To represent some of the unique aspects of British Columbia, various animals, plants, objects, and designs have been adopted by the Legislative Assembly to act as official symbols of the province. Each of these symbols have been chosen because they have a special meaning to British Columbians and help to build a provincial cultural identity. In recognition of their importance, many of these symbols have been incorporated into the design of the Parliament Buildings, both inside and outside.
Most visible throughout the Legislative Precinct are the provincial
Coat of Arms and
flag. Inside the
Legislative Chamber, parliamentary symbols include the
Black Rod and the mace. Other symbols include the:
Flower - The flower of the Pacific dogwood tree (Cornus nuttalli) was adopted as B.C.’s floral emblem on February 23, 1956. The Pacific dogwood flower blooms in April on trees that grow between 8 to 15 metres (26 to 49 feet) high. In the fall, the Pacific dogwood is striking with dark red berries and brilliant foliage. It can be found in the design of the ceiling decorations on the first floor of the Parliament Buildings.
Bird - The Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) was adopted as B.C.’s official bird on December 17, 1987. Coloured a vibrant blue and black, it is a lively, smart, and cheeky bird found throughout the province.
Tree - The Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) was adopted as the official tree of B.C. on February 18, 1988. The Western Red Cedar is traditionally harvested by many coastal and interior Indigenous peoples for making canoes, clothing, housing, and innumerable other essential objects.
Mammal - The Kermode or spirit bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) is a black bear that has white fur due to a rare genetic trait. It was named B.C.’s mammal emblem on May 18, 2006.
Gemstone - Jade was adopted as B.C.’s official gemstone on April 6, 1968. 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.
Tartan - The official tartan was first designed in 1967 and officially adopted on January 1, 1974. Most commonly associated with Scotland, a tartan is a pattern of vertical and horizontal colours often displayed on cloth. The colours of B.C.'s tartan 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.
Fish - The Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus) was added to B.C.'s official symbols in February of 2013. Pacific salmon includes the following species: Chinook, Chum, Coho, Cutthroat trout, Pink, Sockeye, and Steelhead. The Pacific salmon has immense economic and cultural significance to many Indigenous communities along B.C.'s coasts and rivers.