British Columbia

British Columbia, commonly abbreviated as BC, is the westernmost province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, forests, lakes, mountains, inland deserts and grassy plains,[7] and borders the province of Alberta to the east, the territories of Yukon and Northwest Territories to the north, and the US states of Washington, Idaho and Montana to the south and Alaska to the northwest. With an estimated population of 5.3 million as of 2022, it is Canada's third-most populous province.[8] The capital of British Columbia is Victoria and its largest city is Vancouver. Vancouver is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada; the 2021 census recorded 2.6 million people in Metro Vancouver.[9]

British Columbia
Splendor Sine Occasu (Latin)
("Splendour without diminishment")
Coordinates: 54°N 125°W[1]
ConfederationJuly 20, 1871 (6th)
Largest cityVancouver
Largest metroGreater Vancouver
  TypeParliamentary constitutional monarchy
  Lieutenant governorJanet Austin
  PremierDavid Eby
LegislatureLegislative Assembly of British Columbia
Federal representationParliament of Canada
House seats42 of 338 (12.4%)
Senate seats6 of 105 (5.7%)
  Total944,735 km2 (364,764 sq mi)
  Land925,186 km2 (357,216 sq mi)
  Water19,548.9 km2 (7,547.9 sq mi)  2.1%
 9.5% of Canada
  Total5,000,879 [3]
(Q4 2022)
5,368,266 [4]
  Density5.41/km2 (14.0/sq mi)
DemonymBritish Columbian[lower-alpha 1]
Official languagesEnglish (de facto)
  Total (2015)CA$249.981 billion[5]
  Per capitaCA$53,267 (8th)
  HDI (2019)0.938[6]Very high (2nd)
Time zones
Most of province[lower-alpha 2]UTC−08:00 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC−07:00 (Pacific DST)
SoutheasternUTC−07:00 (Mountain)
  Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (Mountain DST)
EasternUTC−07:00 (Mountain [no DST])
Canadian postal abbr.
Postal code prefix
ISO 3166 codeCA-BC
FlowerPacific dogwood
TreeWestern red cedar
BirdSteller's jay
Rankings include all provinces and territories

The first known human inhabitants of the area settled in British Columbia at least 10,000 years ago. Such groups include the Coast Salish, Tsilhqotʼin, and Haida peoples, among many others. One of the earliest British settlements in the area was Fort Victoria, established in 1843, which gave rise to the city of Victoria, the capital of the Colony of Vancouver Island. The Colony of British Columbia (1858–1866) was subsequently founded by Richard Clement Moody,[10] and by the Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment, in response to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. Moody selected the site for and founded the mainland colony's capital New Westminster.[11][12][13] The colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were incorporated in 1866, subsequent to which Victoria became the united colony's capital. In 1871, British Columbia entered Confederation as the sixth province of Canada, in enactment of the British Columbia Terms of Union.

British Columbia is a diverse and cosmopolitan province, drawing on a plethora of cultural influences from its British Canadian, European, and Asian diasporas, as well as the Indigenous population. Though the province's ethnic majority originates from the British Isles, many British Columbians also trace their ancestors to continental Europe, East Asia, and South Asia.[14] Indigenous Canadians constitute about 6 percent of the province's total population.[15] Christianity is the largest religion in the region.[16] English is the common language of the province, although Punjabi, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese also have a large presence in the Metro Vancouver region. The Franco-Columbian community is an officially recognized linguistic minority, and around one percent of British Columbians claim French as their mother tongue.[17] British Columbia is home to at least 34 distinct Indigenous languages.[18]

Major sectors of British Columbia's economy include forestry, mining, filmmaking and video production, tourism, real estate, construction, wholesale, and retail. Its main exports include lumber and timber, pulp and paper products, copper, coal, and natural gas.[19] British Columbia exhibits high property values and is a significant centre for maritime trade:[20] the Port of Vancouver is the largest port in Canada and the most diversified port in North America.[21] Although less than 5 percent of the province's territory is arable land, significant agriculture exists in the Fraser Valley and Okanagan due to the warmer climate.[22] British Columbia is home to 45% of all publicly listed companies in Canada.[23]

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