Calgary UNIX Users' Group Virtual Tourist  of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies

Nature, History, Heritage Sites, Interesting Places

Alberta, Canada

Welcome to Alberta, one of the Westernmost provinces of Canada. With our mix of prairies, rolling hills and snowy mountains, small towns and cosmopolitan cities, and ancient history and modern attractions, we are sure to have something to interest everyone.

 The province of Alberta covers an area of over 600,000 square kilometers, and is home to more than 2.5 million people. The capital is Edmonton, located in north central Alberta. Alberta has an official coat-of-arms, flag, flower, motto, fish, bird, mammal, tree, stone and tartan . The province is bordered to the east by the province of Saskatchewan, to the west by the Rocky Mountains and British Columbia, to the north by the Northwest Territories and to the south by the state of Montana in the United States.
The headings below correspond to the "Tourist Destination Regions" in this TravelAlberta map .
Right-click to open map in a new window.

See also Atlas of Canada map and Relief Map, Mapquest and the venerable Xerox PARC mapserver (centered on Calgary).

A little History

When missionaries and fur traders arrived from Europe in the eighteenth century Alberta was inhabited by several "Indian" nations.Wrangling between the French and British (a continuing theme in Canadian history) kept Alberta from being fully exploited at first, but with the creation of trading posts near Edmonton and up north the squabbling subsided somewhat.

When Canada was formed in 1867, Alberta was still very much the uncontrolled frontier. It was not until 1874 that the North West Mounted Police (precursors to the modern Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)) established their presence in the area.

With the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway ( completed 1885 ) and the increasing flow of people into the area, a territorial government was created in 1875. The vast herds of bison on which the Indians depended were hunted nearly to extinction and the land was distributed to European homesteaders. Several years later the region overlooked by the territorial government was split into four portions, one being named after Princess Louise Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria and Albert.

Alberta became a province of Canada in 1905, when it joined confederation. It's primary industries are natural resource based. Trapping opened up the area, and agriculture followed (still remaining a strong point for the Alberta economy). Oil was discovered at Turner Valley in 1914 and has been a center for growth since then (give or take a "bust" in the 1980s). Forest related industries are growing increasingly important, but run the risk of impacting the tourism industry (the third largest industry in Alberta).



Probably the biggest draw for tourists in Alberta is the natural beauty of the province, and all the recreational possibilities inherent therein. During the summer months the province (especially Banff and Jasper national parks) offer numerous chances for hiking, bicycling, mountain climbing, caving, hang gliding, white water rafting, swimming, trail riding and picnicking. In addition there are a number of hot springs, camping areas, trophy lakes, trout streams and vacation resorts. Winter visitors should Check out Bob Bolt's Ski Canada page, as well as the numerous cross-country ski trails.

Other Information Sources

According to our Web Server Statistics the Virtual Tourist gets 50,000 visits per year.
BJW Any suggestions/comments welcome.