Vancouver is a coastal city and major seaport, located on the mainland of southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It is bounded by the Strait of Georgia, the Fraser River, and the Coast Mountains. Vancouver is named after Captain George Vancouver, a British explorer.
The population of the city of Vancouver is 611,869 and the population of the Metro Vancouver region is 2,249,725 (2007 estimate). This makes it the largest metropolitan area in Western Canada and the third largest in the country. Vancouver is ethnically diverse, with 52% of city residents and 43% of Metro residents having a first language other than English. The population of Greater Vancouver is expected to grow by 450,000 during the next 10 years reaching over 3 million by 2021.
Population density is fourth highest for a major city on the continent after New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City, and on track to being second by 2021.
Vancouver was first settled in the 1860s as a result of immigration caused by the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, particularly from the United States, although many immigrants did not remain after the rush. The city developed rapidly from a small lumber mill town into a metropolitan centre following the arrival of the transcontinental railway in 1887. The Port of Vancouver became internationally significant after the completion of the Panama Canal, which reduced freight rates in the 1920s and made it viable to ship export-bound prairie grain west through Vancouver. It has since become the busiest seaport in Canada, and exports more cargo than any other port in North America.
The economy of Vancouver has traditionally relied on British Columbia’s resource sectors: forestry, mining, fishing and agriculture. It has diversified over time, however, and Vancouver today has a vibrant service industry, a growing tourism industry, and it has become the third-largest film production centre in North America after Los Angeles and New York City, earning it the nickname Hollywood North.
Vancouver has had an expansion in high-tech industries, most notably video game development.
Vancouver is consistently ranked one of the three most livable cities in the world.
According to a 2007 report by Mercer Human Resource Consulting for example, Vancouver tied with Vienna as having the third highest quality of living in the world, after Zürich and Geneva.In 2007, according to Forbes, Vancouver had the 6th most overpriced real estate market in the world and second in North America after Los Angeles. In 2007, Vancouver was ranked Canada’s second most expensive city to live after Toronto and the 89th most expensive globally, and, in 2006, the 56th most expensive city in which to live among 143 major cities in the world; in the same survey, Zurich and Geneva were ranked as the ninth and seventh most expensive, respectively. In 2007, Vancouver was ranked as the 10th cleanest city in the world.