If you’re looking for some interesting British Columbia facts, you’ve come to the right place.
British Columbia is perhaps the most beautiful province in Canada, thanks in part to its many mountains, sandy beaches, lakes, rainforest, and the Pacific Ocean. It’s also home to some beautiful cities, including, Victoria, Vancouver, and Kelowna, as well as some popular vacation towns, such as Tofino and Whistler.
In this guide, you’re going to learn so much about British Columbia. Whether you’re looking to enhance your next visit or just love learning as much as we do, here are 42 British Columbia facts to bring up at your next dinner party.
General Facts about BC
To start things off, let’s learn more about the province by looking at some of the top general British Columbia facts.
- As of 2022, British Columbia has a population of roughly 5.24 million people, making it the third-largest province in Canada in terms of population. However, half the total population of British Columbia lives in the Metro Vancouver area.
- BC is also the third-largest province by size.
- In fact, British Columbia is so varied and large that it winds through five distinct biogeoclimatic zones in the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains region of BC, from the coastal rainforest at Horseshoe Bay, through Squamish, Garibaldi Provincial Park, and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
- British Columbia was the 6th province to be added to Canada after Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia in 1867 and Manitoba in 1870.
- British Columbia is Canada’s most westerly province. However, the most westerly part of Canada is actually Yukon, which is a territory rather than a province.
- British Columbia borders the USA four times! Washington, Montana, and Idaho are all south of BC whereas the state of Alaska lies to the northwest. It is also west of Alberta and south of both the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
- BC is also the only Canadian province that borders the Pacific Ocean and has a coastline that stretches more than 27,000 km (17,000 miles). The coastline includes some deep mountainous fjords and about 6,000 mainly uninhabited islands.
- BC is home to the mildest climate in Canada. However, it depends on where you are. Summers on the coast are warm, with daytime temperatures around 20°C. B.C.’s coastal regions have the mildest winters in all of Canada, and temperatures rarely drop below freezing because of the Kuroshio, or Japan Current, which warms the coast. At the same time, Northern BC and the mountains see cold temperatures just like the rest of Canada.
- BC is also one of the rainiest provinces in Canada. In fact, according to the Weather Network, the wettest city in Canada is Prince Rupert on the west coast of British Columbia. It has an average of 239.7 days of rain per year. Don’t forget your umbrella!
- Although Vancouver is the biggest city, Victoria is actually the capital. Located on Vancouver Island, 107 km (76 miles) southwest of Vancouver, Victoria was named after British Queen Victoria. The trip by car and ferry, or bus and ferry, takes approximately 4 hours each way from downtown Vancouver or a 35-minute flight. Victoria is a city whose British heritage and colonial past can be seen clearly in its architecture, gardens, museums, urban squares, place names, and English-style pubs.
- Niagara Falls might be the most famous waterfall in the country but the highest waterfall in Canada is on Vancouver Island. The Della Falls in Strathcona Provincial Park is eight times higher than Niagara Falls.
- The largest city in BC is Vancouver. The very livable Vancouver was named after Captain George Vancouver who explored it in 1792. The area was not settled by Europeans until 1862. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse city with about 52% of its residents not having English as their first language and the highest proportion of Asians per capita of any North American City. The way of life of the people in British Columbia is multiculturalism.
- Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive cities in Canada and in the world.
- British Columbia has a lot of nature. BC has three Unesco World Heritage Sites, six National Parks, and over 400 provincial parks, recreation, and conservation areas.
- BC also has a lot of history. First Nations People lived and prospered here for thousands of years. Two Spanish explorers made the first documented voyages to BC by Europeans in 1774 and 1775 but failed to establish permanent residency in the colony. Three years later, Captain James Cook landed at Vancouver Island’s Nootka Sound while looking for the Northwest Passage and established a trading relationship with the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe.
- As you may have guessed by the name, British Columbia was a British colony until 1871 when it joined Canada. In 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, opening the country from east to west. The railway increased trade and the movement of people and resources from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
- If you like mountains as much as we do, you’ll love British Columbia. That’s because it’s the most mountainous province in Canada. BC is dominated by mountain ranges including the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Mountains, Cassiar Mountains, and the Columbia Mountains. Mount Fairweather is the highest mountain with an elevation of 4,671 m (15,325 ft) above sea level.
- With so much nature and mountains, there are also lots of bears and BC not only has the most grizzly bears in Canada but also the only grizzly bear sanctuary. Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary is the first and only grizzly bear sanctuary in Canada, established in August 1994 in recognition of the large bear population in this region, the west coast of northern British Columbia, northeast of Prince Rupert. The park protects a population of approximately 50 grizzly bears, some of which are estimated to weigh around 400 kgs (850 pounds). The protection of the dwindling grizzly bear population in British Columbia is vital, as the loss of their natural habitat continues to threaten their survival. Another great place to see a grizzly bear is in Golden, BC. At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, they rescued a grizzly and his name is Boo.
- It’s not only grizzly bears though. BC also has its own endemic species of Black bear.
- The British Columbia flag was adopted in 1960. Created in 1960, this flag is based upon the shield of the provincial arms of British Columbia. At the top of the flag is a rendition of the Royal Union Flag with a crown in the centre, and with a setting sun below, representing the location of the province of British Columbia at the western end of Canada. We’ve also heard that it’s supposed to represent how “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” Learn more about Canada’s flags here.
