Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The 2011 census recorded more than 603,000 people in the city, making it the eighth largest Canadian city. The metropolitan area, with more than 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada. With 5,249 people per square kilometre (13,590 per square mile), the City of Vancouver is the most densely populated Canadian municipality among those with 5,000 residents or more. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada; 52% of its residents do not speak English as their first language.
The original settlement, named Gastown, grew around the Hastings Mill logging sawmill and a nearby tavern, both established in 1867. Enlarging to become the townsite of Granville, with the announcement that the railhead would reach the site it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated as a city in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada, and London. As of 2009, Port Metro Vancouver is the busiest and largest port in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Metro Vancouver into one of the largest film production centres in North America, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.
For more than a decade, business magazine assessments have ranked Vancouver as one of the most "livable cities" worldwide, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most livable cities for five consecutive years. Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. The 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics were held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, a resort community north of the city.
Vancouver is a city in British Columbia, Canada. With its location near the mouth of the Fraser River and on the waterways of the Strait of Georgia, Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, and their tributaries, Vancouver has, for thousands of years, been a place of meeting, trade and settlement.
The presence of people in what is now called the Lower Mainland of British Columbia dates from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago when the glaciers of the last ice age began to disappear. The area, known to the First Nations as S'ólh Téméxw, shows archeological evidence of a seasonal encampment ("the Glenrose Cannery site") near the mouth of the Fraser River that dates from that time.
The first Europeans to explore the area were Spanish Captain José María Narváez in 1791, and British naval Captain George Vancouver in 1792. The area was not settled by Europeans until almost a century later, in 1862. The city grew rapidly following completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) transcontinental line from Eastern Canada, allowing for continuous rail service in the late 1880s. Chinese settlers were increasingly a presence in the area following completion of the CPR. Subsequent waves of immigration were initially of Europeans moving west, and later, with the advent of global air travel, from Asia and many other parts of the world.