If you're visiting Canada, understanding the geography of the country is essential to planning your trip, and there's no better way to gain a baseline understanding of an area than by studying maps of its regions and points of interest.
Although Canada technically has ten provinces and three territories, the country is often broken up into regions of shared culture. Discover more about the six regions of Canada by exploring the following maps, each with a bit of information about the particular attractions found only in these areas.
Map of Canada, Color-Coded by Region
There are a number of ways that geographers and tour guides will break up Canada to group together its people and cultures, but the above map shows one of the most popular forms of describing different areas— the regional division of the country.
Map of the 10 Canada Provinces
Canada is also divided into ten provinces—British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba—and three territories—Yukon Territory, Northwest Territory, and Nunavut.
Specific Regional Maps: Great Lakes
Canada has also been divided into distinct, small regions of interest like this one on the map above, the Great Lakes Region. Visitors to the Great Lakes can enjoy one of Canada's beautiful beaches in the summer or explore the cold yet thriving streets of Toronto in the winter.
Other regions of interest in Canada, especially for tourists, include Cordillera and Coastal Mountains, Great Plains, the Canadian Shield, Tundra and Arctic North, the Appalachian Mountains of the East, Maritime East, and the Great Lakes Lowlands and Plains.
British Columbia Map
British Columbia is Canada's most westerly province. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Alberta to the east and the Yukon to the north. British Columbia's southern border is shared with the U.S. states of Washington, and tiny bits of Idaho and Montana.
Taking a look at the map above, you might recognize big cities like Vancouver but might also miss B.C.'s plethora of nature preserves and outdoor adventure areas. If you're a fan of hiking, camping, and immersing yourself in natural beauty and wonder, consider checking out Glacier National Park or Whistler Blackcomb, a ski resort that once hosted the Winter Olympics.
Map of Prairie Provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
For those looking for city adventures in the Prairies, tourists can visit Lethbridge, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Edmonton, and Grande Prairie, Alberta; Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; and Brandon and Winnipeg, Manitoba.
However, there are also a great number of national and provincial parks worth discovering in the Prairies as well, so nature-lovers can skip out on the hustle and bustle of the central Canadian cities and immerse themselves in the sweeping plains and rolling hills of the region. Read on to discover more about each province in this region.
Map of Alberta
From the capital of the province, Edmonton, to the vibrant modernity of its metropolitan giant, Calgary, Alberta has a lot to offer to tourists, but the province is most famous for its many lakes and National Parks that attract thousands of tourists each year.
For nature lovers, we recommend checking out Banff National Park and Lake Louise near Calgary, driving along the Icefield Parkway to the Columbia Icefield, and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park that spreads across northern Montana and southern Alberta.
Map of Saskatchewan
Continuing the tradition of great destinations for nature in Canada, Saskatchewan is also known as the "Land of 100,000 Lakes" for the many bodies of water that cover its temperate terrain. This, coupled with the rolling plains, coniferous forests, and the rockiness of the Canadian Shield plateau makes Saskatchewan the perfect destinations for the nature-obsessed.
However, Saskatchewan is also home to the provincial capital city of Regina, which features a number of great museums and exhibits dedicated to the First Peoples of Canada, the Cree First Nations, who gave the province its name meaning "the river that flows swiftly."
Prince Albert National Park, the RCMP Heritage Center, the Wanuskewin Heritage Park in the settlement town of Saskatoon, the city of Moose Jaw, and the capital at Regina are all great destinations to check out while you're in Canada's central province.
Map of Manitoba
Located just east of Saskatchewan in central Canada, Manitoba is home to even more wilderness and cultural centers, stretching from the northern tundra down to the Hudson Bay. Here, tourists can roam through buffalo country at Riding Mountain National Park or even see polar bears in Churchill, the "Polar Bear Capital of the World."
History enthusiasts and cultural junkies can also visit the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in in Winnipeg or check out the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, Islendingadagurinn, in the small town of Gimli just an hour north of the city at Lake Winnipeg.
Map of Ontario
Ontario, located in eastern Canada, is home to the Canadian capital city of Ottawa, where tourists can visit the home of Canada's central government at Parliament Hill or check out the country's greatest collection of art at the National Gallery of Canada.
Another huge metropolis in Canada, Toronto, is just a few hours away. Visitors can check out the CN Tower or the Royal Ontario Museum downtown or take a day trip to see Niagara Falls from its northern banks.
