Vancouver island is in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Canada. It is part of the Canadian province of British Columbia province of British Colombia. The island is 460 kilometres (290 mi) in length, 100 kilometres (62 mi) in width at its widest point, and 32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi) in area. It is the largest island on the West Coast of North America.
The southern part of Vancouver Island is the only part of British Columbia or Western Canada to lie south of the 49th Parallel, along with most of the southern Gulf Islands and minor offshore islands. This area has one of the warmest climates in Canada, and since the mid-1990s has been mild enough in a few areas to grow subtropical Mediterranean crops such as olives and lemons.
Vancouver Island had a population in 2016 of 775,347. Nearly half of that figure (367,770) live in the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria. Other notable cities and towns on Vancouver Island include Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, and Campbell River. Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is located on the island, but the larger city of Vancouver is not – it is on the North American mainland, across the Strait of Georgia from Nanaimo.
Vancouver Island has been the homeland to many indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The island was explored by British and Spanish expeditions in the late 18th century. It was named Quadra's and Vancouver's Island in commemoration of the friendly negotiations held in 1792 by Spanish commander of the Nootka Sound settlement, Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, and by British naval captain George Vancouver, during the Nootka Crisis. Quadra's name was eventually dropped from the name. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, who explored the Pacific Northwest coast between 1791 and 1794.
Vancouver Island is the world's 43rd largest island, Canada's 11th largest island, and Canada's second most populous island after the Island of Montreal. It is the largest Pacific Island anywhere east of New Zealand.