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The Province of British Columbia

Flag of British ColumbiaBritish Columbia is our home province. We love it. We think we could travel and explore our province for 50 years and still find new exiting spots and events. British Columbia is the province we have travelled the most, and we can not get enough of the phenomenal, rare and magnificent landscape that British Columbia offers.

British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces on the Pacific Ocean. Bordering the States of Washington, Idaho, and Montana in the USA to the south. The Province of Alberta to the East and Yukon and Northwest Territories to the north. Further in the north west corner of British Columbia it borders the US state of Alaska that has a "panhandle" coming down. See our map for more details.

British Columbia or BC is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, "Splendor Sine Occasu" or in English Splendour without Diminishment. Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858. In 1871 British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada.

Here are some quick facts.

  • Total land area – 944,735km²
  • Population – 4,510,858
  • Coastline – 25,725km
  • Capital – Victoria (on Vancouver Island)
  • Language – English (see below)

Yoho National ParkIf you compare the Province of British Columbia to the country of Sweden, British Columbia is twice the size, 24 times larger than Switzerland, 4 times larger then Great Britain and 1.3 times larger then the State of Texas in the USA.

Let's compare the population, Sweden has twice as many people, Switzerland 1.7 times more people, Great Britain 14 times more, and Texas 5.6 times more people.

British Columbia History

The discovery of stone tools on the Beatton River near Fort St. John date human habitation in British Columbia to at least 11,500 years ago. The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast spread throughout the region, achieving a high population density. At the time when European explorers first came here, nearly half the aboriginal people in present-day Canada lived in this region.

During the 1770's, a very tragic part of BC's history, smallpox killed at least 30% of the Pacific Northwest First Nations. This epidemic was the first, and the most devastating of a number that were to follow, other than the Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1862 which killed off 50% of the native population in that year.

Sailboat at sunsetThe explorations of James Cook in 1778 and George Vancouver in 1792-93 established British jurisdiction over the coastal area north and west of the Columbia River. In 1793, Sir Alexander Mackenzie was the first European to journey across North America overland to the Pacific Ocean, inscribing a stone marking his accomplishment on the shoreline of Dean Channel near Bella Coola.

His expedition theoretically established British sovereignty inland Canada, and a succession of other fur company explorers charted the maze of rivers and mountain ranges between the Canadian Prairies and the Pacific. Explorers from Spain, Portugal and England sailed to teh west coast.

In 1794, by the third of a series of agreements known as the Nootka Conventions, Spain conceded its claims of exclusivity in the Pacific. This opened the way for formal claims and colonization by other powers, including Britain, but because of the Napoleonic Wars there was little British action on its claims in the region until later. More on the British Columbia History on Wikipedia.

Language

The official language in British Columbia is English. Most larger cities in British Columbia have also French Emersion schools available.

A survey done in 2006 regarding British Columbian's mother toung the response was as follows: English 71.5%, Chinese languages 8.2%, Punjabi 4.0%, German 2.2%, French 1.4%, Tagalog (Filipino) 1.3%, Korean 1.2%. The following were all under 1%, Spanish, Persian, Italian, Dutch, Vietnamese, Hinkdi, Japanese, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Croatian.

Cruise Ship doocing in Victoria, BC.Of all the provinces surveyed, British Columbia had the highest proportion of visible minorities, representing 24.8% of its population. Asians are by far the largest visible minority. Many of the Lower Mainland's (Vancouver area) large cities having sizable Chinese, South Asian, Japanese, Filipino, and Korean communities.

Also present in large numbers relative to other regions of Canada (except Toronto), and ever since the province was first settled (unlike Toronto), are many European ethicists of the first and second generation, notably Germans, Scandinavians, Yugoslavs and Italians.

Third-generation Europeans are generally of mixed lineage, and traditionally intermarried with other ethnic groups more than in any other Canadian province. First-generation Britons remain a strong component of local society despite limitations on immigration from Britain since the ending of special status for British subjects in the 1960's. More information.

British Columbia Tourist Information

British Columbia offers so much to do all year around. Where else can you go skiing in the morning on a 5 - 8 meter base of snow, go golfing in the early afternoon and then go out and go fishing before supper.

In some parts of British Columbia you can golf all year around and have access to world class skiing at the same time. BC offers just about every outdoor activity you can think of including whale watching, horse back riding, river rafting, kayaking, golfing, hang gliding, cycling and much more.

Junction Sheep Range Provincial ParkThere is lots to explore in BC and what ever your interests are you will more then likely find it in British Columbia. We have a wonderful wine region, a hot springs route, fishing, hunting, gold panning and the wild wild west. It's all yours to discover.

Some places to consider: Victoria, Vancouver, Pacific Rim National Park, Yoho National Park, Junction Sheep Range (4 wheel drive required), Okanagen wine region, Vancouver Island wine region, Mt Washington, Whistler, Tweedsmuir North and South Provincial Park, Wells Gray Provincial Park, Barker Ville Gold Rush Town, Boya Lake Provincial Park, Canoe the Bowron Lakes, and much, much more. See Tourism BC website.

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