Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Strait of Georgia
The Strait of Georgia (also known as Georgia Strait and the Gulf of Georgia) is a 240 km (150 mi)-long strait between Vancouver Island (as well as its nearby Gulf Islands) and the mainland Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada. The southern end of the strait is the intersection of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while the northern end is Johnstone Strait .
Several major islands are found in the Strait, the largest being Texada Island and Lasqueti Island . The strait is a major navigation channel on the west coast of North America, owing to the presence of the Port of Vancouver. The two busiest routes of the British Columbia Ferries system cross the Strait, between Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (near Victoria) and between Horseshoe Bay (north of Vancouver) and Nanaimo.
While native communities have surrounded the Strait for thousands of years, the first European to explore it was Jose Maria Narvaez of Spain, in 1791. It received its current name (actually the "Gulf of Georgia" version) from George Vancouver of Great Britain in 1792, during his extensive expedition along the west coast of North America.
Towns and cities on the strait include Courtenay/Comox, Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Lantzville and Nanaimo on the western shore, as well as Powell River, Sechelt, Gibsons, and Greater Vancouver on the east. Across the border in the United States, Bellingham, Washington and other communities also lie on the eastern shore. Other settlements on Vancouver Island (such as Duncan) and the mainland are separated from Georgia Strait itself by islands, or are far enough south to be considered closer to Puget Sound.
In the late 1960s, Georgia Strait inspired the name of Vancouver's alternative newspaper, The Georgia Straight, which has published continuously since.
See also: Queen Charlotte Strait
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