Geography of Canada’s Regions

Canada is the second largest country on earth—10 million square kilometres.

Three oceans line Canada’s frontiers: the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Along the southern edge of Canada lies the Canada-United States boundary.

The Regions of Canada

Here is the geography of Canada that includes many different areas and five distinct regions.

Geography of Canada - Atlantic Provinces

The Atlantic Provinces

Geography of Canada - Central provinces

Central Canada

Geography of Canada - Prairie province

The Prairie Provinces

Geography of Canada - West Coast

The West Coast

Geography of Canada - Northern Territories

The Northern Territories

The National Capital

Ottawa, located on the Ottawa River, was chosen as the capital in 1857 by Queen Victoria, the great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. Today it is Canada’s fourth largest metropolitan area. The National Capital Region, 4,700 square kilometres surrounding Ottawa, preserves and enhances the area’s built heritage and natural environment. It is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the Geography of Canada.

Canadian Geography – Provinces and Territories

Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Each province and territory has its own capital city.

Region Province/Territory Capital City
Atlantic region
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • St. John’s
  • Charlottetown
  • Halifax
  • Fredericton
Central Canada
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • Québec City
  • Toronto
Prairie Provinces
  • Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan
  • Alberta
  • Winnipeg
  • Regina
  • Edmonton
West Coast
  • British Columbia
  • Victoria
North
  • Nunavut
  • Northwest Territories
  • Yukon Territory
  • Iqaluit
  • Yellowknife
  • Whitehorse
Geography of Canada - Atlantic provinces

The Atlantic provinces

Atlantic Canada’s coasts and natural resources, including fishing, farming, forestry and mining, have made these provinces an important part of Canada’s history and development. The Atlantic Ocean brings cool winters and cool humid summers.

Geography of Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly point in North America and has its own time zone. In addition to its natural beauty, the province has a unique heritage linked to the sea. The oldest colony of the British Empire and a strategic prize in Canada’s early history, the province has long been known for its fisheries, coastal fishing villages and distinct culture. Today off-shore oil and gas extraction contributes a substantial part of the economy. Labrador also has immense hydro-electric resources.

Geography of Canada - Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is the smallest province, known for its beaches, red soil and agriculture, especially potatoes. P.E.I. is the birthplace of Confederation, connected to mainland Canada by one of the longest continuous multispan bridges in the world, the Confederation Bridge. Anne of Green Gables, set in P.E.I. by Lucy Maud Montgomery, is a much-loved story about the adventures of a little red-headed orphan girl.

Geography of Canada - Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is the most populous Atlantic Province, with a rich history as the gateway to Canada. Known for the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy, the province’s identity is linked to shipbuilding, fisheries and shipping. As Canada’s largest east coast port, deep-water and ice-free, the capital, Halifax, has played an important role in Atlantic trade and defence and is home to Canada’s largest naval base. Nova Scotia has a long history of coal mining, forestry and agriculture. Today there is also off-shore oil and gas exploration. The province’s Celtic and Gaelic traditions sustain a vibrant culture. Nova Scotia is home to over 700 annual festivals, including the spectacular military tattoo in Halifax.

Geography of Canada - New Brunswick

New Brunswick

Situated in the Appalachian Range, the province was founded by the United Empire Loyalists and has the second largest river system on North America’s Atlantic coastline, the St. John River system. Forestry, agriculture, fisheries, mining, food processing and tourism are the principal industries. Saint John is the largest city, port and manufacturing centre; Moncton is the principal Francophone Acadian centre; and Fredericton, the historic capital. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province, and about one-third of the population lives and works in French. The province’s pioneer Loyalist and French cultural heritage and history come alive in street festivals and traditional music.

Geography of Canada - Central Canada

Central Canada

More than half the people in Canada live in cities and towns near the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River in southern Quebec and Ontario, known as Central Canada and the industrial and manufacturing heartland. Southern Ontario and Quebec have cold winters and warm humid summers. Together, Ontario and Quebec produce more than three-quarters of all Canadian manufactured goods.

Geography of Canada - Quebec

Quebec

Nearly eight million people live in Quebec, the vast majority along or near the St. Lawrence River. More than three-quarters speak French as their first language. The resources of the Canadian Shield have helped Quebec to develop important industries, including forestry, energy and mining. Quebec is Canada’s main producer of pulp and paper. The province’s huge supply of fresh water has made it Canada’s largest producer of hydro-electricity. Quebecers are leaders in cutting-edge industries such as pharmaceuticals and aeronautics. Quebec films, music, literary works and food have international stature, especially in La Francophonie, an association of French-speaking nations. Montreal, Canada’s second largest city and the second largest mainly French-speaking city in the world after Paris, is famous for its cultural diversity.

Geography of Canada - Ontario

Ontario

At more than 12 million, the people of Ontario make up more than one-third of Canadians. The large and culturally diverse population, natural resources and strategic location contribute to a vital economy. Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the country’s main financial centre. Many people work in the service or manufacturing industries, which produce a large percentage of Canada’s exports. The Niagara region is known for its vineyards, wines and fruit crops. Ontario farmers raise dairy and beef cattle, poultry, and vegetable and grain crops. Founded by United Empire Loyalists, Ontario also has the largest Frenchspeaking population outside of Quebec, with a proud history of preserving their language and culture. There are five Great Lakes located between Ontario and the United States: Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan (in the U.S.A.) and Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.

Geography of Canada - Prairie Provinces

The Prairie Provinces

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are the Prairie Provinces, rich in energy resources and some of the most fertile farmland in the world. The region is mostly dry, with cold winters and hot summers.

Geography of Canada - Manitoba

Manitoba

Manitoba’s economy is based on agriculture, mining and hydro-electric power generation. The province’s most populous city is Winnipeg, whose Exchange District includes the most famous street intersection in the geography of Canada, Portage and Main. Winnipeg’s French Quarter, St. Boniface, has Western Canada’s largest Francophone community at 45,000. Manitoba is also an important centre of Ukrainian culture, with 14% reporting Ukrainian origins, and the largest Aboriginal population of any province, at over 15%.