Urban Jungle.

It’s come to my attention that I am being quite presumptuous in that you know where Vancouver is and what it’s like here. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long. Here is a little history about the city I love.

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in British Columbia, Canada. It’s the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third-largest 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.

The settlement of Gastown grew around a logging sawmill established in 1867, enlarging to become the townsite of Granville. It was renamed “Vancouver” and incorporated as a city on April 6, 1886. The Great Fire occurred on June 13, 1886 and razed the entire city. The Vancouver Fire Department was established that year as well. The city is named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet in 1792 and gave various places British names. The Port of Vancouver, now the Port Metro Vancouver 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 its film industry the nickname Hollywood North.

Vancouver is renowned for it’s skyline. The city has one of the largest urban parks in North America, Stanley Park, which covers 404.9 hectares (1001 acres). The North Shore Mountains dominate the cityscape, and on a clear day scenic vistas include the snow-capped volcano Mount Baker in the state of Washington to the southeast, Vancouver Island across the Strait of Georgia to the west and southwest, and Bowen Island to the northwest.

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. The city continues to make strides in it’s quest to become the ‘greenest city in the world’. 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 miles) north of the city.

There is a strong connection with the indigenous First Nations peoples along the West Coast. This can be seen by the many examples of Haida & Inuit carvings and totems dotted throughout the city. Archaeological records indicate the presence of Aboriginal people in the Vancouver area from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. The city is located in the traditional territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Xwméthkwyiem (Musqueam), and Tseil-waututh (Burrard) peoples of the Coast Salish group. They had villages in various parts of present day Vancouver, such as Stanley Park, False Creek, Kitsilano, Point Grey and near the mouth of the Fraser River.

Since Vancouver lies in the bed of a temperate rain forest, it rains here roughly eight months of the year. There is a running joke about Vancouverites having duck feet. The city also has the fourth mildest annual snowfall. The weather is so mild year-round, making Vancouver an outdoor playground.

The city is also known as a hotbed for entertainment, with it’s cultural diversity at the forefront. With a rich history in athletics, there is a strong fan base for the many sporting teams that call Vancouver home.

Okay, so I lied about the brief history, but I love my city. It’s the only place I know where you can surf, ski & suntan all in the same day. I am a seventh generation Canadian, and a third generation Vancouverite. My beloved grandfather was the first baby born in the city and no other fact makes me prouder. I am 100% Canadian and in that, 50% American… you do the math. 🙂

I’m not ashamed to say it, I think Vancouver is the most beautiful city in the world. I think it would be a travesty if you didn’t visit this city at least once in your lifetime. Don’t believe me? Come see for yourself.

– Jade

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