Vancouver Travel Guide

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English Bay Sunset

English Bay Sunset

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Vancouver is internationally renowned for preserving its natural beauty within the metropolis. The city has all the urban amenities of a major city, as well as easy access to the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of the Pacific Coast Range. Vancouver is home to one of North America's largest urban parks, Stanley Park .  The North Shore mountains dominate the city landscape, and on a clear day scenic vistas include the dormant , snow-capped volcano Mount Baker to the southeast; Vancouver Island across the Strait of Georgia to the west and southwest and the Sunshine Coast to the northwest. The breathtaking views of the city and its environment have made it renowned for its beauty.

Vancouver is a relaxed but bustling, cosmopolitan city of nearly 2.5 million people in the metropolitan area, with many diversions and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, boating, and skiing. Some have called it a "city of neighbourhoods", each with its own distinctive character. It is consistently ranked at or near the top of the best cities in the world in which to live.

Vancouver can also be an expensive city, as housing prices are the highest in Canada. Vancouver's population density is third highest of any metropolitan centre in North America, after New York City and San Francisco . City planners in the late 1950s and 1960s deliberately encouraged the development of high-rise condominium towers in the West End downtown neighbourhood, which has resulted in a compact, walkable and transit/bike friendly urban core.

Although its British origins have left an impact, Vancouver is home to people of many ethnic backgrounds and religions. Chinese is, by far, the largest visible ethnic minority group in the city... and its connections to Hong Kong are becoming increasingly important. Its position as a major centre in the Pacific Rim is evident in its commerce and trade, and in its mixture of cultures.

There is a lively cultural and social scene. The great variety of peoples has resulted in an array of top quality, authentic international cuisines- and Vancouver can be considered to have some of the finest dining anywhere. A west coast "fusion" has also developed, that combines oriental and local flavours (mostly seafood).

Vancouver's climate is unusually temperate by Canadian standards; after Victoria , it is the second warmest major city in Canada during the winter. Summer months are generally sunny and dry and temperatures moderate. Spring and autumn are usually showery. Rainfall is frequent, along with grey skies, in winter. Snow is typical in the surrounding mountains but less common at sea level. 

Vancouver will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, with many of the venues in nearby Whistler, just 130km away.

 

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