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Enjoying A Sunset Over Vancouver From Our Room At The Pinnacle Hotel At The Pier

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver

Learning unusual facts about a city before you visit can really enhance your stay and make it more interesting. With a sharp rise in visitors to Vancouver in the summer I figured the timing was right to put together a list of interesting facts about the city of Vancouver.

Here’s my list of 35 weird and wonderful facts about Vancouver, a city I had the pleasure of living in for almost 10 years.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Head to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver if you want to catch a ferry to Nanaimo or the Sunshine Coast

Vancouver is named after Captain Vancouver, a morose sounding fellow who must have explored the area in a rainy summer. He hated the place.

In 1971, Greenpeace was born – in Vancouver. It’s, as you probably know, an organization known for its international environmental campaigns.

Vancouver ranks third in the world as the best city to live in – for quality of life.

Vancouver is tied with Montreal as the 10th cleanest city in the world. Calgary came in first place. Guess they didn’t visit the east side.

Vancouver aka Hollywood North, is second only to Los Angeles in TV production and third in North America for Feature Film production. That means there are occasionally high profile movie stars floating around. Lions Gate, Paramount and Bridge Studios have set up shop here.

Boat traffic in West Vancouver
Boat traffic in West Vancouver

Vancouver is Canada’s third largest city; Toronto and Montreal are bigger.

Vancouver has the fourth largest cruise ship terminal in the world. Cruise ships begin sailing in April. Early October is typically when you’ll see the last of the cruise ships. M0st of the cruises head for Alaska.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Head for downtown Vancouver if you want to check out the cruise ships

35% of Vancouver’s population is foreign born. It has the highest proportion of Asians in any North American city. Try a visit to China Town.

Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood has the largest gay community in the west. Look for the Gay Pride Parade in August.

Three professional major league sports team call Vancouver home – the Vancouver Canucks for hockey (and they’re in the Stanley Cup Finals this year), the BC Lions for football and the Vancouver Whitecaps for soccer.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Orca statue by Douglas Coupland installed next to to Vancouver Convention Centre

The population of greater Vancouver is approximately 2.1 million.

In an average year, Vancouver will see some sort of rainfall on 165 days in the year.

The best time to visit Vancouver is in the summer. It’s typically sunny and in fact often suffers from drought. The winter is dark, rainy and dreary.

Read: Sightseeing in Vancouver: Over 30 Ideas to Keep you Busy

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Head to Stanley Park or Lighthouse Park to see trees this size

On June 21st, the summer solstice, the sun rises at 5:07 AM and sets at 9:21 PM. On December 21st, the winter solstice, sunrise is 8:04 AM and sunset is 4:16 PM.

You can ski, golf, bike, sail and kayak in Vancouver – all on the same day.

Read: 12 Great Things to Do in North Vancouver, BC

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
You can sail year-round in Vancouver

There are three ski hills within a short drive of downtown Vancouver – Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour.

Vancouver’s Kitsilano salt water pool holds the title of Canada’s longest pool, measuring 137.5 metres (451 feet) almost the equivalent of three Olympic regulation size pools. This outdoor pool maintains a constant temperature of 25°C (77°F) so you will always be comfortable under the grimmest of outdoor conditions.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
View of downtown Vancouver from the Spanish Banks

The Vancouver (YVR) airport has free WiFi.

There is a gas station to fill up you rental car, almost within spitting distance of dropping it off at the Vancouver airport. How thoughtful is that? Plus the gas prices are competitive, not predatory.

Read: The Vancouver Airport Layover Guide

Vancouver has the highest real estate prices in Canada. The average price of a detached home in April 2011 was $1,204,587. Actually according to some, and depending on how you measure it, prices are higher than in London or New York City.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Visit the Nitobe Gardens in spring for the blossoms or in fall for the incredible colours

The British Properties in West Vancouver, originally owned by the Guinness Family, had covenants (that may still stand but be ignored) excluding Jews, Asians and blacks from owning property. Now you’re likely to find Iranians speaking Farsi and Chinese speaking Mandarin. Fortunately it’s become much more diverse.

There are no freeways in downtown Vancouver.

