British Columbia’s High Fives

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Tempt clients with a trip to Canada’s West Coast province of British Columbia, packed full of unforgettable experiences, including thrilling activities, spectacular scenery, jaw-dropping wildlife, cosmopolitan cities and green expanses.

Here are BC’s top five places to go.

#1 Vancouver

Close to 30 kilometres of uninterrupted waterfront path surround Vancouver’s favourite neighbourhoods, including the seawall around Stanley Park, with its old-growth cedar forests and sandy beaches and the Granville Island Public Market. 

The coastal city is renowned for its natural beauty and cultural diversity.

For thousands of years the Coast Salish people have called the area now known as Vancouver home, and their history and cultural traditions, deep respect for nature, and spirituality are all tightly woven into the city’s fabric.

#2 Victoria

Victoria, credit: Albert Normandin

With a nod to its English heritage, British Columbia’s capital is crammed full with gardens and seafront parks, stately hotels and museums, bohemian eateries, and craft brewers.

It is also the gateway to southern Vancouver Island, a destination for food and wine touring, whale watching, and ocean adventures of all kinds.

Of the many different accommodation choices, the newly refurbished Fairmont Empress Hotel, overlooking the harbour is an area landmark. Even if clients don’t stay there, suggest they visit for its high tea or a cocktail in its opulent lounge.

Victoria has a flourishing food scene, historic districts including Chinatown, Old Town, and the Inner Harbour, as well as being home to the Royal BC Museum.

#3 Whistler  

Whistler Village, credit: Blake Jorgenson

Whistler Blackcomb is consistently named North America’s number-one Ski resort, with more terrain for skiers and boarders to discover than anywhere else on the continent and the summits of two legendary mountains—Whistler and Blackcomb—connected by the spectacular PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.

In summer, the pedestrian village is alive with hikers, mountain bikers, golfers, and people watchers.

Access from Vancouver is a 90 minute drive via the Sea-to-Sky Highway, which follows a stunning coastline for much of its length.

But many locals say the autumn is the best place to visit Whistler and truly connect with British Columbia’s wilderness.

#4 Great Bear Rainforest

Spirit Bear, credit: Destination BC

A trip to the Great Bear Rainforest is an experience unlike any other. It’s the planet’s largest intact coastal temperate rainforest and a revered and protected wilderness area.

This section of BC’s Central Coast is remote and there are few roads within its boundaries, which contributes to a feeling of peace and serenity—of truly being in nature—for all who visit.

BC’s First Nations have called this stretch of coastline home for thousands of years, and their influence is strongly felt. The area’s biodiversity is protected to maintain its ecological integrity, including 1,000-year-old spruce and cedar trees.

It is also home to an abundance of marine life, including whales, dolphins and sea otters. It’s also the only place in the world to see the rare white Kermode (Spirit) bear, which is a black bear with all-white fur.

The dramatic colour is caused by a recessive gene, and it’s estimated to occur in one in 10 bears of the area. Stories of the bear are woven into the legends of the local First Nations that have lived in this area for centuries.

#5 Okanagan Valley

Kettle Valley, credit: Kari Medig/Destination BC

Okanagan Valley is a long valley filled with an expansive lake, offering myriad options, from hiking in the mountains, biking the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, teeing off at one of the many championship golf courses, swimming in – or boating on – Okanagan Lake, surrounded by sandy beaches.

The main city of Kelowna, on the shore of Okanagan Lake, is surrounded by pine forests and provincial parks.

The other draw is the 200+ Okanagan Valley wineries, which have won major national and international awards, and many offer lake-view dining inspired by the valley’s agricultural riches.

The region gets extremely hot in the summer months; but in winter, the area around the cities of Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops is home to several ski resorts, such as Sun Peaks.

Main picture credit: Destination BC

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