Ranked one of the three most livable cities in the world, Vancouver tied with Vienna as having the third highest quality of living in the world and is consistently named as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Named after Captain George Vancouver, a British explorer, the city of Vancouver in Canada is ethnically diverse, with more than half of its residents having a first language other than English.
Vancouver is located between the Strait of Georgia and the Coast Mountains and was first settled in the 1860s because of the Gold Rush. Since then the city grew from a small lumber mill town to the bustling metropolitan it is now. The city itself forms part of the Burrard Peninsula, lying between Burrard Inlet to the north and the Fraser River to the south. Its port, the Port of Vancouver is the busiest seaport in Canada and is internationally significant because of the Panama Canal.
The city is the third-largest film production centre in North America earning it the sobriquet of Hollywood North. Vancouver is also renowned for its scenery and has one of the largest urban parks in North America, Stanley Park.
The climate here is temperate by Canadian standards and it has the fourth warmest winters when compared to other Canadian cities. Summer brings the sun with moderate temperatures but sea breezes give some relief. Summers are usually dry and in contrast, most of the winters there is measurable precipitation. On average, snow falls on only 11 days a year.
As o now, the city is gearing up for the 2010 Winter Olympics that will be held here and nearby Whistler.
According to archaeological data, Aboriginal tribes inhabited the Vancouver area as far back as 4,500 to 9,000 years ago.
1791 – The coastline of present-day Point Grey is first explored by Jose Maria Narvaez of Spain, followed by George Vancouver.
1792 – Captain George Vancouver spends only one day on the site which, almost 100 years later, would bear his name. He also explores the inner harbor of Burrard Inlet and gives various places British names.
1808 – Explorer and fur trader Simon Fraser reaches the Pacific overland by a river he mistakenly thinks is the Columbia. The river was later named after him.
1827 – The Hudson’s Bay Company sets up a fur trading post on the Fraser River and becomes the first settlement in the Vancouver area.
1858 – The Gold Rush on the Fraser brings about 25,000 prospectors, mostly from the United States, seeking riches.
1859 – New Westminster is named the capital of British Columbia.
1867 – “Gassy” Jack Deighton opens a tavern and the community known as Gastown grows around it.
1860 – Three Englishmen known as the “Three Greenhorns” build an unsuccessful brickyard in what is now the West End.
1861 – The Cariboo Gold Rush brings 25,000 men, mainly from California, to the mouth of the Fraser River and what would become Vancouver.
1862 – The first European settlement is established at McLeery’s Farm on the Fraser River. A sawmill established at Moodyville helps set up the lumber trade.
1870 – The colonial government lays out a town, Granville, in honor of the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville. With its natural harbor it is selected as the terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
1886 – Granville is incorporated as the City of Vancouver; the first transcontinental train arrives; on June 13, the city is burned to the ground in less than 30 minutes. It is quickly rebuilt, and the Vancouver Fire Department is established.
1893 – Hudson’s Bay Company opens its first department store (it’s still open today).
1897 – Klondike Gold Rush boosts a continent-wide depression; Vancouver merchants sell much equipment to prospectors.
1898 – The Nine o’clock Gun is placed at Brockton point signaling the time by being discharged every evening at 9 pm precisely.
1909 – The Dominion Trust Building, the first skyscraper, is built and is still standing. Ferry service begins to West Vancouver.
1913 – Depression lasts two years severely reducing trade a provincial mining boom.
1918 – Mary Ellen Smith, a Vancouver suffragist and prohibitionist, becomes the first woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada.
1971 – A 10 km pedestrian seawall at Stanley Park officially opens; Gastown and Chinatown are designated as historic districts by the Provincial Government.
1985 – SkyTrain opens with much of its route being along that of the city’s first public transit system.
1986 – Vancouver hosts Expo 86 to celebrate its centennial. It is the largest special category (Transportation) World Exposition ever staged in North America.
2003 – Vancouver is selected as the Host City for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.