Due to its mild (though rainy) climate and beautiful landscape, Vancouver continues to be a popular travel destination – not just for Canadians, but for anybody looking for a fun excursion. To that end, here are some fun facts about the city:
Vancouver gets its name from Captain George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbor of Burrard Inlet in 1792. (Interestingly, it is believed that the good captain hated the place.) Meanwhile, the city of North Vancouver was originally called Moodyville, after a man named Sewell Moody, who set up a sawmill there.
Although Vancouver is known as “Terminal City,” due to its position at the western end of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it is also a city of beginnings. Greenpeace, one of the world’s oldest and most successful environmental groups, was established in the city in 1971. Vancouver was also the site of Canada’s first McDonald’s franchise, which opened in the Richmond neighborhood in 1967.
Due to its heavy fog and heavy industrial pollution in the early 20th century, Vancouver is sometimes called “The Big Smoke.” But that’s not all that’s big about the city. Stanley Park, for example, sprawls out over 1,001 acres – making it 10 percent bigger than New York’s Central Park. Kitsilano is an outdoor saltwater pool that’s open to the public – and holds the title of Canada’s longest. It measures 451 feet long, almost the equivalent of three Olympic-sized pools. In addition, BC Place is credited with having the largest retractable roof in the world. And upon its construction, the Marine Building, an art deco skyscraper on Burrard Street which opened in 1930, was the tallest building in the British Empire.
While we’re on the subject of statistics, consider these other numbers:
- Vancouver is Canada’s third largest city.
- Vancouver ranks third in the world as “the best city to live in” – for quality of life.
- The Vancouver Aquarium is considered one of the world’s five best. (Meanwhile, you can occasionally see whales and dolphins in False Creek and Howe Sound.)
- Vancouver is the second largest port in North America. The city is also home to the fourth largest cruise ship terminal in the world, with many of those voyages heading to Alaska.
- Known as “Hollywood North,” Vancouver boasts the third largest film production center in North America.
- Vancouver is tied with Montreal as the 10th cleanest city in the world.
Unfortunately, some of Vancouver’s numbers don’t add up to a good time. For instance, the city has the country’s highest real estate prices (rivaling those of New York and London). In 2011, the average price for a one-family home was more than $1.2 million. And there’s a reason why Vancouver has earned the moniker of “Rain City”: It gets more than 62 inches of rain – with some sort of rainfall, on average, 165 days – each year.
Bridges are big in Vancouver. The British Properties, a residential development in West Vancouver, was originally owned by the Guiness family. Their namesake brewing company built the Lions Gate Bridge – connecting downtown to West Vancouver – to provide access. The bridge, which is more than a mile long, opened to traffic on November 14, 1938. And when you ride the SkyTrain across the Fraser River, you are utilizing the Skybridge – the world’s longest cable-supported, transit-only bridge.
We’ll wrap things up with this tasty tidbit: The California Roll – an inside-out sushi roll containing cucumber, crab meat (or imitation crab) and avocado, and usually sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds – was invented by Hidekazu Tojo at his namesake restaurant on West Broadway.
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