67 British Columbia Facts: Learn About Canada's Westernmost Province | Kidadl

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67 British Columbia Facts: Learn About Canada's Westernmost Province

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across Spain and the Atlantic to find a direct sea route from Europe to Asia. 

He never did; instead, he landed in America in 1492, assuming that the New World was a part of Asia. Amerigo Vespucci recognized North and South America as different continents, and the New World was named after him.

British Captain James Cook first set his foot on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the rest is history.

The history of British Columbia begins with the First Nations people, who have lived and flourished for thousands of years. Spanish, British, Russian, and American explorers visited the British Columbia area in the 1750s. Established in 1843, the first British settlement in the area was Fort Victoria, which gave rise to the City of Victoria, the capital of the separate colony of Vancouver Island.

 

Wildlife And Flora And Fauna

British Colombia is home to a rich assemblage of species because of its large climatic and topographical diversity. Some plant and animal species are endemic to British Colombia, like the Vancouver Island Marmot, found in the high meadows of Vancouver Island. Some insect species, and six plant species, are also endemic to British Colombia.

  • British Colombia produces cranberries and blueberries in large amounts and is one of the three top producers of these two fruits globally.
  • The Pacific dogwood is the provincial flower, and the western red cedar is the provincial tree of British Colombia.
  • British Colombia is the most popular wine-growing province in North America.
  • A western cedar tree, the Hanging Garden Tree, is the oldest and is located on Meares Island, hanging from the edge of a bank.
  • The spirit bear, a rare subspecies of black bears, is the provincial animal of British Colombia.
  • Almost a quarter of grizzly bears in North America are found in British Colombia.
  • British Colombia is a winter home to many migratory birds coming from Alaska.
  • Canada's seven national parks are in British Colombia, and two of them are on Vancouver Island.
  • Della Falls, located in Strathcona Provincial Park, is 1440 ft (440 m) high - more than eight times the height of Niagara Falls.
  • The wettest city is Prince Rupert in Canada.
  • British Columbia is rich in marine animals, including chiton, sea star, and the largest octopus.
  • The cold turbulent waters bring nutrients for the phytoplankton, the tiny plants on which small invertebrates, zooplankton, and shrimps feed.
  • Rock bottomed bays and kelp forests shelter many invertebrates and schools of fish on the ocean floor.
  • Shallow muddy shorelines have underwater prairies and eel-grass meadows that attract thousands of unique groups of animals and waterfowls, like Brant geese, every year.
  • Puffins, murres, murrelets, auklets, and storm-petrels lay eggs on the rocky cliffs in their yearly contact with the land.
  • Some of the world's tallest trees are found here, like huge Douglas-firs, Western Hemlocks, Sitka spruce, and western redcedar remains.
  • Vertebrates like tiny salamanders and northern flying squirrels also inhabit the forest of British Columbia.
  • The southeast coast of Vancouver Island is an open savanna for arbutus, Garry oak, and Douglas-firs; the habitat is one of Canada's endangered ecosystems.
  • Lodgepole pines cover much of the boreal forest and mountains of British Columbia.
  • The snowshoe hare, a 10-year population cycle, is the dominant animal in the spruce forests.
  • Canada's most rare woodpecker, the white-headed woodpecker, is found only in the forests of South Okanagan.
  • Southern interior mountains have extensive meadows famous for midsummer flowers, blue lupine, white valerian, and yellow arnica.

 

The Economy

The fifth-largest province in Canada, British Columbia, is four times the size of the United Kingdom. The capital city of British Columbia is Victoria, located on Vancouver Island. It was named by Queen Victoria to differentiate it from the Columbia District in the U.S. Vancouver is one of the top five livable cities worldwide and one of the most densely populated areas in North America. British Colombia is one of Canada's territories and thirteen provinces, located between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The westernmost province of Canada, British Colombia, is bordered by Alaska and the Pacific Ocean in the west; provinces of Alberta to the east; Northwest Territories and Yukon Territories to the north; Montana, Idaho, and Washington to the south.

  • British Columbia is located in the Canadian province on the country's west coast.
  • Mountain ranges dominate the province.
  • The current flag of British Columbia has the Union Jack representing the British heritage in the center and King Edward's crown representing the Royal Family; the lower half shows a setting sun; the blue and white lines show the location between the Pacific Ocean and three mountain ranges: the Rocky Mountains, Coast Mountains, and the Columbia Mountains.
  • The inside passages' many inlets and the Coast Mountains provide some of British Columbia's spectacular and renowned scenery acting as the context for a growing ecotourism industry and outdoor adventure.
  • British Columbia joined Canada after the gold rush and an influx of settlers in 1858.
  • BC Day is commemorated on the first Monday of August.
  • British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada on July 20, 1871.
  • British Columbia is so large that only 30 countries are larger than this province.
  • Almost 5% of the population represents the aboriginals of British Columbia.
  • Vancouver is also the Bathtub Racing Capital of the world.
  • Vancouver is one of Canada's most ethnically diverse cities; nearly one-fifth of its residents are Chinese immigrants.
  • Half of the Columbians that are British live in the Metro Vancouver area.
  • The fur trade is at large in British Columbia.
  • The Canadian Pacific Railway, completed in 1885, increased the movement and trade of resources and people from east to west.
  • Railways connect ports on the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts to the main markets throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
  • British Columbia has six international airports.
  • British Columbia's highly-maintained highways give access to interstate highways in the United States.
  • The wine regions in British Columbia include Fraser Valley and Cowichan Valley.
  • Ice wine, Canada's most popular form of dessert wine, is produced in British Columbia.
  • British Columbia has six National Parks, three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and over 400 provincial parks, conservation, and recreation areas.
  • In British Colombia, 98% of electricity generated comes from renewable and clean resources, and electricity rates are one of the lowest in North America.
  • British Colombia is also abundant in natural gas and, in recent years, has started to expand the export of natural gas outside North America.
  • The quality of education is very high in British Columbia.

