Ford's World Travel
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  • October 18, 2018
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A strange thing happens when you arrive in British Columbia. Your senses awaken.

Be inspired by the view from the top of a mountain, or feel the warmth of a sun-baked desert. Allow the scent of centuries-old rainforest surround you, or just listen to the waves of the Pacific Ocean roll in. Reward your taste buds and experience world-class cuisine crafted by internationally celebrated chefs.

Your British Columbia Travel Specialist

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Travel Information

There’s no end to what you can explore when you go to BC.

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Destination Overview

Discover what happens when rugged nature meets vibrant culture.

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City Guides

Learn more about Vancouver, Victoria & Whistler!

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Things To Do

Activities

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Touring & Sightseeing

Book a touring or sightseeing trip in British Columbia and let expert guides handle the travel details.

There are tours for a huge variety of interests, and many sightseeing tours can be personalized. Depending on the location, choose from wildlife tours, culinary tours, cultural journeys, and many more. Stop by the local Visitor Centre to find out what types of touring and sightseeing opportunities are available in this area.

Attractions & Entertainment

Solo travellers, couples, families and groups can all find entertainment and attractions in BC at any time of year.

Depending on the location, you may be able to stroll through gardens, poke around in museums, see theatre productions, watch a sporting event, or experience of the many attractions in BC. Above all, have fun and explore. Stop by the local Visitor Centre to find out what entertainment and attractions are available in this area.

Arts

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While British Columbia is known for its impressive scenery, the province also has a vibrant arts and cultural side with many thriving artisan communities.

Art exhibits and art galleries are everywhere, from large cities such as Vancouver to small communities such as Wells. Culture is celebrated all year long through Aboriginal experiences, theatre, and festivals.

There is also an impressive range of museums and heritage sites throughout the province for those interested in a glimpse of BC's fascinating past.

Beaches

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Mountains, oceans, lakes, rivers and beaches – this region boasts them in breathtaking abundance and beauty.

The spectacular setting provides the venue for a vast array of outdoor adventures, such as biking, hiking, camping, kayaking, golfing, skiing and snowboarding. Don't miss the West Coast special: ski in the morning, golf or sail in the afternoon!

The climate in Vancouver is mild and temperate, but the region's mountains are renowned for their epic snowfalls. So much so that the region hosted the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Venues for the Games stretched from the cosmopolitan streets of Metro Vancouver to Whistler, a world-class ski resort consistently ranked among the best on the planet.

To compliment the great outdoors experience, the region is home to a wide range of sophisticated amenities including fine dining, high-end shopping, museums, art galleries and spas. And just east of Vancouver lies the Fraser Valley, an area bursting with farm-fresh produce and refined local wines. All the perfect ingredients for a memorable stay.

Culture

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Today, BC's population is wonderfully diverse. More than 40 major Aboriginal cultural groups are represented in the region. The province's large Asian communities have made Chinese and Punjabi the most spoken languages after English. There are also sizeable German, Italian, Japanese and Russian communities – all creating a vibrant cultural mosaic in which distinct cuisine, architecture, language and arts thrive.

In 1986 the City of Vancouver celebrated its centennial, hosting the Expo '86 World Exposition. That same year, the Sechelt Indian Band was the first Aboriginal group in BC to gain a municipal style of self-government.

In 2000, the Nisga'a Treaty came into being. The Nisga'a Nation, who has lived in the Nass area since time immemorial, negotiated with the provincial and federal governments to achieve BC's first modern-day, constitutionally protected self-governance agreement. This marked a momentous achievement in the history of the relationship among British Columbia, Canada and First Nations.

In February and March 2010, Vancouver was the host city for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Events

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British Columbia festivals and events are as diverse as its geography and residents.

Love arts and culture? British Columbia has festivals focusing on theatre (ranging from Shakespeare to “fringe”), dance, film, crafts and visual arts. For music fans, there are events showcasing all genres: classical, jazz, classic, indie rock, bluegrass, and even accordions!

Sporting action happens year-round; watch top athletes at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival and the Williams Lake Stampede, or take part in the Sun Run – Canada’s largest running event.

Events are a great way to sample BC's incredible food and wine. Try Cornucopia, the Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival, or one of the Okanagan seasonal wine festivals. There is even a festival dedicated to chocolate lovers!

Explore The Outdoors

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British Columbia is a land of active vacations, with options to suit everyone from reluctant weekend warriors to hard-core athletes.

The choices are endless: wilderness or car-accessible camping in spectacular natural settings; single or multi-day hiking treks through backcountry; cycling along city paths or mountain biking down steep vertical terrain.

