Magnificent vistas from coast to coast to coast
British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada. It is bordered by the province of Alberta, the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana and the Pacific Ocean. There is no other Canadian province or territory that contacts the Pacific Ocean. British Columbia has 17,000 miles of Pacific coastline and about 6,000 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The population, (as of 2009), is estimated to be just under 4.5 million people. Most people live in the southwest portion of the province. Nearly half of the population is located in the Greater Vancouver area. About 330,000 more live in the capital region of Victoria. Most of the rest of the province is very lightly inhabited, is mountainous and remote in terms of access.
British Columbia contains many mountain ranges including the Rockies, Kootenays, Coast Range and Cascades. Most mountains are very young and rugged. Volcanic evidence is also present in many mountains. Glaciers and a yearly snow pack feed into many streams and rivers that drain into the oceans. Most of the water drains to the Pacific Ocean as the province is largely west of the continental divide, but a portion of the north east area of British Columbia drains into the Arctic Ocean. The province contains all or part of the major rivers Columbia, Fraser, Skeena and Peace. These rivers are very important, economically for fishing, transportation and hydro-electrical power generation, in the case of the Columbia and Peace. Williston Lake is a manmade feature of the Peace River formed by the construction of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam in 1968, forming a reservoir for a hydro-electric power generation. Many other hydo-electric facilities are operating in British Columbia using either stored water reservoirs or run-of-river technology.
British Columbia contains a large number of parks which protect a vast land area. These are administered by all levels of government and seek to protect natural vistas, wildlife or both. Stanley Park, in Vancouver, is over 1000 acres in size and attracts over 8 million visits a year by urban citizens seeking a refuge from normal city scenes. Other parks located throughout the province allow automotive access and some are only accessible by water. Some of the marine parks are perhaps the most remote and secluded parts of North America and yet they are within a few hundred miles of civilization.
Economic activity in British Columbia includes mining, forestry, fishing, farming and other commodity producing industries. Tourism is also very important to the economy. Visitors to the province have opportunities to hike, ski, boat and much more in some of the most rugged and beautiful areas of the world. Adventurists can enjoy travels to the remote inlets and fjords in the province aboard historic vessels that offer custom cruises. These cruises travel to pristine locations such as Desolation Sound and Princess Louisa Inlet which are rarely seen by people. Both of these jewels are located close to the shipping channels used by Alaska bound cruise ships which cannot negotiate to them.
If you want to experience an unforgettable vacation, you would be well advised to consider travel to British Columbia. There are countless tourist opportunities at costs that should fit most any vacation budget.
Ten Sample British Columbia Attractions
This is a large, vibrant city that recently hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It lies on the edge of the Georgia Strait and has a majestic background of snow-capped mountains nearby to the north. The Lions, twin mountain peaks, are a very distinctive feature. There are a lot of things for the tourists to do in the area. A visit to Stanley Park, right downtown, is a must. This park offers a chance to enjoy natural surroundings just minutes from the action. Take in the zoo, aquarium, restaurant and the seawall. The seawall surrounds the park and is a favorite walk, jog and cycle route for tourists and residents alike.
This is a mountain playground north of Vancouver on highway 99. Famous for the two ski mountains, it has gained additional attractions that make it a year-round destination. During the summer, golf, hiking, rock climbing and many more tourist activities are enjoyed.
This is a historical town in central British Columbia that was born during the gold rush. It is now a park that offers visitors a chance to see what a boom town looked like. Exhibits contain gold mining equipment, heritage buildings and many artifacts that were in use in the 1860's. Tourists can even buy some paydirt and pan their own gold.
The capital city offers a number of very interesting attractions. The Royal British Columbia museum, Butchart Gardens and a real castle are each well worth the price of admission. Whale watching tours leave from the inner harbor every day. Depending on the time of year, the tours bring you close to Orca and Gray whales, porpoises and other marine wildlife. Some lucky tourists might also get a glimpse of the rare Blue whale. Victoria is at the southern end of Vancouver Island which is also a major tourism draw.
5) Okanagon Valley
This area is a summertime hotspot. Known for the great weather, it offers tourists a playground of water activities on the large lakes. There are a large number of wineries that offer samples of their products. Some of these have excellent restaurants with fine dining menus. The winter in this area can be quite cold but a ski mountain offers great powder skiing for those interested.
British Columbia is a vast, sparsely inhabited province. There are many mountains that restrict access to large areas to all but a few hardy adventurers. Other huge areas are only accessible via boat as there are few roads along the central coast. Many parks and nature reserves have been established to protect wildlife habitat for all time. This has allowed populations of animals to thrive. Visitors to the province may encounter grizzly, black or Kermode bears, elk, caribou and many other kinds of large animals. Birds flock to the province on their migrations. Marine life includes whales, otters, seals and dolphins. Many tourists come to the province to observe and photograph the array of wildlife.
British Columbia is a major winter destination. Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb are world class. These are located at the village of Whistler and hosted many events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. There are many other ski mountains in the province, including several, (Grouse, Cypress, Seymour), that are very close to Vancouver. Mount Washington, on Vancouver Island, had more snow during 2009-2010 than any other ski mountain in the world. In addition, the province offers back country skiing via helicopter and snow cat operators.
There are many opportunities for anglers throughout the province. The salmon fishing on the coast is legendary. The numerous lakes, rivers and creeks offer varied locations for trout and char fishing. Great trout fishing can be experienced with top quality single hand fly rods from RST Fishing. Regulations are strict so be sure to check with local sporting good stores or with established guides.
British Columbia contains a huge range of natural scenic vistas that include mountains, lakes, rivers, and ocean features. There are also vibrant city scene with modern architecture, historical buildings or modern flair to be photographed. The province offers wildlife photographers countless opportunities to capture award winning photos. The scenery is extremely diverse and constantly changing due to the extremes of weather experienced in the province.
British Columbia has a long history. Native people have lived in the province for at least 11,500 years. Little remains of their oldest inhabitation. More modern native artifacts from the 18th century are preserved in provincial museums. Europeans began to arrive in the late 1700's. Gold was discovered in the middle 1800's. Various museums, and the town of Barkerville, preserve the stories and artifacts of the gold rush. Many cities, such as Victoria and New Westminister, have preserved houses and other buildings built more than 100 years ago.