Do you know the provinces bordering Alberta? It would be British Columbia to the west, Saskatoon to the east, Montana (USA) to the south, and for those of you who would never guess, the Northwest Territories to the north. It is one of only three provinces that border a single U.S. state. And it is only one of two provinces that are landlocked.
Edmonton is the capital. I knew that only because the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, began his professional hockey career with the Edmonton Oilers. It serves as the primary hub for Canada’s oil. But the largest city in Alberta is Calgary, home to the famous Calgary Stampede. Both cities have populations over one million. Other great destinations in Alberta are Banff, Canmore, Jasper, and Sylvan Lake. And I highly doubt that you know that the premier of this province is Jim Prentice.
Alberta is not named after the Alberta peach, but rather Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939). Alberta was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (in a can?). Lake Louise was named after her as well.
Alberta is the fourth largest province with 225,500 square miles, after Quebec, Ontario, and BC. The 49th parallel north separates Alberta from the state of Montana. Edmonton, the capital, is the most northerly major city in Canada. The region is closest to Canada’s major oil fields.
The area is known for warm summers and very cold winters. The Calgary-Edmonton corridor is best known for the highest frequency of hail in Canada, caused by orographic lifting from the Rocky Mountains. Most of us think that hoodoos are located only at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, but Dinosaur Provincial Park also has hoodoos. The bighorn sheep are the area’s most iconic wild animals.
So, how many Canadian provinces have I visited? Well, British Columbia several times, including many trips to Vancouver, and one trip to Kelowna (Penticton) for the big Elvis Festival. And a couple of trips to Montreal (Quebec), both for a business presentation and once for pleasure. And two stops in Toronto, Ontario for loooong layovers and visits to the downtown area. Of course, this begs the question, should I visit the rest of them?
Can you name all the Canadian provinces? I thought there were eight. There are TEN! The remaining six are: Saskatoon, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Plus there are three territories: the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. Whoda thought?
There is much we do not know about our great neighbors to the north. Put all of the provinces together and voila!, You have the world’s second largest country by area!
Most remarkably, our 1st two encounters here were less than friendly. The border cop seemed quite reluctant to let us into Canada. Good thing we had passports, as he asked way too many questions. Then the ranger at the gate to Waterton was also rather short with me, grudgingly giving me my senior discount, and asking for the ridiculous amount of $27 CD to get in for 2 night stay.