Or: Why you’re going to fall head over heels in love with Vancouver.
My brother calls us “laid-back west-coasters.” Everyone tells it’s beautiful here, when I say I’m from Vancouver. I always see news articles and broadcasts about how expensive it is to live here. All these things are true about Vancouver.
“What is it again that you love so much about [Vancouver]?” and they answer, “We have everything. The mountains and the water.” This is their explanation, mountains and water.Maria Semple – Where’d you go Bernadette (Vancouver substituted for Seattle)
Vancouver’s History in Brief
Vancouver is a major urban
On weekends, you will find most people outside at one of the many waterfront parks, beaches, or hiking trails.
Where is Vancouver located?
Its position between Burrard Inlet (an arm of the Strait of Georgia) to the north and the Fraser River delta to the south, opposite Vancouver Island,
The first thing you should know when trying to locate Vancouver on a map is that people typically refer to the entire Metro Vancouver area (which comprises several other municipalities as well) as Vancouver. To make things easier for outsides who may not be familiar with the Vancouver area (also referred to as the Lower Mainland), people who live in other municipalities say they are from Vancouver.
But, really, these are the 21 other municipalities that surround the City of Vancouver (and make up the Lower Mainland/Metro Vancouver):
- North Vancouver
- District of North Vancouver
- District of West Vancouver
- City of Burnaby
- City of New Westminster
- City of Surrey
- Village of Anmore
- Village of Belcarra
- Bowen Island Municipality
- City of Coquitlam
- City of Delta
- City of Langley
- City of Maple Ridge
- City of Pitt Meadows
- City of Port Coquitlam
- City of Port Moody
- City of Richmond
- City of White Rock
- Village of Lions Bay
It is a regular occurrence for residents of one municipality to drive between 3 or 4 others during the week.
Who were the first people to inhabit Vancouver?
The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are the original inhabitants of what is now known as Vancouver. The Lower Mainland falls within the traditional territory of three Coast Salish peoples known as, Squamish (Sḵwxwú7mesh), Tsleil-
There are pockets of reserve land in North Vancouver, where I live, (One being across the street from my apartment.) and in other municipalities within the Metro Vancouver area. There are numerous museums, art galleries, and tours (lead by members of the Coast Salish First Nations) available to allow visitors and residents to learn more about local First Nations cultures. There is also the annual Squamish Pow-Wow (in North Vancouver) that takes place every summer (usually in July), that everyone is welcome to attend.
How did Vancouver get its name?
English sailor, Captain George Vancouver was one of the first European explorers to set foot in the Vancouver area in 1792. In 1886, when the city was being incorporated, it was renamed as Vancouver at this time. Vancouver was once a small sawmill settlement called Granville.
What major events have occurred in Vancouver, that culturally shape it?
A few of the many events that happened in Vancouver over the years:
|Great Vancouver Fire||1886|
|Komagata Maru incident||1914|
|Battle of Ballantyne Pier||1935|
|First Stanley Cup riot||1994|
|Second Stanley Cup riot||2011|
What Vancouver is Best Known For
The weather here is mild – not too hot, not too cold. Sure it rains more than it does in other places, but we don’t get much snow and don’t often have to worry about flooding or other natural disasters. As such, there is a lot of green space that includes regional parks to explore, places to relax and feel like you’re the only one around, and busy city beaches where young and old congregate.
Since we love to be surrounded by mountains and water so much, we naturally have a lot of waterfront parks where people can go standup paddleboarding, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.
Vancouver is a mix of different religions, ethnicities, and cultural groups from all over the world and Indigenous communities, too. The 2011 Census found the racial and ethnic makeup of Vancouver was:
- European Canadian: 46.2%
- Chinese: 27.7%
- South Asian: 6%
- Filipino: 6%
- Southeast Asian: 3%
- Japanese: 1.7%
- Latin American: 1.6%
- Mixed visible minority: 1.5%
Look out for future blog posts focusing on the diverse cultures within the Vancouver area.
Vancouver is perhaps best known for mountains, water, high cost of living, and mild weather. But what makes the Metro Vancouver area so livable (and a great place to visit) is the prevalence of diverse cultural events and festivals (not to mention food) and accessibility to activities to enjoy in nature.
- A comprehensive history of Vancouver on the Britannia.com website.
- Insider’s Guide to Vancouver
- Vancouver Travel for 20-Somethings