Vancouver is a Canadian city in the province of British Columbia. In terms of population, it is the third largest city in the country and the largest city in western Canada. Vancouver is governed by the ten members of the Vancouver City Council. Vancouver is ranked among the top five cities with the best quality of life. People of many different ethnic backgrounds and religions live in the city. The Port of Vancouver is one of the busiest on the western coast and is located around the attractive Burrard Inlet harbor area. The Port of Vancouver is a major contributor to the city's economy through sales of over $43 billion in trade with more than 90 countries.
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Vancouver is located on the Strait of Georgia and is part of the Burrard Peninsula. Located south of the scenic Fraser River, Greater Vancouver has many popular beaches. The Pacific coast is less than 90 miles to the west. The Cascade Mountain Range are visible to the east. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Mt. Hood can be reached within two hours. Vancouver has a total area of 114.67 km². The city lies at 49° 14' North latitude and 123° 5' degrees West longitude. About 600,000 people live in the city.
Vancouver is one of Canada's more temperate cities in terms of weather and climate. The city of Vancouver doesn't have the big highs, lows, and extreme rain and snow that you can experience in other Canadian cities. Winter in Vancouver is cold but bearable, and spring is wet and cool, with a pleasant climate. Summers in Vancouver are dry and warm, with sunny weather, and autumn is generally cooler and wetter again. The best travel time is from May to September.
photo: Zhatt in the public domain
Native peoples lived in the Vancouver area thousands of years ago. There was an abundance of food because of the forests and rivers. The American merchant and sailor Robert Gray was the first to sail the legendary "Great River of the West" (Columbia River) in May 1792. Later that year, British Lieutenant William Broughton, under the command of Captain George Vancouver, explored the river 100 miles upstream, he named part of the land along the coast of Vancouver after his commander.
In 1806, the American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped near Vancouver on the return journey of their famous expedition to the West. Lewis described the area as "the only desirable place for development west of the Rocky Mountains." In 1825, Dr. John McLoughlin decided to move the Northwestern headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company from Astoria to a more favorable environment upstream. He named the place Vancouver as indicated by Broughton's original map.
photo: Pubic Domain
Fort Vancouver has long been the center of all fur trade in just northwest. It was also a center of the British rule of Oregon. In 1846, U.S. control to the north was extended to the 49th parallel. The northwest became part of the United States. In 1857, the city of Vancouver was captured. Vancouver developed steadily over the century. In 1908 the first rail line reached Vancouver. In 1910, a rail bridge was opened to the south over the Columbia River. The Interstate Bridge was completed in 1917.
During World War I, Vancouver was the site of the largest sawmill. It supplied the timber used to build the planes that won the war in Europe. During World War II, the Vancouver Kaiser Shipyard built a large number of vessels that contributed greatly to the American war effort. In the sixties and seventies, there was rapid growth, especially in the city center and adjacent areas such as the West End. Vancouver strengthened its position as an international financial and business center, so many new office jobs in the city center were added.
Expo '86 was of paramount importance to the development of Vancouver. With the advent of the World Expo, Vancouver became an adult city. This six-month event, coinciding with Vancouver's 100th anniversary, brought millions to the city and was the flywheel for the renovation in several neighborhoods. New facilities were built for the Expo. Includes the 60,000-seat BC Place Stadium that has been redone in its opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
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Vancouver is not known as a quintessential mass destination and people who expect large amusement parks and mega tourist sites when visiting Vancouver will be disappointed. But what the city of Vancouver does offer is a variety of historical buildings and monuments worth visiting. There are also a number of educational, but very nice tourist attractions. Some of the more popular tourist attractions in Vancouver are the Vancouver Aquarium and the Storyeum. Kids and those who are young at heart can have fun at the seasonal Playland amusement park.
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Vancouver Aquarium is a must for anyone with an interest in marine life. This popular attraction is home to more than 20,000 different animals. The biggest crowd favorites are dolphins, Beluga whales, giant snakes and fish that gasp for air. Children are invited to participate in 'sleepovers' after the regular aquarium opening times and have the opportunity to get close personal contact with some of the maritime inhabitants.
Housed in an underground theater, Vancouver's Storyeum is a live multimedia experience that tells the story of British Columbia's colorful history. There are also dinosaurs in the Gastown exhibit, with over 100 prehistoric fossils and 11 complete dinosaur skeletons. The highlight is a life-size T-rex.
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Playland is located in Hastings Park and the number of visitors is often close to the maximum capacity of the amusement park. This popular theme park has many permanent attractions, but some are also replaced or renewed every year. A wooden roller coaster dates from 1958 and is still in operation.
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The Vancouver Art Gallery is Vancouver's finest facility for modern and classic art. In addition to a permanent exhibition of works by historically famous artists, there are itinerant exhibitions of modern artists. The Art Gallery has a collection of 7,900 works of art that are on permanent display.
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Telus World of Science is the place to find a large number of interactive exhibitions focused on science. Also here is the huge Omnimax theater with its gigantic screen. Here educational programs are displayed on a big screen all day long.
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Whistler is the most important outdoor area of British Columbia known for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Here you can participate in a variety of activities depending on the season. During the summer, visitors can participate in rafting, mountain biking, canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding. In winter you can ski, sleigh ride, snowshoe hike and much more. Located within driving distance of Vancouver, Whistler is a must for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors.
Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more informationLast updated March 2021
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