Largest city Saskatoon
• Total 651,900 km2 (251,700 sq mi)
• Land 591,670 km2 (228,450 sq mi)
• Water 59,366 km2 (22,921 sq mi) 9.1%
6.5% of Canada
• Total 1,098,352
• Density 1.9/km^2 (5/sq mi)
Official languages English
• Total (2015) C$79.415 billion
• Per ca-pita C$70,138 (4th)
Saskatchewan is a prairie and arboreal province in west-central Canada, the only province without natural borders. It has an area of 651,900 square kilometers (251,700 sq mi), nearly 10 percent of which (59,366 square kilometers (22,900 sq mi)) is fresh water, composed mostly of rivers, reservoirs, and the province's 100,000 lakes.
Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, to the northeast by Nunavut, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota.
Saskatchewan is a landlocked province with large distances to moderating bodies of waters. As a result, its climate is extremely continental, rendering severe winters throughout the province. Southern areas have very warm or hot summers. Midale and Yellow Grass near the U.S. border are tied for the highest ever recorded temperatures in Canada with 45 °C (113 °F) observed at both locations on July 5, 1937. In winter, temperatures below −45 °C (−49 °F) are possible even in the south during extreme cold snaps.
Saskatchewan has been inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous groups, and first explored by Europeans in 1690 and settled in 1774. It became a province in 1905, carved out from the vast North-West Territories, which had until then included most of the Canadian Prairies. In the early 20th century the province became known as a stronghold for Canadian social democracy.
Its name derived from the Saskatchewan River.
As Saskatchewan's borders largely follow the geographic coordinates of longitude and latitude, the province is roughly a quadrilateral, or a shape with four sides. However the 49th parallel boundary and the 60th northern border appear curved on globes and many maps. Additionally, the eastern boundary of the province is partially crooked rather than following a line of longitude, as correction lines were devised by surveyors prior to the homestead program (1880–1928).
Saskatchewan contains two major natural regions: the Canadian Shield in the north and the Interior Plains in the south. Northern Saskatchewan is mostly covered by arboreal forest except for the Lake Athabasca Sand Dunes, the largest active sand dunes in the world north of 58°, and adjacent to the southern shore of Lake Athabasca. Southern Saskatchewan contains another area with sand dunes known as the "Great Sand Hills" covering over 300 square kilometers (120 sq mi). The Cypress Hills, located in the southwestern corner of Saskatchewan and Killdeer Badlands (Grasslands National Park), are areas of the province that were unglaciated during the last glaciation period, the Wisconsin glaciation.
The province's highest point, at 1,392 meters (4,567 ft), is located in the Cypress Hills less than 2 km from the provincial boundary with Alberta. The lowest point is the shore of Lake Athabasca, at 213 meters (699 ft).
Saskatchewan receives more hours of sunshine than any other Canadian province. The province lies far from any significant body of water. This fact, combined with its northerly latitude, gives it a warm summer, corresponding to its humid continental climate in the central and most of the eastern parts of the province, as well as the Cypress Hills.
Saskatchewan is one of the most tornado-active parts in Canada, averaging roughly 12 to 18 tornadoes per year, some violent. In 2012, 33 tornadoes were reported in the province.
The hottest temperature ever recorded anywhere in Canada happened in Saskatchewan. The temperature rose to 45 °C (113 °F) in Midale and Yellow Grass. The coldest ever recorded in the province was −56.7 °C (−70.1 °F) in Prince Albert, which is north of Saskatoon.