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Introduction

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In 1792, Captain George came to Pacific Northwest region to search Northwest Passage. He mapped and surveyed the area that is now downtown Vancouver, giving various parts British names. He returned to his native England little imagining that is less than one hundred years his name would be immortalized in that rugged wilderness.

Sixteen years later, following the course of the river that today bears his name, Simon Fraser arrived in what is now Marpole. He was searching for Columbia River and have determined that this was not Columbia and confronted by hostile Indians, he turned back in disappointment the same day. However, the area was opened by these overland explorations and the arrival of Hudson's Bay Company and later the gold rush, began the influx of white men and the beginning of permanent settlement.

For approximately the next sixty years, the Western part of Burrard Inlet was largely ignored. Granville, as it was known, was little more than an appendage to New Westminster and seemed destined to remain so. Settlements grew mainly to the East in Fort Langley and New Westminster, until about the mid 1860s, when the lumber mills at Granville with their thirsty worker, caught the eye of "Gassy" Jack Deighton. He set up saloon in what is know as Gastown. At this time as well, John Martin, William Hailstone and Samuel Brighouse pre-empted 550 acres of land adjoining Burrard Inlet. For their audacity in staking land so far from the center of things, they were laughingly dubbed "Three Greenhornes". Today, that land comprises the whole of Vancouver's West End.
With the coming of railroad, the importance of Granville was ensured and in 1886, it was incorporated as city of Vancouver. Almost immediately it was razed by fire and the city fathers, undaunted, set up city hall in a tent. It was at this time that the land that is Stanley Park was set aside for public use, an act for which Vancouverites and visitors alike must be eternally grateful.

Railroad was finally completed in 1887, bringing a boom of expansion and the most precious commodity of all-immigrants. Today, the large variety of ethnic background in Vancouver adds immeasurably to the atmosphere of the city and is evidenced in the fine array of restaurants and the many important stores.

Shipping increased to meet the railroad and Vancouver soon became Canada's main West coast seaport. Although Vancouver is about one hundred years old, an infant among the world's cities, this mood of expansion has continued, until today Greater Vancouver area is made up of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, West Vancouver, Port Moody, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, White Rock and Delta. This area make it the third largest city in Canada, after Toronto and Montreal. Furs and gold no longer motivate people to come to Vancouver, but development continues at a rapid pace. As well as being great seaport, Vancouver is a center for the ever-expanding industries of British Columbia and continues to attract growing numbers of tourists.

Today the sea forms an integral part of life in Vancouver. Ocean-going freighters dock here, carrying goods to and from all parts of Canada. The mouth of Fraser is host to much of the coast fishing fleet and the many docks and marinas attest to the popularity of recreational boating.

The pioneering spirit, which carved a metropolis from the wilderness exists today in the mood of bustling prosperity evident in Vancouver. This in combination with mild climate and beautiful natural setting make Vancouver one of the most areas in Canada for residents and tourists alike.

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Weather


weather

Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver's weather is mild year-round. From high 70's Fahrenheit (low 20's Celsius) in summer to a mild mid 40's Fahrenheit (0º to 5º Celsius) in winter, the climate is always hospitable. Our winters are wet, but it rarely snows, except on our local ski hills.

There is one word to describe Vancouver's weather, unpredictable. There is no such thing as a reliable forecast for Vancouver. Local weathermen usually try to cover all bases. A typical forecast sounds something like "Sunny with a possible high of 25 C, a chance of showers, possibly turning into light flurries or hail". It does rain a lot in Vancouver. Most Vancouverites are very touchy on this subject and will likely be very evasive, or will simply lie about it. If you are from the southern UK, you already have a pretty good notion of what our weather is like.

Vancouver holds the title for the wettest major city in Canada, but still receives about 2000 hours of sun a year. Despite its Northern Latitude (49 deg), the warm Japanese current gives the city a mild climate, and the latitude also means daylight till 10 PM in the summer months. In early summer or fall, days often start out cloudy, due to marine air, but clear by noon. Climate changes rapidly in BC as you move inland, 300 kilometres from the coast, its desert.


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Vancouver Sightseeing
tour tour

Vancouver Art Gallery

A world-class art encounter waits at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Open 363 days a year and located just steps from vibrant Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Art Gallery currently presents a must-see exhibition.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Naturally thrilling since 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge is breathtakingly suspended 450 feet (135m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cross over to Treetops Adventure and walk from one magnificent Douglas fir to another via a series of seven elevated suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor. A complete West Coast experience just minutes from Downtown.

