Vancouver, formally the City of Vancouver, is the most populous city in British Columbia, Canada.
According to the 2011 census, the city has 603,502 residents, making it the seventh biggest municipality in Canada. The Greater Vancouver region, with a population of around 2.4 million people, is the country’s third most populous metropolitan area, the second biggest city on the US–Canada border, and the most populated in Western Canada. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada, with 52 percent of citizens speaking a language other than English as their first language. Vancouver has been designated as a Beta global city. The City of Vancouver has a land area of around 114 square kilometers and a population density of approximately 5,249 persons per square kilometre (13,590 per square mi). With nearly 250,000 people, Vancouver is the most densely inhabited municipality in Canada and the fourth most densely populated metropolis in North America, after only New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
On 1 July 1867, Gastown sprung up on clearcuts on the west end of the Hastings Mill logging sawmill’s land, where a temporary pub had been put up on a board between two stumps and the owner, Gassy Jack, convinced the inquisitive millworkers to construct him a tavern. Other businesses and hotels immediately followed suit along the shoreline to the west of that original venture. Gastown was legally established as a recognized townsite known as Granville, B.I. (“B.I” standing for “Burrard Inlet”). As part of the land and political transaction that saw the townsite become the CPR railhead, it was renamed “Vancouver” and constituted as a city soon thereafter, in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway had been extended to the city in order to take use of its huge natural harbour, which quickly became an important link in a commercial route connecting the Orient, Eastern Canada, and Europe. Port Metro Vancouver is the third biggest port by tonnage in the Americas (displacing New York), the 27th largest port in the world, the busiest and largest in Canada, and the most diverse port in North America as of 2014. While forestry remains the city’s most important sector, Vancouver is widely recognized as an urban oasis surrounded by nature, making tourism the city’s second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have transformed Greater Vancouver and its surrounding regions into one of the major film production hubs in North America, giving it the film industry moniker, Hollywood North.
Vancouver has frequently ranked as one of the top five global cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit dubbed it the first city to rank among the top 10 most liveable cities for five years in a row. Many international conferences and events have taken place in Vancouver, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, UN Habitat I, Expo 86, the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009, and the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which were held in Vancouver and Whistler, a resort town 125 kilometers (78 miles) north of the city. Following thirty years in California, the annual TED conference relocated to Vancouver in 2014. Several FIFA Women’s World Cup matches were held in Vancouver, including the final at BC Place Stadium.