Map of Quebec
Visitors of Quebec most often visit its dual-language English-French cities of Quebec or Montreal, but there's a lot more to this province than its cities—Quebec covers over a sixth of the entire landmass of Canada!
Just across the river from Canada's capital Ottawa is the small town of Gatineau, Quebec, which houses the Canadian Museum of Civilizations and offers visitors a comprehensive look at the people that shaped modern Canada—from the First Nations people to Norse sailors.
Map of the Maritimes
If you're interested in seeing the eastern side of Canada—perhaps via train from New York City or Boston—you might be interested in the region of Canada known as the Maritimes, which includes Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Read on to discover more about each of these provinces.
Map of New Brunswick
Located in far eastern Canada in a region known as the Maritimes, New Brunswick is a small yet beautiful province that offers a number of historic sites and modern attractions across its small landmass. The major cities of the province include its capital Fredericton as well as Saint John and Moncton.
Sightseers traveling to New Brunswick will not want to miss the sweeping Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world and offers glimpses of marine wildlife like whales and sea lions. Visitors to the area can also venture further down to the Fundy National Park for more breathtaking views and coastal hikes.
Map of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is located just off the mainland of New Brunswick and is the second-smallest province in Canada. This quiet, peaceful peninsula offers visitors only one major city, Halifax, but also features a plethora of small fishing harbors as well as French settlements known as Arcadia to explore as they drive around the beautiful landscape of the coast.
Visitors won't want to miss views of the tidal salt marshes in the Bay of Fundy or the Cabot Trail, a 300-kilometer drive along the shores of Nova Scotia. There's also a number of great towns to check out some classic architecture like Sherbrooke Village, the Port-Royal National Historic Site, the Halifax Harbor, and the town of Lunenburg.
Map of Prince Edward Island
Located north of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island are the perfect summer vacation destination but also offer visitors fresh lobsters and mussels year-round. The capital and largest city of the island is Charlottetown, which features theater and arts entertainment as well as some great Victorian architecture.
Other great attractions on Prince Edward Island include the Bottle Houses, small fishing villages like Victoria-by-the-Sea, hiking along historic trails, and the Confederation Centre of Arts.
Map of Newfoundland and Labrador
The island of Newfoundland stretches across northeastern Canada and serves as its most eastern province while most of the region of Labrador in the north is inaccessible to tourism due to its rocky, harsh environment and bitterly cold temperatures during its long winters.
One of the highest-rated tourist destinations in Newfoundland is L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, which is home to what is considered to be the oldest European settlement discovered in North America: six houses made of grass sods originally constructed by Vikings around 1,000 A.D.
Map of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut
Harsh winters and brief summers keep most tourists south of the sparsely populated region of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do in them, especially if you're a fan of winter sports and outdoor adventures.
Map of Yukon Territory
Directly above British Columbia and bordering the United States state of Alaska, the Yukon Territory offers tourists an up-close look at Canadian wildlife and the cultures of the First Nations as well as a retrospective of the gold rush era that helped populate much of the region.
The Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Miles Canyon, and the Takhini Hot Springs offer visitors a unique look at the wide variety of natural beauty in the land while hotspots like the Dawson City Museum, Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center, and Sign Post Forest draw tourists in with their varied perspectives on life in the Yukon.
Map of Northwest Territories
Stretching across much of northern Canada, the Northwest Territories features a tree line that cuts across the entire region and marks the beginning of the harsh tundra environment of the North Pole's polar ice caps and the Northwest Passage.
Visitors can stop in the gold-rush-created capital city of Yellowknife or the neighboring Great Slave Lake settlements of Fort Providence and Hay River. Although this Great Lake is Canada's fifth largest, it is frozen eight months out of the year.
Map of Nunavut
Nunavut is Canada's northernmost and youngest official territory, officially adopted in 1999 and stretching up to the north pole over much of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Although most of the small towns of its rocky tundra are only accessible by boat or plane, there's still a great number of things to do as a tourist of this mostly icy region.
Indigenous First Nation peoples' artwork and clothing are popular among tourists and locals alike—in fact, much of the economy of Nunavut comes from creating handmade goods and shipping them to the more popularly visited southern regions.
Among the most popular attractions in this relatively new official territory include Baffin and Ellesmere Islands, the Inuit-city-turned-military-base at Iqaluit, Sirmilik National Park, and Repulse Bay.