British Colombia Travel Guide
Make no mistake about it; British Columbia is a big place. In fact, it’s four times the size of Great Britain, making you wonder if Great British Columbia might not be a more appropriate name for the province. It’s a destination that encompasses vast areas of unspoiled countryside and some major cities too. As far as places to visit go, it’s arguably got the whole nine yards.
Vancouver is the largest city in the province and is a modern metropolis that benefits aesthetically from its location between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast mountains. Surveys by reputable media outfits regularly cite Vancouver as one of the world’s ‘best cities’ to set up home. From these complements, you can figure that Vancouver is a pretty dandy place to take a holiday too.
Winter weather in Vancouver is unquestionably foul, but head here in the summer and this laid back city is invariably bathed in sunshine, making for some ideal conditions for spending leisurely hours in Stanley Park, one of the city’s greatest attractions. The park covers a spacious area, within which are open green spaces, beaches and walking trails plus attractions such as the Vancouver Aquarium and Totem Pole Park.
Get your fill of chow mein, hot and sour soup, Peking duck, egg rolls and kung pao chicken at Vancouver’s Chinatown, which boasts the world’s largest Chinese community outside of the homeland. Alternatively, take a step back in time at the Gastown district, with its brick lanes and charming Victorian buildings.
Clinging tightly to its British heritage is Victoria, the provincial capital city, situated on Vancouver Island. Victoria is the west coast’s oldest city and a destination renowned for its picturesque coastal scenery, pretty gardens and splendid 19th century buildings. If all that’s not enough to keep you out of trouble, then hit the city’s museum trail, which includes venues such as the Royal London Wax Museum, Royal BC Museum and the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum.
Vancouver Island, which rather bizarrely is not the location of the city of Vancouver, is a destination packed with scenic nature, with some of the best of it found at the Pacific Rim National Park. Visitors hearing the call of the sea don’t need to travel especially far to answer it, with many heading for the 12-mile scenic stretch between Ucluelet and Tofino that is Long Beach. Stick around long enough at this tranquil location and there’s a chance you’ll spot the odd whale or two.
Included within the Vancouver Island region are the Gulf Islands, an archipelago of 12 main islands (14 if you count Quadra and Cortes), across which there’s little in the way of development. The lack of development is essentially the islands’ appeal and makes them ideal places to enjoy camping excursions and getting back to nature.
Upping the ante in the ‘best scenery’ competition are the Queen Charlotte Islands, an archipelago of over 50 islands, the majority of which are unpopulated. Don’t come here expecting major tourist developments; the appeal here is the unspoiled nature and wilderness that presides throughout.