a wide variety of wildlife as Alberta. Alberta has about 587 species, including 10 amphibians, 93 mammals, 411 birds, 8 reptiles and 65 fish. In addition, some 20,000 insect species still walk, crawl and fly around Alberta. British Columbia is the only province in Canada with a higher number of mammal species. Alberta's 'national' animal is the bighorn sheep.
Photo: Jon Sullivan in the public domain
The southern and central prairie regions were once fully owned by millions of wood bison, a subspecies of American bison. The bison population was rapidly being decimated and threatened with extinction from the beginning of colonization. At the moment the bison is doing reasonably well again.
Alberta is home to a number of large carnivores, including the grizzly and blackbear in the mountains and wooded areas. The smaller carnivores of the dog and cat family include coyotes, wolves, foxes (including the rare kit fox), bobcat, Canadian lynx, and cougars. Other small predators include wolverine, river otter or North American otter, weasel, fishing marten, silver badger or American badger, black-footed bunzing, mink or American mink, and striped skunk or skunk. Large herbivorous mammals are found throughout the province, moose, mule deer, elk, white-tailed deer, woodland caribou in forested areas, gaffbuck on the prairies of southern Alberta, bighorn sheep and snow goats live in the Rocky Mountains.
Rabbits, porcupines (including the primeval sun or North American porcupine), raccoons, beavers (including the Canadian beaver), squirrels (including the American red squirrel, red-tailed chipmunk) and many types of rodents, including the American hare, mountain cottontail, North American flute bunny, jackrabbit, the musk or bisamrat, the gray marmot, woodchuck, yellow-bellied marmot and the rare Ordinary Kangaroo sacrifice from the cheek-bag mouse family scattered throughout the province. Alberta has only one venomous snake in its territory, the prairie rattlesnake.
In Central and Northern Alberta, migratory birds find nesting sites in the spring. In addition to the Canadian crane or prairie crane, large numbers of ducks, geese, swans and pelicans nest on or near the many lakes. Eagles, hawks, owls and crows also benefit from this and there is also a great variety of seed and insect-eating birds. Rivers and lakes are full of pike, broad-mouthed, American yellow bass, rainbow trout, brook trout, among others. red-throated trout, fathead minnow, brook or river trout, spotted omberfish and sturgeon. The Salvelinus confluentus or 'bull trout' is Alberta's provincial fish.
Photo: Bart Gammet in the public domain
A selection of the many butterfly species: thistle butterfly, mourning cloak, atalanta (also known as admiral or number butterfly), small fire butterfly, monarch butterfly, variegated tadpole, black-headed tadpole and small cabbage white.
A selection of the bat species: big brown bat, red bat, gray bat, small brown bat and a number of species from the smooth-nosed family.
A selection of amphibians and reptiles: long-toed salamander, tiger salamander, forest frog, western ornamental turtle, red-sided garter snake and western hook-nosed snake.
What is special is that Alberta has been completely free of the brown rat, being the only province in Canada and one of the few places in the world anyway. Successive governments have worked on this since the early 1950s, and with great success until a few years ago. However, a colony of brown rats was found in a landfill in Medine Hat in 2012, and again in 2014.
Southeast of Drumheller, UNESCO established Dinosaur Provincial Park in 1955. This World Heritage area contains the richest fossil beds in the world. More than 300 important discoveries have been made here.
Photo: Kevstan, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Elk Island National Park is home to large mammals such as the wapiti, the steppe bison and the endangered forest bison. Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada's largest national park and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 because rare animals like the wood bison live there. Peregrine falcons and the bald eagle also live here and it is the only stable natural breeding ground in the world for the rare trumpet crane.
Waterton Lakes National Park has the richest wildlife of all Canadian parks, from bears to bighorn sheep and from waterfowl to sapwoods.
Banff National Park (6,640 km2), Canada's oldest national park, is home to many animal species in their natural environment: mountain goats, big horn sheep, deer, black bears, grizzly bears and wapiti. A special appearance is the American nutcracker. The lower slopes are covered with dense forests of pine, silver fir, and some Douglas fir. At higher altitudes, the species are supplanted by pine trees and the Engelmann spruce. At an altitude of 2,135 meters there is a semi-arctic climate where many colorful alpine flowers still bloom. Around Banff Cave & Basin, an area with many hot springs, a snail species lives in the hot water that is only found here, the Physella johnsoni or Banff Springs snail.
The flora in Banff and Jasper National Park includes 996 species of vascular plants (trees, grasses and flowers), 407 lichens, 243 mosses and 53 liverworts.
Saskatoon Island Provincial Park is one of the nesting areas of the rare trumpeter swan.
Photo: Public domain
McLennan in western Alberta is known as the 'Bird Capital of the World' as it is here that three major migration routes converge around Kimiwan Lake, namely Mississippi, Pacific and Central. About 27,000 beach birds and 250,000 water birds converge here, more than 200 different species have been spotted here.
