Vancouver, host of the recent 2010 Winter Olympic Games is one of Canada
’s most iconic cities and the largest in the province of British Columbia
. Although it has earned a spot as one of the world’s most expensive places to live in, it is also a regular top placer in lists for the most livable cities on the globe.
The area was occupied by aboriginal peoples as early as nine millennia ago. And while several European explorers had already gone through Vancouver, it was only George Vancouver who explored the area in 1792 and named various places around the city that would bear his name. A gold rush in 1858 attracted prospectors who formed the first settlement – and the beginnings of the city – at Fraser River. Eight years later, the city of Vancouver was formally incorporated.
Vancouver’s early economy revolved around Hastings Mill, a nearby sawmill, and the Canadian Pacific Railway company. By the 1930’s, however, local industries had expanded to retail and export businesses like the Hudson’s Bay Company. The present size of Vancouver was achieved when the old city merged with neighboring South Vancouver and Point Grey in 1929.
The Vancouver skyline is relatively unimpressive for a major North American city, due largely to the Vancouverism policies of the 1990’s. However, any tall building in most parts of the city would afford excellent views of the North Shore Mountains because of the View Corridors.
Granville Island, just a short Aquabus ride away from Downtown, is a small wonder of an attraction by itself. The Granville Island Public Markets are a great place to get newly baked bread and fresh produce for a healthy Vancouver breakfast. The rest of the island offers a literal feast with choices from authentic Greek food to yummy desserts from Olde World Fudge.
Nature lovers will have much to do in the city. The Vancouver Aquarium alone is already good for a half-day tour, all without other activities like Whale Watching at Vancouver Harbor or visiting the colorful VanDusen Botanical Garden. Escaping the pace of the metropolis might mean a breath of fresh air at the Capilano Suspension Bridge or the University Golf Club.
Although the city hosts various events throughout the year, spring is the best time to come over. That’s the time when theater companies debut their new shows, museums open new exhibits to the public and massive events like the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (between March and April) are scheduled. The TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival is another spring highlight.
Summer is the next best season to visit Vancouver. The four-night long HSBC Celebration of Light is a pyrotechnic exhibition in early August. Several events also immediately follow the end of summer. The Vancouver International Film Festival and the Vancouver Pride Parade are two events that usually happen at the start of fall.
Vancouver is a very accommodating city; it is one of the most rainbow-friendly cities in North America, and international travelers are sure to find something familiar in the City of Neighborhoods.
- Vancouver Lookout at the Harbor Center
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Vancouver Aquarium
- Grouse Mountain
- Canada Place and IMAX Theatre
- Grandville Island
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chineese Garden
- Storyum - Underground Historical Museum
- Stanley Park
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- Kitsilano Beach
- Sea to Sky Mountain Peaks Highway
- And More...