Vancouver Island is the largest island on the west coast of North America and is separated from the British Columbia Mainland by the Strait of Georgia. The climatic influence of the Pacific Ocean tempers the typical freezing Canadian winter temperatures. Winters are mild with significant precipitation and summers are warm and dry. While the maritime influence on the Island’s climate provides for mild winters and warm summers, there are a variety of region-specific climates ranging from semi-Mediterranean in the Southeast to temperate rainforest on the Northern and Western coasts.
Natural resources and service industries still play a significant role in Vancouver Island’s economy. Business services and the educational/knowledge-based sectors are dominant economic mainstays in Victoria and Nanaimo, the two largest cities on the island. Furthermore, Victoria is the seat of British Columbia’s provincial government and the Capital City of the province. As such, Victoria’s economy is stable, comprising a significant proportion of government employees. As a result of the spectacular natural scenic beauty of the Region, tourism is also very important on the island, providing a growing component of economic and job growth.
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island is Ucluelet, a district municipality with a population of approximately 1,500. With an area of 6.55 square kilometres, Ucluelet is renowned for its beaches, surfing, hiking, camping, kayaking, whale watching, and many other outdoor attractions. Ucluelet is increasingly becoming a tourism-driven economy, and the community features a number of resorts, restaurants, and adventure tourism activity centres. Ucluelet is situated at the northwest corner of Barclay Sound, a world-renowned eco-tourism and recreational destination.
Also within the area is the Esowista Peninsula – home of the internationally renowned Pacific Rim National Park. The Park boasts some of the west coast’s most beautiful sandy beaches and expansive spruce rainforests. Also within the area is Clayoquot Sound; separated by the peninsula from the Pacific Ocean, it is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In January, 2000, the sound was designated as a reserve to recognize and celebrate the unique ecosystems of the area and the hard work and dedication of those who create a sustainable environment.