Below is an extensive overview of breeding and migratory birds observed in Alberta:
|DUCKS, GEESE, SWANS|
|American wigeon||whistling swan||small winner||ruddy thorntail|
|American pochard||Great Canada Goose||cockade sawbeak||Brent Goose|
|American Scoter||large pochard||white-fronted goose||shoveler|
|American Black Duck||Great merganser||king eider||wigeon|
|Blue-winged Teal||Great Scoter||gadwall||snow goose|
|goldeneye||harlequin duck||Tufted Duck||topper|
|Spectacled Sea Duck||long-tailed duck||middle merganser||trumpet swan|
|buffalo-headed duck||Icelandic goldeneye||pintail||wild duck|
|Summer duck||cinnamon teal||ring-billed duck||teal|
|eider||Small Canada Goose||Ross' goose||summer translation|
|PARTRIDES, PHASANTS, TURKEYS, HOVERS|
|Blue Grouse||turkey||partridge or field hen||fan fowl|
|forest grouse||collar grouse||Prairie Fowl||White-tailed Grouse|
|pheasant||Marsh Grouse||Spiny-tailed Grouse|
|DIVERS, GREENS, CORMORANTS, PELICANS|
|Clark's Grebe||Eared Cormorant||Crested Diver||Red-throated Diver|
|Fat-billed Grebe||Black-necked Grebe||Pacific pearl diver||white pelican|
|Yellow-billed Diver||Ice Diver||red-necked grebe||gooseneck grebe|
|ROERDOMPEN, HERONS, IBISES|
|American Blue Heron||green heron||Cattle Egret||White-bellied Heron|
|American Little Egret||Great Egret||quack||white-faced ibis|
|Yellow-crowned night heron||Little Blue Heron||North American Bittern|
|BIRDS OF PREPARATION, VULTURES|
|American Sparrowhawk||Cooper's Sparrowhawk||Red-headed Vulture||merlin|
|American Kestrel||Gyrfalcon||Red-tailed Hawk||golden eagle|
|Bald eagle||hawk||red rough-legged hawk||osprey|
|Hen harrier||prairie buzzard||rough-legged hawk|
|broad-winged hawk||prairie falcon||Peregrine Falcon|
|RAILS, COATS, CRANES, PLEASURES|
|American coot||soraral||American Golden Plover||killdeerplevier|
|Canadian crane||Trumpeter Crane||American Kentish Plover||Mongolian plover|
|yellow ral||Virginia-ral||Asian Golden Plover||Prairie Plover|
|crane||Ringed Plover||Piping Plover||silver plover|
|BEACH RUNNERS, SNIPES, CHAPTERS|
|American Avocet||blonde rider||big gray snip||red godwit|
|American Black-winged Stilt||Bonapartes Sandpiper||knot sandpiper||Red-throated Sandpiper|
|Alaska Randloper||variegated sandpiper||ruff||red phalarope|
|American Woodland Rider||surf runner||Little Yellow-legged Rider||Siberian Sandpiper|
|yellow ral||three-toed sandpiper||little gray snip||turnstone|
|American Woodcock||eskimo curlew||little sandpiper||stilt sandpiper|
|American sandpiper||striped sandpiper||smallest sandpiper||willet|
|American snipe||gray phalarope||curved sandpiper||black rider|
|American curlew||gray sandpiper||Spoon-billed Sandpiper||black turnstone|
|Baird's sandpiper||large phalarope||marble godwit|
|Bartrams rider||Great Yellow-legged Rider||whimbrel|
|GULLS, STERNS, FIGHTERS|
|Little Tern||great black-backed gull||smallest hunter||Thayer's gull|
|Bering Gull||ivory gull||middle hunter||common tern|
|Kittiwake||Kamchatka century||arctic tern||fork-tailed gull|
|Little Gull||Little Mayor||prairie gull||herring gull|
|Forsters stern||little hunter||giant tern||black tern|
|Franklin's Gull||little black-headed gull||Ring-billed Gull|
|great mayor||lesser black-backed gull||Storm Gull|
Photo: Sowls, Art in the public domain
|ALKEN, PIGEONS, COOKIES|
|Asiatic Marble Alk||rock pigeon||white-winged terror pigeon||Black-billed Guillemot|
|band-tailed pigeon||weeping pigeon||Silver Alk|
|Yellow-billed Cuckoo||Collared Dove||black guillemot|
|American Eagle Owl||Lapland Owl||long-eared owl||Short-eared Owl|
|striped tawny owl||North American Scops Owl||rough-legged owl||Western Screech Owl|
|burrowing owl||Eastern Screech Owl||snowy owl||saw owl|
|Barn Owl||Ponderosa Scowl's Owl||Eurasian hawk|
|SWALLOWS, HUMMINGBIRDS, KINGFISHES|
|American nightjar||Pied Common Swift||poorwill||whippoorwill|
|Anna's Hummingbird||callio hummingbird||Ruby-throated Hummingbird||black swift|
|band kingfisher||Costa's hummingbird||ruddy hummingbird||Black-throated Hummingbird|
|SWALLOWS, HUMMINGBIRDS, KINGFISHES|
|American three-toed woodpecker||yellow-bellied woodpecker||North American Helmet Woodpecker||black-backed woodpecker|
|mountain sapwood||golden ground woodpecker||Red-bellied Woodpecker|
|Down Woodpecker||hair woodpecker||Red-headed Woodpecker|
|acorn woodpecker||Lewis' woodpecker||Red-necked Woodpecker|
|wormwood tyrant||Cassin's bunting||cat bird||red-necked bunting|
|American Tree Creeper||Cassin's rosefinch||keep||red-throated bluebird|
|American Wood Thrush||Cassins vireo||Kentucky singer||Red-crowned Cock|
|American Magpie||Cedar Waxwing||Great Gray Shrike||red-eyed vireo|
|American Gold Rooster||Connecticut singer||little fairy tyrant||red-eared bunting|
|Great Gray Shrike||pine ice cream||king tyrant||Red-tailed Bunting|
|American cliff swallow||pine warbler||curved-billed thrush||Red Mockingbird|
|American crow||dickcissel||crossbill||mourning singer|
|American bullhead||dwarf thrush||lazuligors||savannah bunting|
|American rosefinch||Elzenfeetiran||Lecontes bunting||Says phoebe|
|American Redstart||epaulet starling||Lincolns bunting||snow bunting|
|American Rock Winter King||Gambels tit||Louisianatangare||spruce tyrant|
|Arkansas King's Tyrant||yellow-breasted vireo||magnolia pendant||spruce piewie|
|evening fat beak||Yellow-breasted Warbler||mangrove warbler||spruce warbler|
|evening bunting||Yellow-Jawed Meadow Starling||McCowns Ice Bunting||mockingbird|
|Baird's bunting||yellow-throated warbler||Mexican Redhammer||grasshopper thorn|
|Baltimoretroepial||yellow headed groupial||swamp bunting||Steller's Jay|
|Redpoll||yellow-rumped warbler||swamp wren||beach lark|
|mountain hedge sparrow||Scarlet Warbler||Monk Warbler||scrub tyrant|
|mountain bluebird||yellow black-throated warbler||sparrow bunting||Wheatear|
|mountain solitaire||spotted towie||Nashville singer||Tennis singer|
|mountain spot thrush||regular mask singer||Nelson's White-tailed Bunting||Tiger Warbler|
|Birch Feather Tyrant||common raven||North American rough-winged martin||tundra dragons|
|blue jay||Common Starling||North American dipper||Townsends singer|
|blue black-throated warbler||shiny gravel||Northern House Wren||veery|
|blue-gray mosquito trap||Gold Kruingors||arctic water thrush||field bunting|
|Blue-throated Bluebird||gold ice cream||river tyrant||fork-tailed king tyrant|
|Blue-winged Warbler||Gray-headed Warbler||sand martin||western forest view|
|pale bunting||gray-crowned mountain finch||East American Wren||willow flycatcher|
|bobolink or rice troepial||gray-cheeked thrush||Orpheusvireo||Wilson's singer|
|barn swallow||gray junco||oven bird||whiteband crossbill|
|variegated ice bunting||Gray Nutcracker||Pacific water pipit||White-breasted Nuthatch|
|pied thrush||gray black-throated warbler||palm warbler||Whitefish Meadow Starling|
|colorful singer||green vocalsthere||Waxwing||White-throated Sparrow|
|tree martin||green swallow||Philadelphiavireo||White-crowned Gingers|
|Brewers bunting||green-tailed towie||phoebe||white-rumped redpoll|
|Brewers troopial||great crested tyrant||Pinyongaai||singing bunting|
|Glasses singer||hook beak||prairiegors||say winter king|
|glasses vireo||Hermit Thrush||prairie beeper||summer tangare|
|brown-headed cowbird||Hermit Warbler||purple bunting||Swallowtail King's Tyrant|
|Bullocks troopial||Hudson Tit||purple swallow||black troopial|
|cactus pot thrush||house sparrow||red cardinal||black-throated bunting|
|Canadian Nuthatch||Ice Bunting||rust flank warbler||Black-headed Cardinal|
|Canadian taiga jay||indigogors||Robin Cardinal||Black-headed Warbler|
|Canadian singer||chestnut back||European Robin||black-crowned goose|
|Carolina Wren||chestnut warbler||red-sidedowie||Black Wing Tangare|
Alberta before the arrival of the Europeans
The Canadian province of Alberta has a history stretching back thousands of years to prehistoric times. Written sources are unfortunately only available since the arrival of the Europeans in the 18th century.
