Barkerville: A living history town that was the largest west of Chicago and north of San Francisco in the 1870s. General store, blacksmith, western show, stagecoach rides, gold-panning and mock courtroom sessions featuring "Hanging" Judge Begbie. East of Quesnel.
Fort Steele Heritage Town: Resorted 1890s gold rush town with horse-drawn wagon and steam train rides, a riotous musical comedy at the Wild Horse Theatre and more than 60 restored buildings. North of Cranbrook.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre: Voted B.C.’s No. 1 international attraction, the Aquarium features more than 60,000 creatures, shows, dives and feedings. Vancouver.
Museum of Anthropology: This museum houses artifacts from all over the world but gives an in-depth look at Aboriginal history and art. Vancouver.
Museum of Northern British Columbia: An outstanding collection of artifacts tracing the 10,000-year history of the Tsimshian people plus Aboriginal carvers at work in the carving shed. Prince Rupert.
Royal British Columbia Museum: Step back in time to a reconstructed turn-of-the-20th-century town, with a sawmill, mine and fish-packing plant, extensive displays of aboriginal artifacts, a traditional "bighouse" and ancient totems and the National Geographic IMAX theatre. Victoria.
Historic Hat Creek Ranch: Restored 1861 roadhouse and saloon with huge barns used to stable the mighty draft horses that carried freight and passengers along the old Cariboo Waggon Road. Near Cache Creek.
Hell’s Gate Airtram: Airtram ride over the rugged gorge named for its dangerous white water and natural unpredictability. The International Fishways can be viewed from the observation decks and suspension bridge. Near Boston Bar.
Pacific Rim Whale Festival (March), Tofino & Ucluelet.
Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (June), Vancouver
Billy Barker Days (July), Quesnel
Kamloops Cattle Drive (July)
Victoria Symphony Splash (August)
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve & Haida Heritage Site: Remote protected area in the Queen Charlotte Islands, accessible only by aircraft or boat. Old Haida village sites and sightings of whales, sea lions and other marine and wildlife.
Kootenay National Park: Scenic panorama of mountain forests and canyons, offering superb hiking trails and excellent opportunities to spot bighorn sheep, mountain goats and other wildlife.
Freedom Highway: 459-kilometre stretch of road between Williams Lake and Bella Coola. Highlights include the views from Heckman Pass, the highest point on the highway, and the steep switchbacks of "The Hill," a nine-kilometre stretch with grades up to 18 percent.
West Coast Beaches: Stretch of open ocean beaches along the west coast of Vancouver Island includes Long Beach, Chesterman Beach and MacKenzie Beach.
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains
A diverse region boasting scuba diving and art galleries, raft rushing rivers and deliciously hot mineral springs, hiking, mountain biking, skiing and fine dining, and, of course, there are the wonderful cosmopolitan activities found in Greater Vancouver. Some highlights:
• Hiking through five forest zones, from the semi-desert of the valley bottom, to the high alpine in Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park near Lytton.
• The Sunshine Coast, from Gibsons on its southern tip (famous for The Beachcombers) to Lund on the northern end, with lush, beach-bordered coastal communities.
• The Thompson River’s boiling rapids at Lytton, the "Rafting Capital of Canada."
• Granville Island and arts and crafts shops, bookstores, brewery and lively market selling fresh seafood, flowers and gourmet foods. Kayaking along False Creek.
• Skiing or snowboarding down Whistler & Blackcomb mountains, consistently rated the best in North America.
• Grouse Mountain’s critically acclaimed Hiwus Feasthouse, the Wildlife Refuge, lumberjack show and endless recreational opportunities.
For more information on Vancouver, Coast & Mountains, visit www.vcmbc.com.
Vancouver Island is an enchanting place that basks in pastoral tranquility and a balmy climate, which offers whale watching, artisans’ studios, kayaking and expansive stretches of sandy ocean beaches. Some highlights:
• Unforgettable whale watching cruises to see orcas and Pacific grey whales.
• Golfing at more than 50 magnificent courses.
• Superb salt and freshwater fishing in local waters. Try salmon fishing at Port Alberni or Campbell River, both world-famous for the size of the salmon.
• B.C.’s impressive Legislative Buildings, lit up at night by thousands of dazzling lights.
For more information on Vancouver Island visit Web site: www.islands.bc.ca.
The Thompson Okanagan is as geographically varied as it is beautiful, and the recreational opportunities are almost as big as the outdoors itself, with warm, sparkling lakes for swimming, water-skiing and houseboating, bountiful vineyards, rolling sage-brushed hills home to guest ranches and in winter, dry powder snow for skiing or snowboarding. Some highlights:
• Spectacular golf courses nestled among tree-trimmed mountain slopes, stunning clay cliffs and lush orchard valleys.
• A cattle drive, or visit a guest ranch and horseback riding.
• Houseboating on Shuswap Lake, "The Houseboat Capital of Canada."
• Freshwater fishing in some of the hundreds of productive lakes around Kamloops and Merritt.
For more information on the Thompson Okanagan, visit www.totabc.com.
Stunning mountain scenery, high alpine meadows, steaming hot springs, golf on championship courses, rushing rivers for rafting, And when snow falls, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing – this is the B.C. Rockies. Some highlights:
• The naturally heated mineral pools of Radium, Ainsworth, Halcyon, Nakusp, Canyon, Lussier or Fairmont hot springs.
• Great golf on one of the region’s many scenic courses.
• A ride on Streetcar #23, an old restored electric tram, for a sightseeing tour along Nelson’s picturesque waterfront.
For more information on the Kootenay Rockies visit www.kootenayrockies.com.
Wedding Season at the Butchart Gardens: The world-renowned gardens outside Victoria have introduced an annual “Wedding Season” January 15-March 31. Ceremonies are held in the indoor Spring Prelude Garden; couples can choose from a variety of wedding packages for intimate events of up to 60 people. Options include wedding photographs alone, a ceremony and reception, or a reception or dinner in The Dining Room Restaurant.
2010 Countdown Heats Up: There’s now less than two years to go before the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin in Vancouver & Whistler. Full competition timetables for each of the Winter Olympic sports are now available on www.vancouver2010.com. Tickets will be available from the same site starting in October 2008.
New hotels: include the Shangri-La, a 119-room hotel that will occupy the first 15 floors of a new 61-storey building, the tallest in Vancouver; The Fairmont Pacific Rim, a 47-storey hotel with 415 rooms and 173 residential condominiums; the 19-storey, 220-room Coal Harbour Coast Hotel; the 300-room newly renovated Hotel Georgia and the 77-room Loden Vancouver hotel.
Provincial Motto: Splendour without diminishment
Provincial Flower: Pacific Dogwood
Provincial Bird: Steller’s jay
Geography: Lying between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia boasts spectacular and diverse scenery that ranges from the rugged coastline to mighty mountain ranges.
Climate: Regional climates vary depending upon the latitude, the mountains and the distance from the ocean. In summer, temperatures in B.C.’s interior pass 30 C, while the coastal regions are more temperate, ranging between 23 C and 28 C.
Scheduled Air Service: Air Canada, Jazz, WestJet, Regency Express Air, Hawk Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Horizon Air, Peace Air
Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise West, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Mitsui, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn Cruises, World Explorer
Contact: Tourism BC 1-800-HELLOBC www.Hello BC.com