|Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Splendour without diminishment)|
- % fresh water
(3nd lgst prov.)
944 735 km²
- Total (2001)
4 095 900
|Admittance into Confederation
|Time zone||UTC -8|
|Postal information (http://www.canadapost.ca)
Postal code prefix
Seats in the House
Seats in the Senate
|Premier||Gordon Campbell (Lib.)|
|Government of British Columbia (http://www.gov.bc.ca)|
British Columbia (French: la Colombie-Britannique) is the westernmost of Canada's provinces. Its capital is Victoria. Its largest city is Vancouver. It was the sixth province to join the confederation of Canada. As of 2001, the population is 4,095,934. Other cities include Richmond, New Westminster[?] in the Greater Vancouver Regional District[?] (GVRD), Nanaimo[?] on Vancouver Island, and Kelowna, Kamloops[?], and Prince George in the "interior" of the province.
British Columbia is located on the extreme west of Canada, on the Pacific coast. It is bounded on the north by Yukon and the Northwest Territories, on the east by Alberta, and on the south by the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
British Columbia started as two British colonies, Vancouver Island and New Caledonia. The colony of Vancouver Island was created in 1849; New Caledonia was created in 1858; and the two merged in 1866. The two colonies agreed upon the name British Columbia for the newly created political region.
The Cariboo region ("Central Interior") of British Columbia, then New Caledonia, experienced a gold rush in the years of 1862-1865. This created a rapid influx of miners and settlers, about 30,000 in all. This period in the province's history is acknowledged today in the Gold Rush Trail: historic and other sites along the route from Lilloet[?] to Barkerville[?] and beyond. Some of the towns along this route are numbered according to their distance from the end of the navigable part of the Fraser River at Lilloet. Best known of these is the town of 100 Mile House[?] which, along with the residential hub of 108 Mile Ranch[?], forms a substantial trading, tourism and population centre for this region.
Several factors played in the decision of British Columbia to join the Dominion of Canada in 1871. These were the fear of annexation into the United States, the overwhelming debt created by rapid population growth and the need for government-funded services to support this population, and the end of the gold rush creating a slight economic depression.
The decision to join Canada was made largely because the Canadian government offered to link British Columbia to the more settled parts of Canada via the Canadian Pacific Railway and offered to pay off the $1,000,000 British Columbian debt. British Columbia itself is today served by BC Rail[?], Canada's third largest railroad.
British Columbia is renowned for its spectacular scenery which forms the backdrop and context for a growing outdoor adventure and ecotourism industry.
The Okanagan[?] region is the premier wine-growing region in Canada. Initially favouring the German varietals, the area is now producing fine Marchal Foch's and, with time, is expected to produce other strong reds. Small rural towns Penticton[?], Oliver[?] or Osoyoos[?] provide hospitality to visitors from around the world.
Much of Vancouver Island is covered by a temperate rain forest.