About British Columbia

About BC

Experience rich culture, urban centres, and limitless wild spaces

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British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province, bordered by the Alaskan Panhandle and the Yukon and Northwest Territories to the north, and by Washington, Idaho, and Montana to the south. Alberta lies to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Ten mountain ranges push west from the Canadian Rockies, and ancient temperate rainforests hug the coast. In between are rolling grasslands, lush valleys, tens of thousands of lakes, glacier-fed rivers, and even semi-arid desert.

British Columbia’s national and provincial parks protect a wide wilderness which represents the best natural features and diverse environments of the province.  Approximately 14% of BC’s land base in protected, and all of this wild nature supports wildlife in abundance, on land and in the sea.

Brooks Falls | Mike Seehagel
Yoho National Park | Ryan Creary

Indigenous Peoples of BC have inhabited the landscape for an estimated 10,000 years. Prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in the late 18th century, hundreds of First Nations communities thrived in all areas of what is now British Columbia, each with its own language, culture, and traditions.

With the arrival of the Europeans came a series of trading posts, and two consecutive gold rushes in the mid-1800s brought an influx of prospectors, merchants, and pioneers from around the world. The 1950s and 60s marked another period of rapid growth, with massive building projects including dams, bridges, railways, ferries, and the completion of the Trans Canada Highway.

Dining in the Okanagan | Patrice Halley

Today, BC is home to more than 200 First Nations whose living traditions can be enjoyed through art, food, immersive cultural experiences, and guided tours around the province. There is a large Asian population here with Chinese and Punjabi the most spoken languages after English, and also sizeable German, Italian, and Russian communities.

Haida Artist, Reg Davidson | Grant Harder
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Map of British Columbia

British Columbia’s population of over 4.5 million is concentrated in urban centres, with Vancouver home to over half the province’s people, or around 2.5 million residents. Other city centres in the province include Victoria, Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George.

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Getting Here & Around

Visitors to British Columbia can arrive by air, road, rail, or ferry.

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Five-star hotels, quaint B&Bs, rustic campgrounds, and everything in between.

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Need to Know

Find key travel information to help plan your BC vacation.

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