Vancouver Trolley Company Ltd. (The)

This live commentated, 26 stop, Hop-on, Hop-off sightseeing tour is your natural transportation link between Vancouver’s top attractions. Our fleet of propane fueled Trolley’s provide summer service (April – November) every 20 minutes, and winter service (November – April) every 45 minutes. A World of Fun Awaits you!

Amtrak Cascades

From Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia, Amtrak Cascades offers an unparalleled experience of the great Pacific Northwest. Through Seattle and Portland, past Mount St. Helens and across the Columbia River Gorge, you'll witness some of our continent's most distinctive cities and most spectacular natural attractions.

tour tour tour
tour tour tour

Fort Langley National Historic Site

Explore the Hudson's Bay Company trading post, first built in 1827, where British Columbia began. You'll be transported to a colourful time where First Nations, French-Canadians, Scots and Hawaiians worked together trading furs, packing salmon and farming. See barrel-making & blacksmithing, exchange stories with costumed interpreters, and enjoy the relaxing setting. Open year round.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

A living museum of plant collections from around the world, this spectacular 55-acre botanical garden is beautiful in every season. Highlights: Spring - Rhododendron and Laburnum Walks, ornamental cherry trees; Summer - Perennial and Water Lily Gardens; Autumn - brilliant autumn colour display; Winter - witchhazels, viburnums, hellebores. The Garden is home to 65 species of birds. Free parking, convenient access by public transportation, wheelchair accessible. Gift shop and restaurant.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is recognized around the globe as one of the great parks of the world! Vancouver's first park and one of the city's main tourist attractions, Stanley Park is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility. The park abounds in wildlife and its features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings. There is always something happening in the park - check our Events Calendar for listings.

tour tour tour
tour tour tour

Grouse Mountain, The Peak of Vancouver

Escape from city streets to snowy slopes in just 15 minutes. Let the Skyride whisk you on a one mile aerial journey to The Peak of Vancouver, where you can experience a host of outdoor adventures including: skiing, snowboarding, mountain ziplines, ice skating, snowshoeing, and The Eye of the Wind ,the world’s first wind turbine with a viewPOD accessible by elevator. In the Peak Chalet, you will find unique shopping venues, a Theatre in the Sky, as well as award-winning dining facilities for all occasions.

Museum of Vancouver

MOV creates Vancouver-focused exhibitions and programs that examine what is happening in the city, socially, politically, and culturally. The History Galleries tell Vancouver's stories from the early 1900s to the late '70s and are complemented by contemporary, groundbreaking feature exhibits. Located in scenic Vanier Park. Follow the link for information on our current exhibits and events.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Whether the sun is shining or the rain is falling, the Garden is a perfect place to visit year-round. Our covered walkways provide shelter so that our beautiful vistas can be appreciated in any weather. Chinatown and the Garden are easily accessible by car or transit and a pleasant walk from downtown Vancouver. Don't forget to join us for one of our concerts or events like Chinese New Year's Day or Mid Autumn Moon Festival.

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Vancouver Transport

There are unlimited transportation choices in getting to and around Vancouver. Choose the one that's right for you:

  • Air
  • Car & RV
  • Bus
  • Water
  • Train

Air

If you're arriving by air, you'll most likely be flying into Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Located just 25 minutes from downtown, YVR is consistently rated one of the best airports in North America.There are more than a dozen international flights in and out of YVR every day, with 22 bound for the United States. For an estimate of how long it might take to fly to Vancouver, see our international flying times map in our map section.

Train

Sightseeing at its finest. From the comfort of the observation lounge or dining car, relax and watch the beauty of BC.

Pacific Central Station is the terminus for transcontinental passenger rail and bus service, located at Main and Terminal Streets in downtown Vancouver.

Water

Whether traveling to Vancouver Island, cruising to Alaska, or simply enjoying the views and fresh air, sailing on the spectacular Pacific Ocean is a highlight of visiting Vancouver!

BC Ferries provides regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service between Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and other parts of coastal British Columbia.

Car & RV

Take your time. Stop along the way. Explore the countryside. Getting to and around Vancouver by car is easily accessible, with spectacular views!

Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, accesses Vancouver from points east. If planning a driving tour, allow 12 hours from Calgary and five days from Montreal. Vancouver is only three hours north of Seattle. Take the Interstate 5, which becomes Highway 99 at the United States-Canada border.

Bus

Take the scenic route. Relax. Leave the driving to someone else.

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Location

 

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