The Strait of Georgia is a body of water separating VANCOUVER ISLAND and mainland British Columbia south of QUADRA ISLAND. Part of a basin between 2 mountain ranges, the floor of the strait was deepened in the ice age by south-flowing glaciers. The Strait of Georgia is the northwest arm of the inland SALISH SEA.

History
Coastal Salish have occupied the strait for between 5000 and 10 000 years. In 1791, 2 Spanish navy ships under Francisco de Eliza explored its coast. Captain George VANCOUVER followed in 1792, naming it the Gulf of Georgia, after George III, the British monarch. "Gulf" was changed to "strait" in 1865.

Present Day
Most of BC's population is clustered around the Strait of Georgia, especially in metropolitan VANCOUVER. It has year-round deep-sea shipping ports in Burrard Inlet, on the Fraser River estuary, at Roberts Bank, on Vancouver Island's east coast, on Howe Sound and at POWELL RIVER. These are typically linked with railheads, and with forest-products mills or other manufacturing plants. The strait is also the main centre of the PACIFIC SALMON fishery, and its mild, rain-shadow climate makes it a popular marine recreation area in summer.