The CANADIAN PRAIRIES is a region in western
Canada , which may
correspond to several different definitions, natural or political.
Notably, the PRAIRIE PROVINCES or simply THE PRAIRIES comprise the
Saskatchewan , and
Manitoba , as they are
partially covered by prairie (grasslands), mostly in the southern
regions of each province. In a more restricted sense, the term may
also refer only to the areas of those provinces covered by prairie;
their portions of the physiographic region known as the INTERIOR
Prairie also covers portions of northeastern British Columbia
, though that province is typically not included in the region in a
* 1 Definitions
* 2 Main climates
* 3 Physical geography
* 3.1 Prairies
* 4 Demographics
* 4.1 Growth
* 5 Economy
* 6 Culture and politics
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 9.1 Historiography
* 10 External links
The prairies in
Canada refers to temperate grasslands and shrublands
biome, within the prairie ecoregion of
Canada and consists of Northern
mixed grasslands in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and southern Manitoba.
Northern short grasslands in southeastern
Alberta and southwestern
Northern tall grasslands
Northern tall grasslands in southern Manitoba, and Aspen
parkland , which covers central Alberta, central Saskatchewan, and
southern Manitoba. The
Prairie starts from north of Edmonton, it
covers the three provinces in a southward-slanting line east to the
Alberta has the most land classified as
Manitoba has the least, as the Boreal Forest begins at
a lower latitude in
Manitoba than in Alberta.
Köppen climate types of the
Prairie Provinces Native
grasslands in southern
According to the
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification the Canadian prairies
generally experience dry semi-arid climates (Köppen Bsk) in the brown
soil regions, and somewhat dry Humid Continental climates (Köppen
Dfb) in the outer dark brown and black soil areas. The Canadian
prairies typically experience about 12 to 15 in (300 to 380 mm) of
annual precipitation in the semi-arid areas while they experience 16
to 20 in (410 to 510 mm) in the continental regions.
generally the coldest and most humid of the three prairie provinces.
The area is also prone to thunderstorms in the spring and summer. Some
of these storms, especially further south, are strong enough for
AVERAGE CLIMATES FOR SELECTED CITIES IN THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES
PLANT HARDINESS ZONE
26 °C/10 °C (79 °F/50 °F)
0 °C/-12 °C (32 °F/10 °F)
380 mm (14.9 in)
23 °C/9 °C (73 °F/48 °F)
-1 °C/-13 °C (30 °F/9 °F)
419 mm (16.4 in)
28 °C/12 °C (82 °F/54 °F)
-5 °C/-16 °C (23 °F/3 °F)
323 mm (12.7 in)
23 °C/12 °C (73 °F/54 °F)
-6 °C/-15 °C (21 °F/5 °F)
456 mm (17.9 in)
23 °C/10 °C (73 °F/50 °F)
-8 °C/-19 °C (18 °F/-2 °F)
445 mm (17.5 in)
26 °C/12 °C (79 °F/54 °F)
-9 °C/-20 °C (16 °F/-4 °F)
390 mm (15.3 in)
25 °C/12 °C (77 °F/54 °F)
-10 °C/-21 °C (14 °F/-9 °F)
354 mm (13.8 in)
24 °C/12 °C (75 °F/54 °F)
-11 °C/-23 °C (12 °F/-9 °F)
428 mm (16.8 in)
25 °C/11 °C (77 °F/54 °F)
-11 °C/-22 °C (12 °F/-11 °F)
474 mm (18.6 in)
25 °C/12 °C (77 °F/55 °F)
-11 °C/-21 °C (12 °F/-6 °F)
521 mm (20.5 in)
See also: Geography of
Prairie Provinces region is named for the prairies
located within Alberta,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the physical
geography of the three provinces is quite diverse, consisting of
portions of the
Canadian Shield , the Western Cordillera and the
Canadian Interior Plains . The plains comprise both prairies and
forests while, with the exception of
Arctic tundra along the Hudson
Bay , the shield is predominantly forested. Gimli,
located on Lake
Winnipeg , a very large fresh water lake in the
The northern short grasslands (WWF terminology) shown here on a
North America in green, is a type of true prairie (grassland)
which occurs in the southern parts of the
Prairie Provinces. Main
Three main grassland types occur in the Canadian prairies: tallgrass
prairie , mixed grass prairie , and fescue prairie (or using the WWF
terminology, northern tall grasslands , northern mixed grasslands ,
and northern short grasslands ). Each has a unique geographic
distribution and characteristic mix of plant species. All but a
fraction of one percent of the tallgrass prairie has been converted to
cropland. What remains occurs on the 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi) plain
centred in the
Red River Valley in Manitoba. Mixed prairie is more
common and is part of the dry interior plains that extend from Canada
south to the
U.S. state of
Texas . More than half of the remaining
native grassland in the Canadian prairies is mixed. Though widespread
Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta, because of
extensive cattle grazing, it is estimated that only 24% of the
original mixed prairie grassland remains.