The ancestors of today's First Nations (native Indian population) lived at least 8,000 years BC. in Alberta. Southern tribes, generally prairie Indians such as the Blackfeet, were made up of four different tribes: the Pikuni or Piegan, the Northern Pikuni, the Siksika, and the Blood of Kainai Indians lived in the borderlands of Northern Montana and Southern Alberta. More northerly tribes, such as the Woodland Cree and the Chipewyan, lived in wooded areas.
In a much later period, these original inhabitants mixed with French fur traders and thus created a new culture, that of the mestizos. Mestizos first lived mainly east of Alberta, but hunted by European white settlers, many mestizos settled in Alberta.
It is believed that in the period 950-1250 the large prairie areas became depopulated due to a period of drought. After this dry period, the prairies became populated again, now with tribes from all over North America, including Comanches, Shoshones, Sioux, Assiniboine and Crow. In addition to frequent tribal wars, there were also periods of cooperation between these tribes in semi-permanent alliances.
Photo: Public domain
Alberta after the arrival of the Europeans
The first European to reach Alberta was probably a Frenchman Pierre la Vérendrye or one of his sons. La Vérendrye reached the present-day neighboring province of Manitoba mainly through a system of rivers in 1730, founded forts there and negotiated in person with the Indians about the fur trade. Around 1750, the best furs were traded by La Véendrye outside of the Hudson's Bay Company (Canada's oldest company), a London-based company founded in 1670 that dominated the fur trade in British North America for centuries on the rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. .
Photo: Jean Gagnon CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
The first written source containing present-day Alberta was by fur trader Anthony Henday, who was in the Edmonton and Red Deer area in 1754-55. Other important early discoverers of Alberta were Peter Fidler, David Thompson, Peter Pond, Alexander MacKenzie and George Simpson. The first European settlement, Fort Chipewyan, was founded in 1788 by Alexander MacKenzie. This 'honor' is also disputed by Fort Vermilion, which was also founded in 1788.
Photo: Public domain
Alberta's earliest history is thus closely linked to the fur trade, and the first confrontation was between French and English fur traders, which had the character of a genuine fur war. Central and Southern Alberta, so-called Rupert's Land, were fully claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. Rupert's Land was a huge area, about a third of what is now Canada. This monopoly was disputed by a French trade organization from Montreal, 'Coureurs des Bois', but after the Battle of Quebec in 1759 during the Seven Years' War between the English and the French, the Hudson's Bay Company gained a monopoly on the fur trade and was able to expand it indefinitely and maintain. France was finally defeated after Quebec, and at the Peace of Paris in 1763 the French were more or less forced to cede all their possessions in Canada to the English, and the British-controlled area was renamed British North America. In the 1770s, competition for the Hudson's Bay Company resumed through the North West Company, a private company that focused mainly on the rivers and waters that did not end in Hudson Bay, but in the Pacific, for example. Many of Alberta's current cities once started out as a commercial networksettlement of the Hudson's Bay Company or the North West Company.
In 1821 the Hudson's Bay Company merged with the North West Company, but as early as 1870 the monopoly position of the new company was banned and any company could enter the fur market fail. Under the Rupert's Land Act of 1868, Rupert's Land and North-Western Territory was transferred to the Dominion of Canada on July 15, 1870 and was henceforth called Northwest Territories. The Dominion of Canada was formed by three British-North American provinces since July 1, 1867: the Province of Canada, split into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The province of Manitoba was added in 1870, British Columbia in 1871 and Prince Edward Island in 1873.
Photo: Public domain
The economic struggles roughly paralleled the religious struggles between rival churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, Methodists, the Anglican Church of Canada, and several other Protestant denominations, who were trying to win over the Native American population. The first Roman Catholic missionary, Jean-Baptiste Thibault, arrived in Lac Saint Anne, Alberta in 1842, and founded the first permanent Roman Catholic mission there. The Methodist Robert Bundle founded a mission in 1847.
The year 1867 was the year of Canada's birth: The British North America Act proclaims the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec as the Dominion of Canada. The area of present-day Alberta was added to the Dominion of Canada in 1870 with the aim of making it a white-run and managed agricultural area. To this end, the Canadian government negotiated through the so-called 'Numbered Treaties' with various Indian tribes. The Indians were offered land in exchange for transferring all claims to large tracts of other land. At the same time, the waning power of the Hudson's Bay Company brought American whiskey traders and hunters to Southern Alberta, disrupting the Native American way of life. In 1873 this led to the Cypress Hills Massacre in present-day Saskatchewan, in which 23 Nakota Indians were murdered by a group of American bison and wolf hunters. It was also during this time that whiskey was introduced to the Native Americans, and white hunters shot masses of bison, the primary food source for the prairie Indians. The Indians also suffered from diseases brought along by the Europeans and the outbreak of wars between Indian tribes was commonplace. This culminated in the 1870 Battle of Belly River between the Blackfeet Confederacy and the Cree Indians. It would later turn out that it had been the last major battle between Indians on Canadian soil.
To restore calm, the government established the North-West Mounted Police, the 'mounties', in 1873. 1904 continued under the name Royal Northwest Mounted Police and after a merger with the Dominion Police the current Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In July 1874, 275 mounties headed for Alberta, the legendary 'March West'. At the westernmost point, a new headquarters was set up at Fort MacLeod, in 1875 Fort Walsh was established in the Cypress Hills, and Fort Calgary, a police station to combat the illegal whiskey trade, which later became the important city of Calgary for Alberta. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is currently about 15,000 strong.
