Beam Me Down
Sunday 04 October 1998
49 19' N 119 02' W
Red double-decker buses, teashops ... moose and bear?
COUNTRY AND REGION
Welcome to British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province. Otherwise known as BC, British Columbia is Canada's laid-back alternative to California.
NATURE OF TERRAIN
You are in the rugged terrain at the foot of the Rockies, some 500km from the west coast - altitude between 500 and 1,000 metres. You are surrounded by the mountains and lakes of BC's six national parks.
The industrial town of Trail is some 40km to the south east and home to Cominco, the world's largest smelter of silver, zinc and lead. The sprawling buildings of these vast works dominate the town's skyline, making it distinct from any other in the area.
There is a volcano in the neighbouring town of Rossland but its lava spewing days have long passed - it is now the site of the town's gold- mining tour and the biggest danger is being bored by an inept tour guide.
Some say it's English but listen out for those tell-tale Canadianisms; "eh?" punctuates the end of a statement to make it a question and the west coast drawl makes BC's residents seem even more laid back than other Canadians.
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
The French Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien.
BC's climate is variable. Inland it is generally drier than the coast where there are warm dry summers but very wet winters. The average daytime temperature at the moment is around 17C with chilly evenings.
REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND
To mingle with Canada's arts intelligentsia. The prestigious Banff Centre for the Arts, some 200km to the north east, is an internationally acclaimed school which attracts alternative and creative types from around the globe. If physical exertion is more your style, you could head for Banff's popular ski resort. The central hub of the Rockies, this is where the great and good of Canada come for a bit of R&R.
GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE
Get into the spirit of the great Canadian outdoors and take a 100km hike north to the oddly titled town of Salmon Arm. Hitch a lift and follow the Trans-Canadian Highway 500km west to Vancouver where you could catch a plane or stow away on a boat. Vancouver's harbour is one of the busiest on the west coast of the Americas, accommodating an endless procession of vast freighters and container ships.
Compiled by Sarah Barrell
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