BC Day - British Columbia

It might not be a long weekend in most of the United States, but it’s a long weekend for most Canadians. If you take a look at most commercially-available calendars in Canada, you’ll notice that today is usually marked as Civic Holiday. That’s because this day takes on a different name in different provinces. In British Columbia, we celebrate British Columbia Day (BC Day, for short) on the first Monday of August. So, I’d like to wish a happy BC Day to all my fellow British Columbians!

In other provinces, today could be New Brunswick Day, Civic Holiday (Nunavat), Natal Day (Nova Scotia), or John Galt Day (Ontario). A rose by any other name is just as sweet, because for most people, this just translates as a day-off. Unfortunately for the people of Quebec, Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, today is not a holiday… but they are just as welcome to enjoy the summer sunshine!

Here are some fun facts about the province of British Columbia. We are supposed to be celebrating its rich history, heritage, and culture today, after all.

  • Confederation with the Dominion of Canada on July 20, 1871.
  • Estimated total population of 4.4 million with a total land area of 925,186 square kilometres (about 357,000 square miles).
  • Vancouver is the largest city with an estimated population of 578,000. The Metro Vancouver area has a total estimated population of 2.1 million.
  • Named derived from its British colony status in 1858 and the Columbia District it contains. The American part of Columbia became Oregon Territory in 1848.
  • BC’s provincial parks system is the second largest parks system in Canada next to the National Parks system.
  • Capital city is Victoria, located on Vancouver Island.
  • Home to Whistler, a world-famous ski resort and co-host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
  • Catholicism is main religion (44%) as of 2001. Protestant (29%) and no religious affiliation (17%) are the two other major groups.
  • The largest ethnic group of visible minorities is Chinese with 10.6% of the population. East Indian is second with 5.7%. BC has the highest proportion of visible minorities (24.8%) in Canada.
  • Primary industries are forestry, mining, fishing, and tourism. Vancouver area is also known as Hollywood North for its popularity as a filming site for movies and television shows.
  • Famous British Columbians include Rafe Mair, David Suzuki, Bryan Adams, Pamela Anderson, Michael J. Fox, Matthew Good, Diana Krall, Kristen Kreuk, Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen, Terry Fox, Rick Hansen, Paul Kariya, Steve Nash, Scott and Rob Neidermayer, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Emily Carr, Allan Fotheringham, and Jim Pattison.