The large island along Canada’s western coast for a long time attracted merchants and adventure-seekers that benefited from the fur trade. These international heritages as well as the water-rich landscape, still shape the life on Vancouver Island.
Vacationers on Vancouver Island appreciate two things above all. On the one hand quirky Victoria on the southern tip of the island, whose British charm delights visitors from all over the world, and the natural setting, which becomes increasingly untouched as one moves north and can be enjoyed in the many provincial parks, such as Cape Scott, Strathcona and Schoen Lake. The more than 100 rivers, streams and countless lakes are a paradise for fisherman and kayakers. Vancouver Island is an important ski area in winter. The interior of Vancouver Island has endless forested mountains, whose peaks equal those of higher ranges, while there are rainforests near the coasts. This is the home of pumas, raccoons and wolves among others. The coastal waters are famous for their large whale population.
The language school in Victoria was like a big family made up of 200 language students.
The first people to settle on Vancouver Island were members of the “First Nations” as they are known is Canada, including the Nootka, Kwakiutl and Salish tribes. Whaling was an important source of existence for these peoples, and is still practiced today. Not until the 18th century did British, Spanish, Russian and American explorers and traders penetrate the remote region. The island received its name after George Vancouver, a comrade of the great discoverer, James Cook, sailed around it in 1792. The economic development began in 1843 with the opening of the fur trading station, Fort Victoria, by the powerful Hudson Bay Company. The island became a British Crown Colony in 1849 and a part of British Columbia, which later became a province of Canada, in 1866. Today, immigrants from Asia play an evermore important role on Canada’s largest pacific island, as they do, in neighbouring areas of the continent and in the northwestern USA- and exert a welcome influence on daily life.