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The Vancouver Island and Coast region encompasses 84,231 square kilometres of land on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the central portion of B.C.’s mainland coast from Powell River to just north of Ocean Falls and Bella Coola. This region is known for its temperate climate, unspoiled wilderness and beautiful coastlines.
In 2015, the region was home to 793,800 residents, making it the second-most-populated region in B.C. after Lower Mainland Southwest. Nearly half the region’s residents reside in Victoria’s Capital Regional District, 20% in Nanaimo and another 22% principally in small to medium sized communities in the mid and southeast coast of Vancouver Island. The rest of the region is sparsely populated and largely undeveloped. Many communities in these sparsely populated regions in the northern half of Vancouver Island and the mainland portion of the region are First Nations communities. Approximately 5% (39,300) of the regional population are First Nations. This is the highest absolute First Nations population of any region, although other regions have higher proportional First Nations populations, such as the North Coast, whose 35,300 First Nations residents make up over 60% of the total regional population.
The geographically diverse Vancouver Island and Coast region contains mountains, fertile agricultural lands, beaches, ancient rainforests, rivers, fjords, and archipelagos, which make up the traditional territory of many Coast Salish groups: Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Wuikinuxv, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw, and Da’naxda’xw in the northern mainland portion of the region adjacent to Queen Charlotte Sound; Quatsino, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Kwakwak’awakw on north and central Vancouver Island; Ditidaht, Pacheedaht, Saanich, Beecher Bay [Scia’new], Malahat, Nanoose [Snaw-naw-as], Songhees, Sooke [T’sou-ke], and Hul’qumi’num on southern Vancouver Island.