it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces. It has a predominantly humid continental climate, with stark contrasts over a year; but seasonal temperature average swings are smaller than in areas further east, due to winters being warmed by occasional chinook winds bringing sudden warming.Its area is about 660,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U. Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's crude oil, the Athabasca oil sands and other northern resource industries.
With the exception of the semi-arid steppe of the south-eastern section, the province has adequate water resources.There are numerous rivers and lakes used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports.Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are largely forested (see Alberta Mountain forests and Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests).The southern quarter of the province is prairie, ranging from shortgrass prairie in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it.Alberta has a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters.
The province is open to cold arctic weather systems from the north, which often produce extremely cold conditions in winter.The central aspen parkland region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, and then east to Lloydminster, contains the most fertile soil in the province and most of the population.Much of the unforested part of Alberta is given over either to grain or to dairy farming, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south.Princess Louise was the wife of John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada (1878–83).Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were also named in her honour.Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905. Alberta is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the U. About 290 km (180 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, the largest city in Alberta.