What is British Columbia known for?

British Columbia, Canada
welcomes you warmly


British Columbia, or BC for short, is one of the most popular travel destinations in Canada for a reason. British Columbia, as the Parcific Province of Canada, has a lot to offer. The diversity of British Columbia is what makes this province so popular.

In addition to endless kilometers of coastline with breathtaking panoramas, countless offshore islands and bays, the endless mountain ranges of the Rocky and Coast Mountains with countless lake landscapes stretch through the province. The Pacific coast is lined with countless rainforests that are unique in their kind.

British Columbia thus offers all climatic zones - from the eternal ice of the glaciers, to the rainforest climate in the coastal region and temperate climate in the interior, to the desert climate in the southern part of the province, where even cacti grow. In addition to world cities such as Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia offers incomparable, partly still untouched nature. Vacation dreams come true here. No wonder, then, that so many visitors rave about the country that they seriously consider emigrating there.

British Columbia in numbers
British Columbia covers an area of ​​948,596 square kilometers, making it the third largest province in Canada. The province of BC takes up around 10 percent of the total area of ​​Canada and is as large as the area of ​​Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Belgium combined. The freshwater area of ​​the province alone is 95 million hectares and is therefore larger than the area of ​​Germany and France combined.

British Columbia has a population of 4,023,000 (as of July 1999)

The ten most spoken languages ​​in British Columbia are: English, Chinese (Cantonese / Mandarin), Punjabi, German, French, Italian, Tagalog, Spanish and Japanese (as of 1996).

The aborigines of British Columbia are known as First Nations. 197 different tribes have their home in British Columbia. Among them the Gitxsan, Haida, Nisga'a and Squamish.

There are over 675 parks and protected areas in BC that attract around 24 million visitors each year.

Around 35,000 immigrants from around the world come to BC every year.

The highest mountain in British Columbia is Fairweather Mountain at 4,663 m on the border with Alaska.

British Columbia is bordered by the Province of Yukon and the Northwest Territories to the north and the Province of Alberta to the east.

The province of British Columbia is divided into the following regions: BC Rockies, Cariboo / Chilcotin, Northern BC, The Islands, Thompson Okanagan and Vancouver / Coast & Mountains.

The capital of British Columbia is Victoria and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

BC's largest city is Vancouver with around 2 million inhabitants, followed by Victoria (330,000) and Kelowna (150,000).

Travel time in British Columbia is all year round. The main travel season is in July / August

getting there
British Columbia is usually reached via Vancouver. There are daily non-stop flights from Germany in the summer months. Usually this is Lufthansa in cooperation with Air Canada. However, British Airways flights are also offered. These then go from Germany via London to Vancouver. It is advisable to inquire about prices with both companies, because there are sometimes very cheap special offers. Swiss Air flies from Switzerland.

Travel within British Columbia
When traveling in BC, renting a car or motorhome is recommended, as the roads in southern British Columbia are very well developed. If you want to go further north, you should perhaps prefer renting a four-wheel drive vehicle, as miles of gravel roads are not uncommon. This also applies to those who want to venture far into the wild. Please note when renting that not all vehicles are also approved for use on gravel and dirt roads. This is especially true for mobile homes.

For those who want a little more adventurous travel, the Greyhound Bus is recommended. There are many destinations served and the prices are affordable.

If you like it very romantic, you should travel to British Columbia by train. In addition to the regular routes, the Canadian railway company also offers sightseeing trains.

The legendary Rocky Mountaineer, a romantic train ride through the beautiful Rocky Mountains, runs between Jasper / Calgary and Vancouver.

The Cariboo Prospector is a simply equipped train for the adventurer who wants to get to know Canada's most spectacular train route.

If you know exactly where you want to go, you can of course also book a domestic flight. The booking should already be made from Germany, as the prices in connection with a transatlantic ticket are often cheaper. Even smaller cities often have an airport with daily flights.

Means of payment
In addition to the most common credit cards (Visa, Master Card and American Express), travelers' checks in small denominations can be taken with you. They are usually accepted like cash and offer the benefit of insurance.

You shouldn't go all out for cash if you plan to travel to remote areas. Only cash counts here, as most of the small shops do not have credit cards.

There is no point in taking German money or American dollars with you. American dollars are only accepted in border areas. Euro checks are also not accepted.

Unlike in Germany, all prices do not include any tax. This is only added when paying.

There is a total of 14.5% taxes (7% GST Goods and Services Tax and 7.5% PST Provincial Sales Tax).

As a rule, waitresses in restaurants expect a tip of 10-15 percent of the invoice amount, as the waitresses often only pay the minimum wage. Usually the tip is simply left on the table when leaving the restaurant.

Tipping is also common when taking a taxi, at the hairdresser's or at the bellhop.

