Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia and the third largest in Canada. The city itself has a population of 611,869, with the metropolitan area boasting a combined population of 2,249,725.
It is situated on Canada’s West Coast and is only a short drive north of the US/Canada border.
Vancouver’s diverse economy is robust, spurred by growth in construction and tourism. The Port of Vancouver is one of the best deep-water ports in the world, and over 75 million tonnes of cargo is handled there each year.
BC is rich in natural resources like timber, gas and ore, so it is no surprise that the city is home to the headquarters of numerous mining and forestry companies, including Canfor and Placer Dome.
A young, educated labour force has also made Vancouver an important hub for the high-tech industry. From video game production at EA to next-generation fuel cells at Ballard Power Systems, the Greater Vancouver area is ripe with high-tech career opportunities.
The construction boom that started in the early 90’s shows no signs of slowing down. The skyline is spotted with cranes and the impending 2010 Winter Olympics® will only further fuel this mushrooming industry. The RAV rapid transit line between Vancouver Airport and downtown will create hundreds of jobs alone, not to mention the venues for the Games that still need to be built. Demand for skilled trades is at an all-time high.
Vancouver has worked hard to earn its reputation as a safe, clean, extremely liveable city. But, like any city of comparable size, Vancouver is not immune to crime. The city’s violent crime rate is well below the national average. But a drug problem, concentrated in the Downtown Eastside, fuels a higher-than-average property crime rate. In response, the Vancouver Police Department is educating the public on how to make their residences safer and is also dedicating more officers to battling crimes like burglary, arson and shoplifting.
The Lower Mainland also experiences a high auto theft rate, but police and the private sector are spearheading programs(like the highly successful ‘Bait Car’ program) that are effectively dealing with this problem.
There are almost 75 elementary schools and 18 secondary schools in Vancouver. It also boasts five private schools and numerous adult learning facilities.
In addition, the city is home to the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Langara College, Vancouver Community College and Douglas College. Plus, the Vancouver Film School provides cutting edge training for Hollywood’s next hit makers, while a plethora of ESL schools cater to a growing number of foreign students.
Outdoorsy types love Vancouver. Where else can you play 18 holes of golf in the morning and hit the slopes in the same afternoon? The sparkling waters of the Pacific also invite sea kayaking, while the sandy beaches are perfect for hardcore relaxing.
The world-famous seawall, surrounding Stanley Park, is ideal for walking, biking or rollerblading. The city is also criss-crossed with a great network of bike routes that make getting around on two wheels easy, safe and fun.
The looming North Shore Mountains not only supply the city with much of its natural beauty, they also supply the active population with countless outdoor pursuits. A dedicated cadre of mountain bikers has laid out an extensive network of trails complete with ramps, jumps and platforms. There are trails for all skill levels. The Grouse Grind on Grouse Mountain is known by the moniker “Mother Nature’s Stairclimber.” It’s a 1.8 mile hike straight up the mountain.
When you are talking about attractions in Vancouver, you have to mention Stanley Park. This 1,000-acre park on downtown Vancouver’s western edge is a cherished urban park, with trails, playing fields, concert venues, beaches, pitch & putt golf and so much more.
The North Shore offers Capilano Suspension Bridge, a towering span high above Capilano River. You’ll also find Grouse Mountain, your chance to ride a tram up to the mountaintop and enter a world of vistas, views and adventure.
Downtown, you’ll find the Telus World of Science, and the Lookout! at Harbour Centre, among others.
The city is also host to the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL, the BC Lions of the CFL, the Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL and the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Summertime means the Vancouver Canadians return to Nat Bailey Stadium for minor league baseball excitement.
Vancouver is progressive in many aspects of life, and its transit system is no different. The entire area is serviced by Translink. A fleet of trolley buses provides emission-free transportation in the city, with regular buses and the subway-like Skytrain reaching out into the surrounding suburbs. Residential developments are starting to clustering around the Skytrain stations, making for convenient and responsible commuting.
With its multicultural population and strong artistic community, it is no surprise that Vancouver boasts a lively and diverse cultural landscape. From live theatre to dance, the city brims with high culture.
The Vancouver Art Gallery boasts one of the most impressive collections of art in the country and features a rotating series of displays from other galleries around the world. South Granville St. also hosts a collection of smaller galleries that feature work from local and international artists. It makes for a great day of browsing.