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The Mainland Southwest economic region encompasses 36,305 square kilometres of land in the southwest corner of the B.C. mainland. It includes the Greater Vancouver area, the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast, and stretches north to include Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet. While it is one of British Columbia’s smallest regions in terms of land area, it is home to over 60% of the provincial population, and serves as B.C.’s principal economic hub. While the Mainland Southwest has the third highest First Nations population (24,475) of the eight regions, this makes up the smallest percentage, at 0.84% of the region’s 2.9 million inhabitants.
The region’s mountains, oceans, lakes, inlets, beaches, the Fraser River plain and delta, and lands surrounding the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) make up the traditional territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. The Coast Salish peoples are a vast and diverse network of culturally and linguistically linked individual communities that comprise one of the largest indigenous cultural groups in British Columbia.