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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A geographical study of Vancouver Island Jawanda, Bhagwant Singh


Vancouver Island offers varied relief from coastal plains to high mountains in the central portion of the Island. The coastline is broken, especially in the Western Coast, illustrating beautifully the work of glaciers, and thereby providing Vancouver Island with excellent harbours. These inlets also help in the exploitation of the timber resources of the Island. From these mountains spring up rivers that provide electric power for domestic and industrial uses. The southeastern coastal plain, which is highly developed, varies in width from a mile to a few miles. The glacial soils, with favourable topography, are put to intensive use around the area of urban concentrations, to supply the local markets. Climates differ from one part of the region to another. The Western Coast has an annual rainfall over one hundred inches as compared to about forty inches in the southeast. The northern part of the Island is cloudy, but the south is known for sunshine. Topography, helped by climate, makes Vancouver Island a major forest region and the forest accounts for the prosperity of the region. Forestry is the main primary occupation on Vancouver Island. Most of the secondary and tertiary industries of the Island depend upon forests for their raw material. Forest products contribute a major portion of the Island's export. Pulp and paper production is expanding rapidly. It is the physical and economic factors that make Vancouver Island one of the leading producers of forest products in Canada. Agricultural activity is limited to the southeastern part. Specialized crops are the most favoured ones because they bring high revenues. Dairying and poultry are well developed. Dairy accounts for fifty percent of the total value of the farm products. Because of sub-division and the encroachment by the urban expansion on the farm land, farms are becoming smaller and the number of part time farms is increasing. Fishing is important in some local areas, but processing of fish products is declining. The main fishing regions lie to the northeast and the other is to south and southeast of the Island. In terms of catch, herring leads in quantity, but Salmon is the most valuable. Mining contributes about nine million dollars annually. Structural materials are the most valuable types of production. Coal mining, which was once prominent, is declining, but the Comox fields might change the picture again. Iron and copper are also mined. Because of the favourable climate and opportunities for work, the population of Vancouver Island is increasing steadily. The southeastern part is densely populated. Population consists of many national groups but those of British origin are most numerous.

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