Photo: Public domain
As the bison gradually disappeared from view in Western Canada, that place was soon taken by large cattle ranches, which were extremely suitable for this in this prairie environment.
Photo: Public domain
In Alberta, the first herd of cows was brought in by the black American cowboy John Ware in 1876, but the entire livestock and meat industry was in the hands of a few powerful men like Patrick Burns, who was also a period senator in the parliament of Alberta.
Photo: Public domain
In 1882, the District of Alberta, named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, fourth daughter of the British Queen Victoria and wife of the Marquess of Lorne, who was then Governor General of Canada, was created as part of the Northwest Territories.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Pacific Railway was establishing rail lines towards the Pacific, and in 1885 the Trans-Canadian Railway was completed. Also in 1885 in what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta, the North-West Rebellion broke out between Mestizos and Indians on the one hand and Canadian government forces on the other. The insurgents eventually lost the battle and their leader Louis Riel was captured. After this battle, more and more settlers moved to Alberta, including 600,000 Americans around 1890. In order to attract even more settlers, advertising began in Europe, and large groups of Germans, Ukrainians and Scandinavians, among others, moved to Canada. and Alberta.
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By the early 1900s, Alberta was still just a district of the North-West Territories, but local leaders lobbied fiercely for provincial status. But the Prime Minister of the Territories, Frederick Haultain, was also strongly in favor of a provincial division of the West, but he opted for one large province called Buffalo. The Canadian Prime Minister at the time, Wilfrid Laurier, did not want that because a Buffalo-like province would become too much of a competitor for Ontario and Quebec. He proposed and eventually it would become a two-provinces plan: on September 1, 1905, Alberta, with its capital Edmonton, and Saskatchewan, became Canadian provinces. The first Prime Minister of Alberta would become the Liberal Alexander Rutherford, he led the province from 1905 to 1910, the Liberals remained in power until 1921. The new province had a population of 78,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, but the area lacked infrastructure, schools, and medical facilities. In addition, Ottawa had control of its natural resources until 1930, severely curtailing the province's economic development. This would continue to pose problems well into the 20th century between the government of Alberta and the national government in Ottawa. Meanwhile, Calgary was not amused that Edmonton had been named the capital of the new county, and became all the rage when the University of Alberta was given over to Strathcona, a suburb annexed by Edmonton in 1912.
Photo: public domain
Attracted by cheap land and high wheat prices, more and more people migrated to the new province, by 1914 the population had already risen to 470,000. Important provincial political parties at that time became the 'agricultural' parties United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) and the Progressive Party of Canada, a national party. John E. Brownlee led the UFA to a majority in the provincial parliament after the elections in 1926 and 1930, and in 1930 managed to transfer control of natural resources from central government to provincial government. After a private scandal and economic setback, including plunging wheat prices, the UFA disappeared from the political scene in 1934. John Lineham (1861-1913), Western Canada's first oiler, co-founded in February 1901 with George Leeson and engineer Allan Patrick established the Rocky Mountain Development Company. They were convinced there was money to be made from oil and later that year began drilling for oil near Cameron Lake, now located in Waterton Lakes National Park. The trio succeeded in extracting a maximum of 300 barrels per day, but this oil well already dried up in 1904.
Photo : public domain
In 1914 oil was found again in Alberta, now south of Calgary in Turner Valley, at a depth of about 900 meters. For a long time, Turner Valley remained the largest gas and oil producer in the worldThe British Empire did not yet generate much income, but it did have a positive influence on the development of Calgary, which until then had mainly been the center of the meat industry in Canada and was not nicknamed 'cowtown' for nothing. It was not until the opening of a large oil field at Leduc, about 20 km south of Edmonton, for oil to become really important to the Alberta and Canadian economies. In 1948 oil was produced at Redwater, in 1956 the largest field to date, Pembina Field, west of Edmonton. Other fields were discovered east of Grande Prairie in central Alberta. In 1991, the fields of Alberta produced 81% of all crude oil in Canada, from then on, however, the quantities extracted decreased steadily. Oil exploration also led to the discovery of large gas fields, including at Picher Creek in the southeast and at Medicine Hat in northwestern Alberta.
The tar sands in the Athabasca River valley north of Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta, contains a tremendous amount of oil, after Saudi Arabia the largest amount in the world. The first oil mill to extract oil from the tar sands was opened in 1967, the second in 1978. In 1991, the factories together produced 100 million barrels of oil. Politically important to Alberta was the 1932 foundation of the Social Credit Movement under led by William Aberhart, 'Bible Bill', which in 1935 created a political party, the Social Credit Party. The fundamentalist, God-fearing Aberhart denounced the modern materialist world and wanted everyone to take advantage of the increasing purchasing power. To achieve this, Aberhart wanted to give each man and woman $ 25 a month in the form of a so-called 'social credit'. Almost everyone was against this idea, which in the end would never be implemented, but unsurprisingly, Aberthart's Social Credit Party won by far in the 1935 parliamentary elections. The Social Credit Party remained in power until 1971 and won nine consecutive elections. Aberhart was Alberta's seventh Prime Minister from 1935 to 1943.
Photo: Public Domain
Aberthart was succeeded in 1943 by his student Ernest C. Manning, and under him the Social Credit Party remained in power until 1968.
In the mid-1980s, the Social Credit Party was replaced by the Social Credit Party. son of Manning, Preston Manning, transformed into the Reform Party of Canada.
Alberta's contribution to World War II was substantial. In Alberta itself, POW and internment camps were set up in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Wainwright and Kananaskis Country. Moreover, in Alberta, in addition to a number of military training facilities, there were a large number of airfields of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Many thousands of men, and later women, volunteered in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army and parts of the army such as the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, the Calgary (Tank) Regiment and the Calgary Highlanders fought for freedom in Europe.
By 1942, many Japanese from British Columbia, (Alberta itself had populations of Japanese in Raymond and Hardieville), sent to internment camps in Southern Alberta. The intention was that these Japanese would emigrate to Japan after the war, but not much of it came to pass and at this time the Japanese are completely assimilated into the population of Alberta.
Important for the opening up of all Canadian Provinces marked the completion in 1962 of the Trans-Canada Highway. In 1971, the conservatives of Peter Lougheed's Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, often referred to as the Progressive Consevative Party of Alberta, put an end to the decades-long governance of the Social Credit Party and have been supplying Alberta Prime Minister Peter Lougheed (1971-1985) ever since., Don Getty (1985-1992), Ralph Klein (1992-2006), Ed Stelmach (2006-2011), Alison Redford (2011-2014), Dave Hancock (2014) and Jim Prentice (2014-....), since September 15, 2014, the 16th Prime Minister of Alberta. The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta is currently the longest-serving party in Canada's history at the provincial level of government.