 

Social And Cultural Values

British Columbia's culture has a unique mix of Asian, European, and First Nation influences. Many First Nations in British Columbia devote themselves to the arts because of its abundant timber, salmon, and other natural resources. The same totem poles stood for centuries in several British Columbia communities.

  • The Asian influence can be traced back to the Chinese railway workers during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
  • The city of Victoria is famous for its British background.
  • The way of life of the people in British Columbia is multiculturalism.
  • It is important to respect other people's beliefs, religions, lifestyles, and cultures.
  • 30% of British Columbia is migrated from other countries.
  • In British Columbia, less than one-quarter of the people are a visible minority, and another 5% are the indigenous population.
  • In British Columbia, there are more than 34 First Nation languages and 61 dialects, most of them endangered.
  • Other indigenous languages spoken include Cree, the language of the Métis people, and Michif.
  • There are also large communities of Iranian, Jew, Korean, French, Italian, and many other nationalities in British Columbia.
  • The presence of major film production studios in the province earned it the nickname, 'Hollywood of Canada'.
  • More than 25,000 people in British Columbia work in the film industry.
  • After Ontario, British Columbia legalized same-sex marriage.
learn about canada's westernmost province

Political Exposure

British Columbia became completely independent and adopted its constitution in 1982. There have been a lot of political parties controlling the government for over ten years after party politics were introduced in British Columbia. 

  • Parties like the Conservative party, the Liberal Government, Social Credit Government, 'Socred', and the New Democratic Party (NDP) governed British Columbia.
  • Aside from the federal level, there were no political parties in British Columbia until 1903.
  • Before that, the only party to form was British Columbia's labor party called the Nationalist Party, founded in 1894.
  • British Columbia is the only province with initiative legislation and recall-election in Canada.
  • British Columbia is the first province to introduce fixed election dates.
  • When the liberal-conservative coalition failed in the '50s, the 'alternative polling system' was introduced in the 1952 general elections.
  • Both the block voting system and alternative poling system were abolished, and single-member first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) came into use.
  • In 2020, elections were held for the 42nd Parliament of British Columbia.
  • British Columbia Democratic Party candidate, John Horgan, became Premier for the second consecutive term.
  • Shirley Bond is the current leader of opposition in British Columbia. She is the interim leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party.

 

A bill to start a BC Day was first introduced in Parliament in 1974, aimed to make the first Monday in August a holiday to recognize the pioneers of British Columbia. In this era of diasporic identities, British Colombia stands with an identity of multiple cultures, a political and social mixture.

 

FAQs

What are two historical facts about British Columbia?

The First Nations inhabited British Columbia for over a millennia. Until 1871, Vancouver was a British colony that later joined Canada after the gold rush.

How old is British Columbia?

The original inhabitants were the First Nations, who were there for at least 10,000 years.

What is British Columbia known for?

British Columbia is known for its rugged coastlines, lush forests, and mountains.

What does British Columbia mean?

It was named after the Columbia River, and queen Victoria named it British Columbia after it became a British colony in 1858.

What important things happened in British Columbia?

The great British explorer, Captain James Cook, became the first to reach British Columbia. In 1861, British Columbia became the sixth province of the Dominion of Canada.

How did British Columbia get its name?

The name was chosen by Queen Victoria when the area came under British rule in 1858.

Where is Abbotsford, British Columbia?

Abbotsford is located in British Columbia near Great Vancouver, adjacent to the Fraser River and United States-Canada border.

What mountain range extends from British Columbia to New Mexico?

The Rocky Mountain range stretches 3,000 mi (4828 km) from New Mexico in the southwestern United States to British Columbia.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

Sridevi's passion for writing has allowed her to explore different writing domains, and she has written various articles on kids, families, animals, celebrities, technology, and marketing domains. She has done her Masters in Clinical Research from Manipal University and PG Diploma in Journalism From Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has written numerous articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories, which have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. She is fluent in four languages and likes to spend her spare time with family and friends. She loves to read, travel, cook, paint, and listen to music.

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