How Many Lakes in Canada? | Exploring Canada’s Stunning Lakes!

Welcome to the land of lakes! Canada is known for many things – its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife, and, of course, its breathtaking lakes. With over 9% of the world’s freshwater supply, it’s no surprise that this North American country boasts an impressive number of lakes. But just how many lakes In Canada in total? And how does it compare to other countries like Alaska? In this article, we will dive deep into the lake statistics of Canada, uncovering the beauty and magnitude of these stunning natural wonders. So, grab your map and let’s explore the land of a thousand lakes!

Canada’s Abundance of Lakes

While the iconic Great Lakes system may be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing Canada’s impressive array of freshwater bodies, the vast country is home to a remarkable abundance of lakes that extend far beyond this renowned network. The western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, in particular, boast a treasure trove of stunning lakeside destinations that captivate visitors with their breathtaking natural beauty.

The Great Lakes System

Canada’s Great Lakes system, which includes Lake Erie, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and the American Lake Michigan, is undoubtedly one of the nation’s most celebrated and iconic natural wonders. Occupying over 20% of the planet’s fresh surface water, this interconnected series of lakes is a true global marvel, offering endless opportunities for recreation, exploration, and natural appreciation.

Beyond the Great Lakes

Venture beyond the renowned Great Lakes, and you’ll discover a wealth of other spectacular lakeside destinations across Canada’s western provinces. From the serene turquoise waters of Moraine Lake in Alberta’s Banff National Park to the striking mineral-rich hues of Spotted Lake in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, these hidden gems showcase the sheer diversity and natural splendor that Canada’s lakes have to offer.

How Many Lakes in Canada?

When it comes to the sheer number of lakes, Canada is truly a standout on the global stage. With over 3 million lakes dotting its vast landscape, the country boasts an incredible freshwater resource that is the envy of many nations.

The Largest Lakes in Canada

While the number of lakes in Canada is staggering, the country is also home to some of the largest freshwater bodies in the world. The Great Lakes system, which includes Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Michigan, occupies a significant portion of the Canada-United States border and accounts for a substantial percentage of the world’s fresh surface water.

Lake Area (sq km) Depth (m)
Great Bear Lake 31,153 446
Great Slave Lake 27,200 614
Lake Winnipeg 24,514 36
Lake Superior 82,103 406
Lake Huron 59,600 229

These impressive Canadian lakes, with their vast expanses and depths, showcase the country’s incredible wealth of freshwater resources and natural wonders.

canadian lakes

Breathtaking Glacier-Fed Lakes

Nestled in the stunning landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, a trio of captivating glacier-fed lakes captivate visitors with their breathtaking beauty and vibrant hues. These natural wonders, fed by the melting glaciers that surround them, offer a truly awe-inspiring experience for all who venture to explore their serene waters.

Moraine Lake, Alberta

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park is a true gem, renowned for its striking turquoise waters and the majestic mountain peaks that backdrop the scene. This world-famous lake is one of the most photographed natural landscapes in Canada, drawing visitors from around the globe to bask in its serene beauty.

Peyto Lake, Alberta

Just a short drive from Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake is another iconic glacier-fed wonder. Its brilliant blue-green hues, a result of the glacial flour suspended in the water, create a mesmerizing natural display that is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who witness it. The winding hiking trails that lead to the lake’s viewpoints offer the perfect vantage point to soak in the stunning vista.

Emerald Lake, British Columbia

Crossing the border into British Columbia, Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park enchants visitors with its captivating emerald-green hues. This pristine, crescent-shaped lake is surrounded by towering peaks and ancient glaciers, creating a truly breathtaking landscape that is best explored by canoe or on foot.

Hidden Gems of Canadian Lakes

While the iconic Great Lakes and expansive glacial wonders of Canada’s national parks garner much attention, the country is also home to a bevy of lesser-known but equally captivating lakes. These hidden gems offer a chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty and serenity that define the Canadian landscape.

1. Spotted Lake, British Columbia

Tucked away in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Spotted Lake is a true natural curiosity. During the summer months, the lake’s mineral-rich waters, including high concentrations of magnesium sulphate, form large, vividly colored spots on the surface, creating a mesmerizing visual display. This unique phenomenon has made Spotted Lake a popular roadside attraction for those exploring the province’s interior.

2. Horseshoe Lake, Alberta

Just outside the town of Jasper in Alberta, Horseshoe Lake is a well-guarded local secret and considered one of the best places to cool off during the summer. This hidden gem is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and serene, horseshoe-shaped shoreline, providing the perfect setting for a refreshing swim or leisurely paddle.

