British Columbia

MY CANADA, February 2008, by Jen Serdetchnaia


British Columbia flag

“In my part of Canada, you can see forest almost everywhere you go,” says Sarah, who was born and raised on the coast of British Columbia. Since more than half of BC is covered by forest, she’s not exaggerating.

Imagine a province where the ocean meets the mountains and a cross-province drive may take you through abundant rainfall areas and ones parched for precipitation.

BC photosWelcome to British Columbia!
As captivating as the Pacific Ocean and Rocky Mountains are, there is so much more to discover.

Are you a shopper? Or are you more interested in adventure, like whale-watching or outdoor sports? BC offers a long list of exciting activities to the thousands of tourists that flock there each year.

From her local perspective, Sarah insists that you should find a deserted stretch of sand to enjoy the beaches. Kayaking, boarding, skiing and walking in the rainforest also top her list of favorite things to do.

For you city girls out there, you can never go wrong with a visit to one of BC’s popular cities like Vancouver or Victoria.
Two can’t-miss events in the city are the Luminera and the Swiftsure International Yacht Race. Held at night in July at Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park, the Luminera is a beautiful lantern festival. Not only do you get to see thousands of paper lanterns, you can also enjoy live music and performance art.

Looking for a different kind of fire? The Swiftsure International Yacht Race is one of Canada’s most fiery and challenging overnight offshore competitions in which more than two hundred boats participate.

BC high school student, Kristina, adds that the “coolest thing is walking around the inner harbour in downtown Victoria in the summer… lots of buskers, artists, juggling and comedy acts.”

BC photos
If you need more of a reason to pay BC a visit, Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games!
The traditional torch relay of the Olympic flame from Ancient Olympia Greece to Vancouver will begin in late 2009 to arrive just in time for the Opening Ceremony. Now there’s an exciting trip to plan!

Maybe you’re the cultural type who likes getting away from it all to explore smaller towns.

Each of BC’s small towns has its own charming shops, often boasting sailing regattas, mountain bike races, skiing and snowboarding.

With all this going on, can you believe that as recently as two hundred years ago, North America’s northwest coast was one of the least explored areas in the world? Even the original Aboriginal inhabitants were separated from each other by the Rocky Mountains.

Although the Spanish and Russians were among the first to explore the area, it was British Captain James Cook that first chartered the region, and it was the British who established the first BC colony. British Columbia later joined Canada with the promise of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Indeed, there is much more to British Columbia than just forest and mountains. See you there!

Capital: Victoria
Flower: Pacific Dogwood
Population: 4.31 million
Culture: varied, First Nation
Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin
Industry: hydro-electric, natural gas, oil, eco-tourism, forestry, mining, fishing, agriculture
Climate: mild

(photos courtesy of Tourism BC)


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