British Columbia

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Capital: Victoria
Entered Confederation: 1871

British Columbia is located between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Its temperate climate has produced large forests of Douglas Fir lumber, a common material in many of the province's buildings. Today, British Columbia is Canada's fastest-growing province in the terms of population, and both regional and many Asian influences are shaping the province's current architecture.

The earliest builders in BC were the Haida Indians. When the fur traders, and later the settlers, arrived in BC they brought with them a variety of architectural tastes. Many of the first towns were developed very rapidly in a manner known as boomtown architecture. This style, common to other regions including Alberta and the Territories, is exemplified by grand, false store fronts hiding a humble structure that can be easily relocated dependent on the economic future of a newly created community.

The coming of the transcontinental railway in 1885 hastened the settlement of the area. In addition to the rail companies, banks, the national government, and newly arriving settlers fostered an architecture reflective of the local building materials and climate. A style known as the West Coast Style, which combines the picturesque beauty of BC with local traditions, has originated in the area.