The capital of British Columbia, Canada, is Victoria. The province is home to the Columbia River, which has its source in the southeastern region. The province is bordered by Alberta on the east, the Pacific Ocean on the West, Alaska and Yukon on the north, and Washington, Montana, and Idaho on the south. The province sprawls over a total area of 944,735 square kilometers, with a coastline of more than 27,000 kilometers. The natural beauty of the place is highlighted by the presence of mountainous fjords and islands.
The capital city of Victoria is on Vancouver Island. The mountains along the coastline have paved the way for a number of inlets. The province is among the 'most-visited' holiday destinations in the world. The scenery is spectacular and perfect for adventure sports. The ecotourism industry is thriving, and British Columbia alone has seven of Canada's national parks: Glacier National Park, Kootenay National Park, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Mount Revelstoke National Park, and Yoho National Park.
Research reveals the proof of human habitation in British Columbia 11,500 years ago. Exploration and colonization in the 1770s established British rule over the coastal area along the Columbia River. Fur trade was a major attraction way back then. Trading posts soon transformed into settlements and communities, and fueled the gold rush throughout the province. Population increased with expansion of mining, agriculture, and fishing. It capitalizes on its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The consequential close relations with East Asia has led to a high rate of inter-racial integration.
The provincial highway system and cultural centers have made it a hot spot for artists, musicians, academicians, and creative thinkers. The BC Liberals, led by Gordon Campbell, have egged the province on to a demographic shift. The province has a Legislative Assembly with 79 members, and is currently governed by the British Columbia Liberal Party. The government has to address the requirements of a number of labor unions, something that is interwoven with the politics in the province. More than half of the population lives in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
The second-largest population concentration is within the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The population of 4,113,487 (2006) is mainly urbanized now. The popular religions followed by the people include Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, and a whole segment that confirms to either being agnostic, atheist, or followers of Darwinism. Ethnic groups include original and diverse interspersed populations that are English, German, Irish, and Canadian among a host of others, from across the continents. Languages commonly spoken include English, Arabic, Gujarati, Czech, Romanian, Danish, and Serbian.
British Columbia is known for its rugged topography. There are a number of freeways, public transits, trolleybuses, passenger train services, state ferries, cruise ships, and domestic airlines that ensure convenient transportation of people and goods across British Columbia. The wildlife reserves are a home to the grizzly and Kermode bears, deer, elk, caribou, wolverines, mountain lions, and the Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, among a myriad of other species. The mountainous terrain and coasts make it an ideal retreat for hiking, rock climbing, camping, mountaineering, and water sports. Mountain trails are explored for biking, cross-country skiing, longboarding, and trail riding.