Vancouver – Canada, North America
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada. The city proper has more than 640,000 people, making it the eighth largest among Canadian cities and the most densely populated Canadian city of over 25,000 residents, with 5,039 people per square kilometre in 2006. The city is ethnically and linguistically diverse, with 52% for whom English is not their first language.
The settlement of Gastown grew around a logging sawmill 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. Port Metro Vancouver is the new name for the Port of Vancouver, which is now the busiest and largest in Canada, as well as the fourth largest port (by tonnage) 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 the third-largest film production centre in North America after Los Angeles and New York City, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.
Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide “livable city” rankings for more than a decade according to business magazine assessments and it was also acknowledged by Economist Intelligence Unit as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world’s most liveable cities for five straight years. It has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. 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 the warmest Canadian cities. Vancouver’s climate is temperate by Canadian standards and is usually classified as Oceanic or Marine west coast, which under theKöppen climate classification system would be Cfb. The summer months are typically dry, often resulting in moderate drought conditions, usually in July and August. In contrast, most days during late fall and winter (November–March) are rainy.
Annual precipitation as measured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond averages 1,199 millimetres (47.2 in), though this varies dramatically throughout the metropolitan area due to the topography and is considerably higher in the downtown area. In winter, a majority of days receive measurable precipitation. Summer months are drier and sunnier with moderate temperatures, tempered by sea breezes. 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 was 34.4 °C (93.9 °F) on July 30, 2009.
On average, snow falls on eleven days per year, with three days receiving 6 cm (2.4 in) or more. Average yearly snowfall is 48.2 cm (19.0 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 streetcar system began on June 28, 1890 and ran from the (first) Granville Street Bridge to Westminster Avenue (now Main Street and Kingsway). Less than a year later, the Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company began operating Canada’s first interurban line between the two cities and beyond to Chilliwack, with another line, the Lulu Island Railroad, from the Granville Street Bridge to Steveston via Kerrisdale, which encouraged residential neighbourhoods outside the central core to develop. The British Columbia Electric Railway became the company that operated the urban and interurban rail system, until 1958 when its last vestiges were dismantled in favour of “trackless” trolley and gasoline/diesel buses. Vancouver currently has the second-largest trolleybus fleet in North America, after San Francisco.