Photo: Dave Cournoyer Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made
Important to Alberta's tourism and economy was the organization of the 15th Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.
In June 2013, after a period of heavy rains, Alberta was hit by devastating floods and mudslides, and rivers such as the Bow, Elbow, Highwood and Oldman burst their banks. Tens of thousands of 'Albertans', especially in and around Calgary, were forced to leave their homes. Roads and bridges were washed away in southern Alberta, the Trans-Canada Highway was cut off, and the villages of Banff and Canmore were cut off from the outside world.
On August 9, 2014, an area 75 km from the town was Sylvan Lake, near Red Deer and exactly halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, was hit by an earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter Scale. The previous very noticeable earthquake (3.6 on the Richter Scale) was already dated November 12, 2007 near Spuce Grove, just west of Edmonton. The heaviest earthquake in the last 40 years, 4.8 on the Richter Scale, was on May 14, 1978, southwest of Jasper. Between 1918 and 2009, 819 earthquakes were reported in Alberta, but they caused little damage and no casualties.
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At the beginning of January 2015, Prime Minister Jim Prentice announced that due to the plummeting oil prices from November 2014, the projected budget surplus would fall from $ 1.5 billion in 2015 to a budget deficit of $ 500 million. Since the summer of 2014, the price of a barrel of oil had fallen from 100 US dollars to 50 dollars in early January 2015. In 2019, there have been climate protests from young people in particular against what they say is the overshadowed importance of oil to Alberta.
See also the history of Canada on Landenweb.
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The population of Alberta was 4.08 million in 2013 and the population density was approximately 6 inhabitants per km2. As a result of the strong economic conditions, Alberta attracts many people from the other Canadian provinces and population growth is therefore higher than elsewhere in Canada.
For example, between 1996 and 2006, 469,095 people from Canada's other provinces migrated to Alberta and 261,500 people left the province to seek refuge in other provinces. Alberta has a total of 449 cities and towns.
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Population growth in the last hundred years has been spectacular, from 73,022 inhabitants in 1901 to 3,645,257 in 2011, an increase of 1.5% of the Canadian population to 10.9%. The population grew by more than 40% between 1991 and 2009. A city like Calgary also experienced several growth spells, after the oil discovery in 1947 and, for example, after the Arab oil boycott in the early 1970s. Then the city grew from 400,000 inhabitants in 1971 to far more than one million today. The population of Edmonton doubled in the period 1946-1956 to 254,800. The population of the tar-sands city of Fort McMurray increased from 1,500 in 1974 to 75,000 in 2014. An average income of 135,000 Canadian dollars in 2010, compared to 104,000 in Calgary and 94,000 in Toronto, will certainly have contributed to this spectacular population growth.
10 Largest Cities Alberta (ca. 2011)
Statistics Canada, the Canadian Bureau of Statistics, conducted an extensive study in 2014 into the development of the Canadian population for the next 25 years. For Alberta, it means that by 2038 the province will become the third largest province in Canada in terms of population, after Ontario and Quebec. Alberta is currently in fourth place after British Columbia. With a relatively young population, a relatively high fertility rate and substantial inland migration to Alberta, Alberta is expected to experience the greatest population growth of all provinces from just over four million in 2014 to between 5.6 and 6.8. million inhabitants in 2038.
Less than 20% of the population lives in rural areas, the rest in cities. The vast majority of people are of white or Native American descent and just over 10% are members of a minority group. The Edmonton/Calgary region is the most urbanized area in Alberta and is among the four most urbanized areas in Canada. In 2011, about 30% of the population lived in Calgary and about 25% in the capital Edmonton. Calgary is the second largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver, Edmonton is the fifth largest city.
Alberta currently has approximately 173,000 inhabitants of Dutch origin, who often live together. Villages such as Picture Butte, Monarch, Nobleford, Neerlandia and Strathmore consist largely of 'Dutch'.
Canadian native Indianpeoples, excluding Inuit and Mestizos or Métis, are called First Nations or 'First Nations'. In prehistoric times, Alberta tribes such as the Blackfoot, Kainaiwa, Siksika, Peigan, Atsina, Cree, Tsuu T'ina, Slavey, Dene and Assiniboine settled. According to a 2011 Canadian census, nearly 117,000 'Albertans' indicated that they belonged to one of the First Nations. Alberta thus has the third largest First Nations population of Canada, after Ontario and British Columbia, living in its territory. About half of these Indians live in a reservation, the rest just live among the rest of the Canadian population. Many of these urban Indians live in the capital Edmonton, the city with the most Indians after Winnipeg. In addition, there are some 20,000 Indians who have not registered themselves in the official 'Indian Register'.
There are currently 46 First Nations of "Bands" in Alberta, below an overview:
Photo: Indigenousand Northern Affairs Canada
|1. Athabasca Chipewyan||17. Sawridge Band||33. Kehewin Cree|
|2. Beaver||18. Smith's Landing||34. Louis Bull|
|3. Bigstone||19. Sturgeon Lake Cree||35. Montana|
|4. Chipewyan Prairie||20. Sucker Creek||36. O'Chiese|
|5. Dene Tha '||21. Swan River||37. Paul|
|6. Driftpile||22. Tallcree||38. Saddle Lake Cree|
|7. Duncan's||23. Whitefish Lake||39. Samson Cree|
|8. Fort McKay||24. Woodland Cree||40. Sunchild|
|9. Fort McMurray||25. Alexander||41. Whitefish Lake (Goodfish)|
|10. Horse Lake||26. Alexis Nakota Sioux||42. Blood|
|11. Kapawe'no||27. Beaver lake||43. Piikani|
|12. Little Red River Cree||28. Cold Lake||44. Siksika|
|13. Loon River||29. Enoch Cree||45. Stoney|
|14. Lubicon Lake||30. Ermineskin Cree||46. Tsuu T'ina|
|15. Mikisew Cree||31. Frog Lake|
|16. Peerless Trout||32. Heart Lake|
Photo: Public domain
Canada has two official languages, English and French. French is the native language of 24% of the population, English of 63% of the population.
About 80% of Alberta's population is native English speaker. Various Chinese languages are spoken by about 3% of the population, German by about 2.6%, French by about 2% and Punjabi by about 1.1%. Languages spoken between 0.2 and 1% of the population include Tagalog, Ukrainian, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, Urdu, Korean, Hindi, Farsi, Portuguese and Hungarian. Dutch is still spoken by approximately 0.6% of the population. Mennonites often still speak Plattdeutsch, for example in the village of La Crèche in northern Alberta.
