Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, North America

Founded: 1867; Incorporated: April 6, 1886
Location: Southwestern British Columbia on the Pacific Coast of Canada
Flag: Green triangle (left) with yellow emblem; white field with blue waves.
Motto: "By Sea, Land and Air We Prosper."
Flower: Rose in all its forms (floribunda, hybrid tea, grandiflora and climbers) and of no specific color
Time Zone: 4 am Pacific Standard Time (PST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time
Ethnic Composition: 21% Chinese; 11% English; 4% East Indian; 72% of single origins; 28% of multiple origins (1991 est.)
Latitude and Longitude: 49°16′N, 123°7′W
Coastline: Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Fraser River, and the Burrard Inlet
Climate: Winters are generally wet and mild while summers are warm and dry. The city's climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean, which moderates the temperature and is responsible for precipitation.
Annual Mean Temperature: 11.0°C (51.8°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: 8.0 cm (3.1in)
Average Annual Precipitation (rainfall and melted snow): 94 cm (37 in)
Government: Mayor and ten-member council
Weights and Measures: Metric
Monetary Units: Canadian dollar (Can$)
Telephone Area Codes: 604

2. Getting There

Vancouver is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Fraser River to the south, and the Burrard Inlet to the north. It borders the city of Burnaby to the east, aptly separated by Boundary Road. It is accessible by land, sky, and water.


Two major highways lead to Vancouver: the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 1, funnels drivers into the city from the east; Highway 99, which becomes I-5 at the United States-Canada border, brings in traffic from the south. Vancouver is a 12-hour drive from Calgary, Alberta's capital city, and a five-day drive from Montreal. Vancouver is only three hours north of Seattle, in Washington State.

Bus and Railroad Service

Pacific Central Station, the terminus for transcontinental passenger rail and bus service, is located at Main Street and Terminal Avenue in downtown Vancouver. VIA Rail, BC Rail, the Rocky Mountaineer, and Amtrak offer regularly scheduled passenger rail service to Vancouver. VIA Rail has transcontinental services from Toronto three times a week.

Vancouver Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 514,000
Area: 114 sq km (44 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 21% Chinese; 11% English; 4% East Indian; 72% of single origins; 28% of multiple origins
Nicknames: Lotus Land; Hollywood North

Metropolitan Area

Population: 1,987,000
Description: Vancouver and surrounding communities
Area: 1,076 sq mi
World population rank1: 166
Percentage of national population2: 6.5%
Average yearly growth rate: 1.9%


  1. The Vancouver metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Canada's total population living in the Vancouver metropolitan area.

Greyhound Lines serves Vancouver from numerous cities in the United States and Canada. Also serving the market are International Stage Lines, Pacific Coach Lines, and Gray Line of Vancouver.


Vancouver International Airport serves both international and domestic airlines. Currently, 19 major carriers, 11 regional and local airlines, and several charter companies fly into Vancouver International Airport. Americans have a choice of 70 non-stop flights daily from 21 cities in the United States. Direct flights from the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia Pacific region (Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan) are offered.


Vancouver is accessible by water from Seattle, Victoria, the Gulf Islands, and parts of coastal British Columbia. Cruise ship facilities at Canada Place serve as a departure point for journeys to Alaska by major cruise lines. There are more than 250 cruises each year from May to early October.

Bus, Commuter Rail, and Ferry Service

TransLink operates the public transit system in Greater Vancouver. Its network of buses, combined with the Sky Train and Sea Bus fleet, covers more than 1,800 square kilometers (695 square miles).

Greater Vancouver is divided into three fare zones, one of which is formed by the city of Vancouver. Major bus routes run from 5:00 AM to 2:00 AM.

Most major bus routes in Vancouver run through the downtown core along Granville Street. Sky Train is a monorail system that moves passengers along a single line which runs back and forth from Surrey, a city just outside of Vancouver across the Fraser River, to the terminal located at the foot of Granville Street. From here, the Sea Bus, part of the TransLink network, moves passengers to and from North Vancouver across the Burrard Inlet from the terminal. Physically-challenged residents who have special transportation needs are served by the van-sized HandyDART buses. Aquabus, a smaller fleet of privately operated small walk-on ferries, transports shoppers from famous Granville Island to the downtown core.

