Vancouver has the highest quality of living in North America and the fifth highest in the world.

  • Vancouver is consistently listed as one of the world’s most liveable cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) annual rankings.
  • British Columbia’s innovative and skilled workforce, rich natural resources, quality of life and gateway location between North America and Asia provide the foundation for almost unlimited economic opportunities.

Key Facts about British Columbia

Pacific Standard Time (PST) Zone – West Coast Location

  • British Columbia’s location on the west coast of North America makes it possible to do business with Asia, Europe, and North America in the same business day.
  • Most of British Columbia is on Pacific Standard Time (the same as Los Angeles; three hours behind Toronto and New York). A few communities along the Alberta border (notably Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Golden, Kimberley and Cranbrook) use Mountain Standard Time (MST).


  • In July 2014, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,631,000 (about 2.5 million in Greater Vancouver).
  • The top 5 languages spoken most often at home in Vancouver are Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, and not specified Chinese) at 40%, Punjabi (17.7%), and Tagalog (6.7%), Korean (5.5%) and Persian (4.1%) (2011 Census).
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Vibrant Cities

  • Vancouver is British Columbia’s major commercial and financial centre, with strong trading transport, and economic links to the rest of the world. Other key urban centres in British Columbia ideally suited for conducting business include Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, and Nanaimo.

Abundant Natural Resources

  • British Columbia benefits from reliable, renewable, and low-cost hydroelectric power. Resource industries such as forestry, oil and gas, and mining have been traditional contributors to the provincial economy.

Global Access

  • Greater Metro Vancouver has an excellent and extensive transportation infrastructure. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) provides direct air services to some 130 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world, more than 110 of which are non-stop flights. The airport is served by 69 airlines, including scheduled carriers, charters, code share and cargo carriers.
  • Major Chinese airlines have daily service to Vancouver including Air China, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, and Sichuan Airlines. The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) won the Skytrax Best North American Airport award in 2010 through 2014 and has also been ranked in the top 10 airports in the world since 2012. YVR is one of eight Canadian airports that have US Border Pre-clearance facilities.


  • British Columbia is bordered by Alberta to the east, the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Alaska Panhandle and the Canadian territories of Yukon and The Northwest Territories form the northern border.
  • At 944,735 square kilometres (364,764 square miles), BC is about the size of France, Germany and the Netherlands combined. It’s larger than the total area of Washington, Oregon and California.
  • 75 per cent of the province is mountainous (more than 1,000 metres or 3,280 feet above sea level), 60 per cent is forested, and about five per cent is arable.
  • The Rockies and the Coast Mountains run southeast to northwest through the province.
  • British Columbia’s coastline stretches for more than 27,000 kilometres (16,780 miles) and includes deep, mountainous fjords and about 6,000 islands, most of which are uninhabited.
  • The province’s largest island is Vancouver Island (460 kilometres). The Island is home to Victoria, the provincial capital, which lies off the southwest corner of BC’s mainland.

Did you know?

  • According to latest GFCI, Vancouver is the 5th most powerful financial centre in North America.
  • All five of Canada’s largest banks have significant operations in BC.
  • Vancouver is among the top-10 wealth management centres in the world.
  • Vancouver ranked third most livable city in the world by the EIU.