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British Columbia’s claim to fame is its overwhelming natural beauty. The region teems with stunning vistas, seascapes and mountain views. However, a venture into B.C. holds more than a glamorous photo opportunity. B.C. is home to indigenous tribes, and a rich mix of colourful cultures.
Historically, B.C.’s major influences include Native Americans, British colonials, and Asian immigrants. The earliest of these groups to live in B.C. were the First Nation people, who fished and lived off the land for nearly ten thousand years. After centuries of conflict with invading Europeans, the First Nations were granted the reservations that most live on today. Now, their traditional craftsmanship is a boon to industry, and can be seen on totem poles, and in art galleries and villages throughout British Columbia.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, British traders established permanent outposts on B.C.’s coast, and a number of unorganized districts became known as British North America. In 1849 the British created the colony of Vancouver Island, and Victoria was named its capital. Today, Victoria is known for its waterfronts and its relaxed, European atmosphere, as well as world-class gardens that draw visitors every spring.
When Asian economies began to rise in the middle of the 20th century, millions of Asians made their way to the shores of British Columbia. Nowadays, Vancouver is home to millions of Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asians. This makes Vancouver a top spot for creative Asian cuisine. Apart from traditional dishes, you will find wild fusions, and delectable specialties fresh from the Pacific Ocean.
City folk will find plenty to do on their visit to British Columbia. Have sushi in Vancouver, explore Stanley Park, and take in the city’s Gastown District. Then ferry over to Victoria for a walk in Butchart Gardens. For a true experience of Vancouver Island, make the five-hour trip north to Tofino, where you will take in the Pacific scenery that makes this region so unique.
Much of British Columbia offers a variety of seasonal activities. Depending on the time of year, you can enjoy winter sports, fishing, surfing, sailing, whale watching and storm watching. If you are interested in British Columbia golf, the best time to visit is from late spring to summer, when the weather is in the clear. No matter what your budget, you can find accommodation in British Columbia within your price range.
Bradley Fink is a travel writer and enthusiast.