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Fun Facts about Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver is one of our favourite cities and over the years we’ve accumulated some fun facts that we thought we’d share with you. One of the great things about Vancouver is its location, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the North Shore Mountains and surrounded by beautiful islands and rainforest. Just perfect. And to just top up the fact fest about its location, we can tell you that it sits on the Burrard Peninsula between Burrard Inlet to the north and the Fraser River to the south, and just over the Strait of Georgia to the west you’ll find Vancouver Island.
The area of Vancouver has been inhabited for thousands of years and the First Nations of the region are the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh. Throughout the city you can learn about these peoples through their art - some of the best displays are at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast, though activities such as paddling with a Tsleil-Waututh guide in a traditional ocean-going canoe, and discovering the story poles in Stanley Park.
Story Poles in Stanley Park
The area was not settled by Europeans until the 1860’s and Vancouver is named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet, decided to give various places British names. However, Vancouver was originally named Granville, an area that is known today as Coal Harbour and Gastown, which began as a settlement that grew around the site of a makeshift saloon. The proprietor of this tavern was Captain John Deighton (who originated from Hull) and was given the nickname of Gassy Jack due to his tendency to talk too much - hence Gastown. In 1n 1870 this area was incorporated as the town of Granville and then in 1886 Granville was incorporated as the City of Vancouver - the same year that Cocoa Cola was founded! Today’s Gastown is one of the most popular areas to explore in the city, and is filled with lovely boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
As you might imagine from its location, Vancouver is a port city, and in fact the largest in Canada and has the 4th largest cruise ship terminal in the world. The most popular cruise itinerary from Vancouver is to Alaska as it’s the closest port to Alaskan waters, and at Canadian Sky we can certainly recommend some superb cruises to take in the stunning British Columbia coastline and majestic scenery of Alaska. Vancouver is also known for its ferries, and BC Ferries is the second largest ferry company in the world. You can take a relaxing ferry ride around the islands in the Georgia Strait, or head up the Sunshine Coast to enjoy the beaches and hiking trails, or head over to Vancouver Island to explore.
Staying with our water theme, Vancouver is home to Canada's longest swimming pool. Measuring 137.5 meters (451 feet), it is nearly the size of three Olympic pools. This outdoor, saltwater pool is open year-round and you’ll find it in the Kitsilano neighbourhood.
Kitsilano Outdoor Swimming Pool
Sports fans will want to visit BC Place and this was the first covered stadium in Canada. The retractable roof is 7500 square metres and is the largest in the world. The BC Sports Hall of Fame which is found inside the stadium, runs a great tour - the All Access Experience - providing an enhanced visit to the Hall of Fame including an exclusive behind the scenes tour of BC Place.
BC Place at night
Did you know….Vancouver boasts more parks than any other city in the world, the largest being Stanley Park which takes up about half of the downtown peninsula. Stanley Park is 10% larger than New York City’s Central Park at an impressive 1001 acres. The park contains half a million trees, some of which are hundreds of years old and nearly 300 feet high. Another record breaking fact… here in Stanley Park is the longest non-interrupted seafront walkway in the world. At 22 km (13.6 miles) this beautiful recreational path snakes along the Vancouver Seawall, which was built to prevent erosion of the park along the coast. No visit to Vancouver is complete without a stroll along at least part of this lovely walkway.
Vancouver has the largest Chinatown in Canada, and interestingly here you will find the world’s narrowest building, the Sam Kee Building, which is only six feet wide. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Chinese Cultural Centre to learn about Chinese culture and history, featuring art produced by the diaspora. As you might expect there is some delicious food to be found in this area and it has a reputation for having some of the best Chinese food in the world, as well as other East Asian cuisine. Try some dim sum, fresh fish from the local waters, or visit local bakeries that serve tasty East Asian treats.