British Columbia (B.C.) entered confederation in 1871. It is the westernmost province in Canada, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. With a population of 4.5 million residents, B.C. is Canada’s third most populated province, behind only Ontario and Quebec. 2.3 million live in Vancouver, while another 368,000 reside in the province’s capital city of Victoria.
Victoria is located on Vancouver Island. It is steeped in British tradition and recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. For more on that, follow this link.
B.C.’s total land and freshwater area is 95 million hectares, larger than France and Germany combined. Only 30 countries are larger. British Columbia occupies about 10 percent of Canada’s land surface.
British Columbia is home to people of many different origins, cultural traditions, languages, ethnicities, and religions, including approximately 200 First Nations, such as the Gitxsan, Haida, Nisga’a and Squamish. The top 10 languages spoken are now English, Chinese, Punjabi, German, Tagalog, French, Korean, Spanish, and Farsi. Each year, over 34,000 immigrants from around the world arrive in B.C.
British Columbia is North America’s fourth-largest film and television production centre. It is Canada’s third-largest generator of hydro electricity, Canada’s second-largest natural gas producer, and the oil and gas industry continues to see tremendous growth in the northeast.
B.C. was host to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler. The tourism industry provides a job for roughly 1 in 15 employed British Columbians.
B.C. has 1,030 provincial parks and protected areas, attracting about 20 million visits every year. Since 2001, the provincial government has established 84 new parks, 156 conservancies, two ecological reserves and 13 protected areas. B.C. has also expanded more than 75 parks, six ecological reserves, three protected areas and is protecting more than 2.3 million hectares (an area over four times the size of Prince Edward Island). This includes 200,000 hectares of habitat for the world-famous Spirit Bear, B.C.’s official mammal.
Today, 14.7 percent (or more than 13.9 million hectares) of British Columbia is protected – more than any other province in Canada. For more information about B.C.’s provincial parks, please visit: www.bcparks.ca. To reserve a campsite online, click here.