Scale 1:250.000. One of North America´s great wonders is the majestic mountainous island off the west coast off British Columbia. When Capt. George Vancouver first arrived in 1790 something, the Spanish were already here, mapping. The Spanish withdrew after George showed them his Letters Patent and various islands were named in honour of members of both surveying teams. Vancouver´s Island eventually became its own crown colony, then merged with the emerging colony of British Columbia and hence became part of the expansion of Canada from sea to sea in 1871. Now, the island is the home of BC´s capital, Victoria, and is a largely rural and resource-based entity joined to the mainland by ferries. The island offers Victorian architecture in Victoria, painted murals in Chemainus, a logging museum in Duncan, great vistas of pristine beaches in Tofino, an endurance contest in the West Coast Trail, and a rustic existence far from the madding crowd just about anywhere.