Quick Facts About British Columbia, Canada

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British Columbia Vacation Planner

British Columbia Quick Facts

British Columbia is the third largest and most westerly province in Canada, it's larger than any of the U.S. states, except Alaska, and is four times larger than Great Britain. The Yukon and Northwest Territories form B.C.'s northern border that stretches for 1062 km (669 mi.) along the 60th parallel, and to the east B.C. and the province of Alberta share a common boundary that runs in a northerly and southerly direction, as it follows the Rocky Mountains for 1545 km (973 mi.). To the south, British Columbia's neighbours are the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana, this border on the 49th parallel is 650 km (409 mi.) long. Forming the west boundary of B.C. is the Pacific Ocean. The distance of this coastline that includes the mainland and all islands is more than 27,000 km (16,900 mi.). 

Area - 952,263 square km (367,699 square mi.) 

Population - 4,400,057 (2011) 

Major Cities 
  • The accommodations within B.C. range from a $6. a-night campsite to luxurious hotels that can be over $1000. a day. For a complete and comprehensive on-line guide, visit our accommodations section of the BC Travel Planner.
  • Printed copies of the B.C. Accommodation guide can be requested from Tourism B.C. by calling their toll-free number 1-800-663-6000.
  • Forestry, tourism, mining and fishing are four main industries of British Columbia.
  • The terrain of B.C. is varied, to the east are the Rocky Mountains and to the west are the Outer and Coastal Mountains, in between are numerous other mountains ranges, deep fertile valleys, plateaus, rivers, as well as hundreds of lakes and streams.
  • The climate varies from region to region, as does the topography. Along the coast, summers are warm, winters mild and wet. The southern interior has hotter summers and cooler winter, while the central interior has warm summer and cold winters.
  • B.C. is a haven for bird watchers. It's estimated that over one million birds use the Pacific Flyway, two of the many species that use this corridor are the rufous hummingbirds and the Snow geese.
  • Animals include moose, Rocky Mountain elk, deer, woodland caribou, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, and the hoary marmots. Subspecies of the black bear include the Kermode white bear that lives in the Terrace-Kitimat region and the glacier bear that's found in the northwest area of the province.
  • Sea life is abundant in B.C. coastal waters. Pacific gray whales migrate along the west coast of Vancouver Island, orcas (killer whales) live in the east coast water of Vancouver Island. Occasionally minke whales are seen, and recently humpback whales have been spotted. Harbour seals are common. There are Stellar and California sea lion colonies.
  • Five different species of salmon live in Pacific waters. Lingcod and halibut are also found in waters along the coast. B.C. inland streams and lakes offer cutthroat, rainbow and Dolly Varden trout and kokanee salmon.
Be sure to visit the Wilderness section of the BC Adventure Network for more information. 

Parks & Conservation Areas 
  • Within the borders of B.C. are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Anthony Island (Ninstints), part of Gwaii Haanas/South Moresby National Park; the Burgess Shale, that lies within Yoho National Park and the Tatshenshini-Alsek watershed, located in the north western corner of British Columbia.
  • There are six National Parks: Glacier, Gwaii Haanas/ South Moresby, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, Pacific Rim and Yoho, these are managed by the Federal government under Parks Canada. Camping is available in all nationals park in BC, except Mt. Revelstoke. There is a fee charged for camping.
  • There are more than 400 provincial parks, recreation and conservation areas in B.C. These parks are under provincial jurisdiction and managed by the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. The camping fees give a good indication of service levels and facility. Check the Parks section of the Travel Planner for more information.
  • There are 131 ecological reserves in the province. They cover an area that totals more than 158,700 ha (392,200 a.) with approximately one-third of the area in marine waters. There is limited use in most of these reserves, but the more delicate areas are closed to the public.
Adventures & Recreation 
    The mountains, lakes, rivers, plateaus, valleys, forests, islands and coastline that make up B.C. offer adventures to suit every visitor. The activities are as diverse as the terrain and the climate.  For details, visit the BC Adventure Network's Recreation Guide.
  • fresh water fishing and salt water fishing
  • golfing
  • canoeing, kakaying and white water rafting
  • sailing and windsurfing
  • hiking, back-pacing and horse-packing
  • caving, mountain climbing and rock climbing
  • cycling including mountain biking
  • alpine and Nordic skiing, snow boarding, as well as snowmobiling (sledding).
  • heli-skiing and heli-hiking.
  • hunting
  • diving
  • hang gliding and paragliding
  • beach combing and sight seeing.

No matter when you visit British Columbia, be it spring, summer, fall or winter, you'll find there is always something to do and definitely somewhere to go. Whether you prefer the lights and sounds of city life, or enjoy a quiet outdoor adventure away from it all. British Columbia is calling to you. 

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Quick Facts About British Columbia, Canada