List of regions of Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The list of regions of Canada is a summary of geographical areas on a hierarchy that ranges from national (groups of provinces and territories) at the top to local regions and sub-regions of provinces at the bottom. Administrative regions that rank below a province and above a municipality are also included if they have a comprehensive range of functions compared to the limited functions of specialized government agencies. Some provinces and groups of provinces are also quasi-administrative regions at the federal level for purposes such as representation in the Senate of Canada. However regional municipalities (or regional districts in British Columbia) are included with local municipalities in the article List of municipalities in Canada.

National regions[edit]

The six geographical regions of Canada defined by Statistics Canada:

The provinces and territories are sometimes grouped into regions, listed here from west to east by province, followed by the three territories. Seats in the Senate are equally divided among four regions: the West, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, with special status for Newfoundland and Labrador as well as for the three territories of Northern Canada ('the North'). This is the only regional scheme that has any legal status or function. Regional representation on the Supreme Court of Canada is governed more by convention than by law. Quebec is the only region with a legally guaranteed quota of three judges on the bench. The other regions are usually represented by three judges from Ontario, two from Western Canada (typically but not formally one from British Columbia and one from the Prairie Provinces) and one from Atlantic Canada. The three territories do not have any separate representation on the Supreme Court.

Statistics Canada uses the six-region model for the Geographical Regions of Canada.[1] Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada uses the five-region model, while seven regions are commonly used for polling. The various models are derived from the three-region scheme by progressively subdividing the western and eastern regions (the northern region is the same for all models) into smaller and smaller units consisting of provinces or groups of provinces. If the models are not treated as mutually exclusive, eight distinct national regions can be identified when the three western regions of the seven region scheme are combined with the two Atlantic regions of the Senate method and the Ontario, Quebec, and Northern regions common to both schemes.

All provinces and territories Senate divisions Seven-region model[2] Six-region model[1] Five-region model[3] Four-region model Three-region model
British Columbia Western Canada (24 seats) British Columbia British Columbia West Coast Western Canada Western Canada
Alberta Alberta Canadian Prairies Canadian Prairies
Saskatchewan Saskatchewan and Manitoba
Ontario Ontario (24 seats) Ontario Ontario Central Canada Central Canada Eastern Canada
Quebec Quebec (24 seats) Quebec Quebec
New Brunswick The Maritimes (24 seats) Atlantic Canada Atlantic Atlantic Canada Atlantic Canada
Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador (6 seats)
Yukon The North (3 seats) Northern Canada Territories (Northern Canada) Northern Canada Northern Canada Northern Canada
Northwest Territories

Inter-provincial regions[edit]

An inter-provincial region includes more than one province or territory but does not usually include the entirety of each province or territory in the group. However, the geographic or cultural features that characterize this type of region can sometimes lead to the relevant provinces or territories being seen as regional groups like British Columbia-Yukon and Alberta-Northwest Territories.


Map of Canada with English speakers and French speakers at a percentage
Approximately 98 percent of Canadians can speak English, French, or both:[4]
  English – 56.9%
  English and French – 16.1%
  French – 21.3%
  Sparsely populated area ( < 0.4 persons per km2)
  • French Canada, centred in Quebec but with scattered populations in Manitoba, Ontario, and the Maritimes that are increasingly part of...
  • The Bilingual Belt, a portion of Canada where both English and French are regularly spoken: Northeastern Ontario, Southeastern Ontario, the Ottawa Valley, the Island of Montreal, the Eastern Townships of Quebec and northern and eastern New Brunswick
  • English Canada, sometimes known as the Rest of Canada, with Quebec usually excluded despite the presence of scattered English speaking populations in the southern part of the province which are increasingly part of the Bilingual belt
  • Inuit Nunangat, a large region of northern Canada populated mainly by the Inuit, the majority of whom do not claim either English or French as their first language[5]

Primary, secondary, and local geographic[edit]

