Almost exactly halfway between Europe and the Asia Pacific region, Vancouver is on the west coast mainland of North America. It is in the southwest corner of British Columbia – the westernmost of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories.
An easy hop by car, train or plane, it is only 38 kilometres (24 miles) north of the US border and 96 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Victoria – the B.C. capital, located across the Strait of Georgia on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
Metro Vancouver, covering 2,930 square kilometres (1,130 square miles) and home to more than two million residents, comprises 24 local authorities, one of which is the City of Vancouver. Others include Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond and Surrey. Across the Burrard Inlet, the North Shore area includes the communities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver.
Vancouver: Geographically Speaking
Bordered on its northwestern edge by spectacular Stanley Park – one of the continent’s largest downtown green spaces – Vancouver’s compact city centre is surrounded on three sides by water, with Burrard Inlet to the north, False Creek to the south and English Bay to the west. Several nearby neighbourhoods radiate from this downtown core, including Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, the West End and Granville Island. Nearby East Vancouver encompasses the Main Street and Commercial Drive communities while the West Side features beach-studded Kitsilano.
Easy to navigate, Vancouver’s main thoroughfares generally follow a user-friendly grid pattern: streets run north to south and avenues run east to west. The avenues, for the most part, are numbered – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. – and the streets are named. Broadway is the main exception to the avenue numbering rule – it should be 9th Avenue.