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British Columbia Listeni/ˌbrɪtɪʃ kəˈlʌmbiə/, also commonly referred to by its initials BC or B.C., (French: Colombie-Britannique, C.-B.) is a province located on the West Coast of Canada. British Columbia is also a component of the Pacific Northwest, along with the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington. The province's name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858, reflecting its origins as the British remainder of the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada. Its Latin motto is Splendor sine occasu ("Splendour without Diminishment").
The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, the 15th largest metropolitan region in Canada, named for the Queen that created the Colony of British Columbia. The largest city is Vancouver, the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, the largest in Western Canada, and the second largest in the Pacific Northwest. In October 2013, British Columbia had an estimated population of 4,606,371 (about two and a half million of whom were in Greater Vancouver). The province is currently governed by the BC Liberal Party, led by Premier Christy Clark, who became leader as a result of the party election on February 26, 2011 and who led her party to an election victory on May 14, 2013.
British Columbia's economy is largely resource-based. It is the endpoint of transcontinental railways and the site of major Pacific ports, which enable international trade. Though less than five percent of its vast 944,735 km2 (364,764 sq mi) land is arable, the province is agriculturally rich (particularly in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys) because of its mild weather. Its climate encourages outdoor recreation and tourism, though its economic mainstay has long been resource extraction, principally logging, farming, and mining. Vancouver, the province's largest city and metropolitan area, also serves as the headquarters of many of the Western-based natural resource companies. It also benefits from a strong housing market and a per-capita income well above the national average. While the coast of BC and certain valleys in the south-central part of the province have mild weather, the majority of BC's land mass experiences a cold winter temperate climate similar to the rest of Canada. The Northeast corner of BC has a Subarctic climate with very cold winters.
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