Reason #1: It’s not what you think.

A LOT OF PEOPLE JOKE about the prairies. How boring it is. How flat it is. Most people who drive cross country speed right through the middle of Canada. After living there for several years, I was grateful to learn it’s much more than what it seems. It’s a unique and interesting landscape that contains just as much beauty and history as anywhere else on the planet. You just have to approach it with some perspective.


Alberta Range Road

Range Road is a Canadian term that refers to roads that run north-south along the range grid lines of a survey system. Photo: Tobias Mandt


Beautiful and beneficial

These sunflowers were tall. According to the photographer, "They must have been 6 feet off the ground." Sunflower crops are used today as bird food, a nutritious snack, for sprouting, to make cooking oil, medicine, and for animal feed. Sunflower oil is used for biodiesel fuel, and the sunflower plant cleans toxins from the environment. Photo: Stuck in Customs


Days of old

Nearly 6,000 "standard" grain elevators were built across western Canada between the 1890s and the 1930s. These elevators housed a number of storage bins where the farmers' grain was held prior to shipment. Explosions and fires were not uncommon due to combustible flour or grain dust in the air, the reason many of these historical buildings had to be torn down. They went from dotting the landscape to becoming endangered buildings that many communities attempt to restore by turning them into museums. Photo: danwdotca


Spacious home

This silhouette was captured in front of an Alberta sunset. Photo: Chris & Lara Pawluk


As far as the eye can see

A canola field is more than just an uplifting sight. Canola is used for animal feed as well as for cooking and salad oil, margarine, and shortening. It is also included in industrial products, cosmetics, inks, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Photo: Chris & Lara Pawluk


Wading through wheat

More wheat is grown in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba than any other crop, and it's the region's #1 agri-food export. Average annual wheat production on the prairies is 22.3 million tonnes. ecstaticist


The harvest

Hay crops are harvested and baled starting in late summer. Photo: ecstaticist


Quilted fields

All but a fraction of one percent of the tallgrass prairie has been converted to cropland. Photo: ecstaticist


A prairies' double rainbow

Photo: seven_drunk_men


Gentle rolling hills

It's a common joke in Canada that you can watch your dog run away for three days in the prairies. The landscape can be utterly flat, but there are also many areas with rolling hills and deep ravines. Photo: gm_pentaxfan



The transition zone between the plains, the low rolling hills and, eventually, the mountains. Photo: Gord Mckenna


Thunder of the plains

This photo of a plains bison was taken in Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. After 120 years of being absent from the area, they've been reintroduced. After the loss of bison, the mixed-grass prairie also lost thebenefits of grazing, wallowing, fertilization (from dung), and other animal interactions. The herds shrank rapidly during the westward migration of European settlement, which brought extreme overhunting and land cultivation. Photo: jaymilesphotography


Here a barn, there a barn, everywhere a barn

Photo: ducksarefun


Alberta badlands

A type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water, badlands can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos, and other such geological forms are common. Photo: reservoir frog



Otherwise known as valleys. Photo: gm_pentaxfan



Flocks of migrating snow geese fly south from the Arctic. This was the photographer's experience as she was driving through Alberta: "Aptly named, Snow Geese migrate in huge numbers, and when they land in farmers' fields or ponds to rest, they literally look like huge snow drifts..." Photo: madlyinlovewithlife


Summer visitors

American white pelican nesting colonies are found on remote, treeless islands and are distributed mostly in the Canadian prairies. They winter from the southern United States to Guatemala. I've seen many of them scooping up fish at the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan weir and the Oldman River in Lethbridge, Alberta. Photo: prairiedog (in and out)


Prairie wind

In 2011, wind power generated 2.3% of Canada's electricity demand. There are 23 wind farms in the prairies. Photo: ecstaticist


Storm clouds

Dust storms, wicked thunderstorms, wild lightning shows, and tornadoes -- the prairies get it all. ecstaticist


Whitetail deer

These beautiful creatures can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to their tails. A deer will raise its tail and move it from side to side as a signal of alarm during escape. gm_pentaxfan


Winter's abstraction

The winters in these provinces can mean living at least half a year without seeing a temperature above 0° C. Photo: madlyinlovewithlife


Where the dinosaurs roamed

The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumhellar, Alberta is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the science of palaeontology. It houses one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaur remains. Photo: nicora


Saskatchewan sky

I never knew how fortunate I was to gaze at skies like this most days. I love living in the mountains now, but I sure do miss these colours. Photo: gm_pentaxfan


Horshoe Canyon

A region of badlands surrounded by prairie in the province of Alberta. Photo: gmcmullen


Fiery sunset

The slogan on Saskatchewan licence plates is "Land of Living Skies." The prairie provinces enjoy 300-400 more sunshine hours per year than the rest of Canada. ecstaticist