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British Columbia Interior

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Title: British Columbia Interior  
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Subject: Status of First Nations treaties in British Columbia, Thompson Country, Carrier language, Shuswap language, Skeena Country
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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 and also including the Lower Mainland (from the perspective of the Interior).

Definitions

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 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 composed, roughly, of the Chilcotin, Cariboo, Bridge River-Lillooet, Fraser Canyon, Nicola, Thompson and Kamloops-Shuswap Countries. 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.

Southern 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.

Exceptions

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 The Cariboo

  • South Cariboo – (Clinton-100 Mile House-Bridge Lake, sometimes including the Thompson as far south as Lytton.
    • Bonaparte Country – sometimes considered the northern end of "Thompson Country" as these areas share climatic and regional links.
  • North Cariboo
  • Central Cariboo
  • West Cariboo – was once used for the Bridge River Country.
  • The Chilcotin
  • 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 sometimes 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
  • Nicola Country – sometimes considered part of the Thompson, and comprising much of the Thompson Plateau, where it is drained by the Nicola River.
  • The Okanagan
  • Shuswap Country – the area around Shuswap Lake, but not including the upper Shuswap River drainage east of the Okanagan, which is usually considered part of the North Okanagan or the Monashees.
  • Boundary Country – often included with the West Kootenay, or with the Okanagan.
  • The Monashees – sometimes considered a separate area, often included in others; the Southern Monashees are tied to or part of the Boundary Country.
  • Similkameen Country – frequently included with the southern Okanagan.
  • The Kootenays a.k.a. "the Kootenay"
  • The Columbia – the valley of the Upper Columbia south of Golden is often included in the East Kootenay, while the Arrow Lakes region south of Revelstoke is usually considered part the West Kootenay.
  • Robson Valley[1]
  • Omineca Country
  • Cassiar District
  • Peace River Country – extends into northern Alberta.
  • The Bulkley – often combined with the sub-coastal Skeena Country as Skeena-Bulkley, along the route of the Yellowhead Highway.
  • The Nechako
  • Stikine Country (not the same as Stikine Region, which is part of the regional district system, though not a regional district itself, and includes the Atlin District (also known as the Atlin Country) and the Cassiar Country, and only a part of the Stikine Country, most of which is in the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and includes some of the Liard Country, which refers to areas immediately adjoining the Liard River.
  • the northern Rocky Mountain Trench and adjoining areas of the Northern Rockies, north of Lake Williston, do not belong to any of the appellations adjoining them. In usual usage, they are referred to directly or in reference to rivers within them e.g. the Finlay Country.
  • History

    Demographics

    Economy

    Society and culture

    Transportation

    See also

    References

    1. ^ BC Names entry "Robson Valley"
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