More than one million tourists pass through Vancouver, British Columbia each year on cruise ships alone, with plenty more visitors arriving by car, train, or plane to enjoy the Canadian city in British Columbia. With a rich history, stunning scenery, and plenty to see and do, it is not surprising that Vancouver is such a popular vacation destination.
Archaeological studies have shown that aboriginal people lived in what is now present-day Vancouver up to 10,000 years ago. But the city is named after a British explorer, Captain George Vancouver, who made maps of the area in the late 18th century. The city was not incorporated or named until almost one hundred years later, in 1886, when it quickly grew in importance as the site of a logging sawmill and a seaport. A gold rush and the transcontinental railway also brought people to Vancouver around that time.
Vancouver, British Columbia is in the south west of the country and it is surrounded by water on three sides; the Burrard Inlet lies above it, the Fraser River lies below it, and the Strait of Georgia is to the west of it. Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria are also to the west, and buffets the city from the Pacific Ocean. Besides the beautiful bays and beaches, Vancouver boasts a stunning skyline made up of the North Shore Mountains, and the city is home to Stanley Park, which is one of the biggest urban parks in the entire continent of North America.
The city enjoys some of Canada's most temperate climates. In fact, winters in Vancouver are the fourth mildest in the whole country, only falling behind the cities of Victoria, Nanaimo, and Duncan. During the coldest month of January, however, the average temperature is a decidedly chilly 0.5°C. Snow only falls about 11 days per year on average, though. The summers are typically dry and sunny, with temperatures averaging a little less than 22°C in July and August.
Around half a million people call Vancouver home, although that number swells by almost two million if the metropolitan area is taken into account. Vancouver is a diverse city, made up of lots of different neighborhoods with their own styles and cultures – including a large Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, and Punjabi Market. The city also has a large gay community and hosts an annual Gay Pride Parade.
The city is so close to the mountains, the beaches, and various rivers and lakes, that outdoor enthusiasts are likely to love Vancouver. Skiing, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and water sports, are all easily accessible. But even hardened city folk will find plenty of things to keep them busy in town. The city has lots of museums, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, and the interactive Science World Museum. Vancouver, British Columbia has a thriving nightlife, with many restaurants, pubs, bars, and nightclubs located in the trendy areas of Gastown and the Granville Entertainment District. Vancouver also hosts various events and festivals, such as the annual Vancouver International Film Festival, in September, which usually features more than 350 movies.
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