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Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia and the third largest city in Canada. It's surrounded by water on three sides and is nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range. Vancouver is home to spectacular natural scenery and a bustling metropolitan core, and boasts one of the mildest climates in Canada.
The City of Vancouver supports a wide range of destination sites — from more than 190 parks to three different civic theatres — that are interesting places to visit for tourists and residents alike. Vancouver is also home to many other sights and is networked by a comprehensive transportation system.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Many visitors take advantage of Vancouver's beautiful seaside, wide-open spaces and mountain backdrop. Named after Royal Navy captain, George Vancouver, the history of this city, from the cobblestone late-Victorian Gastown, exotic Chinatown and the sleek modern buildings of downtown, is quite evident. The ocean and mountains create a dramatic contrast with downtown's shiny towers of commerce.
The two official languages of Canada are English and French; however, English is the predominant language in British Columbia. Over the years, many Asians have migrated to Vancouver, mostly from Hong Kong, but other cultures are represented as well. More than 30 percent of Vancouver's households speak Cantonese or Mandarin making the Chinese the dominant minority ethnic group.
Vancouver's diversity offers families an endless supply of things to see and do no matter what time of the year or what budget. Whether you choose to stay within the city limits or to venture along the coast and mountains there are plenty of activities to suit everyone.
Downtown Vancouver has an exciting selection of high-end retails stores, chic and unusual shops and excellent restaurants along side Canada's largest city park. Beautiful Stanley Park, which in the mid-1800's was a military reserve used to guard the harbor, offers hundreds of acres of lush forest and crystal clear lakes that create the perfect setting for a variety of entertainment and relaxation for visitors. The Lions Gate Bridge offers a panoramic view of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains. Within the park are a miniature railway, Water Park, beaches, pool, kid's farmyard and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.
Not far from downtown is Chinatown. Strolling block after block through Chinatown's maze of brilliantly colored markets, restaurants and shops you'll discover a fascinating array of exotic foods, clothing, art and entertainment. Be sure to check out the world's thinnest office building, the Sam Kee Building, on the corner of Pender and Carrall streets. Built in 1913 and currently occupied, the building is only six feet wide!
The quaint and oldest neighborhood of Vancouver, Gastown, was named after a talkative Yorkshire-born saloon proprietor, John Deighton, nicknamed Gassy Jack. Supposedly Gassy Jack told the local mill workers that could drink all the whisky they wanted as long as they helped him build his saloon. The saloon was built within 24 hours albeit how structurally sound is another story. Gastown's cobblestone streets and 1800's architecture creates a historical and interesting background for the unique shops and galleries.
The sea, mountains and the beautiful cosmopolitan city of Vancouver make a wonderful combination that will provide so much enjoyment for the entire family. For those who love winter sports, nearby Grouse Mountain is perfect for skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating. If you prefer warmer weather the spring and summer months are ideal for water sports and boating. No matter what time of year you choose to visit the city of Vancouver and the surrounding areas there will be an endless supply of fun and activities!