How Many Lakes Are There in Canada?

Did you know that the Great Lakes, which run parallel to the Canadian-American border, hold 18% of the world’s fresh lake water?

There are thousands of lakes in Canada that offer both aesthetic value, but also a variety of functional advantages.

Let’s get right into it!

How Many Lakes Does Canada Have?

According to McGill University research, Canada has 879,800 lakes. Other sources, however, suggest that the country has over two million lakes. It’s difficult to estimate the number of lakes in Canada because so much of it is occupied and inaccessible.

 lake in canada

With 563 lakes larger than 100km2, Canada has more lake area than any other country on the planet. Moreover, over half of the world’s freshwater lakes are in Canada, which covers 9% of the country’s land.

The Northwest Territories are home to Great Bear Lake, which is the largest lake in Canada (entirely within Canadian boundaries), with a surface size of 31,328km2. It is also North America’s fourth-largest and the world’s eighth-largest lake.

The lake’s water flows into the Great Bear River, then the Mackenzie River. The Dease, Camsell, and Johnny Hoe are some of the other rivers that flow into the lake. Dease, McTavish, McVicar, Keith, and Smith are the names of the five arms that make up Great Bear Lake.

The Great Lakes

Here’s a list of the five largest Canadian lakes that make up the Great Lakes.

  • Lake Superior – 82,100 km2
  • Lake Huron – 59,600 km2
  • Great Bear Lake – 31,328 km2
  • Great Slave Lake – 28,568 km2
  • Lake Erie – 25,700 km2

The Great Lakes are the greatest of a chain of enormous lakes that runs along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, including Winnipeg, Athabasca, Great Slave, and Great Bear. Lake Superior, Michigan (which is entirely in the United States), Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario make up the Great Lakes from west to east.

They cover roughly 244,100km2 and range in elevation from 183m above sea level at Lake Superior to 74m at Lake Ontario, with Niagara Falls providing the most dramatic drop. Moreover, Lake St. Clair, which is home to one of the biggest sports fisheries is also part of the Laurentian chain.

The Great Lakes basin is home to around 34 million people in the United States and Canada, accounting for 8% of the US population and 32% of Canada’s.

How Many Lakes Are There in Canada Compared to the World?

Now that we’ve gone over the Canada lakes number, our next topic is: how many lakes are there in the world?

lakes in the world

According to new data from Uppsala University, there are around 117 million lakes spanning nearly 4% of the world’s surface, excluding the glaciers on Greenland and Antarctica. That’s a lot, eh?

Canada has 879,800 lakes, which is 0.00075% of all the lakes in the world. For comparison, Russia has 201,200 lakes, which is 0.00017% of all the lakes in the world.

Moreover, there are 102,500 lakes in the USA (0.00008% of all the lakes in the world), 23,800 in China (0.00002% of all the lakes in the world), and 22,600 in Sweden (0.00001% of all the lakes in the world). Fascinating stuff!

How Many Freshwater Lakes Are There in Canada?

According to some sources, Canada may have as many as two million lakes. That said, freshwater covers 7.6% of Canada’s almost ten million km2. The most interesting thing about is that these lakes and rivers have enough water to flood the entire country to a depth of over two meters!

How Many Lakes Are There in Quebec?

Quebec is dotted with about one million lakes and streams and is traversed by the St. Lawrence River.

How Many Lakes Are There in Manitoba?

In Manitoba, there are over 100,000 lakes, including Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winnipegosis. Furthermore, surface water covers about 16% of the territory.


Though lakes make up a small percentage of the world’s total water surface, they are still an important part of the global ecosystem. Not only do they provide beauty and recreation, but they also play a role in the water cycle and support many different types of plant and animal life.

Canada is home to many lakes, both large and small, and they are an essential part of the country’s natural heritage.


Which province has the most lakes in Canada?

While most Canadians may not associate water with the Prairies, residents of Saskatchewan and visitors to the province know otherwise. There are around 100,000 lakes in the province, which is more than enough to satisfy both water and fishing enthusiasts.

How many lakes are there in Ontario?

Ontario has more than 250,000 lakes. A fun fact is that that is one-fifth of the world’s freshwater.

What is the country with the most lakes in the world?

Because Canada is the world’s second-largest country, it’s no surprise that it has the most lakes – after all, a higher land volume implies more land area to contain features like lakes.

How many lakes are there in Canada?

Due to the staggeringly high number of lakes in Canada and the fact that a large portion of them is not accessible,  it is difficult to determine the exact amount. However, reputable sources suggest that the number is approximately 879,800.


Mila is an English literature student and a devoted animal's rights advocate. Despite her love for the written word, she's a keen observer of the everyday world and an excellent researcher with a bright and fresh perspective. When she's not doing research, you're most likely to find her out for a walk with her dog or binge-watching a TV show.

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