There are 386,016 natural lakes in British Columbia, according to the provincial government, and 4,965 of them have names.
Many of them you know: they define entire regions of the province — from Okanagan to Kootenay Lake — or are so popular they require day passes, like Joffre or Garibaldi.
Some are beloved summer vacation spots (say, Cultus or Sproat Lake), some look like pristine postcards (Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park comes to mind) and some are small in area but big in visitors (we’re looking at you, Trout Lake).
The longest is Babine, near Burns Lake, at 177 kilometres in length, while the deepest is Quesnel, which is also the deepest fjord lake in the entire world at 511 metres.
And then there are thousands that pass by without much mention, or have duplicate names: in B.C. there are 20 Long Lakes, 15 Summit Lakes, 13 Fish Lakes and 12 Hidden Lakes.
They may not get as much attention as our rivers or oceans, but the lakes of this province are important parts of our ecology, history and culture. We love them for their beaches, their swimming, their views and their overall sense of relaxation.
But which one is the best?
It’s bracket time
After competitions to find the best neighbourhood in Metro Vancouver and small town in B.C., we’re doing a contest that unites both groups — heading to the best lake in the summertime.
The Search for B.C.’s Best Lake begins today, and over the next two weeks we’ll have a series of votes to (unofficially) determine which one is tops in the province.
Choosing between 386,016 lakes would be too difficult though, which is why we’ve selected a shortlist from the hundreds of submissions sent to us last month.
A series of play-in votes narrowed the field down to 48 lakes, which we’ve divided into two sections — those in the southwest corner of the province (including Vancouver Island), and those beyond Hope.
In both sections, eight lakes received automatic byes to the second round, which means you can begin voting for them next round. We’ll go from 48 lakes to 32, to 16, to 8, 4 and 2, until we crown a champion right before B.C. Day.
Voting will take place until 10 p.m. PT each day, starting with the first 16 matchups that you’ll find at the end of this article.
Happy voting — and may the best lake win!
Southwest B.C. Lakes
Interior B.C. Lakes