British ColumbiaBritish Columbia, or simply BC; (French: la Colombie-Britannique) is the westernmost of Canada's provinces. It was the sixth province to join the confederation of Canada (in 1871). As of 2001, the population is 4,095,934 (British Columbians). Its capital is Victoria, at the extreme south east of Vancouver Island. Its largest city is Vancouver, which is in the southwest corner of the mainland of Canada (the city is Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu near, but not on Vancouver Island). (Splendour without diminishment) Other major cities include Surrey, [Provmap-bc.png] Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster in Capital Victoria the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), Nanaimo on Vancouver Largest city Vancouver Island, and Kelowna, Kamloops, and 5th largest Prince George in the "interior" of the Area (3rd lgst province. prov.) - Total 944 735 British Columbia is located on the - % fresh water km² extreme west of Canada, on the Pacific 2,1% coast. It is bounded on the northwest by the U.S. state of Alaska, on the Population Ranked 3rd north by Yukon and the Northwest - Total (2001) 4 095 900 Territories, on the east by Alberta, - Density 4,34/km² and on the south by the states of Admittance into Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Confederation - Date 1871 British Columbia started as two - Order 7 British colonies, Vancouver Island and Time zone UTC -8 & -7 New Caledonia. The colony of Vancouver Island was created in 1849; New Postal information Caledonia was created in 1858; and the Postal abbreviation BC two merged in 1866. The two colonies Postal code prefix V agreed upon the name British Columbia ISO 3166-2 CA-BC for the newly created political Parliamentary region. representation Seats in the House 34 The Cariboo region ("Central Seats in the Senate 6 Interior") of British Columbia, then New Caledonia, experienced a gold rush Gordon in the years of 1862-1865. This Premier Campbell created a rapid influx of miners and (Lib.) settlers, about 30,000 in all. This period in the province's history is Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo acknowledged today in the Gold Rush Trail: historic and other sites along Government of British Columbia the route from Lilloet to Barkerville and beyond. Some of the towns along this route are numbered according to their distance from the end of the navigable part of the Fraser River at Lilloet. Best known of these is the town of 100 Mile House which, along with the residential hub of 108 Mile Ranch, forms a substantial trading, tourism, and population centre for this region. Several factors played in the decision of British Columbia to join the Dominion of Canada in 1871. These were the fear of annexation into the United States, the overwhelming debt created by rapid population growth and the need for government-funded services to support this population, and the end of the gold rush creating a slight economic depression. The decision to join Canada was made largely because the Canadian government offered to link British Columbia to the more settled parts of Canada via the Canadian Pacific Railway and offered to pay off the $1,000,000 British Columbian debt. British Columbia itself is today served by BC Rail, Canada's third largest railroad. On July 20, 1871, British Columbia became a member of the Dominion of Canada. British Columbia is renowned for its spectacular scenery which forms the backdrop and context for a growing outdoor adventure and ecotourism industry. The Okanagan region is one of the premier wine-growing regions in Canada. Small rural towns Penticton, Oliver or Osoyoos provide hospitality to visitors from around the world. Much of Vancouver Island is covered by a temperate rain forest.