Photo: RockyMtnGuy Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Cree, the most widely spoken Native American language in Canada, is an Algonquin (sub-family of about 40 Native American languages) language found in much of Canada and the US state of Montana. Cree is spoken by the Ayisiniwak, Canada's largest Native American population, and is an official language in Northwest Territories. Of the nine different Cree dialects, two are spoken in Alberta, in much of the province of Prairie-Cree and in the far northeast of the province of Bos-Cree.
In all, Alberta has eleven Native American and Inuit languages and more than 65 dialects. Some Native American languages are Blackfoot, Inuktitut, Ojibwe, Chipewyan, Dene, Sarcee and Stoney (Nakoda Sioux).
Photo: P199 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Approx. 70 percent of Alberta's residents call themselves Christians, while nearly 24 percent of residents do not identify with any religion. The largest denominations are those of the Roman Catholics, the United Church of Canada, the Anglicans, the Lutherans, and the Baptists.
Photo: RockyMtnGuy Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made
Photo: Public domain
Below is a more detailed overview of religions in Alberta
|Eastern Orthodox||approx. 1.5%|
|various Christians||approx. 4.5%|
|various Eastern religions||approx. 0.2%|
|Native American beliefs||approx. 0.3%|
Nearly 2 percent of the population is members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons. These Mormons are descended from pioneers from Utah, United States, who from 1887 under the direction of Charles Ora Card, the son-in-law of Mormon leader Brigham Young, traveled to Alberta and founded Canada's first Mormon settlement, Cardston. The first stake, a kind of deanery, outside the United States, had been that of Cardston in Alberta since 1895.
Photo: Public domain
Photo: Matthias Süßen Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unportedno changes made
Alberta also has large numbers of Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and Evangelical Christians. There are also considerable numbers of Mennonites and Hutterites, belonging to the Anabaptist sects. There are also many Jehovah's Witnesses and Reformed Christians, as well as a significant population of Seventh-day Adventists in and around Lacombe, where Canadian University College is located. Alberta is also home to several Eastern European churches as a result of the many Eastern European immigrants, including the Ukraine Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Edmonton and the Ukraine Orthodox Diocese of Edmonton and Western Canada. Southern Alberta is home to several hundred Doukhobors, a spiritual Christian group, originally from Russia, but in fact expelled from their country at the end of the 19th century. Most of the inhabitants of northern La Crêare Mennonites, who settled in this area in the 1930s.
Photo: public domain
Many Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims have made Alberta their home. For example, one of Canada's largest Sikh temples is located just outside Edmonton. Approx. 95% of the Jews in Alberta live in Calgary and the capital Edmonton. Canada's oldest mosque (1938), Al-Rashid Mosque, is located in Edmonton;the largest mosque, the Baitun Nur mosque, is in Calgary.
Photo: Public domain
Alberta's oldest church is St. Paul's Anglican Church in Fort Chipewyan, located in northeastern Alberta between Wood Buffalo National Park and Lake Athabasca.
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Noteworthy, especially in the United States, but also in Canada, are the so-called cowboy churches. Cowboy churches are local Christian churches, often located in the countryside in barns or metal buildings. Sometimes a rodeo arena is present and a country gospel band plays during the simple services. Cowboy churches can be found in Alberta along the Cowboy Trail, a 700 km long route that runs on Highway 22 between the Rocky Mountains and the prairies. The route runs from Cardston in far south Alberta to Mayerthorpe, just northwest of Edmonton.
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Governance and politics
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Canada's ten provinces and three territories are part of a federation whose form of government is parliamentary democracy. Canada is an independent constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth and, according to the British (Westminster) model, comprises a Crown, a Senate and a House of Commons. Canada's ten provinces enjoy far-reaching self-government, particularly in the fields of culture, health, education and the exploitation of mineral resources. The provincial parliaments only have a House of Representatives, not a Senate.
The British King or Queen is represented by a Governor-General appointed for 5-7 years, assisted by a cabinet, the so-called ‘privy council’ . The Governor General appoints and dismisses ministers and members of the federal Supreme Court and enacts legislation, has the right to consult in the cabinet and delivers the speech from the throne.
The largest political party provides the prime minister and the ministers, who are among parliament. The prime minister is the most important person for the administration of the country. Under electoral law, the federal parliament has 26 representatives from Alberta, the Senate has six representatives from Alberta.
Historically, since the first elections in 1905, Alberta has had long-held parliaments with large majority. In those first elections, the Liberals beat Alberta's first Prime Minister, Alexander C. Rutherford. In 1979 the Progressive Conservatives won 74 out of 79 seats, in 2012 the same party won 61 out of 87 seats.
The Liberal Party formed the first government of Alberta from 1905-1921. They were succeeded in 1921 by the United Farmers of Alberta who remained in power until 1935. This was followed by a long reign of the Social Credit Party until 1971 and from then on it was the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta that ruled Alberta.
The Alberta Parliament consists of one chamber, the Legislative Assembly, which has 87 members. The English crown in Alberta is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, a purely ceremonial position. The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada. The provincial parliament, based in the capital Edmonton, is headed by the prime minister, normally a member of parliament who elects the members of his cabinet from that same parliament.
The province of Alberta is divided into 87 constituencies or 'ridings'. Each constituency has a number of candidates from different political parties. The candidate in each constituency with the most votes represents that constituency in the Provincial Assembly of Alberta. The leader of the political party with the most seats in parliament becomes the Prime Minister of Alberta. The prime minister and the ministers form the provincial government.
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Every five years there is a vote for a new provincial government, but that can of course also be done earlier. If a seat becomes vacant in parliament before the new elections, an intermediate election will be organized in the constituency where the dropped member of parliament comes from. The winner of that election will then take his or her place until the next general election.
The current Assembly has 72 Conservatives, 9 Liberals and 2 members of the NDP.
Photo: Public domain
There are some in Albertasmall, but growing, separatist movements that want to separate the province, alone or with the other western provinces, from Canada. Reasons for this include the 'Western Alienation' that many people feel. An important part of the population thinks that the Federal government in Ottawa does not or barely represents the interests of the province(s) and that they are only a source of tax money while all political attention is focused on the larger provinces. Ontarioand Quebec. Canada's current political situation is described in the section history.
