Vancouver, officially the City of Vancouver, is the most populous city in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
The 2011 census recorded 603,502 people in the city, making it the eighth largest Canadian municipality. The Greater Vancouver area of around 2.4 million inhabitants is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country, the second largest city on the United States–Canada border, and the most populous in Western Canada. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city. The City of Vancouver encompasses a land area of about 114 square km, giving it a population density of about 5,249 people per square km (13,590 per square mi). Vancouver is the most densely populated Canadian municipality with over 250,000 residents, and the fourth most densely populated such city in North America behind New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
The original settlement, named Gastown, grew up on clearcuts on the west edge of the Hastings Mill logging sawmill's property, where a makeshift tavern had been set up on a plank between two stumps and the proprietor,Gassy Jack, persuaded the curious millworkers to build him a tavern, on 1 July 1867. From that first enterprise, other stores and some hotels quickly appeared along the waterfront to the west. Gastown became formally laid out as a registered townsite dubbed Granville, B.I. ("B.I" standing for "Burrard Inlet"). As part of the land and political deal whereby the area of the townsite was made the railhead of the CPR, it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated shortly thereafter as a city, in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada, and Europe. As of 2014,Port Metro Vancouver is the third largest port by tonnage in the Americas (displacing New York), 27th in the world, the busiest and largest in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Greater Vancouver and nearby areas into one of the largest film production centres in North America, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.
Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most liveable cities for five consecutive years. Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, UN Habitat I,Expo 86, the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009; and the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics which were held in Vancouver and Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 mi) north of the city. In 2014, following thirty years in California, the annual TED conference made Vancouver its indefinite home. Several matches of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup were played in Vancouver, including the final at BC Place Stadium.
|POPULATION :||• City 603,502 |
• Urban 2,135,201
• Metro 2,313,328
|FOUNDED :||Incorporated 6 April 1886|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone PST (UTC−8)|
• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
|LANGUAGE :||English (official) , French (official)|
|AREA :||• City 114.97 km2 (44.39 sq mi)|
• Metro 2,878.52 km2 (1,111.40 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||0–152 m (0–501 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||49°15′N 123°6′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.63%|
• Female: 50.37%
|AREA CODE :||604, 778, 236|
|POSTAL CODE :||V5K to V6Z|
|DIALING CODE :||+1 604|
|WEBSITE :||City of Vancouver|
Vancouver occupies a pretty enviable spot in the world. Blessed with miles of coastline, lush vegetation and crowned by the North Shore Mountains, it's hard to be there and not stop at some point and be amazed by what you see.
But scratch beneath that setting and you find a cosmopolitan city of many faces. It's a bit of old and a lot of new, a stopping place for immigrants that have infused the city's neighbourhoods, festivals and food. On one hand, it's the third largest metropolitan area in Canada, the second biggest destination for visitors to the country and the economic hub of British Columbia. A modern city of glass towers with a variety of festivals, cultures and attractions, it has also been host to world events like the 1986 World Exposition and the 2010 Winter Olympics. To others, it's Vansterdam, the laid-back socially progressive city with the laissez-faire attitude to marijuana. With its Asian heritage and relative proximity to China and Japan, some see it as the gateway to Asia. And with all that nature minutes from your door, Vancouver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It's one of those rare places you could ski in the mountains, hit the beach and play a round of golf all in the same day.
All of this makes it easy to be a local. Walk the Seawall. Spend a day in one of the parks. Indulge in food and treats from around the world at a neighbourhood restaurant. Or just grab a spot at the beach or on a patio and watch it all go by -- Vancouver is, after all, one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
- Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre, 200 Burrard St (Plaza level, Burrard & Cordova), , fax: . 8:30AM-6PM. Offers maps, brochures and other information for visitors.
Located on the Burrard Peninsula, Vancouver lies between Burrard Inlet to the north and the Fraser River to the south. The Strait of Georgia, to the west, is shielded from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. The city has an area of 114 km2 (44 sq mi), including both flat and hilly ground, and is in the Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8) and the Pacific Maritime Ecozone. Until the city's naming in 1885, "Vancouver" referred to Vancouver Island, and it remains a common misconception that the city is located on the island. The island and the city are both named after Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver (as is the city of Vancouver, Washington in the United States).
