The temperate rainforests of British Columbia are home to some of the biggest trees on Earth. Due to the high annual rainfall and 12-month growing season, old-growth Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, and western redcedar trees can grow to staggering proportions and live to be more than a thousand years old, inspiring wonder and awe in people around the globe.

The world’s largest-known Douglas-fir, the Red Creek Fir, the world’s largest-known redcedar, the Cheewhat Giant, and Canada’s largest spruce, San Jo’s Smiley, are all found on Vancouver Island. The town of Port Renfrew on southern Vancouver Island is known as the ‘Tall Trees Capital of Canada’, home to the burly redcedars at the famed Avatar Grove, the magnificent San Juan Spruce, as well as Big Lonely Doug, Canada’s second-largest Douglas-fir tree. The tallest known tree in Canada is a 315 ft (96 m) Sitka spruce dubbed the Carmanah Giant. The widest is a redcedar at Cheewhat Lake nearly 20 ft (6 m) in diameter. The very ‘biggest’ overall though are crowned as such based on their volume in cubic meters. See the BC Big Tree Registry for more info.

Evolving over centuries, these big trees are part of larger old forest ecosystems that, with their varied canopies and lush flora, provide unique habitat, carbon storage, tourism, cultural, and spiritual values.

To learn more about these ancient giants, journey through this gallery of photos taken by AFA campaigner and photographer, TJ Watt. To visit some of them yourself, check out this Big Tree Map of the Port Renfrew area or the Big Tree Registry Map.

Though a few of these towering beauties are protected from logging, many are not. We encourage you to SPEAK UP for BC’s biggest trees and ancient forests by telling the BC government to commit funding for old-growth protection.