Urbanization and Growth

INDUSTRIALIZATION AND IMMIGRATION

British Columbia grew in population nearly four times between 1881 and 1901. The transcontinental railroad completed by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company deserves most of the credit. Promise of a completed railway that would unify Canada helped solidify the integration of BC as a province in 1871. Construction of the railway completed in 1885.

Workers of varied ethnic backgrounds contributed to the project. Asian communities, especially Chinese, Japanese, and South Asians were employed as laborers. After the completion of the railway, the populations stayed as permanent immigrants. Turn-of-the-century demographics were heavily bent toward English ancestry. Roughly 75% of British Columbia's residents were white.

 

PURSUIT OF ETHNIC INTEGRATION

Racism ensued. Anti-Asian riots took place. A ship called the Komagata Maru, with over 300 would be immigrants on board, was told to go back where it came from. Government forces plotted against Asian residents, even going so far as to remove them from their homes and place them in internment camps during World War II. Finally, in 1949, the politically sanctioned race divisions were completely abolished. Today, Vancouver hosts the second largest Chinatown district in North America.

 

URBAN GROWTH 

Logging, fishing, mining, and other industries continued to expand through British Columbia during these years. Eastern provincial locations were among the first to grow from forts and trading outposts into cities. Prince George, Nelson, and Kamloops are prime examples of cities that would have been lost without the railway completion. Today, some of the most scenic drives in Canada, including the famous Selkirk Loop, provide easier transportation for people and goods.

Availability in technology, along with worldwide demand you wood, kept British Columbia increasing its pace of forestry production. After World War II, it became less necessary for such a large percentage of residents to work in the thriving outdoors industries, and urban growth began in earnest. More than 1 million people called BC home by 1950. Nearly 70% of them lived in the cities.

Expo 86 and the 2010 Winter Olympics proved to be crowning showcases of British Columbia to the world. Vancouver is home to more than half of the provincial population, and it proved to be a wonderful host for both of these events. Transportation and Communication were the focus of Expo 86, with heavy emphasis on world movement. Over 20 million people attended in the 5 months it was open.

Steady growth continues across British Columbia. Things are no doubt easier today on the residents, and life continues to be more convenient. Safety for individuals is at an all-time high. Urban environments invite city-folk to world-class amenities while large swaths of untouched wilderness remain for those looking to get out of town. In either scenario, it's an exciting time to be in British Columbia!