Introduction to British Columbia

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 18, 2023

Canada’s westernmost province is like a window onto Asia. The economic development of this part of the world increased trade and growth in Canada. Most of the area is occupied by the Rocky Mountains, descending to the fragmented and difficult to access coast.

Settlement took place from the West Coast, in a different dynamic from the rest of Canada. However, in 1871, these British territories preferred to join Canada rather than the United States, in exchange for the promise of a rail link.

Wally Creek, Vancouver Island


Vancouver’s reputation is so strong that it is easy to forget that Victoria is the provincial capital. Located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the city benefits from both the growth of the government sector and its favourable climate, which attracts many wealthy retirees. Cultural life and quality of life are more highly regarded here than elsewhere (more).


Canada’s third largest city, Vancouver is located on the Pacific coast in the west, as if looking towards Asia. Increased human and commercial links with Asia directly benefit Vancouver’s growth. The city has created an image of its own, inspired by an alternative lifestyle on the American West Coast. This motivates many travellers to visit (more).

Stanley Park

The park is located on a peninsula, as if isolated from the city, yet it is wilderness just a stone’s throw from downtown, 400 hectares of forest with barely marked trails. Once occupied by Native Americans, the trees were cut down to build Vancouver before the park was created in 1888. There are many points of interest, from totem poles to sculptures, the rose garden or the beaver lake, sports or cultural areas.


One of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, long a place of depravity before falling into decay. Saved from demolition, it is now undergoing rapid gentrification thanks to its character and proximity to downtown. Tourists come here for its old houses, art galleries and especially for its unique steam clock.

Vancouver Island

The island stretches for almost 310 miles, 500 kilometres, along the west coast of Canada. It is both a smaller replica and a world unto itself, with the island’s insularity still providing a distinct dynamic. From Vancouver to Victoria, an intense traffic of ferries and seaplanes ensure the land continuity.

The Forest

Vancouver Island’s humid climate favours the growth of giant trees. An example of this can be seen at Cathedral Grove, a small portion of protected primary forest, as if to make one regret the rest that has disappeared. Forestry is now based on sustainable resource management, but controversial logging of primary forest continues to occur.

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens offers 55 acres, 22 hectares, of beautiful floral scenery. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Butchart family decided to transform an old quarry and their adjoining garden. The Japanese garden was the first to be laid out in 1906. The rose garden replaced the kitchen garden and the Italian garden replaced the tennis courts. Each year more than one million visitors come to the Gardens (more).


For a long time, Tofino’s difficult access made it a pioneer village on the Pacific coast. Since the opening of a road, it has become a popular seaside destination for sea-related activities. However, the frequent fog continues to wrap it in a mysterious atmosphere.


The large murals at Chemainus have been a tourist attraction on Vancouver Island since 1983, when the city commissioned 40 murals. Attracting 350,000 visitors each year, the scenes show the history of the region, the First Nations, the arrival of the Chinese to work in the mines, the forest or the fishery. The decline of traditional activities is leading to the development of tourism, helped by these large murals.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve protects much of the West Coast, where the road does not go. The challenging West Coast Trail attracts many travellers and can be completed in several days with advance registration. Managed with the First Nations who live nearby, the trail runs along the wild coast in untouched natural areas.

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  1. A fine presentation of what looks like a thoroughly charming region. I love the architecture and I’m guessing there must be some idyllic guesthouses, bed and breakfasts etc. A night in the Empress doesn’t sound too bad either. I am particularly taken with Gastown and shall do some more Googling on it.


  2. Beautiful collection of pictures. I’m so envious that you’ve been able to explore so much of Canada. I haven’t spent much time in British Columbia and have only been to Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. I would love to spend more time there and perhaps even hike the West Coast Trail someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, the word forest covers different realities, often trivialised by usage, it is difficult not to feel an emotion in front of forests composed of trees several centuries old and of impressive size.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, it is known paradoxically for both nature and the city. There is also more than elsewhere in Canada, the willingness to harmonize the two, It is in BC that the Green Party obtains its best results.


  3. This is a nice introduction to what I call the most mountainous province of Canada with a cordillera of 3 mountain ranges,(Quebec is the second, imho). I enjoyed reading the passages, along with the pictures.

    I have never visited BC, but hope to be here next June with my family. I will visit Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks in the Columbia Mountains and Kootenay NP in the Rocky Mountains. The next plan for 2023 is to visit the western part of this province.

    Liked by 1 person

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