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British Columbia

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Totem Poles in Stanley Park

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Western Canada and is part of the Pacific Northwest. Queen Victoria chose its name in 1858. British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada in 1871. The City of Victoria is the capital of the province and was named in honour of Queen Victoria. Victoria is the fifteenth largest metropolitan region in Canada.

The City of Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia. It is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada and the largest in Western Canada. British Columbia has an estimated population of more than 4.4 million, with about 2.5 million residing in Metro Vancouver.

British Columbia’s economy is largely resource and tourism-based. The province is also the site of major Pacific ports and is world renown for boating, diving and fishing. Although less than five per cent of its land is arable, the province is rich in agriculture in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys. Fruit and vegetables grown in the Okanagan Valley are sold throughout Canada.

Totem Pole in Stanley ParkBritish Columbia’s rugged coastline stretches for more than 27,000 kilometres (17,000 miles), and includes deep, mountainous fjords and more than 40,000 islands of varying sizes, most of which are uninhabited. The Coast Mountains and Inside Passage’s many inlets provide British Columbia’s renowned spectacular scenery and many outdoor and ecotourism opportunities. Seventy-five per cent of the province is mountainous and is more than 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above sea level.

The coastal region and valleys in the south-central area of the province have mild weather. Outdoor recreation and tourism is popular on the West Coast due to mild weather that is prevalent year round. The land mass in British Columbia’s interior, northern and southern regions experiences cold winter temperatures. Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports throughout the province.

Because of Vancouver’s mild winter temperatures, it possible to ski on one of the local mountains in the morning and then go for an afternoon sail in English Bay. Hardy windsurfers in wetsuits sail year round in English Bay.

Did you know?

The totem poles at Brockton Point in Stanley Park are among Vancouver’s most visited tourist attractions.


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