Photo: Public domain
Since 1999, federated Canada (founded July 1, 1867) has consisted of ten provinces and three 'territories'. Each province has a high degree of autonomy, which is reflected, among other things, in the power to regulate local government itself. Furthermore, it is largely independent in areas such as prison, education, health care and taxation. The Crown is represented in each of the provinces by a Lieutenant Governor.
|province/'territory'||capital||area||number of inhabitants|
|Alberta||Edmonton||661,848 km2||approx. 4,025,000|
|British Columbia||Victoria||944,374 km2||approx. 4,500,000|
|Manitoba||Winnipeg||647,797 km2||approx. 1,200,000|
|New Brunswick||Fredericton||72,908 km2||approx. 755,000|
|Newfoundland&Labrador||St. John's||405,212 km2||approx. 520,000|
|Northwest Territories||Yellowknife||1,346,106 km2||approx. 43,000|
|Nova Scotia||Halifax||55,283 km2||approx. 930,000|
|Nunavut||Iqaluit||2,038,722 km2||approx. 32,000|
|Ontario||Toronto||1,076,395 km2||approx. 13,000,000|
|Prince Edward Island||Charlottetown||5,660 km2||approx. 142,000|
|Québec||Québec-City||1,542,056 km2||approx. 7,930,000|
|Saskatchewan||Regina||651,900 km2||approx. 1,040,000|
|Yukon Territory||Whitehorse||482,443 km2||approx. 35,000|
University education in Alberta
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Located in the capital Edmonton, the University of Alberta, founded in 1908 and with 18 faculties, is Canada's oldest and largest university. Once part of the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary became independent in 1966 and is now Alberta's second largest university. Athabasca University, which focuses on long-distance education and has 37,000 students, and the University of Lethbridge, are located in the cities of the same name.
In 2009, Mount Royal University, Calgary's second public university, was opened in the same year a second university, MacEwan University, was also opened in Edmonton. Alberta now has six universities.
Rodeos in Alberta
Of all Canadian provinces, Alberta is the province that still keeps the cowboy culture high in its saddle. Summer and fall are the time of year for rodeos in Alberta. Rodeos are held in many towns and cities, large stadiums are used for professional cowboys, who can make a lot of money with them. Rodeos originated in the 16th century in Mexico and slowly conquered all of North America.
The six different traditional parts of a rodeo are riding a wild horse with (saddle bronc riding) and bareback riding, riding a bull (bull riding), catching a bull calf with a lasso (steer wrestling) and catching a calf and tying its legs (tie-down roping). Spectacular are the women's barrel race and a covered wagon race (chuckwagon racing).
Calgary's first professional rodeo took place in 1912, and the Calgary Stampede was held every year from 1923, 10 days in July which is accompanied by parades, manifestations, fairs, agricultural exhibitions and fireworks. This rodeo festival attracts more than 1 million paying visitors annually.
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Mainly due to oil production and trade, but also still from agriculture, forestry and ranching, Alberta has the strongest economy of all Canadian provinces, but a slightly higher unemployment rate than in the whole of Canada in 2018. 6,5% to 6.0%. Alberta has always had an export-oriented economy, from fur, wheat and meat to oil and gas. In July 2018, it was announced that nearly 27,000 new jobs had been created in Alberta in twelve months.
Although Alberta continues to hold significant interests across all economic sectors, the province's politics and culture has been closely associated with fossil energy production, especially oil and gas, since the 1940s. In 1947 a large oil field was found near Edmonton, which was immediately declared the 'Oil capital of Canada'. It was not the first oil discovery in Alberta, but this time the field was large enough to be commercially exploited, given the growing demand for oil in the United States. Income from oil and gas extraction has boosted Alberta's economic development and prosperity ever since, and its economic spin-offs include the petrochemical industry and pipeline construction.
A comparison with the somewhat less neighboring provinces of Mantitoba and Saskatchewan with oil is a good example of the importance of the presence of oil. Alberta was the least populated province of the three prairie provinces in the early 20th century, but now has more than three times the population of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Approx. 300,000 people work in the oil and gas related industry. In the course of 2014, the price of crude oil plummeted by as much as 50%. The expectations were that this situation would continue for a long time, with major consequences for the economies of both Canada and Alberta. In this situation, the economy of the oil-consuming provinces grew mainly due to the low oil price, new jobs and investments also grew in those provinces at the expense of Alberta.
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Alberta has a small internal market and is relatively remote from major world markets, despite good transport links to the rest of Canada and south to the United States. Alberta is hemmed in and separated by a series of mountain ranges from the closest outlet to the Pacific Ocean, and by the Canadian Shield from ports at Lakehead and Hudson Bay. The distance from these ports to the major populations and markets in Europe and Asia;is (ten) thousands of kilometers. North America's largest population clusters (Boston-Washington, San Francisco-San Diego, Chicago-Pittsburgh, and Quebec City-Windsor) are all thousands of miles from Alberta. Partly for this reason, Alberta has never had many industries traditionally associated with the onset of the Industrial Revolution that required a lot of labor, large internal markets, or convenient transportation. Examples include textiles, metallurgy and transport-related (cars, ships, trains) manufacturing industry.
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Agriculture has been very important to Alberta's economy since about 1870, although the climate is not cooperative in all seasons and there are extreme differences. Fertile soils are mainly located in the southern half of the province (excluding the mountains) and in certain areas in the north. It is remarkable that as far north as Alberta there is nowhere more extensive agriculture than elsewhere in North America, above Peace River and above 55°C. latitude north.
In general, northern Alberta and areas along the Rocky Mountains are forested land and forestry is more important than agriculture. Agriculture is divided into arable farming in the east, ranching in the west and a combination of the two sectors in Central Alberta and in the northern parkland.
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Wheat is still Alberta's most important agricultural commodity, alongside canola oil, barley, rye and sugar beets. More than 90% of the agricultural land is used for growing grain. The total area of agricultural land is approximately 21 million hectares and there are approximately 50,000 farms. Most of Canada's beekeepers are located in Alberta. Falher in Central Alberta, with nearly 50,000 beehives and a production of 4.5 million pounds of honey, is also known as the 'Honey Capital of Canada'.
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Alberta has about 3 million head of cattle, and meat is exported all over the world. Approx. half of Canadian meat is produced in Alberta, including much buffalo meat. Cattle farms are generally very impressive, with more than 40,000 head of cattle on one farm is no exception. Most dairies are owned by Dutch or Canadians of Dutch descent.
Several biotechnology companies are located near the University of Calgary.
Salt is extracted on Alberta's eastern border, near the town of Lindbergh. The salt is a relic of the sea that once covered Alberta.
According to Statistics Canada, Albertans (families of two or more people) had the highest average income in 2012 in all of Canada, $ 92,300 per year, followed by Saskatchewan at $ 77,300, Ontario at $ 73,700, British Columbia at $ 72,300 and Canada as entirely $ 71,700.
