Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Splendor without diminishment)
Flower: Pacific Dogwood
The variety of its landscape is the main reason for British Columbia's distinctiveness: its 947 800 km2 offer remarkable topographical contrasts. Where the Pacific Ocean reaches the continent, it meets a chain of islands, large and small, running from north to south. Some of these islands are nestled in fiords carved in the majestic Coastal Mountains, which rise more than 2 000 metres above sea level.
British Columbia continues to attract Canadians and foreigners alike: 22 000 persons settled in the province in 1998, and its population now exceeds 4 million - 13 percent of Canada's total. Nearly 60 percent live in Vancouver and Victoria, the province's capital. Vancouver, the largest dry cargo port on the Pacific coast of North America, is home to more than two million people, which makes it the third largest city in Canada.
About three fourths of BC's population live in the southwestern corner of the province. The majority of B.C.'s inhabitants are of British origin, but the population includes immigrants and descendants of immigrants of all nationalities. More than 100 000 British Columbians are of Chinese origin, Vancouver has North America's second-largest Chinese community. In addition, more than 60,000 of B.C. inhabitants are from India and over 16,000 from Japan. The Aboriginal population of British Columbia is growing in numbers and is over 200,000 people.
Tourism is an important economic sector in British Columbia. With over five million hectares of parkland, the Rocky Mountains remain the biggest attraction. Coastal B.C., with its beaches, and other attractions, is also popular. Each year, about 15 million people visit British Columbia.
Agriculture and fishing, especially salmon fishing, are two other key sectors of the economy of British Columbia. Manufacturing in B.C. is still largely resource-based, but is being gradually diversified by high-tech and computer-based industries related to telecommunications and the aerospace and sub-sea industries. British Columbia has the most balanced export market of all Canada's provinces, with the United States, Japan, the European Union and the Pacific Rim countries as its clientele.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.