The Largest Intact Forest on Earth

Canada's Boreal Forest: By the Numbers
Gerry Cariou
By Gerry Cariou

Gerry Cariou is the Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country.

Last Updated: August 29, 2023

Canada's Boreal Forest - By The Numbers

If you've ever visited Sunset Country in Northwestern Ontario, then you have an idea of just how incredible the landscapes are up here. The travel region covers an area of 100,000 square kilometres (38,610 square miles) yet forms only about half the total area of what we call Northwestern Ontario. The region covers around 10% of Ontario's land area which is 1.076 million square kilometres in size. Within those boundaries are 70,000 freshwater lakes, rivers and streams with an additional 30,000 small "pot-hole" type lakes which we don't count in our official numbers - so lots of water. 

Paddling rapids in wabakimi Provincial Park

Located on the massive Canadian Shield, Sunset Country is, for the most part, covered by Boreal forest and the forest, along with the lakes, is responsible for making the region such a popular outdoor vacation destination. Fishing, hunting, and outdoor adventures like camping, paddling, and hiking are the core travel experiences we offer and the best thing is these experiences and incredible landscapes start as soon as you cross the border into Canada from the USA. 

Map of Canada's Boreal Forest Ecozone

In this article, you'll learn some interesting numbers about the Canadian Boreal forest (these numbers apply not just to Sunset Country but across all of Canada). 

  1. Over 3 Million: The number of square kilometres in Canada covered by  Boreal Forest - considered the largest intact forest on earth. The Boreal covers 60% of Canada's land mass and stretches from the east coast all the way to NE British Columbia and the Yukon - a distance that spans 3,100 miles wide (5,000 km).
  2. 318 Billion: The estimate for the number of trees living in Canada's Boreal ecozone. Fun fact: There are three times more trees in Canada's Boreal than stars in the Milky Way (100 Billion). SourceAccess the Boreal in a float plane
  3. 1 to 3 Billion: The estimated number of birds that nest and breed in Canada's Boreal forest each summer. Once the eggs hatch, the estimates increase to between 3 and 5 billion!
  4. 1.5 Million: The estimated number of freshwater lakes in Canada's Boreal forest. About 8% of those lakes are in Ontario's Sunset Country.Moose feeding on aquatic plants
  5. 70%: The percentage of Indigenous communities in Canada located within the Boreal. The cultural, economic and spiritual connection of the Boreal to Canada's Indigenous communities cannot be overstated.
  6. 1.364 Billion: The number of acres covered by Canada's Boreal forest - that's 552 million hectares.Rent a cabin smack dab in the middle of ther Boreal
  7. 85: The number of mammal species that call Canada's Boreal forest home. In Northwestern Ontario, this includes the rare Woodland or Boreal Caribou, plus bears, wolves, beavers, moose, deer, lynx and many more.
  8. 130: The number of fish species living in the lakes across Canada's Boreal forest region. We literally have billions of fish in the lakes up here!The Bald Eagle also nests in the Boreal ecozone
  9. 60%: The percentage of Canada's total land area covered by Boreal forest. Our country's heritage lies in the wilderness we have.
  10. 67 Billion: The number of metric tonnes of carbon stored within Canada's Boreal forest zone. This makes the Boreal a critical component in the global fight to mitigate the impacts of climate change.The Boreal in the Fall

Now those are some impressive and for many I'm sure, surprising numbers. If you want to experience the grandeur and natural wonders of Canada's Boreal forest then Sunset Country is a place you can do that. Come stay here to fish, hunt, paddle, or camp and just take it all in.

Some Resources about the Boreal

Thinking of paying a visit to the Boreal? Start planning your trip by getting a free copy of the Sunset Country Travel Guide

Sunset in the Boreal