Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia,Canada(#Canada). The 2011 census recorded 603,502 people in the city, making it the eighth largest Canadian municipality. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. The Greater Vancouver area of around 2.4 million inhabitants is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada.
The City of Vancouver encompasses a land area of about 114 square kilometres, giving it a population density of about 5,249 people per square kilometre (13,590 per square mile). Vancouver is the most densely populated Canadian municipality, and the fourth most densely populated city over 250,000 residents in North America, behind New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
The original settlement, named Gastown(#Gastown), grew around the Hastings Mill logging sawmill and a nearby tavern, both established in 1867. Enlarging to become the townsite of Granville, with the announcement that the railhead would reach the site it was renamed “Vancouver” and incorporated as a city in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada, and London. As of 2009, Port Metro Vancouver is the busiest and largest port in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Metro Vancouver into one of the largest film production centres in North America, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.
Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unitacknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world’s most livable cities for five consecutive years. Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, UN Habitat I, Expo 86, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. In 2014, following thirty years in California, Vancouver became the indefinite home of the annual TEDconference. Canada will host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and several matches will be played in Vancouver, including the final at BC PlaceStadium. The 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics were held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 mi) north of the city.
Vancouver is one of Canada’s warmest cities. Vancouver’s climate is temperate by Canadian standards and is usually classified as Oceanic orMarine west coast, which under the Köppen climate classification system would be Cfb. The summer months are typically dry, with an average of only one in five days during July and August receiving precipitation. In contrast, precipitation falls during nearly half the days from November through March.
Vancouver is also one of the wettest Canadian cities; however, precipitation varies throughout the metropolitan area. Annual precipitation as measured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond averages 1,189 mm (46.8 in), compared with 1,588 mm (62.5 in) in the downtown area and 2,044 mm (80.5 in) in North Vancouver. The daily maximum averages 22 °C (72 °F) in July and August, with highs rarely reaching 30 °C (86 °F).
The highest temperature ever recorded at the airport was 34.4 °C (93.9 °F) set on 30 July 2009, and the highest temperature ever recorded within the city of Vancouver was 35.0 °C (95.0 °F) occurring first on 31 July 1965, again on 8 August 1981, and finally on 29 May 1983.
On average, snow falls on eleven days per year, with three days receiving 6 cm (2.4 in) or more. Average yearly snowfall is 38.1 cm (15.0 in) but typically does not remain on the ground for long.
Winters in Greater Vancouver are the fourth mildest of Canadian cities after nearby Victoria, Nanaimo and Duncan, all on Vancouver Island. Vancouver’s growing season averages 221 days, from March 29 until November 5, longer than any other major city in Canada.
Vancouver is one of the few major cities in North America without a freeway leading directly into the downtown core (freeway proposals in the 1960s and 1970s were defeated by community opposition). As a result, development has taken a different course than in most other major North American cities resulting in a relatively high use of transit and cycling, a dense, walkable core and a development model that is studied and emulated elsewhere.
While Vancouver(#Vancouver) is still a young city, it has a variety of attractions and points of interest for the visitor. Many of the city’s landmarks and historical buildings can be found downtown. Canada Place, with its distinctive sails, the Vancouver Convention Centre located just beside it, the intricate Art Deco styling of the Marine Building and the old luxury railway hotel of the Hotel Vancouver are in the central business district. Stanley Park (the city’s most popular attraction), along with its neighbouring Coal Harbour walkway and the Vancouver Aquarium are in the West End and Gastown, the original town site of Vancouver, has a number of restored buildings and its steam clock is a popular spot to visit. Modern architecture worth visiting also includes Shangri-La, currently the tallest building in the city, and the Sheraton Wall Centre. Another popular city landmark, the bustling markets and shops of Granville Island(#Island), is just to the south of downtown in South Granville.