Squeezed between the North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is one of the world’s best-looking cities and frequently voted one of the world’s ‘most liveable cities’, for good reason. It’s Canada’s dine-out capital and home to some of North America’s best Asian cuisine. It’s also a haven for outdoorsy types, with B.C.’s snow-capped peaks less than 30 minutes away, long sandy shorelines and plenty of urban green space. Those with more refined tastes have a myriad of music festivals, theatre performances and independent galleries to tap into too. But how much do you really know about the ocean-fringed metropolis? From Canada’s longest pool to the inventors of botox, here are a few interesting facts about Vancouver you probably haven’t heard before.
7 Interesting Facts about Vancouver
1. Over 40% of Vancouver’s population are immigrants
Vancouver is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. According to the latest National Household Survey (NHS), close to 44% of the city’s 590,210-strong population hold immigration status. An addition 4 percent (22,960) were non-permanent residents. The census also revealed that 94 individual mother tongues and 93 individual languages are regularly spoken in the home.
Chinese Canadians are a sizable part of the population in Greater Vancouver, especially in the Chinese communities in the city of Vancouver and Richmond. In fact, Vancouver is home to one of the world’s largest China Towns.
2. Vancouver is home to one of the world’s largest cruise ship terminals
Vancouver has the fourth largest cruise ship terminal in the world. Over one million cruise passengers come through the Port of Vancouver each year, extending their stays before or after their cruise to enjoy the idyllic west coast destination. It’s a popular departure point for Alaska cruises and a good home base for one-way and round-trip cruises through the Inside Passage, which sweeps along the west coast of British Columbia.
3. Stanley Park is 10% larger than Central Park
Vancouver’s most beloved park sprawls across a whopping 1,000 acres and encompasses beaches, playgrounds, pools, botanical gardens, Canada’s largest aquarium and 17 tennis courts. There are kilometres of trails to explore that meander through lush greener, across beaches and first too. For some serious mileage, there’s the Seawall. The 17.5 miles (28 km) route, which connects the Vancouver Convention Centre to the Spanish Banks beaches, is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.
4. Vancouver is the ‘Hollywood of the North’
Vancouver boasts some seriously cinematic scenery, so it’s no stranger to film and TV producers. It’s long since earned the nickname ‘Hollywood North’ thanks to the thousands of movies and TV series shot here every year. In recent years, Deadpool, Fifty Shades of Grey and Apollo 18 all hunkered down here to film.
According to the Vancouver Economic Commission, the B.C. film and television industry was worth $3.4 billion in 2019 and 2020.
5. It’s home to Canada’s longest pool
Kitsilano Pool is Canada’s longest pool at 137 metres, three times longer than an Olympic Pool. It’s the only saltwater swimming pool in Vancouver– and it’s heated too. Come summer, hundreds of Vancouverites flock here to swim and stretch out in the sun. It’s conveniently located next to the beach, cafés, and neighbourhood of Kitsilano. It also features a water park and two slides.
6. Vancouver invented botox
The world’s most popular cosmetic procedure was invented by two Vancouverite doctors in 1987. Dr Jean and Alastair Carruthers accidentally discovered cosmetic properties in a toxin normally used by ophthalmologists. They pioneered the use of Botox, a botulism-based toxin that temporarily paralyzes muscles, for cosmetic purposes. Since then, the couple has changed the face of beauty – literally – and it’s become a billion-dollar industry.
7. Once upon a time, you needed a British passport to live in West Vancouver
The British Properties in West Vancouver was a 4,000-acre estate that the municipality of West Vancouver sold to the British Pacific Properties corporation in 1931. Originally designed for upper-class elites, the neighbourhood had a strict whites-only policy and residents required a British passport to live here. Authorities also barred sales to ‘any persons of African, Asiatic or Jewish descent. Thankfully, today’s population is much more diverse, though the estate homes, luxury townhomes and elegant condominiums are still pretty exclusive.