Environment

Largest Lakes in Canada by Province or Territory

The following lakes are the largest in Canadian provinces and territories.

Approximately nine percent of Canada is occupied by freshwater bodies, including lakes, rivers, and glaciers. It is estimated that there are about 31,752 lakes with a surface area of more than three square miles. 561 lakes occupy an area of more than 10 square miles. These are the largest lakes in Canada by province.

11. Alberta: Lake Athabasca

Lake Athabasca is the largest lake in Alberta and the eighth largest in the country. It is located along the border with Saskatchewan, south of the Northwest Territories. It has a maximum length of 176 miles, a maximum width of 31 miles, and covers an area of 3,030 square miles. The lake has a maximum depth of 407 feet and holds 49 cubic miles of water. Its primary sources of water are the Athabasca River, Peace River, and the Fond du Lac River. It drains into the Arctic ocean through the Slave River and the Mackenzie River.

10. British Columbia: Williston Lake

Lake Williston is the largest lake in British Columbia. It is a reservoir created by the construction of the W. A. C. Bennett Dam in 1968. It is the 29th largest lake in Canada and the seventh largest reservoir in the world. The three basins of the river are the Peace, Parsnip, and Finlay. Its maximum length is 156 miles. while its maximum width is 96 miles. It covers an area of 680 square miles and volume of 17.75 cubic miles of water. The Finlay, Manson, and Nation are among its sources of water, while the Peace River is its main outlet.

9. Manitoba: Lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg is the largest lake in Manitoba and the sixth largest in Canada. It covers a large area of about 9,465 square miles, but it has a shallow depth of about 39 feet. The channel between the north and the south basin is the deepest part of the lake at 118 feet. It has a maximum length of 258 miles, its northern basin is 60 miles wide, while the southern basin is 40 miles wide. It holds about 68 cubic miles of water. Its sources of water are the Red, Winnipeg, and Saskatchewan Rivers, while the Nelson River is its primary outflow.

8. New Brunswick: Grand Lake

The Grand Lake is the largest lake in New Brunswick. It is 12.5 miles long and 3.1 miles wide. It is a popular tourist destination that attracts thousands of tourist each year. The Salmon River, Cumberland Bay Stream, and Coal Creek are some of its sources of water, while the Jemseg River is its main outlet.

7. Newfoundland and Labrador: Smallwood Reservoir

The Smallwood Reservoir is the largest dam in Newfoundland and Labrador, the tenth largest lake in the country, and the second largest reservoir in the world by area. Unlike other dams where water is housed at one large reservoir, the Smallwood Reservoir consists of a series of 88 dikes with a total length of 40 miles. It covers a total of 2,520 square miles and was created as part of the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project. It holds 7.8 cubic miles of water. Its source is the Churchill River, which is also its outlet.

6. Northwest Territories: Great Bear Lake

The Great Bear Lake is the largest lake in the Northwest Territories. It is the third largest lake in Canada but the largest lake that lies entirely within its borders. It is also the fourth largest in the continent and the eighth largest lake in the world. It covers an area of 12,028 square miles, has an average depth of 235 feet, a maximum depth of 1,463 feet, and holds 536 cubic miles of water. Its sources include the Whitefish, Haldane, and Sloan Rivers, while its primary outlet is the Great Bear River.

5. Nunuvat: Nettilling Lake

Nettilling Lake is the eleventh largest lake in the country. It is both the largest lake in Nunuvat and the world’s largest lake situated entirely on an island. It covers an area of 2,140 square miles and a maximum depth of 433 feet. Its primary source is the Amadjuak Lake, while its main outlet is the Koukdjuak River. It stays frozen for a large part of the year.

4. Ontario: Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest lake in Ontario. It is also the largest lake in Canada and the continent. It is the largest lake in the world by area and the third largest by volume. Canada and the US share the lake. It covers an area of 31,700 sqm, nearly the size of Austria, and has an average depth of 483 ft. It has a maximum depth of 1,333 ft and holds 2,900 cu mi of water. Its sources include the Kaministiquia, Michipicoten, and Nipigon Rivers among others, while St. Marys River is its primary outflow.

3. Quebec: Caniapiscau Reservoir

The Caniapiscau Reservoir is the largest lake in Quebec and Canada’s second largest reservoir. It is located on the upper part of the Caniapiscau River and is part of the James Bay Project, which involved construction of several hydroelectric power stations. It consists of two dams and 43 dikes and covers an area of 14,200 square miles. It has a maximum depth of 161 feet and holds 12.9 cubic miles of water. Its primary source of water is the Caniapiscau River, which is also its primary outlet alongside the Laforge River.

2. Saskatchewan: Lake Athabasca

Lake Athabasca is the largest lake in Saskatchewan and the eighth largest in the country. It is located along the border with Alberta, south of the Northwest Territories. It has a maximum length of 176 miles, a maximum width of 31 miles, and covers an area of 3,030 square miles. The lake has a maximum depth of 407 feet and holds 49 cubic miles of water. Its primary sources of water are the Athabasca River, Peace River, and the Fond du Lac River. It drains into the Arctic ocean through the Slave River and the Mackenzie River.

1. Yukon: Kluana Lake

Kluane Lake is the largest lake in Yukon. It covers an area of 158 square miles and is located entirely within the Yukon. The A'ay Chu (Slims River) that originated from the Kaskawulsh Glacier was the lake's main source of water until 2016. The glacier was feeding the Slims River and the Alsek River, but currently supplies only the latter because of climate change. The lake's main outlet is the Kluane River.

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