Famed for its magnificent waterfront, Vancouver is located just to the North of the US border in the South West of British Columbia, between the Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River delta.
The city is the industrial, commercial and financial heart of British Columbia, connected to the United States and the rest of Canada by four railways and an international airport.
The city originated in the 1870s as a sawmilling settlement originally called Granville. It was incorporated as a city after becoming the terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1886. Built to entice British Columbia to join newly independent Canada, the railway opened the way for Vancouver to become the country’s eastern gateway. At the same time, the city was renamed in honour of Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver, who navigated the coast in 1792.
The prominence of the city’s port was consolidated in 1891 when the ‘Empress of India’ became the first ocean liner to arrive in Vancouver from the Orient. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1915 made the export of grain and lumber from Vancouver to the American East coast and Europe economically feasible.
Vancouver was Canada’s third largest city by the middle of the twentieth century.
In recent years Vancouver has made much of its claim to be ‘the gateway to the Far East’. This has led to large-scale immigration particularly from Hong Kong, Vietnam and Japan and has helped to create the city’s bustling Chinatown.
Vancouver is the fastest growing city in Canada. Its population increased by 17% between 1987 and 1992, with a further 50% increase predicted for the next decade.
Vancouver is North America’s third largest film and TV production centre after Los Angeles and New York. The city hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Places of Interest
Vancouver’s museums include the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Museum and a planetarium. A conservatory and botanical garden are in Queen Elizabeth Park, the city’s highest point, while the 400 ha Stanley Park houses an aquarium with whales, dolphins and piranhas.