Fescue prairie occurs in the
moister regions, occupying the northern extent of the prairies in
central and southwestern
Alberta and west-central Saskatchewan.
Palliser\'s Triangle , delineating prairie soil types in the Prairie
The southwestern Canadian prairies, supporting brown and black soil
types, are semi-arid and highly prone to frequent and severe droughts.
The zones around the cities of Regina and immediately east of Calgary
are also very dry. Most heavy precipitation quickly dissipates by the
time it passes Cheadle on its way heading east. In an average year,
Saskatchewan receives between 30–51 cm (12–20 in) of
precipitation, with the majority falling between April and June. Frost
from October to April (and sometimes even early May) limits the
growing season for certain crops.
The eastern section of the Canadian prairies in
Manitoba is well
watered with several large lakes such as Lake
Winnipeg and several
large rivers. The area also gets reasonable amounts of precipitation.
The middle sections of
Saskatchewan are also wetter than
the south and have better farmland, despite having a shorter
frost-free season. The areas around
especially notable as good farmland. Both lie in the northern area of
the Palliser's Triangle, and are within aspen parkland a transitional
Further north, the area becomes too cold for most agriculture besides
wild rice operations and sheep raising, and it is dominated by boreal
forest . The
Peace Region in northwestern
Alberta is an exception,
however. It lies north of the 55th Parallel and is warm and dry enough
to support extensive farming.
Aspen parkland covers the area; The long
daylight hours in this region during the summer are an asset despite
having an even shorter growing season than central Alberta. In fact,
agriculture plays a major economic role in the Peace Region.
CENSUS METROPOLITAN AREAS IN THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES
CENSUS METROPOLITAN AREA
Canada 2011 Census , the Canadian prairie provinces had a
population of 5,886,906, consisting of 3,645,257 in Alberta, 1,208,268
in Manitoba, and 1,033,381 in Saskatchewan, up 8.9% from 5,406,908 in
2006. The three provinces have a combined area of 1,780,650.6 km2
(687,513.0 sq mi), consisting of 640,081.87 km2 (247,136.99 sq mi) in
Alberta, 552,329.52 km2 (213,255.62 sq mi) in Manitoba, and 588,239.21
km2 (227,120.43 sq mi) in Saskatchewan. Location of communities
Manitoba which comprise Canada's Prairie
Some of the prairie region of
Canada has seen rapid growth from a
boom in oil production since the mid-20th century. According to
StatsCanada, the prairie provinces had a population of 5,886,906 in
2011. In 2016, the population had grown by 14.6% to 6,748,280.
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (April
A canola field in the Qu'Appelle Valley in Southern
Primary industries include agriculture (wheat , barley , canola ,
brassica , oats ), and cattle and sheep ranching. Also, natural
resources such as oil sands (
Fort McMurray , Alberta) and other forms
of oil production can be found on the plains. Secondary industries
consist of the refinement of oils and agriculture processing.
CULTURE AND POLITICS
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Alberta badlands .
The Prairies are distinguished from the rest of
Canada by cultural
and political traits. The oldest influence on
Prairie culture are the
First Nations , who have lived in the area for millennia. The first
Europeans to see the Prairies were fur traders and explorers from
Canada (mainly present-day
Quebec ) and
Great Britain via
Hudson Bay . They gave rise to the Métis , working class "children of
the fur trade." Not until the
Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway was built did
widespread agricultural settlement occur. During their settlement, the
prairies were settled in distinct ethnic block settlements giving
certain areas distinctively Ukrainian , German , French , or
Scandinavian Canadian cultures.
Some areas also developed cultures around their main economic
activity. For example, southern
Alberta is renowned for its cowboy
culture, which developed when real open range ranching was practised
in the 1880s. Canada's first rodeo, the
Raymond Stampede , was
established in 1902. These influences are also evident in the music of
Prairie Provinces . This can be attributed partially to the
massive influx of American settlers who began to migrate to Alberta
(and to a lesser extent, Saskatchewan) in the late 1880s because of
the lack of available land in the United States.
Prairie Provinces have given rise to the "prairie protest"
movements, such as the
Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 , the first
general strike in Canadian history. These political movements (both of
the left and right) tend to feed off of well established feelings of
Western alienation , and each one represents a distinct challenge to
the perceived Central Canadian elite.
The Prairies continue to have a wide range of political
representation. While the Conservative Party of
Canada has widespread
support throughout the region, the New Democratic Party holds seats at
the provincial level in all three provinces, forming the government in
one, as well as holding seats at the federal level in all three
provinces. The Liberal Party of
Canada presently holds federal seats
in urban areas of Alberta,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba, while the
Alberta Liberal Party holds a provincial seat in
Alberta and the
Manitoba Liberal Party holds a seat in Manitoba.
* Geography of
* List of regions of
Dominion Land Survey
Natural Resources Acts
High Plains (United States)
Corner Gas – TV show featuring the sparseness of the plains as a
* ^ A B C "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces
and territories, 2011 and 2006 censuses". Statistics Canada.
2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
* ^ http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&id=510005
* ^ A B "Prairies Ecozone". Ecological Framework of Canada.
