Alberta conjures up images of western living, cowboys, oil, booming markets and a frontier-style mindset that makes Alberta the “Texas of the north”. Alberta is one of the richest provinces in Canada, and its GDP is expected to surpass Ontario’s within the next ten years.
Alberta is bordered by the Rocky Mountains in the west, the great prairies in the east, the arctic circle in the north and the US state of Montana in the south.
Indeed, it is economic wealth that has put Alberta on the map. From the early days of its founding, Alberta has been the destination of people tired of the woes and life of the east. The first peoples to settle in Alberta were the plains Indians, namely the Blackfoot and the Cree. They developed a nomadic lifestyle as they followed the great plains herds of buffalo, cariboo and deer. It wasn’t until 10,000 years later that the first British settlers arrived in the region.
In 1670 Charles II of England granted all the territories of the prairies, including Alberta, to the Hudson Bay Company. The territory became known as “Ruperts Land”. In 1773 the first French trappers arrived and soon had established several trading forts, including Bonnyville and Lac La Biche. These fur traders established the North West Fur Company (NWC) and within a few years hired mercenaries for both Hudson Bay Company and NWC were fighting it out for control of the Alberta plains in a series of bloody skirmishes. In 1821 the British forced the two companies to merge in order to end the feud, and Hudson Bay Company absorbed NWC.
In 1875 the Northwest Mounted Police (later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) established a headquarters on the Bow River. Tertiary industry sprang up around the fort, and the city of Calgary was born. To the north, in the same year, the Hudson Bay Company established a strong central trading fort, Edmonton, which would become the capital of Alberta when the Canadian government created the District of Alberta in 1882.
A population boom in the late 19th Century saw many towns and cities spring up across the district. Agriculture, mining, hunting and the first oil explorations brought settlers from the east in droves, and in 1905 Alberta officially joined Confederation as a Province.
Today Alberta is still a booming economic powerhouse. The contraversial Alberta Oil Sands, to the north of Edmonton, creates almost 70% of Alberta’s wealth. Alberta is the single largest oil supplier to both Canada and the USA. So much wealth is generated from Alberta oil that there is no provincial sales tax, and Alberta boasts the highest personal incomes in all of North America (the average household in Alberta earns over $100,000 per year). Wages are so high in Alberta that it has created a real estate spike, making housing almost unaffordable in the large urban centres like Calgary and Edmonton.
Alberta is also home to Alberta Grade A Beef, second only to Texas beef in quality and quantity. The cattle industry in Alberta makes up another large part of the economy, and also helps to keep the cowboy identity alive and strong. Country music is popular in Alberta and several world-famous country musicians have come from the province.
The late 20th Century has seen a booming tourism sector grow in Alberta. The absolutely stunning natural beauty of Alberta, from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the vast plains in the east, draw over 3 million tourists per year. The Calgary Stampede, the world’s largest international rodeo, draws more than a million spectators from across North America every summer. Canada’s first national park, Banff, was founded in Alberta, covering more than 6,400 square kilometers in the Rocky Mountains.
For jobs, lifestyle, culture, geographic beauty and a taste of the real west, you can’t get better than Alberta.

Lake Louise, Alberta


North-western Alberta

Banff, Alberta, is a popular tourist town and also Canada’s largest national park.

Cowboy culture lives on in Alberta

The Trans-Canada Highway as it stretches through Alberta towards the mountains.


With 1.5 million people, Calgary is the 4th largest city in Canada. Its roots stretch back to the days of the wild west, and today it is a booming city rich on oil and a shifting power dynamic.

Edmonton, Alberta’s provincial capital, is a cultural and historic city of 1.2 million with the largest urban park system in North America and the most festivals per year in North America.

West Edmonton Mall, North America’s largest shopping mall.


The Calgary Stampede, dubbed “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth”, happens every year and draws more than 3 million tourists to the city for a week of drinking, cowboy culture, music and, of course, rodeos.

The Alberta license plate

The beauty of Alberta

3 thoughts on “Alberta

  1. Great post, thanks from a Russian-Albertan πŸ™‚ Just one thing caught my attention:
    “Wages are so high in Alberta that it has created a real estate spike, making housing almost unaffordable in the large urban centres like Calgary and Edmonton…”
    LOOL, reads like Vancouver πŸ™‚ There was indeed a spike in real estate prices during the boom years, indeed, but it was not so much because of the wages, but because of a large influx of people from all over Canada, and they dropped quite significantly after many oilsands projects came to still stand. Apart from Fort Mac, housing prices have been quite reasonable since then, higher than in the Maritimes, but not even close to GTA or the “nice” part of BC (Vancouver&Okanagan Valley).
    And I also would add that Alberta is a home to a very large Ukrainian-Canadian community, who were pioneers on the prairies and are still loyal to their cultural traditions. So we now have more Hopak dancers per capita than the Ukraine itself, and Vegreville is home to a largest Ukrainian Easter egg in the world πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Katy! As somebody married to a Russian (I also lived in Moscow for 2 years and spent some time in Kiev), I can appreciate the large Ukrainian and Russian diaspora in Alberta. Thanks for your informative comments!

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