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While the coast of British Columbia and some valleys in the south-central part of the province have mild weather, the majority of its land mass experiences a cold-winter-temperate climate similar to the rest of Canada.

The Northern Interior region has a subarctic climate with very cold winters.

Much of the western part of Vancouver Island and the rest of the coast is covered by temperate rainforest.

The province's most populous city is Vancouver, which is at the confluence of the Fraser River and Georgia Strait, in the mainland's southwest corner (an area often called the Lower Mainland). Vanderhoof is near the geographic centre of the province.

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) is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.

It refers to the Columbia District, the British name for the territory drained by the Columbia River, in southeastern British Columbia, which was the namesake of the pre-Oregon Treaty Columbia Department of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Subsequently, on the mainland, the Colony of British Columbia (1858–1866) was founded by Richard Clement Moody and the Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment, in response to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.

Moody was Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works for the Colony and the first Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia: he was hand-picked by the Colonial Office in London to transform British Columbia into the British Empire's "bulwark in the farthest west", In 1866, Vancouver Island became part of the colony of British Columbia, and Victoria became the united colony's capital.

In 1871, British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada.

Its Latin motto is Splendor sine occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment").

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