A Brief History of Vancouver City
Vancouver (Listeni/væŋˈkuːvər/ or /vænˈkuːvər/) officially the City of Vancouver, is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The 2011 census recorded 603,502 people in the city, making it the eighth largest Canadian municipality. The Greater Vancouver area of around 2.4 million inhabitants is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city. The City of Vancouver encompasses a land area of about 114 square kilometres, giving it a population density of about 5,249 people per square kilometre (13,590 per square mile). Vancouver is the most densely populated Canadian municipality, and the fourth most densely populated city over 250,000 residents in North America, behind New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
The original settlement, named Gastown, grew up on clearcuts on the west edge of the Hastings Mill logging sawmill's property, where a makeshift tavern had been set up on a plank between two stumps and the proprietor, Gassy Jack, persuaded the curious millworkers to build him a tavern, on 1 July 1867. From that first enterprise, other stores and some hotels quickly appeared along the waterfront to the west. Gastown became formally laid out as a registered townsite dubbed Granville, B.I. ("B.I" standing for "Burrard Inlet"). As part of the land and political deal whereby the area of the townsite was made the railhead of the CPR, it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated shortly thereafter 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 Europe. 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 Greater Vancouver and nearby areas into one of the largest film production centres in North America, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.
Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most liveable cities for five consecutive years. Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, 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 2010 Winter Paralympics which were held in Vancouver and Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 mi) north of the city. In 2014, following thirty years in California, the annual TED conference made Vancouver its indefinite home. Several matches of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup were played in Vancouver, including the final at BC Place Stadium.
Vancouver's characteristic approach to urban planning originated in the late 1950s, when city planners began to encourage the building of high-rise residential towers in Vancouver's West End, subject to strict requirements for setbacks and open space to protect sight lines and preserve green space. The success of these dense but liveable neighbourhoods led to the redevelopment of urban industrial sites, such as North False Creek and Coal Harbour, beginning in the mid-1980s. The result is a compact urban core that has gained international recognition for its "high amenity and 'livable' development". More recently, the city has been debating "ecodensity"—ways in which "density, design, and land use can contribute to environmental sustainability, affordability, and livability".