The Sunshine Coast, in southwest British Columbia, extends 177 km (110 mi) along the Strait of Georgia from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound. In this west coast geography of deep sea inlets, coastal bays and inter-connected lakes, First Nations people navigated their canoes along fresh and saltwater highways, Prohibition-era rum smugglers hid out in secret coves and the 19th century Union Steamships ferried passengers, goods and mail along the Sunshine Coast until 1959. The region’s myriad waterways, Coastal Mountains and old-growth forests draw visitors from around the world to ride whitewater tidal rapids, dive amid a sunken mermaid and WWII ships, climb sheer granite cliffs and hike some of the longest, most varied and scenic trails in Canada.
Population: Sunshine Coast region: 29,551. (Source: BC Stats, 2009). Largest communities: Powell River (12,957), Sechelt (8,454), Gibsons (4,182). (Source: BC Stats Municipal Census Populations, 2006)
Economic Drivers: Forestry has been one of the region’s historic economic mainstays, with tourism and the cultural arts gaining ground as emerging sectors, along with fishing, aquaculture, retail and high tech. Mining is significant as well, with the largest open pit sand and gravel mine operating outside of Sechelt. Howe Sound Pulp and Paper in Port Mellon, producers of wood-fibre based paper for the past century, is BC’s longest running pulp and paper mill. read more >