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Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver is a Canadian city, in the province of British Columbia. It is a
major seaport and the largest metropolitan centre in western Canada, home to
545,000 people in 2001. Vancouver is the main city in the region commonly
known as the Lower Mainland, where 1,986,965 people (2001) live. It is
situated at 49 degrees, 16 minutes north, and 123 degrees, 7 minutes west.
The current mayor is Larry Campbell, Coalition of Progressive Electors.
Vancouver is adjacent to the Strait of Georgia, a body of [Vancouver.JPG]
water that is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver
Island. The Strait of Georgia was first explored in 1791 by Spanish explorer
Lieutenant Jose Maria Narvaez. In the following year, 1792, the British
naval Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798) from King's Lynn in Norfolk
joined the Spanish expedition based at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island's
west coast and explored in more detail the Strait of Georgia, as well as
Early industry along Burrard Inlet, the body of water where Vancouver's port
is today, was lumbering. The first sawmill began operating in 1863 at
Moodyville. The first export of lumber took place in 1865; this lumber was
shipped to Australia. By 1865 the first sawmill, Stamp's Mill, started in
what was to become the City of Vancouver.
In 1870, the colonial government of British Columbia surveyed the community
officially known as Granville. It was sited immediately west of Stamp's Mill
and was commonly known as Gastown, a name that survives today.
In 1885 Granville was selected by the Canadian Pacific Railway to be the
western terminus of the transcontinental railway commissioned by the
government of Canada under the leadership of Prime Minister Sir John A.
MacDonald. (This led to Vancouver's infrequently-used nickname, Terminal
City). On April 6, 1886, the City of Vancouver was incorporated, and in May,
1887, the first train from Montreal arrived.
With the arrival of the railway, Vancouver began to grow rapidly as it was
fully connected to all of Canada and thus benefitted from access to Canadian
markets. Additionally, as part of the agreement to join the Confederation,
British Columbia's debt of approximately $1,000,000 was paid in full by the
Canadian government, creating additional business opportunities.
In an International Olympic Committee meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, in
July 2003, Vancouver received (alongside Whistler, BC) the right to host the
2010 Winter Olympics.
Vancouver is home to North America's third largest urban park, Stanley Park.
Vancouver is within quick access to the sea, mountains, forests and
cityscape. Due to tight enclosure buildings in downtown Vancouver are
similar to highrises found in Central Hong Kong. On a non-humid day one can
see Mount Baker (a volcano in Washington state) to the south-east.
Vancouver defies the Canadian sterotype of being a cold location in winter
and is typically the warmest city in Canada at such time. The temperature
and weather are almost in sync with that of Seattle's, Vancouver's nearest
major US neighbour-city. Snow is common in the surrounding mountains but not
at sea-level. Summer months are usually sunny and the temperature hovers
above 20 degrees celcius. Spring and Autumn are typically rainy and windy.
Housing prices, although falling, are still some of the most expensive in
Canada. Vancouver is a relaxed city with many diversions.
Vancouver is home to people of many ethnic backgrounds and religions. It
contains the largest Chinatown in North America outside of San Francisco.
Street signs written in Chinese and Punjabi (with original English names)
can be seen in their respective cultural communities. Prior to the hand-over
of Hong Kong to China many Chinese immigrants made Vancouver their new home.
Vancouver has been called "Hollywood North" as it typically hosts 10% of all
Hollywood movies. Many television series which appear on American TV are
also filmed exclusively in Vancouver.
Tourism is also a vital industry in Vancouver. Vancouver has repeatedly been
designated the home to the best skiing mountains in North America.
Vancouver has been named host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It was the site
of the 1986 World Exposition.
Vancouver is served by a regional rapid transit system. This is run by the
Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), although the actual service is
contracted out. There is frequent bus service to and from downtown
Vancouver, frequent passenger-only service accross accross Burrard Inlet
(known as SeaBus, as well as the subway-like SkyTrain line, which goes from
downtown to Surrey. Currently in planning is the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver
light rail line, but, funding disputes are suggesting that this may not get
Vancouver does not have a comprehensive freeway system. Municipal bylaws and
geography have dictated that the only freeway within city limits is the
Highway 1 Freeway, which passes through the eastern edge of the city.
Vancouver is served by Vancouver International Airport, which is located on
Sea Island in Richmond. The airport is one of the buisiest on the West Coast.
Professional Sports Teams
* Vancouver Canucks (National Hockey League)
* British Columbia Lions (Canadian Football League)
* Vancouver Ravens (National Lacrosse League)
* Vancouver Whitecaps (A League Soccer)