When visiting the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia is a must. One of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes is located just a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle via I-5. Whether you’re going to mingle with art patrons and eat fine food or you want to get your boots muddy on a trail, British Columbia has got it all. One of the most beautiful attractions in Canada, if you like plants, is the Butchart Gardens. They house many species, are on Canadas national historic register and see more than a million visitors a year.
The Richmond night Market is a great place to browse and people watch. For a great view of the vastness of British Columbia, take the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, just north of Vancouver. If something more active is up your alley, check out Yoho National Park, just across BC, near the border of Alberta. Visiting this area will give you the huge mountains, lakes and giant skies that BC is known for. While in this area the Lussier Hot Springs are worth checking out. If you feel like heading towards the Pacific Ocean rather than further inland, check out the Great Bear Rainforest.
This is a huge temperate rainforest that is the home to many bears, including the sacred spirit bear. If you are not comfortable or familiar with bears, do some research or hire a guide for your excursion. If you’re staying in the city and won’t have time to get out and explore the rest of British Columbia, that is not a problem. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is located just 2.5 hrs north of Vancouver, and just west, the archipelago Haida Gwaii is a beautiful collection of islands with remnants of a centuries old Haida Nation village. The islands are full of trails, wildlife and old totem poles to appreciate all the history the PNW has to offer.
British Columbia Fun Facts
-British Columbia is the third largest and most westerly province in Canada and it is four times the size of Great Britain. The length of BC’s coastline is over 27,000 kilometres.
-Half of all British Columbians live in the metropolitan area of Vancouver.
-BC has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, six National Parks and over 400 provincial parks, recreation and conservation areas.
-Two-thirds of British Columbia’s land base (we’re speaking of an area larger than France!) is forest land, and more than half of that area has had little or no human contact.
-Among all provinces and territories of Canada, British Columbia has the mildest climate. It has the longest frost-free periods of Canada and flowers often start blooming as early as February.
-British Columbia is one of the top 3 producing regions of cranberries and blueberries in the world.
-Did you ever wonder what the BC flag stands for? We have the answer: On the top part there is a Royal Union Flag, reflecting British Columbia’s British heritage. It is marked by the King Edward crown in the centre, which represents the Royal Family. The lower half shows a setting sun, representing the western location of the province. The blue and white lines behind the sun symbolize BC’s location between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.
-BC is home to the world’s largest hockey stick! It was originally created for the Expo 1986 and then acquired by the city of Duncan, BC, where it is on display today. The stick is 62.48 metres long, weighs 28.12 tonnes (62,000 lb) and is therefore 40 times the size of a regular hockey stick. Make sure to take a look on your next trip to Vancouver Island!