- If you watch a lot of movies, you’ve probably seen Vancouver. That’s because Vancouver is known as the Hollywood of Canada. The city has been associated with the nickname ‘Hollywood North’ since the late 1970s, due to its role as a production center for both domestic and international film projects.
Bizarre and Slightly Unusual British Columbia Facts
Know that you know quite a bit about British Columbia and its history, let’s have some fun with the most bizarre, fun, and unusual British Columbia facts.
- Is god a person? Not in BC. In 1980, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that God is not a person.
- The world’s largest hockey stick can be found in Duncan, BC. It measures 205 feet long and 61,000 pounds. It was created for the expo of ‘86 and acquired by the city of Duncan soon after.
- The world’s largest fly-fishing rod can be found in Houston, British Columbia. The world’s largest fly rod stands 60 feet high and weighs about 800 pounds, and is illuminated at night. It is located right by Steelhead Park.
- If hockey and fishing are not your things, how about the world’s largest tin soldier? Located in the city of New Westminster in the Vancouver Metropolitan area It is 9.75 meters (32 ft) tall and weighs 4540 kg. The giant Tin Soldier was jointly designed by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local Union 280 and BC Sheet Metal Association (SMACNA-BC) and built by the Austin Metal Fabricators in Burnaby, BC. It was unveiled at the Royal Westminster Regiment Armoury. It was moved to its present location a year later.
- Not everyone gets in a bathtub to relax. Vancouver Island’s Nanaimo is the Bathtub Racing Capital of the world. The course begins and ends in Nanaimo, with ‘tubbers’ coming from as far as Australia, and spending an estimated minimum of $3000 to create their bathtub boat entries.
- Need a facelift? The cosmetic treatment known as Botox was pioneered in Vancouver in the late 1980s.
- BC has the highest number of vegetarians and vegans. More than 28% of British Columbians under 35 are vegetarian, and a further 9.2 percent are vegan as of 2019 statistics. Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was most surprised by the high number of young vegans living in the province.
- Are you afraid of the dark? British Columbia has the most ghost towns of any jurisdiction in North America. With its pioneering past, British Columbia’s boom and bust towns have left us with more than 1500 (mostly) abandoned ghost towns.
- Do Saint Bernard dogs and off-grid living go together? in BC, they do! Lasqueti Island is home to 400 human inhabitants all living totally off-grid and is populated by adorable Saint Bernards that nearly outnumber the humans on the island. Lasqueti Island is said to be an oasis for both humans and dogs and offers the perfect off-grid living experience.
- Don’t even think about selling a stove on Wednesday! In 1947, a law was passed in Vancouver that made it illegal to sell stoves on a Wednesday. The law was repealed after 40 years!
- Nature can create art as well. Scientists investigated an unusual ring of stones that was discovered in the Chilcotin Range of British Columbia and concluded that the stone circle was likely deposited by glacial activity and is not of human origin. The ring of stones is composed of white-coloured felsite rocks that are high in silica. The stones are arranged in a circle nearly 50 meters (164 feet) in diameter above the tree line along the Chilcotin Range in British Columbia, Canada. The white rocks stand out in stark contrast to the other darker rocks in the region, The circle can be seen easily from the air and by viewing the terrain on Google Earth.
- The great candy bar strike! In 1947, after the price of a chocolate bar increased from 5 cents to 8 cents, 200 kids marched and protested on the capitol building in British Columbia shutting down the government for a day. Don’t mess with your chocolate!
- Ever hear of sea wolves? Along the wild Pacific coast of British Columbia in the Great Bear Rainforest, there lives a unique breed of wolf called sea wolves. They swim between islands like fish and are genetically distinct from their inland cousins, or from wolves in any other part of the world. They are smaller in size and 90 percent of their diet is seafood as these creatures live off an ocean.
- On a much sadder note, BC is also known for the Highway of Tears. The Highway of Tears is a 450-mile stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. Many women have gone missing there since 1970. There is debate on the exact number of women who’ve vanished or been killed on or around the Highway of Tears but it is believed that at least 40 have been murdered or disappeared with the majority being Indigenous.
Even More Facts about BC
Want even more British Columbia facts? No problem! Let’s learn some more…
- British Columbia is one of the world’s top three producing regions for cranberries and blueberries.
- The longest-running movie theatre in Canada is Powell River’s Patricia Theatre which has been operating since 1913.
- BC resident Sarwan Singh of Surrey holds the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest beard on a living male.
- The highest point in BC is Fairweather Mountain, at 4,663m/15,299ft
- Over one million birds use the Pacific Flyway, a migratory path that goes from Alaska to Patagonia and crosses BC, where Boundary Bay has been named an Important Bird Area by the Canadian government.
- BC’s provincial mammal is the Spirit Bear, aka the Kermode Bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), a rare black bear with white fur. This is one of the many reasons we hope to explore Haida Gwaii one day.
- The Pacific dogwood is the provincial flower, and the western red cedar is the provincial tree of British Columbia.
Want more facts about Canada?
Don’t worry! Even though our article about British Columbia facts is over, we have so many more fact articles for you to enjoy. So sit back, grab your favourite beverage, and continue to fill that brain with more facts about Canada.