You will already know that British Columbia (BC) is Canada's westernmost province and one of North America's most mountainous regions...but did you know...
- BC has the longest frost-free periods in Canada due mostly to mild temperatures related with its maritime climate, with flowers often blooming as early as February in the southwestern region of the province. BC has overall the hottest summers and the mildest winters in all of Canada. For other interesting weather facts and trivia check out our weather page.
- British Columbia has a land base of 95 million hectares. Of which 60 million hectares—about two-thirds of BC’s land base—is forest land, more than half of which has had little or no human contact. In distance BC is 1,200 km (about 746 miles) from north to south, and 1,050 km (about 652 miles) from east to west, the equivanlent of several European countries combined.
- BC is nearly four times the size of Great Britain, and larger than any USA state except Alaska. Besides Alaska, there are only 31 nations in the world larger in surface area than BC.
- In a nutshell, 90% of the land in BC is government-owned, mountains cover 75% of the province, and 12% is dedicated to parks and ecological reserves, as well as conservation and recreational areas.
- Vancouver Island is the largest island on the West Coast of North America, and at 32,137 square kilometres long it is about the size of Belgium. There are about 40,000 islands throughout BC.
- With all this land, one would assume a high head count, but BC’s population is just over 4.5 million, averaging 4.77 people per square kilometre. Prince George, the largest city in Northern BC, averages only 1.8 people per square kilometre, making it one of the least densely populated cities in the region.
- Northern BC, at approximately 500,000 km sq (193,051 miles sq), is half of BC’s land base and twice the size of the UK and larger still than California. Much of it remains as protected parks, forests and preserved nature reserves.
- Considered one of the youngest cities in the world, Vancouver was incorporated in 1886—sharing an anniversary with Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola! Also known as ‘Hollywood North’, Vancouver has become the third largest North American film and TV production centre with only LA and New York making more films.
- Home to more than half of the Canada’s wildlife and fish species, BC is the most biologically diverse province. In addition, with a mix of temperate rainforests, dry pine forests, alpine meadows, and even a desert, it is the most ecologically diverse province.
- 1 in 4 North American grizzly bears are found in BC. Also, with a population estimated between 120,000 and 160,000, BC is home to one quarter of all black bears in Canada. Khutzeymateen Provincial Park in Northern BC is Canada's only grizzly bear sanctuary.
- Found only on the central and north coastal rainforests of BC, the Kermode bear (Ursus Americanus Kermodei) is a rare and genetically unique subspecies of the black bear. The Kermode, or as locally known the "Spirit Bear", is a black bear with white fur. It is estimated that there are less than 400 of these bears in existence. The highest concentration is found around Princess Royal Island in the Great Bear Rainforest—where it is said that one-tenth of the black bears born are white.
- Most of Canada's bald eagle population is found along the Pacific coast of BC. It is a widespread year-round resident. Viewing these large birds of prey in the wild is very rewarding, and they can often be spotted in wildlife tours throughout BC.
- BC is dominated by 10 main mountain ranges: Rocky Mountains (partly shared with Alberta boundary), Purcell Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Monashee Mountains, Cariboo Mountains, Coast Mountains (home to the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains), Cassiar Mountains, Vancouver Island Ranges, Queen Charlotte Mountains, and St Elias Mountains (shared with the Alaska, USA border). It is no wonder that BC's backcountry is a heliskiing and snowcat skiing mecca .
- At 4,016 metres (13,177 feet) Mount Waddington situated in the Coast Mountain range is the tallest mountain that is completely within the province of BC. Mount Waddington is located on the mainland north of the Sunshine Coast region and east of northern Vancouver Island.
- The Fraser River Basin is the single largest river in BC flowing 1,375 kilometres (850 miles) in length from the Rockies through to Richmond in Greater Vancouver.
- The fastest tidal currents in BC can be found in Skookumchuck Narrows, and at speeds in excess of 16 knots it is considered to be among the fastest in the world. The Skookumchuck Narrows is located on the Sunshine Coast, near the community of Egmont.
- Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region, spans 989,616 hectares (2.4 million acres) and is BC’s largest provincial park located near the village of Bella Coola and Hagensborg community. Highway 20 runs through Tweedsmuir connecting Williams Lake to Bella Coola. The smallest is Memory Island Provincial Park, located in the community of Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, is just less than 1 hectare (2.5 acres).
- Over eight times the height of Niagara, the Della Falls is the highest waterfall in Canada at 440 metres (about 1,444 feet). The Della Falls is located in Strathcona Provincial Park near the town of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
- Considered to be one of the oldest known western red cedars, ‘The Hanging Garden Tree’ on Meares Island near Tofino is estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old. Tofino is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island where marine tours to Meares Island are available.
- In North-eastern British Columbia, Williston Lake, with an area of 1,761 square kilometres, is BC’s biggest reservoir lake, and the largest man-made lake in Canada. Williston Lake is located near the towns of Hudson's Hope and Mackenzie. Just about 2.5 hours north of Prince George to the southern end of Williston Lake.
- BC is one of the top three cranberry and blueberry producing regions in the world, and is home to the Douglas Lake Ranch, Canada's largest working cattle ranch of over 500,000 acres (2,000 square kilometres) and an approximate cattle herd of 20,000. Established in 1884, the Douglas Lake Ranch is located the Thompson Okanagan region.
Articles of Interest:
- An Expanse Enhanced: Just how big is British Columbia?
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