Welcome to British Columbia!
Written by Wendy Williams (a.k.a. Mom!)
The capitol city of British Columbia is Victoria. The climates of this province vary from warm rainy south western coastal areas to colder valleys winding through towering mountains as high as 3000 meters above sea level. Visitors are awed by the breath-taking beauty of this most westerly Canadian province.
Some of the Aboriginal people who inhabited British Columbia approximately 6000-8000 years ago were: Tagish, Tsimshian, Haida, Kwakiutl, Nootka and Northwest Coast Natives. These communities tended to settle near the warmer climates of the salmon rivers. Nomadic inhabitants of the colder interior who hunted moose and caribou and fished were: Carrier, Interior Salish and Kootenay.
Some other ethnic groups who have made British Columbia home are: Japanese, Chinese, South Asian, English, Scottish and Canadian.
Because of the enormous mountain barrier, this province was the last to be explored from the east until fur trade development in the early 1900th century. In the early 19th century, adventurers, Fraser and Thompson explored the interior of the province and set up fur trading posts.
On the coast, there had been dissension between Spanish and British explorers who had both been trading with the Aboriginal people. The Nootka Sound Controversy of 1790-94 granted equal trading rights, but not ownership.
The Fraser Gold Rush kicked off a flurry of gold seekers who settled and established more permanent mining towns and systems of supportive transportation. The Caribou Road was built to bring supplies to the interior of British Columbia.
British Columbia was waiting on a railway to link their more geographically isolated province with the rest of Canada and agreed to join Confederation in 1871. At first, there were many provincial issues regarding how to govern such a wide spread population. Vancouver was the western terminal for the CPR Railway in 1886 and it became a commercial hub for transporting goods via the interior and seaport.
There are many industries in British Columbia: forestry, pulp and paper, hydroelectric dams, fisheries, salmon canning, mining (gold and other minerals), farming (grapes and berries for wine) and other vegetable and cattle farming in the warmer southern valley settlements.
Recreation is offered in five National Parks: Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke and Pacific East Rim. There are numerous provincial parks throughout the province. Go skiing, fishing, boating or hiking.
Artistic culture thrives in the largest city of Vancouver as well as Victoria and all other communities throughout the province. Bronwyn Oshust graduated from the renowned University of B.C, in Vancouver. There are competent dance instructors such as Janice Quewezance from the Blakey School of Irish Dance in Kelowna. Actor, Derry Oshust, graduated from the Canadian College of the Performing Arts in Victoria. Other entertainments to be found are: museums displaying Aboriginal arts and crafts and art galleries featuring many Canadian artists.
Among the many famous British Columbians are: famous artist, Emily Carr, famous Haida artist, Bill Reid and renowned writers, Phyllis Webb and George Bowering.
Besides viewing the endless wonder of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, visitors should not miss Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Aboriginal totem poles or a relaxing journey on the ferry to Vancouver Island. The Okanangan region boasts award-winning wineries for touring and tastings, many golf courses and a major ski resort. The Shuswap is renowned for houseboating, camping and skiing. Visit Super, Natural British Columbia.