Vancouver is a Canadian city that is situated in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It covers an area of forty-four square miles and has a population that exceeds five hundred and seventy thousand residents. It is named after the British Captain George Vancouver who first explored the area in the late eighteenth century. Vancouver is the biggest urban area in Western Canada and is the third biggest in the country. The city has consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in all the world for over ten years. It has also been home to many national and international events, including the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication. In 2010, the Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held here.
The history of the city can be traced back to 1792, when Captain George Vancouver explored the harbor of Burrard Inlet and assigned British names to various key locations in the area. Captain George Vancouver did not ever set foot on the actual location however. The first explorers to actually land here were Simon Fraser and his crew, who worked for the North West Company. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, they traveled down the Fraser River to the area of where the University of British Columbia would eventually be located. In 1862, the first European settlers colonized the area and a sawmill was established a year later. Vancouver was then founded in April of 1886. That same year, the Great Vancouver Fire burned the city to the ground. It was promptly rebuilt however, and the Vancouver Fire Department was established. Through much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the city grew at a steady pace and developing a thriving logging industry.
Today, Vancouver is one of Canada’s biggest industrial centers. Its port does more than seventy-five billion Canadian dollars worth of trade with over one hundred and thirty different economies each and every year. The economic activities of the port generate over ten billion Canadian dollars in Gross Domestic Product and over twenty-two billion dollars in economic output. The city is also the headquarters for many logging and mining companies. Besides its industrial production, Vancouver has also become an important center for software development and the service sector. Due to the scenic beauty of the city, Vancouver has become a major destination for tourist. Visitors from all over the world come to the city to see its municipal gardens, parks and forest. Visitors also come to the city to see the breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains and to see the city’s many attractions.
A popular attraction in the city of Vancouver is Vancouver Aquarium. Vancouver Aquarium is a public aquarium that is situated in Stanley Park and is not only a major tourist attraction, but is also the center for marine animal research, rehabilitation and conservation. It was founded in June of 1956 after receiving grants from the government and logging baron H.R. MacMillan. It is the largest aquarium in Canada and the fifth largest in North America. The aquarium covers over one hundred thousand feet and has over two and a half million gallons of water spread out over one hundred and sixty-six displays. The main exhibit located here is the Pacific Canada Pavilion. The Pacific Canada Pavilion contains a two hundred and sixty thousand liter tank that lies adjacent to the entrance and contains invertebrates and fish from the Straight of Georgia. The Wild Coast is an exhibit that has several indoor pools. Inside these pools are dolphins, sea otters and porpoises that are on permanent display. Other types of animals are rotated in and out of the display. These animals include seals, sea lions and northern fur seals. Other exhibits included at the aquarium are the Arctic Canada Exhibit, Treasures of the British Columbia Coast, Tropic Zone, Frogs Forever Gallery, Amazon Rainforest and the Canaccord Exploration Gallery. The aquarium is home to thirty thousand invertebrates, three hundred species of fish, sixty mammals and fifty-six species of reptiles.
Another popular attraction is the The Vancouver Art Gallery. This art gallery is the fifth largest art gallery in Canada and is the biggest in Western Canada. It was founded in 1931 and contains over forty-one thousand square feet of exhibition space and contains over nine thousand works of art. In front of this gallery is the 2010 Olympic Countdown Clock, which is counting down the time to the winter games. Works of art located here includes ‘Spring in Provence’ by Roger Fry, ‘The Red Paper’ by Dana Claxton, ‘Autumn in the Laurentians’ by Henrietta May, ‘Colonnades of Commerce’ by John Vanderpant and ‘Bridge Over Lynn Canyon’ by Frederick Varley. The gallery is home to a cafe, a library and a gift shop. Science World at TELUS World of Science is another favorite among tourists to the city. This science center is situated at the end of False Creek and contains a large variety of interactive displays and exhibits. In 1982, this science center was opened to the public and attracted over half a million visitors its first year. It also contains a four hundred seat Omnimax theater that was built in 1988.
Other popular attractions in Vancouver include Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Lookout, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Burnaby Village Museum and Carousel, Minter Gardens, Hell’s Gate Airtram, Lynn Canyon Park, Seawall Promenade, Granville Island, Whistler Mountaineer, Queen Elizabeth Park, Miraj Hammam Spa, University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, Granville Public Market, English Bay Beach, Cypress Mountain, Vancouver Trolley Company, Van Dusen Botanical Garden, Yaletown, Aquabus Ferries, University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, Capilano Salmon Hatchery, Vancouver Police Historical Society and Centennial Museum, Wreck Beach and Barclay Heritage Square. The city is also home to a number of fine restaurants and hotels. Restaurants in the city include The Naam Restaurant, Vij’s Restaurant, Boathouse Restaurant, Tojo’s Restaurant, Lumiere Restaurant and West Restaurant. Popular Vancouver hotels include Century Plaza Hotel & Spa, Empire Landmark Hotel, Opus Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, The Fairmont Hotel and the Granville Island Hotel.