  • Arctic Archipelago, a large group of Canadian islands in the Arctic Ocean that lies partly in Nunavut, partly in the Northwest Territories, and one, Herschel Island, that is part of Yukon.[6][7][8]
    • Arctic Cordillera, a very long, broken chain of mountain ranges extending along the northeastern flank of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from Ellesmere Island to the northernmost part of the Labrador Peninsula in northern Labrador and northern Quebec
  • Canadian Cordillera which links most of British Columbia and Yukon with some smaller adjacent areas of Alberta and the Northwest Territories to form a single region of mountains and plateaus
    • Taiga Cordillera that includes much of Northern Yukon Territory and an adjacent area of the Northwest Territories
    • Boreal Cordillera that links northwestern British Columbia with Southern Yukon
    • Pacific Maritime Cordillera that includes the west coast of British Columbia and the southwest corner of Yukon
    • Montane Cordillera that includes the central and southern interior of British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains that extend partly into Alberta
  • Interior Plains of western Canada, which extend from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Canada-US border east of the Canadian Cordillera and west of the Canadian Shield; links the Mackenzie Valley with the Canadian prairie.
    • Southern Arctic Plains that includes the arctic coast of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and an adjacent part of Nunavut
    • Taiga Plains that include parts of northeastern Yukon, the Northwest Territories, northeastern British Columbia, and northwestern Alberta
    • Boreal Plains, which links parts of northern British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan with part of Central Manitoba and a small part of the Northwest Territories
      • Peace River Country, a valley area of parkland and boreal plain that links parts of northern British Columbia and northern Alberta as a part of the larger Boreal Plains region
    • Aspen Parkland, a long but relatively narrow transitional region in the Prairie Provinces that separates the boreal forests of the north from the prairie grasslands further south
    • The Prairies, including the grasslands and the Palliser's Triangle that links the main agricultural regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
      • Cypress Hills that links the hilly areas of southern Alberta with their counterparts in southern Saskatchewan
  • Canadian Shield, a vast region centred around Hudson Bay that includes parts of every province except British Columbia and the Maritimes, and parts of every territory except Yukon
    • Northern Arctic Shield, includes the Boothia and Melville Peninsulas of Nunavut and the northwestern tip of Quebec.
    • Southern Arctic Shield, parts of the Canadian Shield separated by Hudson Bay and located mostly in Nunavut and the most northerly region of Quebec
    • Taiga Shield, parts of the Canadian Shield located west of Hudson Bay from the Northwest Territories to the far northern fringe of the Prairie Provinces, and east of Hudson Bay and James Bay from Quebec to Labrador
    • Boreal Shield, located mostly south of Hudson Bay and James Bay from northeastern Alberta to southeastern Labrador
    • Southern Boreal Shield, a transitional region in Central Ontario and the west-central part of Quebec that separates the boreal forests of the north from the mostly mixed-leaf forests further south
  • Hudson Bay Lowland, a large wetland that extends from northeastern Manitoba across the far north of Ontario into northwestern Quebec
  • Quebec City–Windsor Corridor that links Southern Ontario with Southern Quebec
  • St. Lawrence Lowlands, a low lying valley also known as the Mixedwood Plains extending from Quebec City to Windsor, Ontario, which is similar but not identical to the Corridor in geographic extent
  • Ottawa Valley that links Eastern Ontario with western Quebec, the southern part of which overlaps the Corridor and the Mixedwood Plains
  • Appalachian Mountains, an old, partly eroded system of mountain ranges, hills, and plateaus that extends into southeastern Canada from the eastern United States
    • Acadia, a largely historical region that links parts of the Maritimes and parts of eastern Quebec within the Appalachian region


Provincial regions[edit]

The provinces and territories are nearly all sub-divided into regions for a variety of official and unofficial purposes. The geographic regions are largely unofficial and therefore somewhat open to interpretation. In some cases, the primary regions are separated by identifiable transition zones, particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. The largest provinces can be divided into a number of primary geographic regions of comparatively large size (e.g. southern Ontario), and subdivided into a greater number of smaller secondary regions (e.g. southwestern Ontario). The primary and secondary regions in Ontario are mainly non-administrative in nature. However, they tend to be defined as geographic groupings of counties, regional municipalities, and territorial districts, so that the regions are defined by a system or collection of borders that have local administrative importance.

In other large provinces, the primary and secondary geographic regions are defined more strictly by topographical and ecological boundaries. In geographically diverse provinces, the secondary regions can be further subdivided into numerous local regions and even sub-regions. British Columbia has a much greater number of local regions and sub-regions than the other provinces and territories due to its mountainous terrain where almost every populated lake, sound, and river valley, and every populated cape and cluster of small islands can claim a distinct geographical identity. At the other extreme, Prince Edward Island is not divided into any widely recognized geographic regions or sub-regions because of its very small size and lack of large rivers or rugged terrain. New Brunswick's small size renders it dividable into local geographic regions only.

Several provinces and territories also have supra-municipal administrative regions. Their borders mostly do not harmonize with the geographic regions, so they are not considered subdivisions or groupings of the latter.


Primary, secondary, and local geographic regions[edit]

Quasi-administrative or demographic regions[edit]

These regions are not officially considered subdivisions of the larger primary natural regions.

British Columbia[edit]

Primary, secondary, and local geographic regions and subregions[edit]


Primary and secondary geographic regions[edit]

New Brunswick[edit]

Geographic regions (No distinctions made between primary, secondary, or local)[edit]

Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]

Primary, secondary, and local geographic regions[edit]

Northwest Territories[edit]

Primary and secondary geographic regions[edit]

Administrative regions[edit]

Administrative regions of Northwest Territories.[9]

Nova Scotia[edit]

Primary, secondary, and local geographic regions[edit]


Primary and secondary geographic regions[edit]

Administrative regions[edit]


Primary, secondary, and local geographic regions[edit]

Most geographic regions in Ontario defined by grouping counties and other administrative units

Quasi-administrative regions[edit]

  • Northern Ontario (territorial districts; a quasi-administrative region that extends south of the French River)
  • Greater Golden Horseshoe (a quasi-administrative region that extends beyond the geographic Golden Horseshoe)

Prince Edward Island[edit]

Not subdivided into geographical regions or sub-regions


Primary and secondary geographic regions[edit]

Administrative regions[edit]


Primary and secondary geographic regions[edit]


Primary, secondary, and local geographic regions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Government of Canada (4 November 2016). "Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) 2016 - Introduction". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  2. ^ Used, for example, by EKOS Research polling, Harris-Decima polling Archived 2011-12-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Discover Canada (PDF) | (HTML). Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  4. ^ "2006 Census: The Evolving Linguistic Portrait, 2006 Census: Highlights". Statistics Canada, Dated 2006. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  5. ^ "Maps of Inuit Nunaat (Inuit Regions of Canada)". 2009-06-10. Archived from the original on 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  6. ^ Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago Parnassia kotzebuei
  7. ^ Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago Astragalus eucosmus
  8. ^ Arctic Archipelago
  9. ^ "About MCAA – Regions". Government of the Northwest Territories – Municipal and Community Affairs. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2016.