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Southern British Columbia

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SOUTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA

Southern British Columbia

This region, which borders Washington state, is characterized by a blend of the urban and the undeveloped. As one majestic landscape succeeds another, your eyes will be dazzled by the sea, the everlasting snows and the spring colours, which appear very early in this region.

Communing with nature is a memorable part of any trip in southern British Columbia. The waters that wash the deserted beaches beckon you to relax and let your mind wander. Stately trees stand guard over tranquil areas untouched by the forestry industry. Dotted with national and provincial parks that stretch across the loveliest parts of the province, this region has an extremely varied landscape, with everything from perpetual snows to desert valleys to rivers teeming with fish.

Kamloops, the capital of inland British Columbia, is a major stopover point. The local economy is driven chiefly by the forestry and tourism industries, with mining and stock breeding playing subsidiary roles. West of Kamloops, ginseng crops lie hidden in fields beneath big pieces of black cloth. Large farms produce this root, which is highly coveted by Asians for the health benefits it is supposed to procure. The variety grown here, known as American ginseng, was discovered in eastern Canada several hundred years ago by natives, who made potions with it.

The Okanagan Valley

All sorts of natural treasures await discovery in this part of British Columbia. With its stretches of water and blanket of fruit trees, the Okanagan Valley, which runs north-south, is one of the most beautiful areas in the province. Okanagan wines have won a number of prizes; the orchards provide a good portion of the country with fruit, and the lakes and mountains are a dream come true for sportive types. The climate is conducive to a wide variety of activities: the winters, mild in town and snowy in the mountains, can be enjoyed by all. In the spring, the fruit trees are in full bloom, while in summer and fall, a day of fruit-picking is often followed by a dip in one of the many lakes.

Penticton lies between Okanagan Lake, to the north, and Skaha Lake, to the south. The town has nearly 30,000 inhabitants and boasts a dry, temperate climate. Tourism is the mainspring of Penticton's economy. The area's First Nations named the site Pen-tak-tin, meaning "the place where you stay forever." A beach lined with trees and a pedestrian walkway run along the north end of town. The dry landscape, outlined by curves of the sandy shoreline, contrasts with the vineyards and orchards. People come to Penticton for outdoor activities, fine dining and local joie de vivre.

A visit to an orchard is a must, especially in the heat of summer, during the fruit-picking season. Not only is the fruit plentiful, but more importantly, it's delicious. From July to late September, the region is covered with fruit trees bursting with scents and colours. An outing in the mountains along the former route of the Kettle Valley Railway offers another perspective on the Okanagan Valley.


Whistler

Whistler has grown and become an important location not only for people who live there on a permanent basis, but also for the deve-lopment of tourism. Whistler attracts skiers, golfers, hikers, sailors and snowboarders from all over the world. An impressive hotel complex graces the little village at the foot of Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. Other amenities at this internationally renowned resort include restaurants, shops, sports facilities and a convention centre. Whistler is popular in

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