British Columbia statistics and facts

Capital city:


Area Coverage:

948,596 sq km


4,209,856 about 4.4 people per square kilometre

Time Zone:

Most of the province is on Pacific Standard Time (GMT -8) with the exception of some of the most eastern regions which are on Mountain Standard Time (GMT -7)

Entered Confederation:

20th July 1871

Sales Tax:

7% and called PST

Hotel Tax:


Canada's westernmost province is known for its stunning natural setting, vast tracts of untouched wilderness, and safe, vibrant cities. It's a top choice for outdoor adventure, urban pleasures, and pure escape.

British Columbia is bordered by Alberta to the east, the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Alaska Panhandle and the Canadian territories of Yukon and The Northwest Territories form the northern border.

At 944,735 square km (364,764 square miles), BC is about the size of France, Germany and the Netherlands combined. It's larger than the total area of Washington, Oregon and California. 75% of the province is mountainous (more than 1,000 meters or 3,280 feet above sea level), 60% is forested, and only about 5% is arable.

A series of southeast-northwest running mountain ranges, from the Rockies in the east to the Coast Mountain and Vancouver Island ranges in the west, serrate the landscape into a series of peaks, plateaus and valleys.

British Columbia's rugged coastline stretches for more than 27,000 kilometers (16,780 miles), including deep, mountainous fjords and about 6,000 islands, most of which are uninhabited.

The largest island, at 451 kilometers (280 miles) long, is Vancouver Island. Home to Victoria, the provincial capital, it lies off the southwest corner of BC's mainland.

Most of BC's population of about four million clusters in the province's southwest corner, in and around the cities of Vancouver and Victoria. The Okanagan Valley is the most populated inland region.

Though small in numbers, British Columbians are a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural group. A large proportion of residents have moved here from other parts of Canada and from around the world.

Most of British Columbia is on Pacific Time (the same as Los Angeles; 3 hours behind Toronto and New York). A few communities along the Alberta border (notably Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Golden, Kimberley and Cranbrook) use Mountain Time.

British Columbia switches to Pacific Daylight Time (GMT -7) on the first Sunday in April and reverts to Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8) on the last Sunday in October.

Coastal British Columbia, including Vancouver and Victoria, enjoys the mildest climate in Canada. Summers are warm but not hot; winters are mild and wet, with little snow at sea level. Central and Northern BC have a more traditionally Canadian climate, with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

The climate can, however, vary enormously across the province: BC is home to eight regional micro-climates, ranging from alpine to tundra, desert to coastal rainforest.

Tallest Mountain
The highest mountain partially within BC is Mount Fairweather (4,663 meters or 15,298 feet) on the BC/Alaska border. The tallest mountain entirely within the province is Mount Waddington in the Coast Mountains, at 4,016 meters or 13,175 feet.

Oldest tree
In Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park "The Heaven Tree" is an 800-year-old Sitka Spruce; some of the cedars in the park are estimated to be over 1,000 years old.

Biggest tree
The "National Geographic Tree" in Stanley Park is close to 30 meters (98 feet) in circumference and is said to be the largest of its kind in the world.

Fastest water
Skookumchuk Narrows, on BC's Sunshine Coast, has, at 12 to 14 knots, one of the fastest flowing tidal currents in the world.

Highest waterfall
Della Falls on Vancouver Island. At 440 meters (1,443 feet), it is the highest waterfall in Canada.

Flag of British Columbia

Flag of British Columbia

British Columbia Features

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