Some Useless Facts about
Vancouver is Canada's 3rd largest city
(Toronto is 1st and Montreal 2nd) with an area population of just under
million. (depending on what you consider suburbs). It has the mildest climate (along with Victoria) in
Canada. Unlike most Canadian Cities, Vancouver is divided into
several self-governing municipalities. (Vancouver city itself
only has a population of about 565,000). The generic term for
Vancouver and its environs is the "Lower Mainland" or
"Greater Vancouver". I figure the maximum population
that the city can support and keep its "close to
nature" lifestyle is about 3 to 4 million. Some experts
predict Vancouver will be Canada's largest city by 2040 with a
population of over 10 million. I personally think (and hope) this
is an overestimation. It was based in part, on expectation of a
large exodus from Hong Kong, which hasn't materialised. A more
realistic figure is probably around 4 million.
-Despite claims by Toronto & Montreal that
they are the most multicultural cities in the country, 35% of
Vancouver's population is foreign born, the highest figure in the
world. This makes the city technically even more multicultural than
New York, although maybe its not so obvious, probably since we
have heavier concentrations of 2 or 3 ethic groups rather than a
wide cross-section as is the case with Toronto or New York..
-Vancouver is North America's second largest
Port (in tonnage & physical size - after New York) and one of the worlds major cruise ship
ports. I believe it is the 4th largest cruise ship terminus in
-Vancouver has the highest proportion (per
capita) of Asians of any North American city. This makes for a
great selection of Oriental restaurants. It has one of the
largest and oldest Chinatowns in North America.
-Related to the above, Vancouverites dine out
more than in any other North American city. Its a great place to
start a restaurant. We also tip well. See the Restaurant Guides
in my Eating Out section. I also
have a link to Vegetarian establishments there.
-Vancouver is the second or third largest film
production centre in North America. It is second to LA in Television production
& third behind LA & NYC in Feature film production. This is due to favourable
tax concessions to the industry, the year round mild climate, and
Vancouver's wide variety of locales. There are currently 3 film
Studios (Lions Gate, Bridge and Paramount) and another large one
is in the planning stage. The city is, or has been, home to about 20 TV series,
including X-Files (until 1998), Millennium, Stargate, Outer Limits, Police Academy, Viper, Sentinel,
Squad, Da Vinci's Inquest, First Wave, The Net, and numerous
others. 20 to 30 full length feature films and 50 TV Movies are
also filmed here each year. There is also a growing animation
industry, producing such shows as "Reboot". Oddly
enough, most productions are American. Toronto is still the
centre for Canadian film and TV production. If your interested in
the film industry or want to find out what is being filmed, check
out the movie industry links on my main Vancouver Page.
-The common term "Skid Row" used to
describe the seedier areas of a large city possibly originated
here in Vancouver, in the 1800's. The area currently occupied by
the city of Vancouver was largely forest at that time. Wooden
skids were constructed in the area, now currently East Hastings,
to allow logs to be dumped into Burrard Inlet so they could be floated to the
Mill. Hence the term "Skid Row". This area is in fact the seediest area of
downtown Vancouver today. The origin of the term is also claimed by Seattle &
the Adirondack region of New York. My source is National Geographic, others
sources support the other claims. Who knows?
-Vancouver has 3 professional major league
sport teams, all of them lousy. The BC
Lions ( CFL Football), Vancouver Canucks ( NHL Ice Hockey), and the Vancouver Whitecaps WhitecapsFC
-Vancouver has over 1 million automobiles,
almost one for every 2 people. Combine this with the fact
downtown is essentially an island, and you have one of the worst
traffic nightmares in North America.
-Vancouver has an extensive bus system and a
growing rapid transit system (three lines, but others planned). There is
also a commuter train service up the Fraser Valley.
-Vancouver contains the wealthiest
neighbourhoods in Canada. The wealthiest is West Vancouver where
the "average" annual household income is over $60,000.
This is an average, the area has tons of millionaires. Most
corporate executives, movie stars. etc. seem to live here.
Vancouver's most expensive homes are found here, strung along the
waterfront. Vancouver as a whole has the highest real estate
prices in Canada, and is generally the most expensive city in
which to live.
-The West End of Vancouver is the most densely
populated area in North America. That's actually kind of a stupid statement
since it only covers about 20 square blocks. A British travel show once made a
big deal of it, which is why it drew attention. Its actually quite a pleasant
-Vancouver has one of the highest crime rates in
Canada, but still well below most American cities. It does,
however, have one of the highest property crime rates in North America
(house break-ins and car thefts). This is largely due to the high
population of drug addicts. It is still an exceptionally safe
city, however. The city usually has less than 50 murders a year, a large number
of which are criminals killing other criminals.
