Vancouver is a city in British Columbia, Canada. With its location near the mouth of the Fraser River and on the waterways of the Strait of Georgia, Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, and their tributaries, Vancouver has, for thousands of years, been a place of meeting, trade and settlement.
The presence of people in what is now called the Lower Mainland of British Columbia dates from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago when the glaciers of the last ice age began to disappear. The area, known to the First Nations as S'ólh Téméxw, shows archeological evidence of a seasonal encampment ("the Glenrose Cannery site") near the mouth of the Fraser River that dates from that time.
The first Europeans to explore the area were Spanish Captain José María Narváez in 1791, and British naval Captain George Vancouver in 1792. The area was not settled by Europeans until almost a century later, in 1862. The city grew rapidly following completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) transcontinental line from Eastern Canada, allowing for continuous rail service in the late 1880s. Chinese settlers were increasingly a presence in the area following completion of the CPR. Subsequent waves of immigration were initially of Europeans moving west, and later, with the advent of global air travel, from Asia and many other parts of the world.
The population of Metro Vancouver is just over two million of which 43 per cent have a first language other than English. The population of downtown Vancouver is 578,000 comprised of over 200 different ethnic origins. Multiculturalism is threaded throughout the region in the restaurants, festivals, and these unique neighbourhoods that make up the lower mainland area.
Vancouver is a dynamic, international city that offers an unprecedented range of activities and experiences. There are many cultural attractions and performing arts for visitors to partake in. Vancouver too offers many shopping and nightlife options. Nature too can be found nearby with the 400 hectare (1000 acre) Stanley Park. Vancouver’s location means that hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking, whale watching are just a few of the many outdoor activities you can experience directly from your doorstep.
* Vancouver Aquarium - behind the scene encounters with beluga whales and sea otters.
* Capilano Suspension Bridge - 70 metres above the Capilano River is a network of suspended walkways called Treetops Adventure.
* Grouse Mountain - For panoramic views of Vancouver, the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain climbs 1,100 metres.
* Vancouver Art Gallery - in the heart of downtown the gallery features more than 7,900 works from local and international artists valued at over $100 million.
* Performing Arts - Vancouver offers everything from innovative comedy and dinner theatre, Broadway extravaganzas, to Shakespeare on the beach in the summer, as well as brilliant performances by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Opera and Ballet British Columbia.
* Nightlife - The late-night scene in Vancouver is a thriving mix of lounges, laid-back pubs and energetic music venues. Some of the “hippest” lounges are found in many of the downtown hotels. Live music is never hard to find in Vancouver.
* Shopping - Concentrated street shopping - antique shops on Granville Street, outdoor gear on Broadway & high-end boutiques on Robson Street. Granville Island – home to many local artisan studios. Gastown, featuring galleries of First Nations art and craftworks, jewelry and souvenir T-shirts.
* Chinatown - Vancouver is home to the third-largest Chinatown in North America after those in San Francisco and New York. Located east of downtown, Chinatown is also home of the renowned Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
* The Drive - Nicknamed “Little Italy” or “The Drive”, Commercial Drive is where decades of European immigrants - especially Italians, Greeks and Portuguese – have created an eclectic offering of restaurants, coffee bars and exotic delis. Natural food eateries sit ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with reggae record stores, gelatterias, and the good-old Italian-style coffee bar.
BC Place is British Columbia’s largest sports and events facility, and Canada’s premier soccer stadium. The world-class stadium has hosted over 27 million people right in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown entertainment district. Over the years, BC Place has hosted an incredible range of high profile events including the ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Today, BC Place is the home of Major League Soccer’s’ Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions, and the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
The new BC Place reopened in 2011 after an extensive $563million revitalization, including soccer-specific upgrades throughout the stadium, and the installation of the largest cable-supported retractable roof of its kind in the world.