Government of Canada. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
* ^ A B "Wide open spaces, but for how long?". The Royal Canadian
Geographical Society. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Retrieved 23 May 2016.
* ^ "Canada\'s Plant Hardiness". Canada's Plant Hardiness. Natural
Resources Canada. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
* ^ "
Lethbridge A, Alberta". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010.
Environment Canada. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
* ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data Calgary
International Airport". Environment
Canada . Retrieved 15 July 2015.
* ^ "
Medicine Hat A, Alberta". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010
Medicine Hat. Environment Canada. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
* ^ "
Edmonton City Centre Airport". Canadian Climate Normals
1981−2010. Environment Canada. August 19, 2013. Retrieved September
* ^ "Grande
Prairie A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981−2010.
Environment Canada. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
* ^ "Regina International Airport". Canadian Climate Normals
Canada . Retrieved 12 May 2014.
* ^ "
Saskatoon Diefenbaker International Airport". Canadian Climate
Normals 1981–2010. Environment
Canada . Retrieved May 12, 2014.
* ^ "Prince Albert A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010.
Canada . Retrieved May 14, 2014.
* ^ "Brandon CDA, Manitoba". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010.
Canada . Retrieved 7 May 2014.
* ^ "
Winnipeg Richardson International Airport". Canadian Climate
Normals 1981–2010. Environment
Canada . Retrieved May 7, 2014.
* ^ "
Prairie Grasslands and Parkland". Archived from the original
* ^ "Atlantic unemployment tonic: oil sands". Archived from the
original on 2008-10-20.
* ^ http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&id=510005
See also: Bibliography of
Saskatchewan history , Bibliography of
Alberta history , and History of
Alberta Encyclopedia Online (2005)
* Archer, John H. Saskatchewan: A History (1980)
* Barnhart, Gordon L., ed.
Saskatchewan Premiers of the Twentieth
Century. (2004). 418 pp.
* Bennett, John W. and Seena B. Kohl. Settling the Canadian-American
West, 1890-1915: Pioneer Adaptation and Community Building. An
Anthropological History. (1995). 311 pp. online edition
* Danysk, Cecilia. Hired Hands: Labour and the Development of
Prairie Agriculture, 1880–1930. (1995). 231 pp.
* Emery, George. The Methodist Church on the Prairies, 1896–1914.
McGill-Queen's U. Press, 2001. 259 pp.
* The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan: A Living Legacy. U. of Regina
Canadian Plains Research Center, 2005. online 1071pp in print edition
* Fairbanks, C. and S.B. Sundberg. Farm Women on the Prairie
* Friesen, Gerald (1987), The Canadian prairies: a history,
University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-6648-8
* Hodgson, Heather, ed.
Saskatchewan Writers: Lives Past and
Present. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 2004. 247 pp.
* Jones, David C. Empire of Dust: Settling and Abandoning the
Prairie Dry Belt. (1987) 316 pp.
* Keahey, Deborah. Making It Home: Place in Canadian Prairie
Literature. (1998). 178 pp.
* Langford, N. "Childbirth on the
Canadian Prairies 1880-1930."
Journal of Historical Sociology, 1995. Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 278–302.
* Langford, Nanci Louise. "First Generation and Lasting Impressions:
The Gendered Identities of
Prairie Homestead Women." PhD dissertation
Alberta 1994. 229 pp. DAI 1995 56(4): 1544-A. DANN95214
Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations statistical models
* Palmer, Howard. The Settlement of the West (1977) online edition
* Pitsula, James M. "Disparate Duo" Beaver 2005 85(4): 14–24, a
Saskatchewan and Alberta, Fulltext in
* Rollings-Magnusson, Sandra. "Canada's Most Wanted: Pioneer Women
on the Western Prairies". Canadian Review of Sociology and
Anthropology 2000 37(2): 223–238. ISSN 0008-4948 Fulltext:
* Swyripa, Frances. Storied Landscapes: Ethno-Religious Identity and
Canadian Prairies (University of
Manitoba Press, 2010) 296 pp.
ISBN 978-0-88755-720-0 .
* Thompson, John Herd. Forging the
Prairie West (1998).
* Wardhaugh, Robert A. Mackenzie King and the
Prairie West (2000).
* Waiser, Bill, and John Perret. Saskatchewan: A New History (2005).
* Francis, R. Douglas. "In search of a prairie myth: A survey of the
intellectual and cultural historiography of prairie Canada." Journal
of Canadian Studies/Revue d'Études Canadiennes 24#3 (1989): 44+
* Ingles, Ernie B (2009), Peel\'s Bibliography of the Canadian
Prairies to 1953, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-4825-0
* Wardhaugh, Robert A., ed. Toward Defining the Prairies: Region,
Culture, and History. (2001). 234 pp.
* Wardhaugh, Robert; Calder, Alison (2005), History, literature, and
the writing of the Canadian Prairies, University of
ISBN 0-88755-682-5 310 pp.
* Media related to
Canadian Prairies at Wikimedia Commons