Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011. The Greater Vancouver is the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre. With over 250,000 residents, Vancouver is the fourth most densely populated city in North America behind New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City according to the 2011 census. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada according to that census; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English.
Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top-ten of the world’s most well-living cities for five consecutive years. Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, UN Habitat I, Expo 86, the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009; and the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics which were held in Vancouver and Whistler.
The original settlement, named Gastown, grew up on clearcuts on the west edge of the Hastings Mill logging sawmill‘s property, where a makeshift tavern had been set up on a plank between two stumps and the proprietor, Gassy Jack, persuaded the curious millworkers to build him a tavern, on 1 July 1867. From that first enterprise, other stores and some hotels quickly appeared along the waterfront to the west. Gastown became formally laid out as a registered townsite dubbed Granville, B.I. (“B.I” standing for “Burrard Inlet”). As part of the land and political deal whereby the area of the townsite was made the railhead of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), it was renamed “Vancouver” and incorporated shortly thereafter 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 Europe. As of 2014, Port Metro Vancouver is the third largest port by tonnage in the Americas (displacing New York), 27th in the world, the busiest and largest in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban center surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Greater Vancouver and nearby areas into one of the largest film production centers in North America, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.
Musical contributions from Vancouver include performers of classical, folk and popular music. Vancouver has a vibrant nightlife scene, whether it be food and dining, or bars and nightclubs. The Granville Entertainment District has the city’s highest concentration of bars and nightclubs with closing times of 3am, in addition to various after-hours clubs open until late morning on weekends. The street can attract large crowds on weekends and is closed to traffic on such nights. Gastown is also a popular area for nightlife with many upscale restaurants and nightclubs, as well as the Davie Village which is center to the city’s LGBT community.
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When I was about 9 years old, my parents took our family on a trip to Disneyland. As a young child, going on my first family vacation that didn’t result in lodging with distant relatives, invoked a plethora of thoughts, feelings and emotions within me.