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Regional Series: South Coast

British Columbia’s South Coast is a vibrant metropolitan region and one of Canada’s most multicultural areas. It offers access to West Coast lifestyle activities as well as all the amenities of dynamic urban hubs. The region’s thriving economy is filled with opportunity and the workforce to make innovation happen.

This region of British Columbia (B.C.) includes Vancouver and the surrounding Metro Vancouver area, the Fraser Valley, Squamish, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast. It is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in Canada. It has more than 2.8 million people including many traditional First Nations communities along with an array of ethnic communities infusing daily life with rich cultural traditions founded in B.C. and from around the world.

Gateway Connected

A robust network of roads, railways, airways and shipping routes make transportation efficient and cost effective.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) offers direct links to major business centres around the world, including Australia, France, India and non-stop connections to seven cities in China. It has been ranked as the number one airport in North America for a record 11 years running.

Not only is YVR great for passenger travel, it also has a dedicated truck border crossing and proximity to the Vancouver Harbour for efficient, low-cost, sea-to-air and air-to-ground cargo transfers. The airport has over a million square feet of cargo buildings and warehouse space, a competitive cost structure and supportive export distribution legislation that means companies can re-export without duties or taxes.

The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port with 27 major terminals moving the most diversified range of cargo in North America to over 170 trading economies. Investments exceeding $9 billion from governments, industry and the port authority have been made on terminal and transportation infrastructure enhancements in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. These projects add road, rail and terminal capacity, and enhance efficiency to support the movement of goods through the Asia Pacific Gateway.

Innovative Workforce Culture

The region attracts talent from around the globe and has a simplified immigration process that makes it easy for businesses to recruit skilled workers from outside the province, and thanks to a first-class education system, tomorrow’s leaders and innovators are graduating locally from top-calibre institutions and specialty schools. Some of the best schools for software development and artificial intelligence are in Vancouver, as are several developer bootcamps such as Lighthouse LabsBrainStationCodeCore Bootcamp and RED Academy. These collaborative learning environments meet the fast-growing tech and digital media industries’ demands. The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are recognized world-class institutions supporting leading innovation and skills training in primary sectors helping to build B.C.’s economy and collaborations around the world.

Local organizations and initiatives foster the continued development of innovation, creativity and business growth. The government is committed to supporting innovation through Innovate BC and the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.

Quality of Life

Vancouver is consistently ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world and celebrated for its natural beauty, ready access to beaches and the outdoors, mild year-round climate and steadfast commitment to public transit and other active transportation infrastructure, including walking and cycling.

The Fraser Valley borders the United States and offers desirable lifestyle amenities such as Harrison Hot Springs. The historic city of Mission and the fertile farmlands of Kent offer charm and character. Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish and Lillooet all offer outdoor adventure opportunities with convenient access to Vancouver’s metropolitan amenities. The Sunshine Coast district provides all the benefits of oceanfront living, with access to Vancouver by ferry or in less than 20 minutes by plane with a chance of whale sightings en route.

Quick Links to Big Wins

Scan the investment profiles of specific cities in the region to find the investment opportunity best suited to your needs.

  • Discover opportunities and advantages of expanding to Vancouver or investing capital in a Vancouver business from the Vancouver Economic Commission.
  • The city of Mission offers opportunities in light and advanced manufacturing, commercial retail, information technology, tourism and commercial and industrial development.
  • Abbotsford is a city on the rise and sees enormous growth in both investment and population in recent years. Key sectors for this city are agriculture and value-added processing, aerospace innovation and manufacturing and technology and is home to the Abbotsford International Airport, an increasingly important part of the regions social and economic transportation network.
  • Nestled between Vancouver and the world-famous Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Squamish has been ranked as one of the top three cities for work by BC Business Magazine with access to global markets, and a strong workforce and a place that honours the deep cultural and historic connections with the local First Nations of the Squamish (Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Úxumixw) and Lil’Wat (L̓il̓wat7úl) Peoples.
  • Just northwest of Vancouver on the Sechelt Peninsula, Canada’s Sunshine Coast is a vibrant collection of communities, each with a unique charm, character and culture that are perfectly suited to the growing small business economy, emerging tech hub and bustling arts community.
  • Peruse the details of various west coast locations from Western Investor.

Stay tuned for future blogs on other regions and sector opportunities in British Columbia, or follow Trade and Invest BC on LinkedIn or Twitter for regular updates.