British Columbia

British Columbia

Confederation date: July 20, 1871
Population (2002): 4,141,300
License plate: Beautiful
Capital: Victoria

Name Origin: Explorer Simon Fraser named the southern part of what is now British Columbia, simply Columbia. He named it after the Columbia River. In 1858, when it became a colony, Queen Victoria didn’t want anyone to confuse it with Columbia in South America or the island of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean, so she changed the name to British Columbia. Er … it’s a little confusing, eh?

A little history: British Columbia had the greatest population of First Nations than any other province or territory! Known for the complete extremes — seashores and mountains, mild and cold weather — the inhabitants have developed completely different cultures and languages. Along the coastline were the Nootka, Bella Coola, Tinkit, Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakiutl and the Salish. On the plateaus of the Rocky Mountains were the Tagish, Tahltan, Tsetsaut, Carrier, Chilcotin, Interior Salish, Nicola and the Kootenay

SPENDOR SINE OCCASU — Splendour without diminishment

Flower: Dogwood
Bird: Stellar’s Jay
Food: Nanaimo Bar aka Nanaimo Barney

Still on the Books – can you believe it?

People of Oak Bay seem to prefer cats to dogs. The law there says that you can keep as many as 5 cats “per parcel of land” but no more than 2 dogs over the age of 4 months. If the dog has puppies, you have a month to report the news to a License Inspector.

In Victoria, it is illegal for buskers to give out balloon animals to children.

OTHER TRIVIA: Life expectancy in 1999 for British Columbia was an average of 80 years.

The total area of B.C. is 944,735 square kilometers. Of which 925,186 sq. km is made up of actual land and 633,000 sq. km is forested land. The length of the coastline is 22,898 sq. km.

National Parks in British Columbia are Glacier, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, Pacific Rim, Gwaii Haanas (South Moresby), Yoho.


At the Granduc Mine Camp, there was a large snow slide in 1965. Half the mine camp was immersed in snow, and 27 men died. For over three days, one man stayed alive below two and a half metres of snow. Rescue helicopters landed directly on top of him wedging the snow closer to his body. Air-rich snow had permitted him breathing space and had protected him from contracting hypothermia. He was finally uncovered by a bulldozer, and to everyone’s surprise, he was still conscious. However, due to frostbite, he lost a hand and a foot.

DRIVING TRIVIA: Prior to 1922, people in B.C. drove on the left side of the street.

ENVIRONMENT: Averaging daytime highs of 27.2˚ Celsius during June, July and August, makes Kamloops the place to be for the warmest summers.

Lakelse Lake had the heaviest snowfall in history with 116.1 centimetres on January 17, 1974.

Vancouver is the city with the fewest days below freezing level with an annual average of 51 days with freezing temperatures.

Victoria, however, can boast being the city with the lowest annual average snowfall in Canada at 47 centimetres.

FOOD: Perhaps one of the best Canadian chocolates is the Nanaimo bar. Though people have often disputed its origin, everyone will now agree that B.C. has adopted this tasty treat. Not only is this home to the delicious bar, but the official mascot of the province is a giant Nanaimo bar named “Nanaimo Barney”.


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