If you’re looking for some fun and interesting Vancouver facts, you’re in the right spot!
Despite its extremely high cost of living and cloudy winters, we can definitely say that Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, if not the entire world. After all, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the North Shore Mountains while also being surrounded by rainforest and beautiful islands.
But for those of you interested in learning more about one of the densest cities in North America, we’ve scoured the web and some books to see what we can find. So whether you’re trying to satisfy your curiosity, looking for something to talk about at a party, or just looking for something to do today, enjoy this list of cool Vancouver facts.
1. Located on the Burrard Peninsula, Vancouver lies between Burrard Inlet to the north and the Fraser River to the south. The Strait of Georgia, to the west, is shielded from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island.
2. The city has an area of 114 km2, including both flat and hilly ground and is in the Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8) and the Pacific Maritime Ecozone.
3. The Estimated Population of Vancouver is 675,218. However, the Greater Vancouver Area is actually close to 2.6 million.
4. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada, with over 5,400 people per square kilometre.
5. This is why Downtown Vancouver is 65% residential. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of high-rise condominiums.
6. Vancouver is named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet in 1792 and gave various places British names. The family name “Vancouver” originates from the Dutch “van Coevorden”, denoting somebody from the city of Coevorden, Netherlands.
7. However, Vancouver was originally named Gastown and began as a settlement that grew around the site of a makeshift tavern on the western edges of Hastings Mill that was built on July 1, 1867, and owned by proprietor Gassy Jack. Gastown is one of the most popular areas to explore in the city. However, you won’t find the statue of Gassy Jack anymore.
8. Also, let’s not forget that people already lived here long before the Europeans arrived. Archaeological records indicate that Indigenous People were already living in the “Vancouver” area from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
9. The area was not settled by Europeans until 1862.
10. North Vancouver was not always called North Vancouver. It was originally named Moodyville after Sewel Moody, the man who opened the first sawmill on the North Shore. In the early 1900s, it was renamed. Maybe it was making everyone too moody.
11. Vancouver is also a very young city. It was only incorporated in 1886, the same year Coca-Cola was incorporated.
12. Sadly, the city burned down the same year and very few buildings survived the fire. Named the Great Vancouver Fire, it was originally started to clear land near Main Street, but this destroyed nearly everything in its path. Someone must have got in trouble for that one!
13. Approximately 40% of Vancouver’s total population is made up of immigrants.
14. Vancouver is also one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada with roughly 52% of its residents having a first language other than English.
15. This helps make Vancouver the second-most international city in the country after Toronto. (You may also be interested in our article about Toronto Facts.)
16. The city has also the highest proportion of Asians per capita of any North American city.
17. In fact, Vancouver’s historic Chinatown is one of the largest in North America. Oddly enough, the second largest Chinatown (after San Francisco) is in the much-smaller city of Victoria, BC.
18. Vancouver also has the largest LGBTQ+ community in Western Canada. Davie Street & the West End is the most accepting LGBTQ+ Community with inclusive nightclubs, events and festivities.
19. Vancouver’s Pride Parade is one of the biggest in the world and has attracted over 500,000 people.
20. It wasn’t always so diverse though. The British Properties in West Vancouver was originally a neighbourhood for upper-class elites. Residents were required to have a British passport and excluded non-white and Jewish people.
21. To provide easy access to those fancy British Properties, the beautiful Lions Gate Bridge was built by the Guinness Beer Company in 1937.
22. Speaking of bridges, the Skybridge over the Fraser River connects New West and Surrey commuters and is the world’s longest cable-supported transit-only bridge
23. The City of Vancouver was one of the first cities in Canada to enter into an international sister cities arrangement. Vancouver is twinned with Odessa, Ukraine; Yokohama, Japan; Edinburgh, Scotland; Guangzhou, China & Los Angeles, USA.
24. Like movies? Vancouver is nicknamed “Hollywood of the North”. In North America, the city comes second after Los Angeles in TV production and third in feature film production (after Los Angeles and New York). Also interesting is that most of the productions that occur in Vancouver are American whereas most productions that occur in Toronto are Canadian.
25. Quite a few celebrities are also from Vancouver, with perhaps the two biggest stars being Seth Rogen and Ryan Reynolds. Other personalities include David Suzuki, Margaret Trudeau, Finn Wolfhard, and Cobie Smulders, just to name a few.
26. Vancouver’s cruise ship terminal is the 4th largest in the world. Most of the ships departing from the terminal are headed to Alaska.
