British Columbia Interior

British Columbia Interior

The British Columbia Interior or BC Interior or Interior of British Columbia, usually referred to only as The Interior, is one of the three main regions of the Canadian province of British Columbia, the other two being the Lower Mainland, which comprises the overlapping areas of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, and the Coast, which includes Vancouver Island but not including the Lower Mainland.


The region, which includes the Interior Plateau as well as various mountain ranges and the valleys between them, comprises everything inland from the Coast Mountains and reaching east to the Rocky Mountains and, in the northeast, British Columbia's sector of the Prairies, the Peace River Block. "Interior" is usually and properly capitalized but turns up in lower-case in various books and magazines. All non-coastal areas of the province are considered to be "in the Interior", although the sparsely populated regions of its northern half are usually referred to only as "the North".

The town of Hope, at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley and at the foot of the Fraser Canyon, is often considered the "Gateway to the Interior" and bears an entrance arch to that effect, though in practical terms the Interior does not begin until somewhere between Yale and Boston Bar, in the Fraser Canyon, or until the summits of the Coquihalla and Allison Passes. The boundary between "the Coast" and "the Interior" along the Highway 99 corridor is nominally between Whistler and Pemberton, as Pemberton is often described as being in the Interior, but from the inland perspective it is often seen as part of the Coast because of its wetter climate and close ties to the Lower Mainland.

There are many subregions within the Interior, some regions in their own right, and although there are no precise definitions, it is often broken up informally as the Northern Interior, the Central Interior, the Southern Interior, the Northeast Interior and Southeast Interior, and these names often appear in non-governmental organizations and company names as well as in government administrative districts and ministerial regions, and in weather reports.

Major subregions and nomenclature

Northern Interior

The northern Interior begins somewhere between the Cariboo and the city of Prince George, which just lies east of the big bend in the upper Fraser. The city of Quesnel may be considered to be part of the Northern Interior, but it is usually conceived of as primarily being in the Cariboo, which is normally termed the Central Interior, or North-Central Interior. The Northern Interior includes Robson Valley (the upper reaches of the Fraser basin) to the southeast of Prince George as well as the Omineca District and the Bulkley and Nechako basins. The communities of the upper Skeena are sometimes referred to as being in the Northern Interior, though in cultural terms and usual usage they are part of the North Coast, which is associated in regional terms usually with the South and Central Coast and Vancouver Island.

The northern reaches of the Northern Interior beyond the Omineca and Skeena-Bulkley regions is usually just referred to as "the North", although it also is considered part of the Northern Interior . "The North" may also refer to Prince George, one of the largest cities in the Interior and also the only major city in the Northern Interior (although that term can also apply to Prince George), which bears the sobriquet "Queen City of the North".

Central Interior

The Central Interior is comprised, roughly, of the Chilcotin, Cariboo, Bridge River-Lillooet, Fraser Canyon, Nicola, Thompson and Kamloops-. Some usages may refer to the Okanagan cities south of the Shuswap as being in the Central Interior, but these are usually referred to as being in the Southern Interior or South-Central Interior. The Nicola, Fraser Canyon, Thompson and Bridge River -Lillooet Country are sometimes also referred to as being in the Southern Interior, with the Bridge River-Lillooet Country sometimes referred to, along with the Chilcotin, as the West-Central Interior, and the Lillooet Country is historically be considered to be part of the Cariboo, though distinct in its own right. The Bridge River Country has also been referred to as the West Cariboo, but is not considered to be in the Cariboo by its residents. Many urban residents are under the impression that the Bridge River Country is part of the Chilcotin because of the "South Chilcotin" name for the Spruce Lake Protected Area, but this is incorrect.

outhern Interior

The Southern Interior roughly falls south of the Thompson River and Shuswap Country (corresponding mostly to the post-Oregon Treaty remainder of the old, original, Hudson's Bay Company Columbia District). When used directly, it generally means the Okanagan and adjoining areas, particularly the Similkameen, southern Monashees and Boundary Country. Due to a new federal political riding of the same name (see Southern Interior) the usage has now come to apply to the cities of the West Kootenay, along with the rest of the Kootenays, although the West Kootenay has usually been referred to in the past, and is today, as the Southeast Interior.


