This post is number 10 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!
Set between the towering Rockies and the royal blue Pacific Ocean, British Columbia is arguably the jewel in Canada’s crown.
I have wanted to go to British Columbia ever since, as a child, I watched documentaries in which bears would hunt salmon in the rapidly flowing rivers and waterfalls of the region. I was probably only about ten when I first became aware of British Columbia and it has subsequently gathered a mystical reputation in my mind, which will become evident via my use of near endless superlatives in this post.
There are 101 reasons to visit British Columbia, but here are the top 5 that intrigue me!
- Banff and Yoho National Parks.
Is it cheating to put Banff on this list? Maybe so, as technically it is located in Alberta; however, Yoho, which borders it to the West, is in British Columbia and I would very much like to see both. Thus, I don’t feel guilty!
There’s a lot of Banff to see as the National park is 6 and a half thousand kilometers of pristine Canadian wilderness! Moreover, Yoho is another 1300 kilometers large and is arguably just as eye catching!
Road trip through Icefields Parkway for a true perspective on the sheer enormity and breadth of these unbelievable National Parks. Over 100 glaciers, relics of a bygone ice age, split apart huge rock mountains, electric blue lakes, and dark dense pine forests.
The whole scene is thoroughly primeval and must be unspeakably beautiful to behold. Couple that with a hike up to Moraine Lake, and/or the Cave and Basin Hot Springs, and you have a fantastic trip through perhaps the most beautiful region of Canada.
- Kayak with orcas!
Orcas have always been one of my favourite animals. They are absolutely stunning creatures and, although I have seen whales in the wild before, I’ll never be satisfied until I’ve seen a pod of orcas up close and personal.
Orcas are the custodians of the sea, with an intellect perhaps unmatched by any species other than humans. Their language is thought to be so sophisticated that they have dialects depending on which pod they are members of. That, to me, is fascinating.
Several companies in Canada offer encounters with Orcas by way of kayaking tours. Provided this doesn’t harm the animals, and I will of course make sure of that before I go on any trip, I can think of very few experiences I would rather have on this planet than kayaking alongside an orca!
- See bears hunting salmon!
I’m sticking with the wildlife theme for this one!
I have seen a bear once in my life, at Yosemite National park in the USA a few years ago. Ambling through a meadow high amongst the rocky outcrops of the area, she was the highlight of my entire trip to the states.
Now, I’m hungry to see one again! The spike of adrenaline I felt at seeing the brown bear has not been replicated many times in my life. On a visit to the great white north, I one day hope to see a grizzly bear hunting salmon in the rivers of Western Canada. We’ve all seen the videos, or perhaps pictures, of shaggy grizzlies plucking salmon from waterfalls. It’s an iconic image and one that I would be ecstatic to see!
If there are two things I really want to do on this list, it is to see a hunting bear, and kayak with orcas. Whilst seeing a bear would be a close second to kayaking alongside an orca, that is saying something because I am desperate beyond comprehension to see an orca!
- Wild Pacific Trail
In Ucluelet, on the west coast of the Island of Vancouver, the Wild Pacific Trail weaves its way through pristine nature. Across numerous content outlets I have perused, the trail is considered to be one of the best tourist attractions to visit in all of Canada.
Ancient-cedar forests, the violent Pacific ocean, and the Amphitrite Lighthouse, are all reasons to sit down and take stock of the scenery around you. Like every different hike in the world, it’s completely unique; however, few hikes are quite as special as the Wild Pacific Trail.
Take a look at this one because I can’t do it justice with my limited repertoire of words. I promise, if you are a hiker or a lover of nature, you’ll be desperate to go.
If the wildlife and scenery isn’t quite enough to convince you that a visit to British Columbia is worthwhile, perhaps the city of Vancouver will!
The Museum of Anthropology is world renowned for its collection of art and exhibitions from across the globe. With a strong emphasis also placed upon Canada’s own indigenous cultures, the museum is not to be missed if you are wanting to learn more about the history of this great country.
In addition, Vancouver is also touted for its fabulous markets!
Richmond Night Market is one of the biggest in North American, with hundreds of stalls selling a variety of foods and other organic products. Some even invite punters to take their shots at various challenges! If that doesn’t whet your appetite though, perhaps Eastside flea market, selling wares which include vintage clothes, antiques, and other local produce, will!
Lastly, is there anything perceived to be more wonderfully Canadian, at least to an outsider like me, than ice hockey? Outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors, there may be no less prominent Canadian franchise than the Vancouver Canucks! Try and catch a game, even if you aren’t a fan, for the atmosphere and a staple of the Canadian lifestyle!
I hope this gave you a little taste of what British Columbia has to offer! When I visit, I will be sure to write up how the reality aligned with my expectations and get back to you guys with another post. Stay safe out there!