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Destination Guide - British Columbia

British Columbia: Lifestyle and culture

British Columbia has an ethnically diverse population, making it an especially interesting cultural destination. In Vancouver, it’s estimated that less than half of the population speaks English as a first language. Along with immigrants from all around the world, British Columbia includes a significant population of people descended from native Americans; today referred to in Canada as the First Nations peoples.

On the whole, British Columbians enjoy a friendly and comparatively relaxed culture. Thanks to the magnificent surroundings, outdoor pastimes are popular year-round. In summer, many enjoy jogging and cycling, hiking, fishing, surfing, having picnics, watching fireworks and listening to outdoor symphonies and concerts. In winter, there’s skiing, skating and snowboarding. All year round in the cities, there’s good theatre and a wide range of excellent restaurants.

Dining out

When it comes to dining, Vancouver is known for its huge range of international cuisine. From Korean to French to Latin American, and from fine dining to “hole in the wall” meals, you’ll find it here.

Some of the highly rated options to try include:
- For beautifully presented gourmet French cuisine in elegant surroundings, Le Crocodile Restaurant on Burrard Street or, even more popular but in a smaller space, the Absinthe Bistro Restaurant on Commercial Drive.

- Also for a special occasion, Bishop’s Restaurant on West 4th Avenue, provides exquisitely presented food by candlelight.

- For mouthwatering Indian fare with a twist, the ever-popular Vij’s Restaurant – with menu items that include “lamb popsicles”, with a delicious spiced sauce, and even braised ribs with jelly beans!

- Blue Water Café for outstanding if somewhat pricy seafood.

- Kingyo Restaurant for delicious Japanese food.

In Victoria, which also boasts its fair share of excellent restaurants, try Brasserie L’ecole or Restaurant Matisse for magnificent French dishes. Then there’s the top-rated Ithaka Greek Restaurant for authentic Greek food in casual surroundings or Il Terrazzo, for brilliant Italian food and an impressive wine list. Whistler includes over 90 restaurants, so there’s no shortage of good food to choose from. Among the top-rated are the Rim Rock Cafe & Oyster Bar, Araxi Restaurant + Bar for steak and seafood and Purebread, for wonderful baked goods. Among the top restaurants to try elsewhere in British Columbia are the extremely popular Bolacco Cafe in Sun Peaks, Norwoods Restaurant in Ucluelet for fine dining, and the Bistro at Westwood Lake in Nanaimo. Finally for the chocolate lovers try Chocolate Tofini in Tofino, for handmade chocolates and excellent ice cream.


Top nightclubs in Vancouver include the two-level Caprice Nightclub in Granville, and the popular Celebrities dance club in the West end. Then there’s the Alibi Club for dancing and a wide range of craft beers, Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver’s Chinatown and Ginger 62, for cocktails and late-night dancing.

In Victoria, try Hermann’s Jazz Club for live music or Swan’s Brewpub for good food and ale. In Whistler, popular watering holes include Tapleys Pub, Dubb Linn Gate Irish Pub and Garfinkel’s.