Vancouver Island, located in British Columbia, Canada, is the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand. Originally called Quadra and Vancouver Island after Spanish navigator Juan de la Bodega y Quadra and British navy officer George Vancouver, the island was first explored by British and Spanish expeditions in the late 18th century. The former's name was eventually dropped and has since been known solely as Vancouver. It is one of several North American locations named after this British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794. While the city of Vancouver is located on the North American mainland, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on the island. Along with the minor islands near its southern portion, it is the only part of British Columbia that is south of the 49th Parallel.
The island is 460 kilometres (290 mi) in length, 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width at its widest point, and 32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi) in area. It is the largest island on the western side of North America, the world's 43rd largest island, Canada's 11th largest island, and Canada's second most populous island after the Island of Montreal. The Canada 2011 Census population is 759,366. Nearly half of these (344,630) live in Greater Victoria. Other notable cities and towns on Vancouver Island include Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay, and Campbell River.
The geography of Canada describes the geographic features of Canada, the world's second largest country in total area.
Situated in northern North America (constituting 41% of the continent's area), Canada spans a vast, diverse territory between the North Pacific Ocean to the west and the North Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Arctic Ocean to the north (hence the country's motto "From sea to sea"), with the United States to the south (contiguous United States) and northwest (Alaska). Greenland is to the northeast; off the southern coast of Newfoundland lies Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, an overseas collectivity of France. Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60°W and 141°W longitude to the North Pole; however, this claim is contested. While the magnetic North Pole lies within the Canadian Arctic territorial claim as of 2011, recent measurements indicate it is moving towards Siberia.