Greater Vancouver is unusual among world cities, and
it is truly unique
in Canada for it's combination of the natural and the urban, the
recreational and the cultural, and the relative lack of pollution
and the opportunities for business and industry.
Vancouver's greatest natural asset is the beauty of it's natural
surroundings; a beautiful combination of
mountains form a panorama around the area and provide numerous recreational
opportunities just a short drive away, the mountains also provide
shelter from colder northern winds, they also trap a generous
amount of rainfall on the area which helps create a milder climate
and a healthy/green environment ... the
Coastal Ocean and
River provide natural port area's that contribute significantly to
the local economy and also create many water-based recreational activities.
Greater Vancouver region is located
at the very south-western region of mainland Canada, in the
westernmost of Canada's ten provinces,
British Columbia... depending
on where you define it's exact boundaries, the
region occupies approx. 3,000 sq. kilometers on and around the
Fraser River Delta. The
Greater Vancouver region has a population of just over 2 million
people, and is the 3rd most populous region in Canada, after the greater
Toronto and Greater Montreal area's.
City of Vancouver
is the largest city within the
Greater Vancouver region,
Vancouver is also the largest city in the
province of BC.
Vancouver is consistently named one of
the top cities in the world. Vancouver is very unique in that; in many large cities, the downtown core
is mostly just a place of business where people work and shop by
day, but largely avoid at night... not so in
Vancouver, where the
beautiful city that is densely populated/inhabited.
is blessed to have one of the mildest
climates in Canada... the summers are relatively warm and the
winters are relatively mild with very little snow. One of the reasons
Vancouver is blessed with a mild winter climate is the weather
systems move into the area from west to east... while the rest of Canada is
submerged in cold air from the north and the prairies,
basks in the warmer Pacific airstreams coming off the Pacific Ocean,
these Pacific weather systems sometimes originate near Hawaii are
often referred to as a
Pineapple Express. But while
is blessed with a milder climate, it is cursed with a lot of winter
North Shore Mountains latch onto water heavy clouds that
dump considerable precipitation onto the area during the winter
months... the rain does have it's advantages though, as the region's natural
vegetation/forests are beautiful, healthy and thick, the grass stays green,
and the rain also helps clean the air.
spectacular natural environment; it's majestic mountains, sparkling
ocean, rainforests, beautiful foliage, rich farmlands, and four seasons make
Greater Vancouver one of the most beautiful regions in the world...
and because of
Greater Vancouver's balmy
climate, no matter
what time of the year you visit, there are indoor and outdoor
activities to please adults, families, couples and friends... you
can enjoy world class
entertainment, sporting events,
spectacular sights, and
365 days a year.
Greater Vancouver is
also one of the leading multi-cultural centers of
the world... the area is welcoming to all - families, couples, gay &
lesbian travelers, and special needs visitors - everything is within
Vancouver International Airport has consistently been
rated as a top North American airport providing easy access from all
over the world.
The province of BC is
also rich in natural resources,
and over the decades, the
Greater Vancouver economy has largely developed
around the province's natural resources... with
Burrard Inlet being
one of the world's largest natural harbours; it is deep, sheltered,
and ice-free all year... Greater Vancouver is also the western
terminus for two transcontinental rail lines and the
transcontinental highway... and with the nearby
Port of Roberts
Greater Vancouver region has played a
major role in the processing and shipping of the raw material
associated with the province's
industries. However, in recent years, the
Greater Vancouver economy
has diversified significantly into tourism, film, trade, construction, and
Greater Vancouver is
also Canadaís gateway to the Asia-Pacific
Vancouver International Airport is the second-busiest
international airport in Canada... while the
Vancouver Port is the
largest deep-water port on the west coast of the America's... the
currently plans a major BC business expansion/initiative over the
coming decades designed for
to participate in the rise of the Chinese economy, which is
forecasted to eventually create roughly 500,000 additional jobs in
Located midway between Europe and Asia in the Pacific time zone,
Greater Vancouverís business community is in the enviable position of being
able to communicate with all continents during the course of a
regular business day... from
Greater Vancouver, one can monitor business
activity in Europe in the early morning, watch North American
markets during the day, and schedule conference calls with Asia in
Greater Vancouver has an extensive public transportation network
rapid transit trains,
passenger ferries, with service
provided seven days a week, 8 to 20 hours per day, depending on the
Vancouver is also the home
port for the Vancouver-Alaska
cruise routes... from May to September, nearly a million
cruise ship passengers and close to 300 sailings pass through
Greater Vancouver is also the focal point for post-secondary
BC, with over a dozen public
post-secondary institutions in the region... collectively, these
institutions have annual enrollment of nearly 200,000, and award
more than 9,000 degrees and certificates each year... in addition to
providing excellence in teaching, the
University of British Columbia
Simon Fraser University (SFU) are also committed to
excellence in research.
Once you visit
Greater Vancouver and spend some time here, you'll
understand why the area is consistently voted as one of the most
livable regions in the world.
Early Greater Vancouver History:
Before the arrival of European
settlers, the Greater Vancouver region was inhabited by a thriving
population of native Indians... the Natives had settled in various
regions of Greater Vancouver for thousands of years... and while
there isn't a huge amount of documentation pertaining to these early
native inhabitants, one can clearly see from the land they occupy
today, that these people had concentrated their villages/communities
along the coastal ocean waters, and also along the Fraser River...
living along the coastal waters and the Fraser River provided a very
rich banquet of seafood, as well as, a convenient water-way
transportation network... it was noted by early European settlers
that the early native cultures were highly developed, and that they
were master carpenters and canoe-makers, and exquisite craftsmen.
