Much like a smaller version of the city, the Vancouver Downtown core is located on a smaller peninsula jutting out of the northern section of the Burrard Peninsula, and is surrounded on three sides by water: the Vancouver Harbour and Burrard Inlet to the north, the English Bay to the west, and False Creek to the south. In addition to being the commercial, financial, business, cultural and government centre of the city, the downtown neighbourhoods of Vancouver include popular highly urban communities like the West End, Strathcona, Robson and Yaletown. The communities feature primarily high-rise condominium living and among some of the city's trendiest areas.
South of False Creek are the three inner city communities of Mount Pleasant, Fairview, and Kits, which provide a mix of single-family, low-, mid- and high-rise residential developments. All three communities are culturally diverse, and are particularly popular among artists and the younger demographics, creating an on-street atmosphere with plenty of studios, cafes, galleries, shops and educational institutions.
Vancouver's west side communities includes the more affluent neighbourhoods of Shaughnessy, Arbutus Ridge, portions of Riley Park, and West Point Grey. Luxury homes, estate houses and executive condominiums are plentiful in these areas, and West Point Grey additionally provides high-end properties bordering beaches along the English Bay with spectacular views of Downtown Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. Situated along the south west side of Vancouver is the Southlands area, a unique country-style community within the city of Vancouver featuring multi-million dollar acreage and country estate properties.
An ethnically and linguistically diverse city, Vancouver is home to a huge number of immigrants, including large Chinese, German, South Asian, Latin American, Filipino, Korean, and Japanese populations. Knows as "The City of Neighbourhoods", there are a large number of communities with a distinct cultural character, and Vancouver has several ethnic commercial districts including Chinatown, the Punjabi Market, Little Italy, and Greektown. While all areas of the city are home to a wide variety of immigrants, Vancouver's East Side includes some of the most culturally diverse neighbourhoods, including Mount Pleasant, Kensington Heights, Cedar Cottage, and Granview-Woodland.
Along the east and south outskirts of Vancouver are the more suburban communities of Hastings-Sunrise, Renfrew-Collingwood, Killarney, Victoria-Fraserview, Sunset, Marpole, and Kerrisdale. These areas feature a higher proportion of low-rise and single-family style homes, and tend to be primarily residential with smaller pockets of concentrated commercial areas.
Get better acquainted with the city of Vancouver: visit the city website, read about the city's history, and learn more about the Vancouver city council, services, transportation and events.
The city of Vancouver and its surrounding areas have many post secondary options, from world-recognized universities and specialty institutions to technical schools and smaller community colleges.
Situated on a peninsula, Vancouver is gifted with a huge diversity of natural environments ranging from major urban green spaces and small neighbourhood parks to the sandy beaches of the English Bay and the rugged landscape of the North Shore Mountains.
Vancouver's most well known natural area is Stanley Park, a 1,000 acre urban park on the northern most tip of the Burrard Peninsula, bordering the Downtown and West End areas. In addition to many multi-use recreational facilities, Stanley Park has an 8.8 kilometre seawall path around its perimeter and an additional 200 kilometres of interior walking paths and trails. A significant portion of the park is forested: home to a half million trees, Stanley Park features very old specimens that stand upwards of 250 feet high and may be hundreds of years old.
Also popular is Queen Elizabeth Park, located in the community of Riley Park on Little Mountain. Featuring some of the most beautiful public gardens in Western Canada, Queen Elizabeth Park's Bloedel Floral Conservatory and extensive outdoor arboretum are favourites among residents and tourists alike. Activities available include golf, tennis, disc golf, lawn bowling, and nighttime star gazing.
Its peninsula location provides Vancouver residents with easy access to 18 kilometres of waterfront and sandy beaches, mostly located along the shores of English Bay. Kitsilano Beach is one of the most popular beaches among the younger twenty- and thirty-something crowds, and is also home to Kitsilano Pool, one of the longest pools in Canada. Other popular beaches include Stanley Park's First, Second and Third Beaches, and the beaches of Spanish Bank in West Point Grey, which are designated "quiet" areas where loud music is prohibited.
Vancouver has over 200 diverse parks, including the 400 hectare natural forest of Stanley Park and the 22km multi-use seawall path that lines Vancouver's waterfront. Explore our parks and beaches on these pages.
Most of Vancouver's entertainment, art and cultural activities are concentrated in the Downtown and West End areas. The urban core of the city is home to major arts institutions including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera. Major theatre companies within Vancouver include the Arts Club Theatre Company, the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, and Bard on the Beach. The Vancouver International Film Festival which runs for two weeks every September is one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America, showing over 350 films every year.
Vancouver has a colourful and vibrant nightlife, primarily centring on Gastown on the north east side of Downtown, and the Granville Entertainment District, located along the seven block Granville Mall area. Both contain a high concentration of restaurants, bars, and clubs. In addition to its nightlife, Gastown has been designated a Canada National Historic Site because of the large number of heritage buildings that have been preserved and are still in use today. Its distinctive street scape has attracted a mixture of artists, new media and technology companies, restaurants, cafes, trendy shops and fashionable boutiques.
Robson Street in Vancouver's West End has become a popular high-end shopping district, and upscale fashion brands including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, Cartier and Coach all have anchor stores along the Robson Street strip. Complimenting this high-end shopping is a concentrated collection of high-end restaurants and upscale dining options.
Also in Vancouver's West End is the well known Davie Village, the primary home of Vancouver's large and vibrant LGBT subculture. Pride colours and signs are displayed on street banners and in shop windows all year round, and every summer the Village hosts Western Canada's largest Pride Parade and Festival.
Other major yearly festivals in Vancouver include the International Jazz Festival, the International Celebration of Lights Fireworks Competition presented at English Bay, the multicultural Chinatown Festival, and the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
From theatre and opera to live local music and classic symphonies, Vancouver has some truly fantastic live venues and world-recognized theatre companies. Here are a sample of some of the great live performance venues available within the city.
There are dozens of great events happening year round that make Vancouver a great place to live and play. The greater Vancouver area has a festival for every season that are loved by all ages and nationalities.
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