Vancouver has one of the largest urban parks in North America, Stanley Park, which covers 404.9 hectares (1,001 acres). The North Shore Mountains dominate the cityscape, and on a clear day, scenic vistas include the snow-capped volcano Mount Baker in the state of Washington to the southeast, Vancouver Island across the Strait of Georgia to the west and southwest, and Bowen Island to the northwest.
With its location on the Pacific Rim and at the western terminus of Canada's transcontinental highway and rail routes, Vancouver is one of the nation's largest industrial centres. Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's largest and most diversified port, does more than C$172 billion in trade with over 160 different trading economies annually. Port activities generate $9.7 billion in gross domestic product and $20.3 billion in economic output. Vancouver is also the headquarters of forest product and mining companies. In recent years, Vancouver has become a centre for software development,biotechnology, aerospace, video game development, animation studios and television production and film industry. The city's strong focus on lifestyle and health culture also makes it a hub for many lifestyle-brands with Lululemon, Kit and Ace, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Herschel Supply Co., Reigning Champ, and Nature's Path Organic Foods all founded and headquartered in Vancouver.
Vancouver's scenic location makes it a major tourist destination. Many visit to see the city's gardens, Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, VanDusen Botanical Garden and the mountains, ocean, forest and parklands which surround the city. Each year over a million people pass through Vancouver on cruise ship vacations, often bound for Alaska.
Vancouver is the most stressed in the spectrum of affordability of housing in Canada. In 2012, Vancouver was ranked by Demographia as the second most unaffordable in the world, rated as even more severely unaffordable in 2012 than in 2011. The city has adopted various strategies to reduce housing costs, including cooperative housing, legalized secondary suites, increased density and smart growth. As of April 2010, the average two-level home in Vancouver sold for a record high of $987,500, compared with the Canadian average of $365,141.
Since the 1990s, development of high-rise condominia in the downtown peninsula has been financed, in part, by an inflow of capital from Hong Kong immigrants due to the former colony's 1997 handover to China. Such development has clustered in the Yaletown and Coal Harbour districts and around many of the SkyTrain stations to the east of the downtown. The city's selection to co-host the 2010 Winter Olympics was also a major influence on economic development. Concern was expressed that Vancouver's increasing homelessness problem would be exacerbated by the Olympics because owners of single room occupancy hotels, which house many of the city's lowest income residents, converted their properties to attract higher income residents and tourists. Another significant international event held in Vancouver, the 1986 World Exposition, received over 20 million visitors and added $3.7 billion to the Canadian economy. Some still-standing Vancouver landmarks, including the SkyTrain public transit system and Canada Place, were built as part of the exposition.
Archaeological records indicate the presence of Aboriginal people in the Vancouver area from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. The city is located in the traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tseil-Waututh (Burrard) peoples of the Coast Salish group. They had villages in various parts of present-day Vancouver, such as Stanley Park, False Creek, Kitsilano, Point Grey and near the mouth of the Fraser River.
Exploration and contact
Europeans became acquainted with the area of the future Vancouver when José María Narváez of Spain explored the coast of present-day Point Grey and parts of Burrard Inlet in 1791 – although one author contends that Francis Drake may have visited the area in 1579. The city takes its name from George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet in 1792 and gave various places British names.
The explorer and North West Company trader Simon Fraser and his crew became the first known Europeans to set foot on the site of the present-day city. In 1808, they travelled from the east down the Fraser River, perhaps as far as Point Grey.
The Fraser Gold Rush of 1858 brought over 25,000 men, mainly from California, to nearby New Westminster (founded 14 February 1859) on the Fraser River, on their way to the Fraser Canyon, bypassing what would become Vancouver. Vancouver is among British Columbia's youngest cities; the first European settlement in what is now Vancouver was not until 1862 at McLeery's Farm on the Fraser River, just east of the ancient village of Musqueam in what is now Marpole. A sawmill established at Moodyville (now the City of North Vancouver) in 1863, began the city's long relationship with logging. It was quickly followed by mills owned by Captain Edward Stamp on the south shore of the inlet. Stamp, who had begun logging in the Port Alberni area, first attempted to run a mill at Brockton Point, but difficult currents and reefs forced the relocation of the operation in 1867 to a point near the foot of Dunlevy Street. This mill, known as the Hastings Mill, became the nucleus around which Vancouver formed. The mill's central role in the city waned after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the 1880s. It nevertheless remained important to the local economy until it closed in the 1920s.
