What is the West Coast of Canada Known for? 

Adjuster British Colombia

Canada has five regions, namely, the Atlantic Provinces, Central Canada, the Prairie Provinces, the Northern Territories and the West Coast. However, unlike the other four regions, the West Coast of Canada actually consists of the claims the province of British Columbia only. 

British Columbia is packed with diversity, not only with people but with its landscapes and offerings too. You could go north and explore true wilderness in the form of ancient rainforests and take a peek at how First Nations peoples have lived in these parts of Canada for over 10,000 years. Or, head east where you’ll find vine yards and rows of fruit trees in orchards. Plus, you can visit resort towns and bustling cities. It’s not farfetched to say that the West Coast of Canada has something for everyone. 

The Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rocky Mountains is the northern part of the mountain range that crosses North America. It starts from British Columbia through the United States all the way down south to New Mexico, a range of some 3,000 miles. 

It lies along the border between British Columbia and Alberta. From the B.C. side, you can catch a view of the majestic snow-capped mountains from Kootenay and Yoho National Parks. These two national parks, along with Banff and Jasper National Parks on the Alberta side and three provincial parks in B.C., form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. 

The parks are popular places for hiking, climbing, skiing and other outdoor activities.

Okanagan Valley

It is called “the Napa of the North” and for good reason. Okanagan Valley is the second-largest wine region in Canada with more than 150 wineries and over 200 vineyards. These dot the Okanagan Lake’s 135-mile shoreline.  

Wine is big in this region and draws locals and international tourists alike. You can easily spend a day touring the vineyards and tasting award-winning vintages in Kelowna or Vernon, around Summerland or Naramata Bench. If you’re American and live near the border, visit anywhere between Oliver and Osoyoos. Or, come during the Okanagan Wine Festival, which is held in spring, summer and autumn. 

Aside from vineyards and wines, Okanagan is also the fruit-growing capital of Canada, so check out the farmers markets for fresh produce. Or, cycle along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail for beautiful scenery. And, in the winter, catch some powder at Silver Star or Big White ski resorts.

The City of Vancouver

Food and the outdoors are two defining features of Vancouver. It is a very walkable city, or you could decide to cycle along its dedicated bike lanes. You can go on a hike or head to the water for a short paddle. Snow-capped mountains are also within reach for those who’d like to ski or snowboard.

Vancouvers is also a foodie haven filled with diverse flavors, ranging from Indigenous dishes to international cuisine. You’ll find Chinese, Japanese and Indian food here easily. And, you can have your pick of casual dining at food trucks or fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurants. Be sure to try dishes with fresh seafood and local produce. 

In addition, don’t miss Stanley Park, one of the largest urban green spaces in the continent. With 400 hectares, the park has plenty of space for trails and spots to appreciate the view of the forest, mountain and ocean. 

Victoria the Capital

The provincial capital of Victoria is located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. No, it isn’t on Victoria Island, and no, the city of Vancouver isn’t on Vancouver Island but on mainland B.C. 

Victoria has been called “The Most British City in Canada.” In some ways, it still is, with its tea shops, double-decker buses and Anglo-themed pubs, but British is just one of the many cultures you’ll find in the capital. Other European influences as well as Asian and Indigenous heritage also abound here. 

It started out as Fort Victoria in 1843 as a trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the very first European settlement on the island. You can still see traces of this part of Victoria’s history in the beautiful Victorian architecture of old buildings, such as the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in the Inner Harbour and Craigdarroch Castle, which is a National Historic Site. 

The capital is also famous for: 

  • Hanging floral baskets – These stunning display marks the start of summer in Victoria. From June to September, the city decorates thousands of baskets with spectacular floral arrangements and hang these on lampposts. You’ll see thousands of these hanging beauties in downtown every year. This has been the tradition in Victoria since 1937. These hanging flower baskets also guide tourists to pubs and restaurants as well as historic shops. 

  • Butchart Gardens – This 55-acre garden has been in operation since 1904. For 120 years, Butchart Gardens has attracted visitors to view flowers in bloom. It started out as an abandoned limestone quarry turned flower garden curated and cared for by Jennie Butchart. Now, the Sunken Garden is joined by Rose, Japanese and Italian gardens with more than a million blooms of over 900 varieties. Open year round, this national historic site also has weekly fireworks, a Christmas display and views of Tod Inlet and beyond. 

  • The Inner Harbour – The traditional territory of the Lekwungen People, the Inner Harbor now serves as the social and cultural center of Victoria. In summer, there are shows, music and festivals. Beyond this purpose, the Inner Harbour also serves ecotourism and whale watching tours, a water taxi service, float planes and even an International Ferry terminal. You’ll also see yachts and small cruise ships moor here. On the streets, you’ll find street entertainers and horse-drawn carriages offering visitors a ride. 

  • Royal B.C. Museum – With a lineup of permanent and temporary exhibits, the Royal B.C. Museum takes visitors on a journey through indigenous and early pioneer history. Its permanent exhibits are classified into two: natural history and human history. 

The natural history section features taxidermied animals, hyper-realistic sea lions and a life-size woolly mammoth with its meter-long fur. Meanwhile, the human history section features a sonic exhibit where you’ll be greeted in 34 different indigenous languages, a recreation of a Kwakwaka’wakw clanhouse and an early 20th century BC street diorama. 

The museum also features an IMAX Theatre and a small park. Plus, Thunderbird Park and its row of totem poles is nearby.

  • The Great Outdoors – With mild weather that’s perfect for outdoor activities, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hike or bike, sail or kayak, or watch whales from downtown. The city is also near beaches, forests, wilderness parklands and offshore islands that you can explore on a day trip. Victoria is also the gateway to the Gulf Islands, Cowichan Valley and Sooke. Don’t forget to bring your Gore-Tex or other outdoor apparel.