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British Columbia

British Columbia
(In Detail) (In Detail)
Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Splendour without diminishment)
Largest cityVancouver

 - Total
 - % fresh water
5th largest
(3rd lgst prov.)

944 735 km²
 - Total (2001)
 - Density
Ranked 3rd
4 095 900
Admittance into Confederation
 - Date
 - Order
Colony of B.C.
joined Confed.

Time zone UTC -8 & -7
Postal information
Postal abbreviation
Postal code prefix
ISO 3166-2CA-BC

 Seats in the House
 Seats in the Senate

PremierGordon Campbell (Lib.)
Lieutenant-GovernorIona Campagnolo
Government of British Columbia

British Columbia, or simply B.C.; (French: la Colombie-Britannique) is the westernmost of Canada's provinces. It was the sixth province to join the confederation of Canada (in 1871). As of 2001, the population was 4,095,934 (British Columbians).

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 History
3 See also


Its capital is Victoria, at the extreme south-east of Vancouver Island. Its largest city is Vancouver, which is in the south-west corner of the mainland of Canada (the city is near, but not on Vancouver Island). Other major cities include Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and Kelowna, and Kamloops in the "interior". Prince George is located in the north of the province.

British Columbia is located on the extreme west of Canada, on the Pacific coast. It is bounded on the northwest by the U.S state of Alaska, directly north by Yukon and the Northwest Territories, on the east by Alberta, and on the south by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The southern Border of British Columbia was established by the 1846 Oregon Treaty.

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 one of the premier wine-growing regions in Canada. Small rural towns Penticton, Oliver or Osoyoos have some of the warmest summer climates in Canada and provide hospitality to visitors from around the world.

Much of Vancouver Island is covered by a temperate rain forest.


British Columbia contains 7 of Canada's national parks:

BC also contains a large network of provincial parks, run by BC Parks of the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection.


British Columbia started as two British colonies, New Caledonia (created in 1846) and Vancouver's Island (created in 1849). New Caledonia was renamed British Columbia in 1858. The two colonies merged in 1866, agreeing upon the name British Columbia for the newly created political region.

The Cariboo region ("Central Interior") of British Columbia experienced a gold rush in the years 1862 to 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 Lillooet 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 Lillooet. 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. The colonial authorities feared the gold rush might spread beyond B.C.'s northern border (5440′ north), so the Stickeen Territory was created in 1862. However, the following year this new territory was disestablished, most of its area going to B.C., whose northern limit was increased to its current location, 60 north.

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 slight economic depression caused by the end of the gold rush.

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 CN and Canadian Pacific, Canada's largest railroads). On July 20, 1871, British Columbia became a member of the Dominion of Canada.

(public domain Mercator map)

See also