3. Lake Annette, Alberta

Also situated near Jasper, Lake Annette is known for its picturesque beach setting and is a popular spot for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to relax after a day of exploring the Rockies. The lake’s tranquil waters and stunning mountain backdrop make it a true hidden gem within Alberta’s diverse network of lakes.

hidden gems canadian lakes

Outdoor Adventures on Canadian Lakes

When it comes to Canada’s remarkable lakes, the opportunities for outdoor recreation are endless. From the serene waters of Alberta’s Medicine Lake to the sheltered anchorages of British Columbia’s Upper Arrow Lake, this stunning country offers a wealth of options for those seeking adventure and tranquility alike.

1. Canoeing and Kayaking

Gliding across the mirror-like surfaces of Canadian lakes is a truly mesmerizing experience. Whether you prefer the graceful maneuvering of a canoe or the nimble responsiveness of a kayak, you’ll find ample opportunities to explore hidden coves, spot wildlife, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. From the pristine glacial lakes of the Rockies to the serene waterways of the Canadian Shield, the options for canoeing and kayaking are truly limitless.

2. Fishing and Wildlife Viewing

Canada’s lakes teem with an abundance of fish, attracting anglers from around the world. Medicine Lake in Alberta’s Jasper National Park is a prime example, with its shallow waters providing a haven for rainbow and brook trout. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will delight in the presence of majestic eagles, osprey, and a variety of other species drawn to the lake’s productive ecosystems.

3. Hiking and Camping

Many of Canada’s most breathtaking lakes are nestled within the country’s expansive network of national and provincial parks, offering unparalleled opportunities for hiking and camping. From the serene shores of Lake Annette in Jasper to the dramatic vistas of Moraine Lake in Banff, these natural wonders serve as the perfect backdrops for outdoor adventures, whether you’re setting up camp for the night or embarking on a multi-day backcountry trek.

4. Provincial and National Park Lakes

Canada is renowned for its stunning national and provincial parks, each boasting a wealth of breathtaking lakes that captivate visitors from around the world. Among the most celebrated are the lakes found in Jasper National Park, Banff National Park, and Yoho National Park, all of which offer unique natural wonders and ample opportunities for outdoor adventure.

5. Jasper National Park

Just over the border from British Columbia, the province of Alberta is home to the magnificent Jasper National Park. While Jasper is rightly celebrated for its world-class skiing, snowboarding, and outdoor pursuits, the park also harbors a hidden gem in the form of Medicine Lake. Located just 12 miles south of the town of Jasper, this fabulous glacial lake is an excellent destination for day trippers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Another of Jasper’s well-kept secrets is Lake Annette, which lies just a short distance from the town but provides one of the province’s most spectacular beach settings. This idyllic spot is the perfect place to unwind and relax after a day spent exploring the park’s vast wilderness.

6. Banff National Park

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is renowned for its awe-inspiring lakes, including the iconic Moraine Lake. Renowned as one of the world’s most photographed natural wonders, Moraine Lake is a must-visit destination for any traveler to the park.

7. Yoho National Park

Neighboring Banff to the west, Yoho National Park is home to a wealth of stunning glacial lakes, including the turquoise-hued Emerald Lake. Surrounded by towering peaks and lush forests, Emerald Lake is a true natural gem that offers endless opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and simply taking in the breathtaking scenery.

National Park Lakes

The Iconic Great Lakes

Canada’s Great Lakes system is a true marvel, encompassing five interconnected freshwater lakes that collectively form the world’s largest series of freshwater bodies. These majestic lakes – Erie, Superior, Huron, Ontario, and Michigan – occupy over 20% of the planet’s fresh surface water, an astounding 95,000 square miles.

1. Lake Superior

As the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior is a true testament to Canada’s natural splendor. Boasting a surface area of 31,700 square miles, it is the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area. Renowned for its crystal-clear waters and rugged, picturesque shorelines, Lake Superior offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, from fishing and boating to hiking and camping along its pristine coastline.

2. Lake Ontario

Nestled between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York, Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes by surface area, yet no less impressive. Home to a diverse array of aquatic life and surrounded by vibrant communities, Lake Ontario provides a picturesque setting for a wide range of water-based activities, from sailing and kayaking to swimming and scenic cruises.

3. Lake Erie

The shallowest and southernmost of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is renowned for its abundant fisheries and stunning natural beauty. With a surface area of 9,910 square miles, Lake Erie supports a thriving ecosystem and offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, from anglers seeking trophy-sized catches to hikers exploring the scenic shoreline trails.

