British Columbia


Splendor sine occasu (Splendour without diminishment)


Queen Victoria named British Columbia when it became a British colony in 1858. In 1871 it reached an agreement to join Canada as a province. Part of that agreement was the establishment of a transcontinental railway.

The province, which has been called a ‘sea of mountains’, is home to more than 200 First Nations. In the 18th century, its coastline was explored by both Cook and Vancouver; it was a Scot, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who became the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean overland in 1792.

Vancouver is named after British explorer George Vancouver, who entered English Bay and Burrard Inlet, one of the world’s great deep water ports, in 1792.

British Columbia is famed for the natural beauty of its inlets, its magnificent forests, monumental mountains and majestic valleys. From the grizzly to the spirit bear, the salmon to the orca, from its rivers and streams to its high mountain lakes, British Columbia is an outstanding example of ecological and social diversity.

Stan Hunt’s cedar sculpture Supernatural Raven watches over Trafalgar Square and the British Columbia Room while Christos Dikeakos’s print The Music Lesson shows the blending of cultures. Gathie Falk’s painting Pieces of Water evokes the presence of British Columbia’s rivers, lakes and ocean. A ceramic piece, Manga Ormolu Ver. 4.0c, by Vancouver’s Brendan Tang and a murrine bowl by glass artist Mel Munsen are displayed on pedestals.

lessLIE carpet artwork
lessLIE carpet artwork


British Columbia has more than 6,000 islands along its 25,725km Pacific Ocean coastline, most of which are uninhabited.

Some believe that Ogopogo, the monster of Lake Okanagan in BC, is a direct relative of the Loch Ness Monster.

In 2010, after a period of more than 220 years, the Haida First Nation returned the name ‘Queen Charlotte Islands’ to the Crown after an agreement to re-establish the islands’ traditional name, Haida Gwaii. The archipelago of 150 islands off BC’s northwest coast has been inhabited by the Haida people for thousands of years.

The first baby to be born in British Columbia on its 100th birthday in 1971 was the actress Pamela Anderson.

Related Stories