Vancouver has been settled for millennia. Aboriginal peoples began living in the area as the glaciers melted, and eventually built a sophisticated economic and cultural structure prior to discovery by the Spanish in the late 18th century.
European settlement remained minimal, part of the network of fur trading outposts in Western Canada, until the 1860s, when lumbering began to grow as an industry with trade goods heading west into the Pacific. A tavern formed the basis of Gastown, present-day Vancouver, providing for thirsty, bored millworkers.
This obscure West Coast settlement of the British Empire would begin to grow into prominence with the establishment of the Canadian Pacific Railway and its stated intention to build its terminus at what was then known as either Gastown or Granville. Shaking off old associations, it was renamed Vancouver to suit the occasion of the CPR terminus, named after Vancouver Island, a better-known and more respectable settlement off the Pacific Coast.
In 1887, the CPR began running to Vancouver. The population would increase by over 100 times in the next 30 years, and Vancouver quickly surpassed Victoria as the Canadian West Coast’s major economic center. With the construction of the railway, the city became a vital link connecting East Asia to Great Britain, and the Chinese laborers who helped build it settled there, planting the seed for the city’s substantial East Asian population. Vancouver’s seaport became the major economic engine in the region, and it remains the most active port in Canada today.
Vancouver increased in size and sophistication at a rapid rate, with parks established early on and progressive political movements taking a hold rapidly in the early 20th century. The turbulent years of the Great Depression saw the city become a destination for the impoverished and unemployed, some said due to the fact that in Vancouver, one could never die from lack of heat or shelter. Whatever Vancouver may have failed to provide in terms of economic opportunity, it compensated for with mild weather and beautiful surroundings. It’s relatively rare for Vancouver to experience a temperature below freezing, with only a few days of snow annually on average. Nor is heat a problem, with an average July high of 72̊ F.
These mild temperatures are perfect for a city that treasures the outdoors. Greenpeace was established here in the 1970s, and it makes sense for a city to love nature so much when typical urban views include snowcapped mountains and sandy beaches. Huge urban parks are complemented by even bigger nature reserves within a day of the city or less. Between the sea, the mountains, and the temperate rainforests, opportunities for outdoor recreation are nearly unlimited.
Of course, one could just as easily be forgiven for staying in the city streets, full of trendy bars, cafes, fine dining, and cultural hotspots. The city was founded on a tavern, and one can rest assured that the city’s microbreweries and sippers take drinking seriously. Lively markets and interesting museums, such as the Museum of Anthropology and Vancouver Aquarium, give visitors plenty more reasons to stick around town. Vine Vera Vancouver is just one more.