Oil and Minerals
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Oil and gas fields are found along an axis that cuts across Alberta from northwest to southeast. Alberta is Canada's largest producer of conventional mineral oil, synthetic oil and natural gas and also one of the world's largest producers and exporters of natural gas.
Tar sands are located in the Northeast, particularly around Fort McMurray, which makes it one of the fastest growing cities of Canada. The Athabasca Oil Sands there, according to scientists, have a stockpile of about 27 billion tons of bitumen, viscous oil mixed with sand, after Saudi Arabia, the largest stock of oil in the world. In total, in what has been called the largest open mine in the world, approximately 1.5 million barrels are now produced each year, with the expectation that by 2020 there will be three million per day. At the end of the Second World War Alberta had about 500 oil wells, by 1960 there were already about 10,000. Oil extraction from tar sands has long been under fire from environmental organizations and from the indigenous people, because under Canadian law these lands belong to indigenous people. Environmental organizations are opposed because of serious environmental and health impacts, including an increase in autoimmune diseases and mass deaths of wild animals. But Alberta made about 4.4 billion Canadian dollars on the tar sands in 2013, so the people who make a lot of money from it see things completely differently, the financial interests are far too big.
Coal has been mined in Alberta since the late 19th century, and around 1,800 mines have been involved since then. Approx. 65% of all coal reserves in Canada are in Alberta, which is mainly used to generate electricity.
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Due to its (relatively) economically isolated location, Alberta is highly dependent on excellent transportation options, both to other provinces in Canada and to the rest of the world. Alberta is currently served by two transcontinental railways (owners are the Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway respectively), by three major highway links to the Pacific Ocean (the Trans-Canada via Kicking Horse Pass, the Yellowhead via Yellowhead Pass and the Crowsnest via Crowsnest Pass), and Interstate 15 to the United States, as well as two international airports (Calgary International Airport and Edmonton International Airport). Other major airports include Calgary/Springbank Airport, Coutts/Ross International Airport, Lethbridge County Airport and Del Bonita/Whetstone International Airport. Alberta is also connected to a number of pipeline systems, TransCanada (gas) to Eastern Canada, Northern Border Pipeline (gas), Alliance Pipeline (gas) and Enbridge Pipeline System (oil) to the eastern United States, Gas Transmission Northwest (gas) and Northwest Pipeline (gas) to the western United States.
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Ever since the advent of the first agricultural settlements, the population of Alberta has concentrated in the forest and grassland of the parkland that runs along the North Saskatchewan River from Lloydminster to Edmonton and along the hills of the Rocky Mountains to Calgary the south of the province.
The regions around Calgary and Edmonton are Alberta's largest metropolitan regions and one of the most densely populated areas in Canada. From north to south this region measures about 400 km and about 75% of the population of Alberta lives here. Calgary and Edmonton are close to each other by Western Canadian standards, but far from other metropolitan areas around Vancouver and Winnipeg. The economic profile between Calgary and Edmonton differs somewhat. Calgary is important as the location of regional and national headquarters for gas and oil explorers and drilling companies.
Edmonton, Canada's northernmost major city, focuses more on bringing in civil servants, universities and hospitals as large employers, in addition to many manufacturing industries related to oil and gas. Edmonton, for example, also owns the West Edmonton Mall, with over 800 stores and department stores on an area of 483,000 m2, still one of the largest shopping centers in the world. Opened since 1981, the Mall also houses more than a hundred eateries, 20,000 parking spaces, the largest indoor swimming pool in the world, the largest indoor lake in the world (122 meters long) and the possibility to bungee jump under cover.
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Alberta has been a tourist attraction since the early 1900s with outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and camping. Over the years, this added shopping (West Edmonton Mall), the Calgary Stampede, outdoor festivals, sports competitions (Commonwealth Games, Winter Olympics). Alberta's great wildlife, especially its many national and state parks, attracts more than three million tourists a year. The cities of Calgary and Edmonton alone attract more than four million tourists annually. Most tourists come from Canada itself and the United States. Drumheller, 'Dinosaur Capital of the World', attracts about 700,000 tourists a year.
Diamonds were first found in Alberta in 1958, but real diamond mines have not opened since then.
In the Edmonton area, oil and gas related facilities and supplies are being made on a large scale.
After the discovery of oil and gas, the food industry has slowly moved from Calgary and Edmonton to smaller places like Brooks, just east of Calgary, where another large meat processing company is located.
Holidays and Sightseeing
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Alberta is a Canadian mountain province. The Canadian Rocky Mountains form Alberta's western border and rise from the prairie like a fortress. The peaks, glaciers, rivers and lakes have already posed for millions of postcards, and pictorial mountain villages like Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise are all located in Alberta territory. Banff National Park, Canada's first national park, and Jasper National Park are home to large wild mammals such as grizzly bear, moose, mountain goat and wapiti, but are also popular areas for skiers, cyclists and hikers.
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Lake Louise Ski Area is one of North America's largest winter sports areas with 17km of pistes and over 130 runs. Other beautiful winter sports areas in Alberta are Banff Mount Norquay, Banff Sunshine Village and Jasper Marmot Basin. In addition to skiing, Alberta has several other ways to enjoy snow and ice, including icewalking past columns of ice and frozen waterfalls in Johnston Canyon near Banff and Maligne Canyon near Jasper, heli snowshoeing, ice skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sledding, cross-country, ice climbing, snow tubing, torchlight skiing and relaxing in warm pools with mineral water.
But the cities of Alberta are also not to be sneezed at. The provincial capital of Edmonton has one of Western Canada's most special neighborhoods, Old Strathcona, as well as the largest shopping center in the world, the West Edmonton Mall. The southern cowboy and oil city of Calgary is the fastest growing city in North America and hosts the annual Calgary Stampede, a 10-day rodeo festival that has was held for the first time in 1912.
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The town of Drumheller, located in 'Dinosaur Valley', is called the 'Dinosaur Capital of the World'. Founded in 1985, the Royal Tyrrell Museum showcases the prehistoric world and paleontology with dozens of lifelike dinosaur models. The first dinosaur find was 1884 by James B. Tyrrell.
The 'hoodoos', mushroom-shaped 5-7 meter high rock formations, are also a tourist attraction.
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Hempstead, Andrew / Calgary
Hempstead, Andrew / Edmonton & Northern Alberta
Pashby, Christie / Frommer's Alberta
Struijk, Aad / West-Canada
Teuschl, Karl / Canada-West : Rocky Mountains, Vancouver
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Wagner, Heike / West- Canada
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