This most westerly of Canadian provinces can lay claim to a wide assortment of distinctions, not the least of which would be its spectacular diversity, from the verdant interior rainforest of Glacier National Park to the stellar skiing of Whistler or the Rocky Mountain national parks. British Columbia's modern cities of Victoria and Vancouver contrast nicely with the ancient cultures of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Vancouver Island, and inland areas.
The Pacific provides British Columbia with its agreeable climate. Along the coast, mild temperatures and heavy winter rains help to keep the land green and inviting throughout the year. But the west coast owes its appeal to more than just the climate; Vancouver Island has lush coastal hiking trails, mountainous provincial parks, and quaint villages. Inland, the Sunshine Coast has the gorgeous weather you'd expect, as well as outdoor activities in the mountains or on the sea.
Nearby Vancouver and Victoria share the same magnificent setting. Stanley Park is Vancouver's seaside playground. Within its 1,000 acres you'll find tennis courts, pitch and putt, three beaches, one tidal pool, an aquarium, a zoo, plenty of hiking trails, lawn bowling, several concession stands and restaurants, and a stand of totem poles.
British Columbia claims more artists than any other province, and many can be found in laid-back Vancouver. Granville Island is a haven for art lovers, and native and local artists sell their work throughout the city.
Victoria is British Columbia's bit of England. A stately Parliament building, flower-festooned lampposts, and afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel make visitors feel like they're near the Atlantic, not the Pacific. The primary attraction, however, is Butchart Gardens, 14 miles north of the city.