Welcome to British Columbia




British Columbia


British Columbia Listeni/ˌbrɪtɪʃ kəˈlʌmbiə/ (BC or B.C.) (French: la Colombie-Britannique, C.-B.) is the westernmost province of Canada. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada. British Columbia is also a component of the Pacific Northwest, along with the U.S states of Oregon and Washington.[4][5] The province's name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858. Its Latin motto is Splendor sine occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment").

The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the 15th largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for Canada's Queen at Confederation. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, and the second largest in the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,419,974 (about two and a half million of whom were in Greater Vancouver). The province is currently governed by the BC Liberal Party, led by Premier Christy Clark, who became leader as a result of the party election on February 26, 2011.

British Columbia's economy is largely resource-based. It is the endpoint of transcontinental highways and railways and the site of major Pacific ports, which enable international trade. Though less than five percent of its land is arable, the province is agriculturally rich (particularly in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys) because of its mild weather. Its climate encourages outdoor recreation and tourism, though its economic mainstay has long been resource extraction, principally logging and mining. While the coast of BC and certain valleys in the south-central part of the province have mild weather, the majority of BC's land mass experiences a cold winter temperate to subarctic climate similar to the rest of Canada.


As a result of Kuroshio Current (also known as the Japan Current), which crosses the North Pacific Ocean, coastal British Columbia has a mild, rainy oceanic climate. Due to the blocking presence of successive mountain ranges, the Interior of the province has a semi-arid climate with certain locations receiving less than 250 mm (10") in annual precipitation. The annual mean temperature in the most populated areas of the province are above 10 °C (50 °F), the mildest anywhere in Canada.

Winters can be severe in the Interior and the North. For example, the average overnight low in Prince George (roughly located in the middle of the province) in January is −14 °C (7 °F). The coldest temperature in British Columbia was recorded in Smith River, where it dropped to −58.9 °C (−74 °F),[8] one of the coldest readings recorded anywhere in North America. Southern Interior valleys have shorter winters with brief bouts of cold. Heavy snowfall occurs in the Coast, Columbia and Rocky Mountains providing healthy bases for skiers.

On the Coast, rainfall, sometimes relentless heavy rain, dominates in winter because of consistent barrages of cyclonic low-pressure systems from the North Pacific, but on occasion (and not every winter) heavy snowfalls and below freezing temperatures arrive when modified arctic air reaches coastal areas, typically for short periods. On the opposite extreme, summers in the Southern Interior valleys are hot; for example in Osoyoos the July Maximum averages 31.7 °C (89 °F), hot weather sometimes moves towards the Coast or to the far north of the province. Temperatures exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in the lower elevations of interior valleys during mid-summer, with the record high of 44.4 °C (111.9 °F) being held in Lytton on July 16, 1941.[9]

The Okanagan region has a climate suitable to vineyards.

The extended summer dryness often creates conditions that spark forest fires, from dry-lightning or man-made causes. Coastal areas are generally milder and dry during summer, under the influence of stable anti-cyclonic high pressure much of the time. Many areas of the province are often covered by a blanket of heavy cloud and low fog during winter, despite sunny summers. Annual sunshine hours vary from 2200 near Cranbrook and Victoria to less than 1300 in Prince Rupert, located on the North Coast, just south of the Alaska Panhandle.

The exception to British Columbia's wet and cloudy winters is El Niño. During this phase, the jet stream is much further south across North America, therefore winters are milder and drier than normal. Winters are much wetter and cooler under the opposite phase, La Niña.


Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in British Columbia[10]
Municipality July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Tofino 19/10 65/50 8/1 46/35
Osoyoos 29/14 85/57 1/-5 34/23
Kamloops 28/14 83/57 -1/-8 31/18
Chilliwack 24/13 75/55 5/-1 41/31
Victoria 22/11 71/51 7/1 44/33
Vancouver 22/13 71/54 6/1 43/33
Prince George 22/9 72/45 −6/−14 22/8


Welcome sign at the province's boundary at the Yellowhead Pass near Jasper, Alberta.
Year Population Five Year
 % change
Ten Year
 % change
Rank Among
1851 55,000 n/a n/a 6
1861 51,524 n/a −6.3 6
1871 36,247 n/a −35.3 7
1881 49,459 n/a 36.4 8
1891 98,173 n/a 98.5 8
1901 178,657 n/a 82.0 6
1911 392,480 n/a 119.7 6
1921 524,582 n/a 33.7 6
1931 694,263 n/a 32.3 6
1941 817,861 n/a 17.8 3
1951 1,165,210 n/a 42.5 3
1956 1,398,464 20.0 n/a 3
1961 1,629,082 16.5 39.8 3
1966 1,873,674 15.0 34.0 3
1971 2,184,620 16.6 34.1 3
1976 2,466,610 12.9 31.6 3
1981 2,744,467 11.3 25.6 3
1986 2,883,370 5.1 16.9 3
1991 3,282,061 13.8 19.6 3
1996 3,724,500 13.5 29.2 3
2001 3,907,738 4.9 19.1 3
2006 4,113,487 5.3 10.4 3
2011 4,400,057 6.9 12.6 3






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