Unfortunately, many of the original skills, crafts, and cultures of
the early natives were lost during European settlement, as European
settlement proved very disruptive and destructive to the early
In 1791, a Spanish navigator/explorer named Jose Narvaez
is considered to be the first European to arrive in the Greater
Vancouver area, however, he anchored off the Point Grey area, but he
"missed" the entrance to Burrard Inlet and thus was not credited
with the European discovery of Vancouver, which was made the
following year by Captain George Vancouver.
In 1792, Captain George Vancouver arrived and claimed the
land currently known as Vancouver for Britain while searching for
the north-west passage to the Orient. In his writings "Voyage
of Discovery" Captain Vancouver describes how he was officially
welcomed by the local natives;
"From Point Grey we proceeded first up the
eastern branch of the sound, where, about a league from its
entrance, we passed to the northward of an island which nearly
terminated its extent, forming a passage from ten to seven fathoms
deep, not more than a cable's length in width. The Island lying
exactly across the channel, appeared to form a similar passage to
the south of it, with a small island lying before it. From the
islands, the channel, in width about half a mile, continued its
direction about east. Here we were met by about fifty Indians, in
their canoes, who conducted themselves with the greatest decorum and
civility [the "island" was Stanley Park] presenting us with several
fish cooked, and undressed, of the sort already mentioned as
And while Captain Vancouver had entered Burrard Inlet on June 13,
1792, and in due course he circumnavigated Vancouver Island, finishing
his painstaking survey of the coast and sailing home to write about
his account of seamanship, for the next approx. 70 years after his
visit, Burrard Inlet and the Greater Vancouver remained relatively undisturbed by the
In 1808, while searching for a viable fur trade route and
passage to the Pacific Ocean, Explorer and Fur Trader Simon
Fraser traveled along the Fraser River... Simon Fraser was
actually disappointed with the Fraser River as a trade route due to the rugged and violent
sections of its waters. Discouraged by the Fraser, early explorers were
neither able to discern the richness that was hidden under the
river's turbulent waters, nor were they able to foresee that the
river would eventually become the main transportation route between
the interior of the province and the coast.
In 1827, the Hudson's Bay Company set up a fur trading
post; Fort Langley, which was located 30 miles east of Vancouver on
the Fraser River. Fort Langley was the first European settlement in
the Lower Mainland, however, homesteaders were not encouraged to
land-clearing activities would drive away the fur bearing animals.
The major event or turning point that spurred the big interest in
the Lower Mainland by Europeans was the discovery of Gold along the
Fraser River in 1858. As Prospectors poured up the Fraser
Valley in the search of Gold (approx. 25,000 of them who mostly came
from depleted Gold mines in California) the need for control of the
wild-land and to provide order among the Gold seekers, and also to
protect the land from encroachment by the United States, led the
British Government to create the crown colony of British Columbia.
James Douglas, then Governor of Vancouver Island, became Governor of
the new colony. A company of Royal Engineers under Colonel R.C.
Moody were dispatched from England to make surveys,
build roads, and enforce the Queen's law.
Colonel Moody was responsible for choosing the village of
Queensborough, later New Westminster, as the capital of the colony.
Burrard Inlet became the back door to the capital and to the
arterial water-highway of the Fraser River. To establish Burrard Inlet as
an alternative route of access to New Westminster, Colonel Moody's
men in 1859 built a pack trail to the inlet. In 1861 the
trail was widened to take wagons, and was named "North Road".
The Royal Engineers charted the coastline of the inlet and
designated the future Stanley Park as a military reserve. By 1863
Moody and his engineers had completed the survey of lots 181-185,
townsite of Granville, and on the disbanding of his force each man
received a grant of 150 acres. Moody and most of his men returned to
England, the rest remaining to make their homes in the colony, but
all were on the ground floor of the land speculation that has been
one of the major guiding forces of Greater Vancouver ever since.
By all accounts, from the present Granville Street to the tip of
Point Grey grew one of the most magnificent stands of virgin timber
the world has ever seen... one Douglas Fir that stood on Georgia
Street between Seymour and Granville was reported to be 13 ft. in
diameter at the stump, the fallen giant tree was measured as 4 ft.
thick at an astonishing 200 ft. up from the butt, sections of the
tree were shipped back to Britain to be displayed in a garden show
to as a colonial phenomenon.
In 1867, John Deighton, called "Gassy Jack"
because he was
so talkative, opened a saloon near Hastings Sawmill on Burrard
Inlet. As liquor was prohibited on company land, business boomed for
Jack; he was so successful that a community known as "Gastown" grew
around his saloon.
In 1869, Gastown was officially incorporated as the town
In 1884, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided on Coal
Harbour, at the mouth of Burrard Inlet, as its transcontinental
terminus. This decision was crucial to the subsequent rapid
development of Vancouver.
In 1886, the town of Granville, population 1,000, became
the city of Vancouver. On June 13 of that year, the entire city of
wiped out by a clearing fire gone wild, fewer than a half dozen
buildings remained standing. Despite the chaos of rebuilding, the
inaugural City Council showed remarkable foresight by turning the
First Narrows Military Reserve into a park, the park was named
"Stanley Park" after Governor General Lord Stanley. After the fire,
the city grew rapidly, by the end of the year approx. 800 buildings
had been built.
In 1887, the first CPR train chugged into Vancouver... the
transcontinental railway had been completed.
In 1889, the original Granville St. Bridge was built.
In 1893, the Hudson's Bay Company opened its first
department store at Granville and Georgia Streets.
In 1908, the University of British Columbia was founded.
In 1925, the original Second Narrows Bridge opened,
connecting Vancouver with the North Shore.