5 BC Places visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

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Victoria, British Columbia, has always had a special connection to Britain. But in 2016 city received a royal boost as Will and Kate touched down in the provincial capital to kick off their second visit to Canada.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a packed itinerary before their tour ended on October 1. Like all visitors, they probably wanted to make the most of their time in BC.

Here’s a cheat sheet to 5 places the Royals visited in BC—and what makes each special.

Victoria

Two cyclist pedal on a path along the ocean at sunset.

Riding along the ocean in Victoria. Photo: Reuben Krabbe

British Columbia’s provincial capital is a gracious colonial city of Edwardian architecture, lavish gardens, and sea views. Set at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this city of 359,000 enjoys the mildest climate in Canada and preserves such British traditions as afternoon tea and double-decker buses.

Top sights include Canada’s oldest Chinatown, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the Butchart Gardens.

Vancouver

The Stanley Park seawall hugs the coastline with the Vancouver skyline in the background.

The Stanley Park seawall is popular for jogging in Vancouver. Photo: Alex Stroh

British Columbia’s largest city is a multicultural urban centre famed for its stunning ocean and mountain setting, mild climate, and relaxed, outdoorsy lifestyle. Tucked into the province’s southwest corner just north of the United States border, this city of 2.4 million is consistently ranked among the best places in the world to live or to visit.

Top sights include Stanley Park, the artists’ studios of Granville Island, and the historic districts of Gastown, Chinatown, and Yaletown.

Kelowna

A woman walks through a lush vineyard at sunset.

Walking through the vineyard at Cedar Creek Estate Winery in Kelowna. Photo: Andrew Strain

Kelowna (population 188,000) is the largest city in south-central BC’s Okanagan Valley. One of Canada’s top wine regions and a year-round vacation destination, this sunny valley boasts more than 150 wineries, 50 golf courses, four ski resorts, and three beach-fringed lakes.

Bella Bella

Close up on the face of a white spirit bear.

A spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo: Getty Images

Bella Bella, also known as Waglisla, is a Heiltsuk First Nation community on Campbell Island, about 475 kilometres (295 miles) northwest of Vancouver. The village lies at the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest and one of the most pristine wilderness environments on earth.

Stretching 400 kilometres (250 miles) along the central and north coast of British Columbia, this landscape of fjords and islands hosts a wealth of wildlife, including grizzly bears, whales, dolphins, and the world’s only Kermode (Spirit) bears, a rare white-furred sub-species of black bear.

Haida Gwaii

A hiker treks through a moss-covered rainforest.

Walking amid the rainforest on Haida Gwaii. Photo: Ian Holmes

Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) is a remote archipelago of 150 islands lying 100 kilometres (62 miles) off the northwest coast of British Columbia. Meaning “Islands of the People,” Haida Gwaii has about 5,000 residents, at least a third of whom belong to the Haida Nation.

The Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay, in Skidegate, offers insights into Haida culture, both ancient and modern. To the south, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve & Haida Heritage Site protects a watery wilderness where ancient village sites still stand on remote beaches. The most significant among them is the SGang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the best examples of a west coast First Nations village.

Opening image: Victoria, BC. Photo: Reuben Krabbe