The settlement which came to be called Gastown grew up quickly around the original makeshift tavern established by "Gassy" Jack Deighton in 1867 on the edge of the Hastings Mill property. In 1870, the colonial government surveyed the settlement and laid out a townsite, renamed "Granville" in honour of the then-British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Granville. This site, with its natural harbour, was selected in 1884 as the terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway, to the disappointment of Port Moody, New Westminster and Victoria, all of which had vied to be the railhead. A railway was among the inducements for British Columbia to join the Confederation in 1871, but the Pacific Scandal and arguments over the use of Chinese labour delayed construction until the 1880s.
The City of Vancouver was incorporated on 6 April 1886, the same year that the first transcontinental train arrived. CPR president William Van Horne arrived in Port Moody to establish the CPR terminus recommended by Henry John Cambie, and gave the city its name in honour of George Vancouver. The Great Vancouver Fire on 13 June 1886, razed the entire city. The Vancouver Fire Department was established that year and the city quickly rebuilt. Vancouver's population grew from a settlement of 1,000 people in 1881 to over 20,000 by the turn of the century and 100,000 by 1911.
Vancouver merchants outfitted prospectors bound for the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. One of those merchants, Charles Woodward, had opened the first Woodward'sstore at Abbott and Cordova Streets in 1892 and, along with Spencer's and the Hudson's Bay department stores, formed the core of the city's retail sector for decades.
The economy of early Vancouver was dominated by large companies such as the CPR, which fuelled economic activity and led to the rapid development of the new city; in fact the CPR was the main real estate owner and housing developer in the city. While some manufacturing did develop, including the establishment of the British Columbia Sugar Refinery by Benjamin Tingley Rogers in 1890 , natural resources became the basis for Vancouver's economy. The resource sector was initially based on logging and later on exports moving through the seaport, where commercial traffic constituted the largest economic sector in Vancouver by the 1930s.
The dominance of the economy by big business was accompanied by an often militant labour movement. The first major sympathy strike was in 1903 when railway employees struck against the CPR for union recognition. Labour leader Frank Rogers was killed by CPR police while picketing at the docks, becoming the movement's first martyr in British Columbia. The rise of industrial tensions throughout the province led to Canada's first general strike in 1918, at the Cumberland coal mines on Vancouver Island. Following a lull in the 1920s, the strike wave peaked in 1935 when unemployed men flooded the city to protest conditions in the relief camps run by the military in remote areas throughout the province. After two tense months of daily and disruptive protesting, the relief camp strikers decided to take their grievances to the federal government and embarked on the On-to-Ottawa Trek, but their protest was put down by force. The workers were arrested near Mission and interned in work camps for the duration of the Depression.
Other social movements, such as the first-wave feminist, moral reform, and temperance movements were also instrumental in Vancouver's development. Mary Ellen Smith, a Vancouver suffragist and prohibitionist, became the first woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada in 1918. Alcohol prohibition began in the First World War and lasted until 1921, when the provincial government established control over alcohol sales, a practice still in place today. Canada's first drug law came about following an inquiry conducted by the federal Minister of Labour and future Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. King was sent to investigate damages claims resulting from a riot when the Asiatic Exclusion League led a rampage through Chinatown and Japantown. Two of the claimants were opium manufacturers, and after further investigation, King found that white women were reportedly frequenting opium dens as well as Chinese men. A federal law banning the manufacture, sale, and importation of opium for non-medicinal purposes was soon passed based on these revelations. These riots, and the formation of the Asiatic Exclusion League, also act as signs of a growing fear and mistrust towards the Japanese living in Vancouver and throughout B.C. These fears were exacerbated by the attack on Pearl Harbor leading to the eventual internment or deportation of all Japanese-Canadians living in the city and the province. After the war, these Japanese-Canadian men and women were not allowed to return to cities like Vancouver causing areas, like the aforementioned Japantown, to cease to be ethnically Japanese areas as the communities never revived.
Amalgamation with Point Grey and South Vancouver gave the city its final boundaries not long before it became the third-largest metropolis in the country. As of 1 January 1929, the population of the enlarged Vancouver was 228,193.