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Vancouver City Guide

Consistently ranked as one of the top cities in the world for quality of life, it is no wonder that Vancouver continues to be one of the main destinations for new migrants to Canada.

Whether Vancouver is your intended destination or just a brief stopover on the way to your new home, we have compiled this guide to help you get your bearings on arrival. To obtain more details about the city visit the websites listed at the end of this profile.


With a population of approximately 600,000, Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia and the third largest in Canada.  The Greater Vancouver region is home to approximately 2,000,000 people wihch is nearly half the population of the entire province.


Vancouver covers an area of 115 square kilometres and is located in the southwestern region of British Columbia.   The city is surrounded by 21 smaller municipalities collectively known as Greater Vancouver. The city is bounded on 3 sides by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Fraser River to the south, the Coast Mountains to the north and the Fraser Valley to the east.


Vancouver's climate is one of the mildest in Canada and is generally an area of heavy winter precipitation. Vancouver receives only a few snowfalls in the average winter but the nearby mountains have snowy peaks from November to May. Temperatures range from an average of 2C (36F) in the winter and 26C (90F) in the summer, and most rainfall occurs between October and March.


Vancouver has a variety of housing. The downtown West End is mainly high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums, while much of the rest of the city is single-family homes mixed with low-rise, apartments, medium density condos and townhouse developments along major streets.


The Port of Vancouver is Canada's largest and most diversified port, trading more than $43 billion in goods with more than 90 trading economies annually. The Vancouver region's economic drivers have been and continue to be the resource-based industries: forestry, mining, and oil and gas. Key future growth sectors are technology, film production and tourism.

Dining Out

From decadent desserts to grilled T-bone steak, fresh seafood or a soy burger, Vancouver has every taste and type of food you could want. Vancouver's restaurant scene has exploded in the past few years offering world-class cuisine from every corner of the globe.

Local Transport

Seven seperate highways make up the well maintained highway system of Greater Vancouver.  Public transport is offered by provincial rail services, SkyTrain and extensive bus services.  Ferries provide services between Vancouver, Vancouver Island and surrounding islands.  Vancouver is the main terminus for Canada’s transcontinental highway and rail routes as well as host to the largest deep-water harbour on the west coast of the Americas.

Performing Arts

Vancouver has a long history of supporting all areas of the performing arts. Unofficially known as 'Hollywood North', Vancouver is the location of choice for countless international films. The Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Museum and a range of other multicultural attractions and music venues reflect the city’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

Lifestyle and Outdoor Recreation

The mild climate of the city and close proximity to ocean, mountains, rivers and lakes make the area a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The coastline provides for many types of water sport, and the city is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts.


Vancouver offers a wide choice of private or public post-secondary education. Vancouver has two major public universities, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) as well as several colleges, such as Vancouver Community College and Langara College.

Vancouver on the Net

City of Vancouver Municipal Government

Vancouver Economic Development Commission

Greater Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau


Average maximum temperature in summer

Average maximum temperature in winter

Bright sunshine hours per year

Mean annual rainfall

21.7 degrees Celsius

5.7 degrees Celsius




Vancouver is 8 hours behind GMT.  From April to October one hour of daylight saving time applies.




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