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Q: Canada has a reputation for being a very cold climate. What is the climate of BC like?
A: BC has a very diverse climate from actual desert in the interior to the rain forests of the coast and the tundra of the north. Summers are warm and pleasant, with averages much like the US North Western States and the winters on the coast in Victoria and Vancouver are wonderfully mild. Whistler is in the mountains and gets spectacular amounts of snow but doesn't get extreme cold. We are in the northern hemisphere so the height of summer is July and the coldest month is January.
Q: Where is Victoria in relation to Vancouver?
A: The City of Victoria, the capital of the Province of British Columbia, is located on Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is 26 KM west of the mainland of BC and is accessible by ferry, boat or plane only. BC Ferries offers regular car, RV and bus ferry service to the island year round. Visit the BC Ferries web site for more information.
Q: Where is Victoria Island?
A: The name Victoria Island is commonly confused with Vancouver Island. Victoria is a city located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, which is a large island off the west coast of BC. Victoria Island is a Canadian island but is found in the high arctic and is not a tourist destination.
Q: Will there be lots of visible wildlife?
A: Yes, many of our parks and natural areas offer spectacular opportunities to view wildlife. In the urban areas, you can expect to see small birds, squirrels and sometimes deer. Large animals like bears are very rarely seen, if ever, in urban areas but are more common in the northern parts of the province.
Q: Is there a trail that would allow me to walk from Vancouver travelling east to other major Canadian cities?
A: Yes, there is the Trans-Canada Trail which traverses the entire country. Keep in mind though that the trail is 10,000 KM (6,200 miles) in length. The highway from coast to coast is 9,000 KM. If you do set out on a trek from Vancouver to Toronto as an example, it would be several months of travel, but what an adventure!
Q: Is the wilderness around the urban areas safe to travel in?
A: Generally yes. While there are always dangers when travelling in remote areas, we do not have many dangerous animals, snakes or insects. The biggest threat would be bears and they are quite rare in the vicinity of urban areas like Vancouver or Victoria.
Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in British Columbia?
A: Yes, the urban cities of British Columbia are all well equipped with any amenity you might need. Vancouver is a vibrant city of over 2 million people. Vancouver Island has almost 1 million people. We have all the conveniences you would expect and would find at home.
Q: Are there grocery stores in British Columbia? Will there be foods I cannot find?
A: Yes, we have all of the most common grocery store chains found in the US. We have excellent selections of food items and there shouldn't be anything you cannot find, no matter how exotic. British Columiba is renouned for it's health lifestyle with easily available organic and heath food items. There is also an excellent range of fast food outlets.
Q: Do I need a passport to get into Canada or British Columbia?
A: Visas are not required for U.S. citizens entering Canada from the U.S. However as of December 31, 2006 passports will be required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2007, passports will be required for all land border crossings, as well as air and sea travel. The passport is not required to get into Canada but it is required to prove your citizenship when returning to the US. For entry from other countries, please visit the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration site.
Q: What things can I or can I not bring into Canada?
Q: Are there special events or holidays I should be aware of when visiting Canada?
A: We have many of the same holidays celebrated by the US but with some notable differences. Thanksgiving occurs during a different time in Canada. We celebrate Canada Day, the "birth day" of our country on July 1st. This is a very fun event and has many exciting things for visitors to do. For more information about Canadian Holidays visit the Canadian Heritage web site.
Q: What is the most common language spoken in British Columbia?
A: The vast majority of the population of British Columbia speaks English. You will be able to converse in English everywhere you go.