The Big Bend of the Columbia and the Rocky Mountain Trench are in the Interior, but are not usually included in mentions of either the Central Interior or Southern Interior.

Historical geographic regions

The Interior comprises over 70% of the province. and well over 80% of its mainland. As it consists of a series of interlocking valleys and plateaus, geographic effects relating to isolation, physical remoteness, local indigenous culture, the background of various groups of settlers, and more, have contributed to an identifiable patchwork of regional identities, referred to as "districts" or "countries" (e.g., the Omineca Country, the Boundary Country). Usage such as "Lillooet District" are also common but in a few cases that is also a phrase referring to the Land District of the same name, which is a system of legal survey blocks rather than descriptive of the actual geocultural landscape which evolved on top of them. In most cases, the "Country" and "District" are often dropped, and these regions are referred to as, for example, "the Kootenay" or "the Omineca". In some cases, notably the Kootenay, the Chilcotin and the Cariboo, they can be are often referred to as simply Kootenay, Chilcotin and Cariboo. . Some are referred to only "without" the "Country" or "District" attached, such as "the Tulameen" and "the Similkameen", and in other cases this is more common than the longer form though both occur ("the Stikine" is more common than "the Stikine Country". Combination forms are common, such as Cariboo-Chilcotin, and Thompson-Okanagan, and these often turn up in names of governmental administrative districts, electoral districts and private or public organizations. All often correspond to linguistic and cultural-political divisions of the First Nations as aboriginal history was also shaped by the landscape's isolating and defining characteristics as settler culture.

The main historical subregions, with their own subregions an irrespective of very common overlaps between some areas, and in their most common forms, are as follows:

*The Cariboo
**South Cariboo (Clinton-100 Mile House-Bridge Lake, and also including the Thompson as far south as Lytton
***Bonaparte Country (sometimes referred to the northern end of "Thompson Country" as area shares more regional links and climate to this area)
**North Cariboo
**Central Cariboo
**The term "West Cariboo" was once used for the Bridge River Country
*The Chilcotin
**West Chilcotin (Chilko and Taseko Lakes area)
**North Chilcotin (Anahim Lake, Alexis Creek, Nimpo Lake)
**the South Chilcotin is not part of the Chilcotin, but of the Bridge River Country (see Spruce Lake Protected Area
*Fraser Canyon a.k.a. "The Canyon". This term is often used to include the canyon of the Thompson River between Ashcroft and Lytton, partly because the highway route is usually referred to as both the Canyon and the Fraser Canyon.
**Lillooet Country (considered part of both the Fraser Canyon and the Cariboo, although distinct within both, and also historically including areas not in either)
***Bridge River Country (an important subarea of the Lillooet Country, often combined as Bridge River-Lillooet and at one time dubbed the West Cariboo. Now confused with the Chilcotin because of the coining of the term South Chilcotin in the 1950s for the area on its northern flank)
*Thompson Country
**Thompson Plateau
**South Thompson (Kamloops-Ashcroft)
**Bonaparte Country (usually considered part of the Cariboo but shares more links geographically to the Thompson)
*Nicola Country (sometimes considered part of the Thompson, and comprising much of the Thompson Plateau
*The Okanagan
**South Okanagan
**Central Okanagan
**North Okanagan (also Northern Okanagan)
**Okanagan-Thompson Plateau
*Shuswap Country (does not include the upper Shuswap River east of the Okanagan, which is usually considered part of the Monashees.
*Boundary Country (sometimes included with the West Kootenay, and also with the Okanagan)
*The Monashees (the Southern Monashees are tied to or part of the Boundary Country)
*Similkameen Country
**The Tulameen
*The Kootenays a.k.a. "the Kootenay"
**West Kootenay
**East Kootenay
***Elk Valley
*Omineca Country
*Cassiar District
*Peace Country (extends in northern Alberta)
**Peace River Block
*The Columbia
*The Bulkley (often combined with the sub-coastal Skeena Country as Skeena-Bulkley
*The Nechako
*The Stikine Regions farther north in the Liard basin, northern Rocky Mountain Trench do not have any similar appellation, although the Atlin-Teslin area is known as the Atlin Country.

ee also

*Interior Health

External links

* [ British Columbia Interior information and images. ]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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