Flights to British Columbia: Super, natural Canada
Back to nature
Nowhere showcases British Columbia like the dramatic Sea to Sky Highway. The route twists northward through the BC wilderness, from the dizzying Squamish Cliffs above Howe Sound’s lapis waters to the glacier-capped peaks of Whistler, carved up by ski bums and snowboarders. Cosmopolitan Vancouver flaunts its natural riches at Stanley Park, 400 hectares of emerald-green forest and crashing surf. Keep your peepers peeled for black-and-white orcas dancing in the breakers off Vancouver Island.
Discover the 'British' in British Columbia in Victoria. Tea time is taken seriously here. Sip your hot cuppa with pinky finger extended and nibble cucumber sandwiches with poise in the richly brocaded Empress Hotel lobby. First Nations culture takes centre stage in the countryside, where carved-and-painted totem poles depict fierce eagles and world-weary sea turtles. Take in the world’s tallest, a neck-cricking 56-metre totem that towers above windswept Alert Bay.
Eat and drink
Take the load off after your flight to British Columbia, imbibing crisp Riesling wine from the Okanagan Valley. Fat salmon and yummier-than-they-look geoduck clams have barely stopped squirming before they’re whisked off to stylish restaurants in Victoria. Locally grown peaches and apples burst with juicy flavour at Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market, while house-brewed pints of ale splash the bars—and occasionally the punters—in the city’s Yaletown neighbourhood.
Don your anorak against the spray, hop aboard an inflated Vancouver Island Zodiak boat and scan the waves for the hulking figures of Pacific whales on your British Columbia holiday. North Vancouver has been making palms sweaty at the wind-blown Capilano Suspension Bridge since 1889, swaying 70 metres over the raging Capilano River gorge. Mountain-bikers can get their kicks powering over granite boulders and tortured pine roots on the near-vertical trails of Whistler’s Canadian Rockies.
Where? The westernmost of Canada’s 10 provinces, British Columbia can thank the Pacific Ocean for its temperate climate and thick carpet of schuss-worthy mountain snowfalls.
Population: About 4.6 million people call British Columbia home. Most BC residents cluster in the south-western coastal cities of Victoria and Vancouver.
Key dates: Queen Victoria gave British Columbia its name in 1858. Just 13 years later, BC became Canada’s sixth province.
Did you know? More people bicycle to work in the British Columbian capital of Victoria than anywhere else in Canada.