The Lion’s Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge over the Burrard Inlet, connecting the City of Vancouver to the north-shore communities of North and West Vancouver is 5,890 feet long. It opened to traffic on November 14, 1938. The bridge can be a traffic nightmare. Fortunately you can bike or walk over it, in dedicated lanes.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
A trip up Grouse Mountain is a popular activity no matter what time of year you visit

Vancouver could have a big earthquake at any time – 8.0 Richter big. The city sits on a major fault along with Seattle and Portland.

Liquor laws are still in the dark ages. You can’t buy beer or alcohol in the grocery store.

Famous people who were born or have lived much of their life in Vancouver include Bryan Adams, Michael Buble, Pamela Anderson, Jason Priestly, Margaret Trudeau, Joe Sakic, David Suzuki, Sarah McLachlan, Michael J. Fox, Raymond Burr, Douglas Coupland, Arthur Erickson and Nat Bailey.

Former rock star, Bob Geldof was the editor of the Georgia Strait in the 1960’s.

Vancouver – along with Victoria – has the mildest climate in Canada – though one of the rainiest.

Granville Island is Vancouver’s famous public market. It is open 7 days a week from 9 am until 7 pm.

Granville Island Market
Granville Island Market

Dolphins and whales are occasionally sighted in the waters close to the city. Last year there were two whale sightings in False Creek and numerous dolphin pod sightings in Howe Sound.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Kayaking in West Vancouver within sight of Bowen Island

Stanley Park is a 1001 acre urban park, bordering the city. It is 10% bigger than New York City’s Central Park. A 5.5 mile path circles the seawall. It’s extensively used by walkers, runners, cyclists and roller bladers.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver
Harry Winston Jerome statue in Stanley Park – BC’s athlete of the century 1871 – 1971

The Vancouver Aquarium ranks in the top five around the world.

Vancouver has played host to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Expo’86 World Fair.

Tax on almost everything except food is 12%. Some things like gasoline have tax on tax.

Gasoline prices are about $Cdn 1.36 per liter these days. There are 3.79 liters in a US gallon. That would make it $5.15 a US gallon!!!

Checking out the Aquabus from Granville Island
Checking out the Aquabus from Granville Island

Further reading on interesting facts in Canada

Click on the photo to bookmark to Pinterest.

Weird & Wonderful Facts About Vancouver





Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Great tips. We can’t wait to visit – next week! By the way UK petrol (gas) prices are the equivalent of $8.45 a gallon!

  2. Would love to visit Vancouver one day.. fabulous post with some awesome shots.. love the one with the beluga whale;)

    1. @Ciki – Vancouver is well worth a visit. If you’re only going to make it here once come in summer when the day’s are long & the sun is likely shining. You can see beluga whales in the wild in the summer – and in fact swim with them – if you go up to Churchill, Manitoba in the North.

  3. Thanks for this list – very interesting! Regarding liquor laws, I would say all of Canada is in the dark ages! Including the fact that the drinking age is different in each province and territory. I’m living in the Northwest Territories where the drinking age is 19, but it’s 18 in Alberta. So some young people drive for 5 minutes down the highway to the golf course, which is just over Alberta’s border and they’re legally entitled to have a beer a year earlier.
    One of the highlights in Vancouver for me when I visited was the Grouse Grind. What a sense of accomplishment to climb a mountain in less than 2 hours – and an amazing workout!

    1. Hi Carolyn-
      I don’t even pretend to understand the liquor laws but I definitely would like to see it sold in a grocery store.
      Agree about the Grind – great workout in a short period of time. Also recommend hiking the Chief in Squamish – the second largest monolith in the world. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Cool post. Wow, I did not know there was a city with more expensive gas than Chicago. We have the dubious distinction of having the highest gas prices in the U.S. at just over $4.00.

  5. I lived in Seattle for several years. Always wanted to go to Vancouver BC but never did it. About the liquor laws, I was told on good authority ,that it was so difficult for the skid row guys to get booze, that they often drank vanilla extract. Thus they were the best smelling bums in the world, is this correct, BC natives?

  6. This was such a great post. I do a trivia page and this helped me pick Vancouver as the “secret city”. Thanks for all the info.

  7. What about the education?
    I’m an Industrial and Systems Enginering student and i really want to go to study in Vancouver, and not only to study, i want to live there…

  8. Hi Leigh. Enjoy reading your blog about Canada. Hope to visit soon. Sure miss Tim Horton’s coffee.
    Lastly did you visit Capilano Swinging Bridge. What was your thoughts. Thanks again.
    Pat from St. Louis, MO

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