Vancouver is one of the world's most spectacular cities. It is surrounded by the waters of the Georgia Strait and nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range. Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia with over half a million residents. It has one of the mildest climates in Canada and spectacular natural scenery that is second to none. Home to a bustling metropolitan core, Vancouver welcomed the world as the host city of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Whether you are relaxing in one of the numerous parks or riding a bike around the seawall, there is always something to do in Vancouver. The metropolitan area is the third largest in the country and most populous in Western Canada, with the city proper ranked eighth among Canadian cities. Vancouver has one of the mildest climates in Canada with temperatures averaging around 3 degrees Celsius in January and 18 degrees Celsius in July. The city covers 114.7 square kilometers (44.3 sq. miles), and is part of Metro Vancouver, with a population of 2.1 million (2006 census). The percentage of Vancouver's residents with English as their first language is 49.1 percent and Chinese as their first tongue - 25.3 percent.
Vancouver was named "Top City of the Americas" at Condé Nast Traveler magazine's 2009 Readers' Choice Awards. It offers travelers both outstanding opportunities for outdoor adventure and the sophisticated amenities of a world-class city. Vancouver was also named a Top 100 World Destination at Trip Advisor's 2008 Traveler's Choice Awards. Just recently (2011), the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) named Vancouver the world's "Most Livable City," a title it has been awarded eight times since 2002.
Port Metro Vancouver is the new name for the Port of Vancouver, which is now the busiest and largest port in Canada, as well as the fourth largest port in North America, trading $75 billion in goods annually. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is also well known as an urban center surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. It is also the third-largest film production center in North America after Los Angeles and New York City, earning its film industry nickname "Hollywood North." Vancouver is also home to a variety of other industries, including mining, biotech, and software industries. It has been named North America's top destination for international meetings.
Archaeological evidence shows that the Coast Salish people had settled in the Vancouver area by 500 BC. In 1867 Vancouver was founded as a logging and sawmill settlement called Granville. With the announcement that the railhead would reach the site, in 1886 the city was incorporated and renamed Vancouver after Captain George Vancouver, a British naval captain who explored and mapped the area in 1792. 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 London. On June 13th, 1886, a devastating fire destroyed most of the city, but the community was soon rebuilt and prospered.