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Vancouver travel guide — Vancouver tourism and travel information

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about Vancouver

Vancouver (49n16, 123w07 PST) is a Canadian city, in the province of British Columbia. It is a major seaport and the largest metropolitan centre in western Canada, home to 545,000 people in 2001 in the city itself and 2,134,300 people in the census metropolitan area in 2003. Vancouver is the main city of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) and of the larger region commonly known as the Lower Mainland. The current mayor is Larry Campbell, Coalition of Progressive Electors.

Vancouver geography

Vancouver is situated at 49 degrees, 16 minutes north, and 123 degrees, 7 minutes west, in the Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8). It is adjacent to the Strait of Georgia, a body of water that is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. Some unfamiliar with the region assume that Vancouver lies on Vancouver Island itself, but it does not. However, both the city and island (and their US American counterpart) are named after Captain George Vancouver of Great Britain, who explored the region in 1792.

Vancouver sights

Notable buildings within the city include Christ Church Cathedral, the Hotel Vancouver (now part of the Fairmont chain), the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (with a world standard collection of Native American art including work by Bill Reid), and the Vancouver Art Gallery (notable collections include illustrations by Chagall and paintings by Emily Carr). There are several striking modern buildings in the downtown area, including the Vancouver Law Courts and surrounding plaza known as Robson Square (Arthur Erickson, architect) and the Vancouver Library Square (Moshe Safdie, architect), reminiscent of the Colloseum in Rome. The tallest building in the city, One Wall Centre, will soon be eclipsed by the 60+ storey "Living Shangri La" towe (, to be completed by 2007.

Vancouver history

A settlement called "Wu'muthkweyum," (Musqueam), meaning "people of the grass," near the mouth of the Fraser River, dates from at least 3,000 years ago. Vancouver's ecosystem, with its abundant plant and animal life, provides a wealth of food and materials that have probably supported people for over 10,000 years. At the time of European contact the Musqueam and Squamish peoples had villages in the area now called Vancouver. There is also evidence of a third group, the Tsleil'wauthuth, ancestors of today's Burrard Band in North Vancouver. These were Coast Salish First Nations sharing cultural traits with people in the Fraser Valley and Northern Washington. Halkomelem was the common language of the river people; the Squamish spoke a different language.

The Native peoples of the Northwest Coast achieved a very high a level of cultural complexity for a food gathering base. As Bruce Macdonald notes in Vancouver: a visual history: "Their economic system encouraged hard work, the accumulation of wealth and status and the redistribution of wealth...". Winter villages, in what is now known as Vancouver, were comprised of large plankhouses made of Western Redcedar wood. Gatherings called potlatches were common in the summer and winter months when the spirit powers were active. These ceremonies were an important part of the social and spiritual life of the people.

Spanish Captain Jose Maria Narvaez was the first European to explore the Strait of Georgia in 1791. In the following year, 1792, the British naval Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798) from King's Lynn in Norfolk joined the Spanish expedition based at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island's west coast and further explored the Strait of Georgia, as well as Puget Sound.

Lumbering was the early industry along Burrard Inlet, now the site of Vancouver's port. The first sawmill began operating in 1863 at Moodyville (in 1915, renamed "North Vancouver"). The first export of lumber took place in 1865; this lumber was shipped to Australia. By 1865 the first sawmill, Stamp's Mill, started in what was to become the City of Vancouver.

In 1870, the colonial government of British Columbia surveyed the community officially known as Granville. It was sited immediately west of Stamp's Mill and commonly known as Gastown, a name that survives today.

In 1885 Granville was selected by the Canadian Pacific Railway to be the western terminus of the transcontinental railway commissioned by the government of Canada under the leadership of Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald. (This led to Vancouver's infrequently used nickname, Terminal City). The CPR selected the new name "Vancouver", in part because the existence of Vancouver Island nearby would help identify the location to easterners. On April 6, 1886, the city was incorporated under that name; the first regular transcontinental train from Montreal arrived at a temporary terminus at Port Moody in July 1886, and service to Vancouver itself began in May 1887.

A fire devastated much of the city on June 13, 1886, but with the arrival of the railway, Vancouver soon recovered and began to grow rapidly due to access to Canadian markets. Additionally, as part of the agreement to join the Confederation, British Columbia's debt of approximately $1,000,000 was paid in full by the Canadian government, creating additional business opportunities.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vancouver, British Columbia".

This city is also known as: Vancouver.

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