A Practical Guide To Canada's 10 Provinces

17 August 2014

As the second-largest country in the world, Canada is incredibly diverse. Its landscape ranges from dramatic mountains to the flats of the prairies, so how do you know where to go when there’s so much choice? Here is a practical guide to Canada’s 10 unique provinces.

 Yoho National Park in British Columbia

1.British Columbia

With more than 25,000 kilometres of coastline and spectacular scenery, British Columbia is an outdoor playground. Home to four million residents, it is best known for its Okanagan wine, skiing, fishing, golf and whale watching.

Learn to surf at the rugged yet beautiful beach of Tofino on Vancouver Island, take a wine tour in the award-winning Okanagan Valley or dine at one of Vancouver’s renowned restaurants.

Take a drive along the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway (also known as Route 99) up to Whistler – the largest ski resort in North America.

2. Alberta

Located in the Canadian Rockies, Alberta is one of the most breathtaking places on earth. Made up of turquoise lakes, forests, rolling grasslands and dramatic mountains, it’s popular with snow-lovers who head to Banff and Lake Louise for powder turns.

Its capital is Edmonton and the province is best known for the Calgary Stampede – its annual rodeo, exhibition and festival. Other big attractions include a huge array of festivals, world-class skiing and more than 1,600 square kilometres of hiking trails in Banff National Park.

3. Ontario

Toronto is the capital of Ontario and the economic capital of Canada. With a population of more than 2.6 million, it is a vibrant and multicultural city best known for its iconic 553-metre CN Tower.

Outside of the city you are spoilt for choice, from the world-famous Niagara Falls and excellent wine country to thousands of fresh water lakes and rivers.

4. Quebec

On the east coast of Canada lies the unique province of Quebec. A blend of French-Canadian culture, it oozes personality, from historic Quebec City to edgy Montreal. And the skiing is excellent.

Practise your French, stroll its cobblestone streets and taste the region’s fresh, fine food. Ski or snowboard at magical Mont-Tremblant – regularly voted the best ski resort in eastern North America.

 Old Montreal lights up at dusk

5. Saskatchewan

Known for having the clearest skies year round, Saskatchewan is called the 'Land of the Living Skies' by locals. This province is land-locked with open prairies, thousands of lakes and one of the world’s largest active sand dunes. Head to the capital Regina and experience its cultural history, arts, entertainment and cosmopolitan dining.

6. Manitoba

The town of Churchill in Manitoba is nicknamed the 'Polar Bear Capital of the World’ because of the animals’ migration route through the area. The province is vast and features more than 110,000 lakes. Winnipeg is one of Canada’s cultural capitals with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and international cuisine.

 Cape George Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

7 & 8. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

Nova Scotia has a strong Celtic culture and is best known for its scenic drives, the freshest of seafood and wild coastline. Capital Halifax also has a thriving pub scene. Like much of Canada, New Brunswick has awe-inspiring nature. You can see incredible tides at the Bay of Fundy, explore its breathtaking coastline, go whale watching and visit one of the world’s most renowned salmon rivers.

9 & 10. Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador

Prince Edward Island is best known as the setting for the 1985 Canadian television drama, "Anne of Green Gables." It features rolling green hills, small-town charm and friendly locals. At the most eastern edge of Canada is Newfoundland and Labrador. Explore the province’s untouched wilderness, which includes whales, 10,000-year-old icebergs andcolonies of seabirds.

Rowena Ryan

As a well-travelled writer, Rowena looks for the local experience. Whether it’s a glass of rose in Paris or a shiraz in the Barossa, she embraces the fascinating and different cultures around the globe. Rowena loves Canada for its Caesar’s (a Clamato-based cocktail), the local markets in regional France, and a North American sports bar for wings and a cold beer.