The port city named after the British captain George Vancouver is located on Canada's west coast in the province of British Columbia. The Strait of Georgia connects Vancouver with the Pacific. Natural barriers form the 32.100 square kilometer Vancouver Island in the west and a coastal promontory with three high mountains in the east. Compared to the rest of Canada, Vancouver has a particularly mild microclimate due to its location and warm ocean currents.
Relax under palm trees at English Bay
Vancouver – data & facts
Vancouver is a fairly young city. According to scientific knowledge, the region was inhabited by humans more than 4.000 years ago; But it was not until 1792 that Captain Vancouver explored the area on behalf of the English crown.
After that, another 70 years passed until the first settlement was established in the region as a result of the Fraser Canyon gold rush of the 1860s. It grew slowly at first; In 1900, no more than 26.000 people lived in today's urban area. However, the 100.000 mark was already reached in 1911. According to current estimates (as of 2022), the population is 706.000. More than 2,8 million people live in the Vancouver metropolitan area.
Marine Building in Vancouver's Financial District
From a Canadian perspective and in a global comparison, Vancouver is considered the most livable city. Those residents who have a roof over their heads and a stable, well-paying job may see it that way. Disadvantaged people complain about the high proportion of foreigners. Forty-seven percent of the population belongs to so-called “visible minorities”. Of these, Chinese in particular make up the largest non-Caucasian population group at almost 30 percent. “Caucasian” has long been considered a synonym for white people in North America. And visitors also notice Vancouver's social problems: several thousand people live under porches or in doorways on the street.
The city, built around a natural harbor, mainly participates in trade and from Canada's most important port, the second largest on the west coast of North America. Renowned forestry and mining companies have their headquarters in the region. Vancouver is also an important financial center and - believe it or not - the third most important location for the North American film and TV industry.
The Financial District as seen from the Vancouver Lookout
The conditions for cutting-edge technology and software companies are ideal. And last, but not least, the tourism sector is enjoying ever-growing demand. Vancouver was home to the Expo 86 World's Fair and the 2010 Winter Olympics, and cruise tourism to and from Alaska continues to grow.
Vancouver's cultural life
The university city of Vancouver has a rich cultural life. In addition to a powerful theater, an opera house and a symphony orchestra, there are several museums and galleries. The most important museum is the Vancouver Art Gallery, the largest art museum in Western Canada. Other important museums are the Museum of Anthropology or the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Vancouver - A-maze-ing Laughter cultural project in Morton Park
Rock, folk and pop festivals are held regularly. But also fireworks competitions, dragon boat races and other things find many spectators every year.
Vancouver's tourist magnets
Modern buildings shape the cityscape. Canada Place stands for the contemporary architecture. The spacious building with a characteristic, sail-like roof was the former Canadian pavilion of the Expo 86. Today the cruise ships dock at Canada Place.
The tourist magnets are the districts of Gastown, the actual nucleus of the city, and Granville Island with the Public Market. The Financial District is also well worth seeing. There are striking buildings such as the Sun Tower, the Marine Building and the Fairmont Hotel.
More recently, the Vancouver Lookout, the Living Shangri-La, at 201 meters, the tallest building in Vancouver, and the Trump Tower, the second tallest building in the city.
Vancouver is surrounded by remarkably beautiful nature. Stanley Park is a scenic highlight in the middle of the city. The more than 400 hectare rainforest area offers everything a nature lover would like.
Original totem poles in Stanley Park
Under Vancouver attractions let's introduce some of the sights in more detail.
Port of Vancouver – the gateway to Alaska
In 2023, Vancouver's port handled 332 cruise ships. Between April and October, nearly 1,2 million passengers passed through the cruise terminals. Most passengers took cruises to Alaska from Vancouver.
Update February 2024