50 Facts About British Columbia

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Happy B.C. Day! There’s a lot to celebrate about beautiful British Columbia, so we thought we’d gather up a few facts and figures. Use them to break the ice at your awkward work picnic, family BBQ, or to win bar trivia night.

1. A bill to institute a BC Day was first introduced in Parliament in 1974.

2. BC’s Provincial flag is five by length and three by width, and electronic images of the flag must never be electronically or mechanically altered, and must remain sized in scale.

3. The longest river in BC is the Fraser, at 1,399 km.

vancouver-skyline-2014
Chris Clogg/Flickr

4. Half of all British Columbians live in the Metro Vancouver area.

5. BC’s provincial mammal is the Spirit Bear, aka the Kermode Bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), a rare black bear with white fur.

6. The Spirit Bear was named after Francis Kermode, a provincial museum worker who was among the first to discover the animal.

7. One in four North American grizzly bears are found in BC, and a quarter of all black bears in Canada are found in BC.

8. Khutzeymateen Provincial Park in Northern BC is Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary.

9. BC occupies about 10 per cent of Canada’s land surface.

dogwood
Carol von Canon/Flickr

10. The provincial flower of BC is the Dogwood.

11. BC is North America’s fourth-largest film and television production centre.

12. The SS Minnow from “Gilligan’s Island” resides in BC now. It is owned by Vancouver Island supermarket chain Quality Foods.

13. There are 961 km of the Trans-Canada Highway in BC.

14. The Hanging Garden Tree on Meares Island is thought to be one of the oldest known western red cedars, and is estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old.

15. BC is one of the world’s top three producing regions for cranberries and blueberries.

icewine-grapes
Stoneboat Vineyards/Flickr

16. There were 960 tons of icewine grapes harvested in 2013, yielding an estimated 288,000 litres.

17. There are over 864 vineyards on more than 9,800 acres of land, which includes wineries and independent growers.

18. Two Canadian Prime Ministers are among the University of British Columbia’s alumni: Kim Campbell and John Turner.

19. Jade became the official mineral emblem of BC in 1968.

20. BC is home to the longest running movie theatre in Canada, which is Powell River’s Patricia Theatre, operating since 1913.

tweedsmuir-park
Entering Tweedsmuir Park (Susannah Anderson/Flickr)

21. Tweedsmuir Park at 989,616 hectares, is British Columbia’s largest provincial park. The smallest is Memory Island, at less than one hectare.

22. In 2009, people born in British Columbia had the highest life expectancy in Canada, at 81.7 years.

23. The annual mean temperature in the most populated areas of BC is up to 12 °C (54 °F), the mildest anywhere in Canada.

24. BC’s provincial motto is “splendor without diminishment” which is “Splendor Sine Occasu” in Latin.

birds-boundary-bay
Birds flying over Boundary Bay (cb in bc/Flickr)

25. Over one million birds use the Pacific Flyway, a migratory path that goes from Alaska to Patagonia and crosses BC, where Boundary Bay has been named an Important Bird Area by the Canadian government.

26. BC has over 27,000 km of coastline.

27. Actress Pamela Anderson was called Canada’s Centennial Baby, as she was the first baby born in the nation on its 100th birthday. Anderson was born at 4:08 am PST on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, BC.

28. The northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, one of the world’s longest hiking trails, is located in BC in Manning Park.

29. The highest point in BC is Fairweather Mountain, at 4,663m/15,299ft.

30. Alcohol was prohibited in British Columbia from 1917 to 1921.

last-spike-cp-railway
cmh2315fl/Flickr

31. The last spike of the first transcontinental railway was placed on November 7, 1885 in Craigellachie

32. BC was the sixth Canadian province, joining the confederation July 20, 1871.

33. Queen Victoria bestowed British Columbia its name.

34. Craigflower Schoolhouse in Saanich is the oldest standing public building in BC.

35. More than 200 different commodities are produced on about 22,000 agricultural farms across the province.

36. Food retail sales in BC are estimated to be over $18 billion each year.

37. In 2012, the garbage generated in BC was equal to 570 kg per person.

38. British Columbia has the second largest parks system in Canada, after Canada’s National Parks.

kitlope
Kitlope (Sam Beebe/Flickr)

39. The largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world is protected in BC’s Kitlope Heritage Conservancy.

40. Only 30 countries are larger than BC.

41. Women make up more than 37 per cent of self-employed people in BC, the second-highest rate in Canada.

42. British Columbia was the second Canadian jurisdiction (after Ontario) to legalize same-sex marriage.

43. Undergraduate students attending BC public post-secondary institutions are paying the fourth lowest tuition in Canada for 2013/14 according to the latest Statistics Canada report on tuition fees – an average of $5,029.

44. Sasquatch sightings in BC go back over 200 years.

45. BC resident Sarwan Singh of Surrey holds the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest beard on a living male.

nanaimo-bathtub-race
waledro/Flickr

46. The great sport of Bathtub Racing was started in Nanaimo, BC

47. In 2011, BC’s population had the lowest percentage of smokers at 15.8% compared with the rest of the provinces.

48. Ocean Falls, BC has on average 330 days of rain per year.

49. The world’s strongest current is found in the Nakwakto Rapids at Slingsby Channel, BC. which has been measured at speeds up to 18.4 miles per hour.

50. BC’s Osoyoos Lake is the warmest freshwater lake in Canada.

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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