British Columbia's Other Official Emblems


PROVINCIAL FLOWER: PACIFIC DOGWOOD

Scientific name: Cornus nuttallii.

Adopted as B.C.’s official flower in 1956 with the passage of the Floral Emblem Act.

The dogwood was considered an unofficial emblem beginning in 1931 when the Dogwood Protection Act was passed to prohibit cutting or picking its flowers on public land.

Eight dogwood flowers were incorporated in the design on the Legislature Mace in 1954.

The Pacific dogwood grows six to eight metres high and flowers in April and May. In the autumn it is conspicuous for its cluster of bright red berries and brilliant foliage.

   

PROVINCIAL GEMSTONE: JADE

Adopted as B.C.’s official gemstone in 1968 through the Mineral Emblem Act.

Heavy interest by “rock hounds” in the late 1960s led to the creation of the Fraser River Jade Reserve in 1968. The reserve stretched from the Hope Bridge to the suspension bridge in Lillooet.

Jade is known as an extremely tough material and was used in knives and axe heads. It later became prized by carvers of fine jewelry and sculptures.

B.C. is home to half of the world's jade.

   

PROVINCIAL TARTAN

Adopted as the official tartan in 1974 through the B.C. Tartan Act.

The B.C. tartan was first designed in 1967 as part of 1966-67 centennial celebrations marking the creation of British Columbia as one colony and Canada’s Centennial.

The tartan was designed by Earl K. Ward of Victoria.

The tartan was recorded with the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh (official registry of Scottish tartans) in 1969.

The tartan colours are: blue for the ocean; white for the dogwood; green for the forests; red for the maple leaf; and gold for the crown and sun on the shield and flag.

   

PROVINCIAL BIRD: STELLER’S JAY

Scientific name: Cyanacitta stelleri.

Adopted as B.C.’s official bird in 1987 to celebrate the national centennial of wildlife conservation in Canada. The first bird sanctuary in Canada had been created in Saskatchewan in 1887.

The bird was selected by a provincewide mail-in vote held by the Ministry of Environment and Parks. The vote returned 85,000 ballots.

The Steller's Jay won with 21,261 votes. The peregrine falcon finished second (19,417 votes) and the trumpeter swan third (11,713 votes).

The Steller's Jay is named after George Steller, a German physician and naturalist with Vitus Bering’s expedition, which reached the west coast of B.C. in the mid-1700s.

   

PROVINCIAL TREE: WESTERN RED CEDAR

Scientific name: Thuja plicata donn.

Adopted as B.C.’s official tree in 1989 through the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act to symbolize the province’s forest heritage.

The process to select the official tree included public nominations, an essay contest for students, and a final recommendation by the British Columbia Tree Council.

B.C.’s First Nations had many uses for red cedar, including dwellings from its wood, baskets from its roots, and clothing from red cedar bark.

Commercial production of products from western red cedar began around 1825 in Fort Vancouver with the hand-splitting of cedar into shakes by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Millions of homes have been built with Western Red Cedar because the wood is very lightweight and easy to finish.

Other applications include poles, siding, fencing, caskets and arbors, sheds and gazebos.

More on B.C.'s Spirit Bear.
More on Provincial Symbols.
More on Great Bear Rainforest.
spirit bear video.
WWF awards.