Maps and Information
Driving maps are available at bookstores, gas stations, and gift shops throughout the province. In Vancouver, pick up maps at these specialty bookstores: International Travel Maps and Books (530 W. Broadway, 604/879-3621, www.itmb.com), The Travel Bug (3065 W. Broadway, 604/737-1122, www.travelbugbooks.ca), or Wanderlust (1929 W. 4th Ave., Kitsilano, 604/739-2182). In Victoria, check out Crown Publications (521 Fort St., 250/386-4636). These stores stock many topographical maps and can order specific maps and marine charts for you.
If you’re heading to the BC Rockies, look for Gem Trek maps (www.gemtrek.com), which use computer-generated “3D Imagery” to clearly define changes in elevation and GPS to plot hiking trails. The backs of the maps are filled with trail information and tidbits of history. Waterproofing is an added bonus.
Begin planning your trip by contacting the government tourist office: Tourism BC (250/387-1642 or 800/435-5622, www.hellobc.com). The literature and maps can be downloaded from the website or ordered by phone. As well as being a great source of tourist information, the agency produces the invaluable Accommodations guide and a road map. Other handy web addresses are www.canadatourism.com, the official site of the Canadian Tourism Commission, and www.tbc.gov.bc.ca, the site of the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism, and Culture.
Each town of any size in British Columbia has a visitor center; hours vary, but most are open June–August. (The Vancouver Visitor Centre is at 200 Burrard St., 604/683-2000.) When these are closed, head to the local chamber of commerce for information. Most chamber offices are open Monday– Friday year-round.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition