Alberta and British Columbia share much in common. A wealth of tourism experiences awaits the visitor to Canada’s western-most provinces. The majestic Rocky Mountain range straddles both areas, and an array of unique travel experiences are waiting to be discovered. As President and CEO of Tourism British Columbia, I enjoyed a special opportunity to explore the hid- den travel secrets of BC over a period of 16 years. I would like to share some of them with readers in the hope that it will stimulate new ideas for upcoming trips.

"Growing up in Kimberley, I was delighted with visits to Fort Steele as an intriguing showcase of our early pioneers. One of my most memorable adventures involved a week of summer heli-hiking in the Adamant mountain range."

Beauty as far as the eye can see

Many visitors from Alberta are already familiar with the East and West Kootenays.They offer an array of outdoor activities including golfing, fishing and mountain biking. Growing up in Kimberley, I was delighted with visits to Fort Steele as an intriguing showcase of our early pioneers. One of my most memorable adventures involved a week of summer heli-hiking in the Adamant mountain range. As such, it is just one of several locations. Both comfortable climbing expeditions and more rigorous mountaineering adventures are available where one can rappel down clisides or watch glaciers calve. Dotted throughout the region are numerous, highly sought after hot springs such as Radium, Fairmont or Halcyon, which provide either therapeutic benefits or pure relaxation.

A multitude of activities

Venturing further west, the Okanagan Valley offers a range of experiences beginning in the southern most desert country of Osoyoos. While it is most recognized for leadership in Canada’s viticulture and wine industry, much more is available for the visitor to experience. Between rounds of golf, or water sports on the lake, it is essential to take time to savour the foods and beverages of the valley in any of their superb restaurants. Highly recommended is a visit to N’kmip Winery and the cultural centre of the Osoyoos First Nation.

For the “self-contained” traveller with the flexibility of a recreation vehicle, some of my most unusual experiences began with a stay at one of the many famous guest ranches in the Cariboo, followed by a trip along the “freedom highway” on the Chilcotin Plateau heading west to Bella Coola combined with a journey on BC Ferries through the “inside passage” on the way to Prince Rupert. Should the visitor be exploring the northern part of the province, an- other “must” journey is from Mile “0: in Dawson Creek beginning a trip along the Alaska Highway, including a side visit to Tumbler Ridge to view the dinosaur tracks.

An option from Bella Coola is to take BC Ferries south to Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Both the “big island” and its many neighbouring islands offer camping, comfortable accommodation and B & B’s to meet any traveller’s tastes. To cap o‑ any visit in super, natural British Columbia, overnight stays in Vancouver, Victoria or Whistler are definite requirements, with their performing and visual arts, muse- ums and multicultural dining establishments. During my career, I had the good fortune of visiting each of the are as described in this article. The best approach in planning your trip is to work with the knowledgeable sta‑ in any of the six regional tourism organizations or the community destination organizations. I am confident you will enjoy your travels in super, natural British Columbia.