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British Columbia

English Bay, Vancouver, BC | Photo: Mike Benna, Unsplash

 English Bay, Vancouver, BC

Introduction to British Columbia

On Canada’s west coast, British Columbia (BC) is known for its natural beauty. In 1871, BC became the sixth province of Canada with a controversial name given by Queen Victoria. BC’s capital is Victoria and its largest city is Vancouver, the third largest metropolitan area in Canada.

BC's economy includes logging and mining. It has major Pacific ports. Mild weather allows rich agriculture in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys, and encourages all-season outdoor recreation and tourism.

BC has a 25,000 km island-dotted coastline along the Pacific Ocean, and its freshwater lakes, rivers and streams cover 1.8 million hectares. Over 90 species of wild and cultured fish, shellfish and plants are harvested from fresh and marine waters.

The province has three main mountain ranges. Two thirds of BC’s area is covered by forest; hemlock dominates coastal areas, while lodgepole pine and spruce are the most common trees in BC’s interior.

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Locations in British Columbia


Cities, Towns & Communities

Did you know?

  • Coastal Rainforest
  • BC Trees
    Northern BC | Photo: Bill Pennell, Unsplash

    There are over fifty species of native trees found in BC. They are listed in the Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia. The illustrated Tree Book will help you learn to identify them, while CBC Kids has an easy list for children to learn about the Trees of Canada.

BC Trivia

Coat of arms
Flower is Dogwood
Bird is Steller’s Jay

The Pacific Province
The Beautiful BC

Provincial slogans
Beautiful British Columbia
The Best Place on Earth (2009)

License plate slogans
Beautiful (1964)
The Best Place on Earth
(2008 special edition to support 2010 Olympics)

CBC | CTV | Global TV

Other resources
Books about British Columbia
British Columbia Blog
Government of BC
Supernatural BC
Supernatural British Columbia blog
Travel BC blog

BC Facts

Date BC entered confederation

July 20, 1871

Area of BC

944,735 sq km (364,764 sq miles)
(Natural Resources Canada, 2001)


British Columbia has a mountainous topography with substantial areas of lowland and plateau country. The province has four basic regions: a northwesterly-trending mountain system on the coast, a similar mountain system on the east, an extensive area of plateau and mountain country between the two, and a lowland segment of the continent's Great Plains in the northeastern part of the province.

Capital city of BC


Population of BC

5,000,879 (Statistics Canada, 2021 Census)

Residents are known as

British Columbians

Indigenous people of BC

First Nations (see First Nations of British Columbia)

Main BC industries

Forestry, mining, fisheries, agriculture, energy, and transportation

BC statutory holidays (in addition to national holidays)

Civic holiday (first Monday in August)

Professional sports teams

BC Lions
Vancouver Canucks

British Columbia


Like its topography, BC has a varied climate that is influenced by its mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The coast is temperate and wet. The interior valley regions (such as Kamloops) are hot in the summer and cold in the winter. British Columbia's mountains also have cold winters and mild summers.

Time zone

Most of BC is in the Pacific time zone (PST) except for a few communities which observe Mountain time (MST). Most of BC observes Daylight Savings Time.

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