Highlights and main attractions of vancouver Island

As one of the world’s most spectacular cities, Vancouver Island is a ‘must-see’ destination if you are travelling through British Columbia, Canada’s most westerly province. The Coast Mountains stand tall, raised 1,500 metres above the city, an area of outstanding opportunities for adventure and sophistication.

Less than 50% of Vancouver’s population uses English as their first language; it is not just through ethnicity and linguistics that it is so diverse. Contrasting natural beauty with cosmopolitan styles, activities here range from climbing and caving to fine dining and galleries. The Coast Salish people lived here for thousands of years before Burrard Inlet was explored by Captain George Vancouver in 1792, now the shores of this picturesque city. Despite its beauty, it was not its image that attracted the Europeans, but the gold, and by 1858 it was flooded with prospectors. Vancouver may have been the first to explore the city, but ask a local and you’ll find the most famous pioneer was ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton, the founder of the first saloon here in 1867.

Split from north to south by the Beaufort Mountain Range, which is also Canada’s largest all natural ski base, it is home to one of the world’s most diverse eco-systems, with rainforests, marshes and meadows, as well as sandy beaches, river, mountains and lakes.


Where is Vancouver Island?

Location and activities

Accommodation here varies, with luxurious hotels and boutiques, and there is plenty to do on your stop-over, with well marked cycling trails, hiking, zip-lining and bungee jumping for the adrenaline junkies, and shopping, museums, city tours and ethnic enclaves for those craving a bit more culture.

Vancouver Island is a large and sparsely populated area encompassing the Gulf Islands and a portion of the mainland as well as, of course, Vancouver Island. 97 percent of the population live in the south of the Vancouver Island region, so the north is a barely-touched jewel of emerald forests with pockets of cedar forests and old-growth fir as well as rare, naturally occurring groves of Garry Oak.

Less than a 20-minute flight from mainland Vancouver, there are opportunities to watch orcas and grey whales from a boat, and even snorkel with salmon. Of course, where there is salmon, there are bears and Port Hardy, in the very north, is a gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest where you may spot the mysterious spirit bears. From here you can also access the wild and wet Cape Scott National Park or the tranquil waters of Charlotte and Johnstone Strait, where the Kwakwaka’wak First Nations are the traditional gatekeepers.


The area is a premier location for whale watching and salmon fishing

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