4. Northern Canadian Lakes

Beyond the iconic Great Lakes, Canada boasts a diverse array of stunning northern lakes that captivate visitors with their pristine beauty and abundant natural resources. Two such lakes that stand out in this rugged northern landscape are the mighty Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories and the crystal-clear Clearwater Lake in Manitoba.

5. Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories

Situated in the heart of Canada’s North, Great Slave Lake is a true wonder of nature. As the 11th largest lake in the world and North America’s deepest lake, its sheer scale and depth are truly awe-inspiring. This vast expanse of freshwater is chock-full of diverse fish species, attracting anglers from near and far. Small fishing boats often dock on the lake’s many islands to enjoy a traditional shore lunch, taking in the breathtaking natural surroundings.

6. Clearwater Lake, Manitoba

In the province of Manitoba, Clearwater Lake Provincial Park is home to the aptly named Clearwater Lake. Known for its incredibly cold and clear waters, the lake bottom is visible at depths of up to 35 feet, showcasing the exceptional clarity of this northern gem. Visitors are drawn to the serene beauty of Clearwater Lake, whether enjoying peaceful moments on the shore or exploring the lake’s picturesque islands and inlets.

northern canadian lakes

Lakeside Towns and Communities

Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, sits right on the shores of the mighty Great Slave Lake, with the lake being an integral part of the city’s identity. During the summer months, a vibrant community of houseboats floats in the calm waters of Yellowknife Bay, creating a unique and charming atmosphere. In the wintertime, when the lake freezes over, the floating homes sit atop the icy surface, allowing residents to walk or drive directly into the city center.

Further south, the province of Manitoba boasts the picturesque Clearwater Lake, located within the Clearwater Lake Provincial Park. This crystal-clear lake is renowned for its exceptional water visibility, with the lake bottom often visible at depths of up to 35 feet. The surrounding area offers a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities, from hiking and camping to fishing and water sports, making it a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike.

Lakeside Town Province/Territory Unique Characteristics
Yellowknife Northwest Territories Floating houseboat community, lake-based transportation in winter
Clearwater Lake Manitoba Exceptional water clarity, popular for outdoor recreation

These lakeside towns and communities showcase the deep connection between Canadians and their abundant freshwater resources, offering unique experiences and showcasing the country’s stunning natural landscapes.


From the vast expanse of the Great Lakes to the hidden gems nestled in the rugged Canadian wilderness, this journey has unveiled the remarkable abundance and diversity of lakes that grace the Canadian landscape. Whether you seek the thrill of outdoor adventures, the serenity of lakeside contemplation, or the opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural splendor, Canada’s lakes offer an unparalleled experience for all who venture forth.

As we bid farewell to this exploration, it’s clear that the true essence of Canada lies in the tranquil waters that reflect the sky, the majestic mountains that frame the horizon, and the endless opportunities for connection with the great outdoors. So, grab your paddle, lace up your hiking boots, or simply find a comfortable spot to soak in the captivating beauty of Canada’s lakes – for it is here that you will discover the true heart and soul of this remarkable country.

Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time visitor, the lakes of Canada await, ready to inspire, rejuvenate, and leave an indelible mark on your soul. So, embark on your journey, and let the waters of these magnificent lakes be your guide to unlocking the boundless wonders that await in the Great White North.


1. How many lakes are in Canada?

Canada is estimated to have over 3 million lakes, making it the country with the highest number of lakes in the world.

2. What are the largest lakes in Canada?

The largest lakes in Canada are part of the Great Lakes system, including Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Michigan. Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories is also one of the largest lakes in Canada and North America.

3. What are some of the most famous or breathtaking lakes in Canada?

Some of the most famous and breathtaking lakes in Canada include Moraine Lake and Peyto Lake in Alberta, Emerald Lake in British Columbia, and Spotted Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and Lake Annette in Alberta.

4. What types of outdoor activities can be enjoyed on Canadian lakes?

Canadian lakes offer a wide range of outdoor activities, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, and camping.

5. Which national parks in Canada are known for their lakes?

Jasper National Park, Banff National Park, and Yoho National Park in the western provinces are known for their stunning glacial-fed lakes.

6. What are the iconic Great Lakes of Canada?

The iconic Great Lakes of Canada are Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie, which are part of the largest freshwater system in the world.

7.  What are some of the notable lakes in northern Canada?

Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories is the 11th largest lake in the world and North America’s deepest lake. Clearwater Lake in Manitoba is known for its incredibly clear and cold waters.

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