27. Vancouver also has the largest port in Canada and the second-largest port in North America.
28. It’s not just the ocean though when it comes to Vancouver facts. Vancouver is also home to Canada’s longest pool. Located in the neighbourhood of Kitsilano, Kits Pool is the city’s only saltwater pool, with lanes that stretch 451 feet long (137 meters), which is almost three times as long as an Olympic pool. It’s actually a big tourist attraction and is open year-round.
29. Speaking of Kitsilano, Kits beach was included in the Forbes Traveler Magazine list of the top 10 sexiest beaches in the world.
30. Speaking of beaches, Vancouver is home to Canada’s only nude beach.
31. That beach is called Wreck Beach and it is also the largest clothing-optional beach in North America.
32. At 1001 acres, Vancouver’s Stanley Park is 10% larger than New York’s Central Park. One of the most popular ways to explore it is by biking or walking along the famous Seawall. We love Stanley Park!
33. Also, did you know that all of the grey squirrels found in Stanley Park are descendants of eight pairs of grey squirrels that Vancouver received as a gift from New York City in 1909?
34. Also within Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium, which ranks in the top 5 worldwide.
35. The world’s largest tin soldier is located in the city of New Westminster, in the Vancouver Metropolitan area. It is an astonishing 9.75 metres tall and weighs 4540 kilograms. Check it out when you visit!
36. Despite all these cool Vancouver facts, living in Vancouver is tough. The city has the highest real estate prices in Canada and is the third least affordable major metropolitan real estate market after Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia. In 2021, the average price of a detached house was a whopping $1,910,200. Not really something to be proud of but it’s true.
37. However, even with the high cost of living, Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top ten cities worldwide for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top ten of the world’s most well-living cities for ten consecutive years. The index considers 30 factors related to safety, health care, educational resources, infrastructure and the environment. In our opinion though, not being able to ever afford a home should make the city drop in standings.
38. The eco-activist group Greenpeace, one of the most successful environmental groups worldwide, was founded in Vancouver in 1971. A group of volunteers first met in Gastown’s Luna Café, which is no longer open. They originally came together to try and stop nuclear bomb testing in Alaska.
39. “The Eye of The Wind” on top of Grouse Mountain is the only working wind turbine in the world that has a viewing platform. The Grouse Grind is also one of the most popular hiking trails.
40. If you like sushi, you’ve likely tried the California Roll before. Well, it wasn’t invented in California. It was invented in Vancouver by Chef Hidekazu Tojo. You can visit his restaurant Tojo in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood. Why didn’t he call it the Vancouver Roll?
41. Speaking of food, the first McDonald’s to open its doors in Canada was in 1967 in Richmond. Does that still count as food?
42. Vancouver is one of the only major cities in North America where you cannot find freeway access downtown.
43. The Marine Building on 355 Burrard Street used to be the tallest building in the British Empire.
44. BC Place was the first covered stadium in Canada.
45. In fact, the retractable roof is 7500 square metres and is the largest in the world.
46. If you don’t like the winter in Canada, both Vancouver and Victoria has the mildest climates in Canada.
47. However, Vancouver is also one of the rainiest cities in Canada, seeing an average of 1457mm of rain with an average of 165 rainy days per year. Bring your umbrella!
48. It’s also still in Canada, which means it does get cold weather. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the city was −17.8 °C on January 14, 1950, and again on December 29, 1968. So, it’s not THAT mild!
49. Don’t worry though. Summers are fairly hot. The highest temperature ever recorded at the airport was 34.4 °C set on July 30, 2009, and the highest temperature ever recorded within the city of Vancouver was 35.0 °C occurring first on July 31, 1965, again on August 8, 1981, and finally on May 29, 1983.
50. The highest point in Vancouver is 152 meters (501 feet) above sea level and the lowest point is the sea level.
51. Vancouver hosted the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
52. Vancouver also held the Winter Olympics in 2010 and Expo’86 World Fair.
53. Need a face-lift after reading all of these Vancouver facts? The cosmetic treatment Botox was invented in Vancouver.
54. In 1947, a law was passed in Vancouver that made it illegal to sell stoves on a Wednesday within city limits. Fortunately, the law was eventually repealed, after almost 40 years. That has to be one of the strangest Vancouver facts we’ve seen.
55. Last but not least, in 1826, an apple tree was planted at Fort Vancouver and this tree is considered the oldest apple bearing tree in the North West Region. How about them apples!
Want More Facts?
Did you love these fun Vancouver facts? We love learning interesting facts about Canada and cities across the country and have written many others. For more, check out these fact guides below.