-Vancouver is one of the few North American
cities with no freeways downtown. Any attempt to build one has
met with fierce opposition.
-Vancouver is probably the only place in the
world where it is possible to ski, play golf, and go sailing all
in the same day.
-Vancouver sits atop one of the worlds most
dangerous faults (As does Seattle and Portland as well). An
earthquake greater than 8 on the Richter scale is expected
eventually. Quakes are not as frequent as in California, but when
they happen, they are biggies. Here is a link to more info
Current Earthquake Information for British Columbia and
Western Canada. There is also a sizable active volcano
(Mt. Baker) close the city, but it would not create a threat if it erupted.
-BC has the wackiest politics in Canada (except
for Quebec of course, but they're French, so what can I say). Every
government this century , left or right, have been caught in
-Some Famous Vancouverites: Jason Priestly,
Yvonne de Carlo, James Doohan (Scotty on Star Trek), John
Ireland. We will also claim Raymond Burr, Pamela Anderson, Michael Buble &
Michael J Fox. Raymond Burr was born in a Vancouver suburb,
Michael Fox grew up here and Pamela Anderson is from Vancouver
Island. (not Victoria Island, as Americans seem to call it) For a
complete list check out Well Known Canadians . This can be very depressing if you're American
as you discover most of your best known entertainers and others
are actually Canadian.
-Rock Star turned activist Bob Geldof (Band
Aid, Live Aid), used to be the editor of the "Georgia
Straight", a local underground newspaper, in the 60's.
-The concept of Open Line radio originated in
Vancouver in the 50's with the late Pat Burns (who had a
copyright on the term "hotline"). It also had the first
rock'n'roll radio station in Canada (CKWX) in the early 50's and
the first rock FM station (CKLG) in 1967.
-Howard Hughes, the famous reclusive
billionaire, spent a couple of years in the early 70's secluded
away in a suite in the Bayshore Hotel at the entrance to Stanley
Park. He moved here after having the pants scared off him by the
devastating earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua in the 70's. (I was
there in June 99, its still a mess) Probably just as well he
left, the corruption following that quake helped precipitate the
Sandinista revolution and the downfall of the generational Somoza
(of "he may be a bastard, but at least he's our
bastard-Roosevelt" fame) dictatorship. I suspect a mega-rich
American might not have been too welcome at that time.
-Errol Flynn, the swashbuckling actor and
heartthrob from the early days of film, died in a West End
Apartment in the 60's. It was rumoured he was broke. It is also
rumoured he stashed away a fortune somewhere in Vancouver, that
has never been found, and is likely a myth.
-Vancouver hosted the Worlds Fair in 1986. The
theme was transportation. Unlike a couple of previous flops
elsewhere, it turned out to be one of the most successful ever.
Contrary to the fears of some, it did not leave the city with a
huge tax bill, and prompted the construction of the rapid transit
system, which opened at the same time. Vancouver hosted the Winter
Olympics in 2010. It turned out to be one of the warmest winters on
record and we actually had to truck in snow. The preceding & following
winters were very snowy. Murphy's Law.
-You cannot buy alcohol in a grocery store as
is the case in most parts of the world. Alcoholic beverages have
to be purchased in a Government Liquor store or a few private ones. Beer and wine can
be purchased in licensed beer and wine stores. Not all
restaurants are allowed to serve liquor. Liquor taxes are high in
-Smokers may have a rough time here. You cannot
smoke in Restaurants & Bars and other indoor locations. Some
restaurants & bars may have outdoor patios where it is allowed.
-Rock Groups from Vancouver- The Collectors
later Chilliwack (60's psychedelic), Bachmann Turner Overdrive
(70's, 80's), Moist, Bryan Adams, Heart (70's), Loverboy (70's), 54-40.
I'm sure I've missed a lot of them, but those are some of the
-Despite Vancouver's reputation as a
"wet" city, it actually has a lower average rainfall
than Boston, Mass. (Thanks to Doug Dyman of
One Bag for this one).
-Vancouver is the birthplace of the one of the worlds largest environmental
organizations - Greenpeace
The laser was not invented in Vancouver, but
its inventor now lives here, so we'll take credit for it.
(If any Vancouverites know of any other unusual
facts about Vancouver, please E-Mail me, so I can add them) them.)