City Fact Comparison
Indicator Atlanta Cairo Rome Beijing
(United States) (Egypt) (Italy) (China)
Population of urban area1 1,987,000 10,772,000 2,688,000 12,033,000
Date the city was founded 1867 AD 969 753 BC 723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy) $152 $193 $172 $129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) $73 $56 $59 $62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) $18 $14 $15 $16
Total daily costs $243 $173 $246 $207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city 2 13 20 11
Largest newspaper The Vancouver Sun Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar La Repubblica Renmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper 189,823 1,159,450 754,930 3,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established 1886 1944 1976 1948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.


Vancouver's four most popular attractions are Chinatown, Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Gastown. Chinatown is the largest of its kind in Canada and the third largest in North America. It is a vibrant and vital neighborhood, home to Asians of many different ethnic groups. With architecture dating back to the early 1900s, it is one of the oldest sections of Vancouver. Stanley Park, a 405-hectare (1,000-acre) park and forest that juts out into the Burrard Inlet, was once home to Vancouver's original inhabitants, the Coast Salish. Granville Island, which is a human-made island, was transformed from an industrial section of Vancouver into a fresh-food market and artisans' community by the federal government in the 1970s. Gastown, a historic site, later became the town of Granville, which then became the city of Vancouver.

21. Famous Citizens

Brian Adams (b. 1959), rock star.

Kim Campbell (b. 1947), Canada's first female Prime Minister.

Glen Clark (premier 1996–99), former Premier of British Columbia.

Bill Reid (1920–98), world-renowned native artist.

22. For Further Study


City of Vancouver. [Online] Available (accessed December 13, 1999).

DiscoverVancouver. [Online] Available (accessed December 13, 1999).

Greater Vancouver Regional District. [Online] Available (accessed December 13, 1999).

TourismVancouver. [Online] Available (accessed December 13, 1999).

Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. [Online] Available (accessed December 13, 1999).

Government Offices

City of Vancouver
453 W. 12th Ave.
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Y 1V4
604 873–7011

Economic Development Commission
608 West Cordova
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 5A7
604 632–9668
fax: 604 632–9788

Greater Vancouver Regional District
4330 Kingsway
Burnaby, British Columbia V5H 4G8
604 432–6200

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Tourism Vancouver
The Greater Vancouver Convention and

Visitors Bureau
200 Burrard Street, Suite 210
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3L6
Tel: 604.682.2222
Fax: 604.682.1717

Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre
999 Canada Place, Suite 200
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3C1
Tel: (604) 689-8232,
Fax: (604) 647-7232

Vancouver Tourist Info Centre
200 Burrard Street, Plaza Level
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3L6
Tel: 604.683.2000
Fax: 604.682.6839


The Province
200 Granville Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3N3
604 605–2222

Vancouver (magazine)
555 W12th Ave
Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 4L4
604 877–7732

T he Vancouver Sun
200 Granville Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 3N3
604 605–2111


The Arts in Vancouver: A Multi-million-dollar Industry. Vancouver: Community Arts Council of Vancouver, 1976.

Baker, Carol. Essential Vancouver and British Columbia. Basingstoke, Hampshire: AA Publishing, 1996.

Garber, Anne, John T. D. Keyes, Lorraine Gannon. Exploring Ethnic Vancouver. Burnaby: Serious Publishing, 1995.

Hacking, Norman R. History of the Port of Vancouver. Vancouver: Port of Vancouver, 1977.

Hull, Raymond, Gordon Soules, Christine Soules. Vancouver's Past. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1974.

Kloppenborg, Anne, Alice Niwinski, Eve Johnson. Vancouver's First Century. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1985.

Lees, Judi, Terri Wershler. Vancouver, The Ultimate Guide. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 1999.

Longus, Pierre, Paul-Eric Dumontier, François Rémillard. Vancouver. Ulysses Travel Publications, 1998.

McDonald, Robert A. J., Jean Barman. Vancouver Past, Essays in Social History. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1986.

Paterson, T. W. Disaster: Tales of Heroes and Hardship in the Face of Catastrophe. Burnaby: Solitaire Publications, 1973.

Robson, Reginald A. H. Ethnic Conflict in Vancouver. Vancouver: B.C. Civil Liberties Assoc., 1985.