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The province of Alberta is one of Canada's thirteen provinces. It is a part of Western Canada and one of Canada's prairie provinces. Alberta is surrounded by British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories (NWT) to the north, and Montana to the south. Canada only has two landlocked provinces: Quebec and Ontario (Saskatchewan being the other). There are the Great Plains in the east, and the Rocky Mountains in the west, which separate this province. An air shortage has resulted in rapid temperature changes in the province's continental climate. Western Alberta experiences fewer extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations because of the sporadic chinook winds.
A land mass of 661,848 square kilometers (255,541 square miles) and a population of 4,262,635 people make Alberta one of Canada's most populous and largest provinces. In terms of population, Edmonton is the largest city in Alberta, while Calgary is the capital. These are Alberta's two most populous urban centers. This rivalry is only going to intensify as long as Edmonton and Calgary continue to house more than half of Alberta's population. English is the official language of the province. Albertans were 76.0 percent anglophone in 2016, with 1.8 percent francophone and 22.2 percent allophone, according to the 2016 census data.
Hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, agriculture, and livestock are the mainstays of Alberta's economy. The oil and gas industry has been a pillar of Alberta's economy since the Leduc No. 1 well's significant oil deposits were discovered in 1947. It has also contributed to the province's sense of self. 70 percent of Canada's oil and gas is produced in Alberta, the province with the highest concentration of hydrocarbons. A total of CA$338.2 billion, or 15.27 percent of Canada's GDP, was produced by Alberta in 2018.
Liberals and the agrarian United Farmers of Alberta used to be part of Alberta's political landscape. In modern times, Alberta has earned a reputation for conservatism. This longest uninterrupted run in provincial or federal government in Canadian history was accomplished by the right-leaning Social Credit Party from 1935 to 1971 and the center-right Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 2015.
Alberta was home to numerous First Nations, including Plain Indians and Woodland Cree, before becoming a part of Canada. It was also a territory utilized by rival fur companies HBC and NWC. In 1870, the Dominion of Canada acquired the lands that would become Alberta from the NWT. Large numbers of people arrived in the late 1800s and early 1900s to stop the American annexation of the prairies. Wheat farming and cattle ranching became extremely lucrative as well. The Alberta Act of 1905 officially recognized Alberta as a province. Oil reserves of enormous size were discovered in 1947. Oil sands extraction began in 1967.
Natural splendor, fossil wealth, and the presence of significant nature reserves make Alberta a sought-after tourist destination. Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks, the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the Wood Buffalo National park and the Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Alberta. Among the other popular destinations are Banff National Park, Elk Island National Park, Jasper National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Drumheller.
Geographical Description of Alberta
A total of 661,848 km2 makes Alberta the fourth-largest province in Canada, after Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia (255,541 sq mi).
The 49th parallel north, which separates Alberta from Montana, forms the province's southern border. Alberta and the Northwest Territories are separated by the 60th parallel north. There is a 120th meridian west from the Northwest Territories at 60°N to the Continental Divide, and from there the boundary with British Columbia continues southeasterly until it intersects with Montana's 49th parallel north at Glacier National Park.
From north to south and east to west, the province spreads out over 1,223 kilometers (760 miles). In the Rocky Mountains on the southwest border, it reaches a height of 3,747 meters at Mount Columbia, while the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park drops to 152 meters.
With the exception of the semi-arid steppe region in the southeast, the province has ample water resources. Swimming, fishing, and other water sports are popular in numerous Alberta rivers and lakes. Several large lakes can be found in Alberta and Saskatchewan, including Lake Claire (1,436 square kilometers [554 square miles]), Lesser Slave Lake (1,168 square kilometers [451 square miles]), and Lake Athabasca (7,898 square kilometers [3,010 square miles]). The Athabasca River, which runs from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca, is the province's longest river.
There is an average flow of 2,161 cubic meters per second in the Peace River (76,300 cu ft). Peace River is a major tributary of the Mackenzie River, which originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta.
Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is roughly in the province's geographic center. It is the northernmost major Canadian city and a gateway and center for resource development in northern Canada. Oil refineries are concentrated in this area because of its proximity to Canada's largest fields. Calgary is located approximately 280 kilometers (170 miles) south of Edmonton and 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Montana, surrounded by vast ranching country. The Calgary–Edmonton Corridor is home to nearly 75% of Alberta's population. The railways' land grant policy helped populate the province in its early years.
There are temperate coniferous forests like the Alberta Mountain forests and the Alberta–British Columbia foothills covering most of the southern Rocky Mountains, while the northern half of Alberta is mostly covered in boreal forest. Shortgrass prairie dominates the province's southern one-fourth, while mixed grass prairies arc west and north. Located in the central aspen parkland region, which stretches from Calgary through Edmonton to Lloydminster, the province's most fertile soil and the majority of the province's population can be found. In the north and center, mixed farming is more common, while in the south, ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate. The majority of Alberta's unforested land is used for grain or dairy farming.
At the confluence of the Red Deer River and the flat prairies and farmland of southeastern Alberta, the Alberta badlands are a spectacular sight. This Alberta park, located near Brooks, features badlands terrain, desert plants, and fossils of dinosaurs that roamed the land in the prehistoric era.
Economy of Alberta
One of the strongest economies in the world, Alberta's economy was bolstered by the growing oil industry, which was supported by agriculture and technology to a lesser extent. Alberta had the highest per capita GDP in Canada in 2013 at CA$84,390, beating out the United States, Norway, and Switzerland. Over the national average of CA$53,870, this was 56% higher, and in some Atlantic provinces, it was more than twice as high. In 2006, British Columbia had the greatest deviation from the national average of any province in Canada's history. Compared to the rest of Canada, Alberta's median family income after taxes was $70,986 in 2006, while the national average was $60,270. In 2014, Alberta's economy was larger than Canada's second largest province, Ontario's, with a GDP of over CA$376 billion. A 4.6 percent increase in 2017 to $327.4 billion in GDP at basic prices was the largest increase in Canada and reversed a two-year decline.
The debt-to-GDP ratio in Alberta is expected to reach a peak of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2021–2022, before falling to 11.3 percent the following year.
As Alberta's most urbanized and densely populated region, the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor is also one of the country's busiest transportation hubs. Northernmost point to southernmost point, the region's length is about 400 kilometers (250 miles). There were 2.15 million people living in the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor in 2001 (72% of Alberta's population). It is also one of the nation's fastest-growing regions. To the best of the study's knowledge, it is only in this corridor that a Canadian-style standard of living and universal health care have coexisted with the accumulation of wealth on par with that in the United States. According to the findings, the GDP per capita in the corridor was 10% higher than the national average and 40% higher than the GDP per capita in other Canadian cities at the time.
Among Canadian provinces and U.S. states, Alberta has the second-highest level of economic freedom, according to the Fraser Institute.
Exports totaled $121.4 billion in 2014. There were $90.8 billion in energy resource exports and $111.7 billion in energy revenues. Farm cash receipts totaled $12.9 billion in 2013. Forest products were shipped for $5.4 billion and exported for $2.7 billion in 2015. Alberta's information and communication technology (ICT) industries generated over $13 billion in revenue, contributing to the province's total manufacturing sales of $79.4 billion. Alberta's gross domestic product in 2014 totaled $364.5 billion in 2007 dollars, or $414.3 billion in 2015 dollars. There was a wide range of growth rates for Alberta's GDP in 2015, with growth rates ranging from 4.4% to 0.2%.