It pays to keep all receipts as tourists who are not permanent residents of Canada can request a refund of taxes. However, this only applies to amounts of CAN $ 50 or more per invoice and a minimum of CAN $ 200 in total. Exceptions to this are, among other things, bills for petrol, transport, etc. For hotel bills (or other accommodation including camping) there is no minimum amount for receipts. In any case, it is worthwhile for hotel bills and larger purchases that are transported outside the country. Applications for this can be found on the website below. The request for a refund can be made in writing up to 6 months after leaving Canada. After a processing time of several weeks, a check will come home at some point with the refund amount. If you are traveling to Canada by plane, you must include your boarding pass with the reimbursement request. Receipts for exported goods must be confirmed by customs!

For more information, please visit the Visitor Tax Refund website.

opening hours
British Columbia shops are typically open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Some shops are open until 9 p.m., large grocery stores even around the clock, as well as a large number of petrol stations that also have the essentials ready. Extended opening times often apply in the summer months.

The post office is usually only open until 5:00 p.m., the banks often close at 4:00 p.m.

National Parks and Provincial Parks
British Columbia has the second largest park system in Canada after the National Park System and offers hiking trails of more than 3,000 kilometers in length.

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is BC's largest provincial park at 974,046 hectares. The Delta Falls, in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island, are Canada's highest waterfalls (440m) and are among the ten highest in the world. The Vancouver Island marmot is one of the rarest mammals in North America.

The 958,000 hectare Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, along with the neighboring parks in the Yukon and Alaska, forms the largest UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site in the world.

British Columbia is home to Glacier, Gwaii Haanas, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, Pacific Rim, and Yoho National Park.

The most famous provincial parks are Mount Robson, Wells Gray, Okanagan Lake, and Shuswap Lake Provincial Park.

World Heritage
British Columbia is home to the following UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
  • Sgaang Gwaii (Anthony Island)
  • Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
  • Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek (Canada / USA)

    It is believed that British Columbia's first inhabitants came from Asia around 12,000 years ago. They settled on the Pacific coast or inland in the Coast Mountains.

    Among the indigenous people of the Pacific coastline were the Bella Coola, Cowichan, Haida, Niska and Salish tribes. They created a highly developed culture and traded because of the abundant supply of seafood, game and plants. In the interior of the country, the indigenous people led a normal life as they had to adapt to the constant changes in climatic conditions. They followed the herds of animals. Among the first inland indigenous tribes were the Athapaskans, Chilcotin, Okanagan, Shuswap, and Kootenay.

    The first Europeans came to British Columbia in 1778 when Captain James Cook landed on Nootka Island, on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. In 1792 Captain George Vancouver came to Nootka with his ships Discovery and Chatham. In the meantime the Spaniards had arrived and there was rivalry between England and Spain over the rights to Vancouver Island. The last Spanish ship was ordered out of the region as early as 1795, putting an end to rivalries and Spanish influence. After years of disputes with the USA, Vancouver Island became an English crown colony in 1849.

    The first white settlement in British Columbia was established in Fort St. John in 1794. In 1805, the Hudson Bay Company opened its first trading post, west of Fort St. John, in the north of the province. The Hudson Bay Company traded in skins and merged with the North West Company in 1821 under the name Hudson Bay Company.

    In 1858 the first gold discoveries were made along the Fraser River, which led to the true gold rush and pushed thousands of prospectors inland. The British government reacted quickly and in 1858 proclaimed a second crown colony called British Columbia. Governor James Douglas, chief negotiator for the Hudson Bay Company and governor of Vancouver Island, became the new governor of British Columbia. In 1866 the two crown colonies were merged and Victoria became the common capital. On July 20, 1871, the province of British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation.

    The gold rush was set to continue when gold was discovered in the Peace River region in 1861. The city of Barkerville became a metropolis through the gold rush and in its heyday grew to become the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. Billy Barker started the high after earning $ 1,000 on his claim in the first two days.

    In 1885, the trans-Canadian railroad was completed, connecting British Columbia with the east of the country. The settlement of the prairie regions taking place at the time created an increased demand for raw materials, especially wood. In addition, the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, which opened a trade route to Europe. British Columbia's economy began to boom. Nevertheless, the province could not escape the coming Great Depression and the crash on Wall Street in 1929 brought about a deep economic recession. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the economic recovery began and continued even after the end of the war.

    Today forestry, mining, fishing, and agriculture play vital roles in British Columbia's economy. Around half of all employees work in small businesses. The production of cinema and television films is also a mainstay of the provincial economy and brought in over a billion dollars in 1999. British Columbia is the most popular region in Canada for the film industry. The tourism sector, with revenues of $ 9.2 billion in 1999, is becoming increasingly important to the province's economy.