Go golfing on courses set against dramatic, panoramic vistas, or try rounding up cattle or relaxing at guest ranches. Explore BC's Aboriginal history or discover its heritage sites. Scale towering granite cliffs at popular rock climbing sites, or venture underground to see exotic rock formations on a caving tour.

While Vancouver, Whistler, and Victoria are major hubs of activity in BC, outdoor adventure opportunities span the province. Looking for some energizing travel itineraries? Check out the list of outdoor adventure trip ideas for some of BC's regions and cities.

BC’s waters also offer an exciting variety of activities. Try fishing for salmon and halibut, or go canoeing and kayaking along ocean coastlines or the world-famous Bowron Lakes. River rafting offers plenty of thrills, and BC's coastal waters are renowned for coldwater diving and excellent whale watching opportunities.

Family

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Get the family together, pack a picnic or book a campsite, and head to one of over 1,000 provincial and recreational parks in BC. Discover ocean beaches, freshwater lakes, ancient forests and alpine meadows, plus pretty picnic sites, scenic campgrounds and some fascinating historic sights.

Food

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Come to British Columbia for the spectacular scenery, and linger because of the delectable food, wine and relaxing settings.

Thanks to an abundance of farms, wineries, breweries and cideries that work with award-winning chefs and vintners, the province has become a destination for serious foodies and dining connoisseurs.

Many restaurants incorporate fresh BC ingredients in their dishes, and there are dining options that cover every type of global cuisine. Culinary tours or cooking classes are an excellent way to learn to prepare (and to taste) local specialties.

BC also has a wonderful selection of ways to wind down. Soak in natural mineral hot springs, lay down a blanket next to the Pacific Ocean, or visit one of the many spas and wellness centres in BC. Many spas offer treatments that incorporate local ingredients.

Museums

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Museums in British Columbia have collections for all passions and interests: Aboriginal art, maritime history, railways, cowboys, gold rush relics, dinosaurs, toasters and farming equipment.

Large museums, such as Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology and Victoria's Royal BC Museum, are home to impressive displays of Aboriginal art and culture. Smaller community museums are bursting with a wealth of local artifacts, photos and stories.

Learn about trains at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook, Arctic exploration at the Vancouver Maritime Museum or the building of the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek.

Explore the past at the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in Tumbler Ridge and discover Aboriginal culture at Haida Heritage Centre. The cowboy lifestyle is on display at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, a gold rush boomtown comes to life in Barkerville Historic Town, and the fur trade era is preserved at Fort Langley National Historic Site.

There are also some unique museums: mechanical musical instruments (in Revelstoke) and even toasters (in Stewart).

National Parks

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In 1911, Vancouver Island’s Strathcona Provincial Park became the first of what are now more than a thousand provincial parks and protected wilderness areas in BC. From seashore to mountain peaks, the range of park landscapes in BC is matched only by the diversity of outdoor activities available.

Places

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Vancouver

Vancouver was recognized as the top city in Canada in Travel + Leisure magazine's 2014 World's Best Awards.

The city was also named the Top Destination in Canada in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travellers' Choice awards, and was chosen as the world's "Most Liveable City" in 2010 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a title it has been awarded eight times since 2002.

Vancouver offers travellers both outstanding opportunities for outdoor adventure and the sophisticated amenities of a world-class city. Take advantage of the city's oceanside location, with plenty of green space and many recreation opportunities in the mountains 20 minutes north of downtown. After a busy day, linger over a glass of BC wine and a locally inspired meal, or unwind at one of Vancouver's unique spas.

While this sea-level port city is known for its temperate climate, the surrounding snow-covered slopes are perfect for winter sports and breathtaking views of the city twinkling below. Vancouver is one of the few places in the world where it's possible to ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon.

Victoria

The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria boasts many historic buildings and some of the best museums in Western Canada.

The area is also home to some of the country's most exhilarating scenery: there's an ocean or mountain (or both!) vista around every corner, and the city's flower gardens are famous the world over.

Whether your taste runs to golfing, hiking, biking and fishing, or you're more the shopping, dining and theatre type, Victoria has you covered. And bring the kids - the city was included in the Top 10 Family Vacations in Canada in TripAdvisor's 2011 Travelers' Choice awards.

Established in 1843 as a fort for the Hudson's Bay Company, Victoria's British ancestry is apparent in the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens and tearooms. The city is now a cosmopolitan centre with a lively entertainment scene and a wonderful array of attractions.

Whistler

Legendary Whistler Blackcomb is widely regarded as one of the top four-season resorts in North America.

The resort appears regularly in "Best of" lists from around the globe, winning for its incomparable skiing and boarding, as well as for its hotels, restaurants and golf courses. Whistler became even more world-renowned as the site of the alpine and Nordic venues for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Blending the charm of an alpine village with the amenities of an urban centre, the pedestrianized Whistler Village offers fine dining, vibrant nightlife, eclectic boutiques, revitalising spas and luxurious hotels.

Whistler is great for families too – it was chosen as #2 out of the Top 10 Family Vacations in Canada in the Travelers' Choice 2011 Best Family Vacations on TripAdvisor. Catch events like the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival in April, and Cornucopia: Whistler's Celebration of Wine and Food in November.

Richmond

Richmond attracts visitors with its multicultural shopping and dining opportunities, and its unique historic and heritage sites.

Sixty per cent of Richmond's population is of Asian decent, which gives the city its rich multicultural vibe. Shopping and dining in the Golden Village area are among the most authentic experiences outside of Asia.

Another big draw for visitors and locals alike is the quaint seaside fishing village of Steveston. Visit some of the village's historic buildings to connect with Steveston's past, then gaze out over the water as you savour a seafood dinner, fresh off the boat.

Richmond occupies 17 islands in the mouth of the Fraser River, with easy access to neighbouring municipalities. It is located 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver, and is home to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Canada Line SkyTrain service connects Richmond and YVR with downtown Vancouver.

Kamloops

Located at the confluence of the South and North Thompson rivers in BC's semi-arid grasslands, Kamloops is a hotbed of outdoor activities.

Sandstone canyons, grasslands and evergreen timberlands play host to incredible hiking, mountain biking and camping. Kamloops is also a major golfing destination, with around a dozen courses close by. More than 100 lakes and two major rivers provide great fishing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting and tubing.

In the winter, outdoor activities abound. Do some exploring on snowshoes or cross-country skis; take the kids tubing or tobogganing, or to an outdoor ice rink; or visit nearby Sun Peaks Resort for some downhill action. Want to go faster? Try one of several snowmobiling destinations. For those who'd rather take it slow, there are horse-drawn sleigh rides and tranquil lakes for ice fishing.

Kamloops also takes pride in its vibrant arts community and its First Nations culture, represented in various cultural sites throughout the city, and in theatre and music festivals and events held annually.

Kelowna

Kelowna is an exciting hybrid of amazing food and wine, vibrant culture and beach-based vacations on the shores of Okanagan Lake.

Visitors flock to the Kelowna area to go wine touring and taste locally produced food, to visit museums and galleries, and to take advantage of endless outdoor recreation opportunities. The city is home to outstanding golf courses, scenic trails, and plenty of beach and water-based fun.

Okanagan Lake forms Kelowna's western boundary, which means very easy access. Several nearby beaches offer a base for swimming, paddling, waterskiing, windsurfing and fishing. The younger set can build sandcastles on the shore and splash in the shallow water.

Further inland there are excellent hiking and biking trails, and in the winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular. An hour outside of town lies Big White Ski Resort with its renowned champagne powder.

Restaurants

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Fresh local bounty, talented chefs and a melting pot of cultures combine to make Vancouver a top culinary destination. From hip downtown restaurants to humble food carts, farmers’ markets to ethnic neighbourhoods, Vancouver is a city to explore with fork in hand.

Shopping

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Shopping in British Columbia is an exciting, diverse experience – each region offers something different to suit every taste.

Discover high fashion and independent designers in Vancouver or search for souvenirs with a British twist in Victoria. Stroll a pedestrian village in a mountain setting in Whistler, browse artisan crafts in the Gulf Islands or Sunshine Coast or pick products from more than 200 wineries throughout the Thompson Okanagan, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island areas.

Aboriginal arts and crafts such as woven baskets, cedar wood carvings and intricate silver jewellery highlight the rich history and storied tradition of First Nations in BC and can be found all over the province.

Sports

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While British Columbians are known for their active lifestyles, they also take time to cheer on the home teams – and there are plenty of them.

Vancouver supports professional hockey, football, soccer and lacrosse teams. There are also hockey teams in all regions of the province. Catch professional skiing at Whistler each year as well as one of North America's premier mountain-biking events. Penticton is home to one of Canada's oldest triathlon events. And of course, BC was the host province for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games!

Famous BC Athletes

British Columbia has produced many world-class athletes in sports ranging from basketfall to alpine skiing. A few notable examples are: Steve Nash, NBA MVP and point guard for the Phoenix Suns; Nancy Greene Raine, an alpine skier named Canada's Female Athlete of the 20th Century; Ross Rebagliati, the first-ever Olympic gold medallist in snowboarding; and Simon Whitfield, a champion Olympic triathlete.

What kind of vacation would you like to take?