The city of Vancouver is 114 square kilometers in area and has a population of 603,502 as of the 2011 census. Vancouver is currently Canada’s eighth largest municipality. Metro Vancouver, which includes Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey and North Vancouver has an area of nearly 3,000 square kilometers and has over 2.5 million people and growing. On the northern end of Vancouver is Burrard Inlet, which is Vancouver’s main harbour where large oceangoing vessels transport goods to and from all over the world. To the city’s southern border is the Fraser River, which separates it from Richmond, a suburb of Metro Vancouver. Vancouver is famous for hosting global events such as the World Exposition of 1986 (Expo ’86) and the Winter Olympic Games in 2010.
Whistler is a relatively small resort town of around 10,000 residents but has a world famous reputation for being the top ski resort in North America. That reputation is justified by the fact that over 2 million visitors from around the globe flow through Whistler on an annual basis. Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain receive over 30 feet of snowfall every year. Its snowfall, close proximity to urban areas and moderate weather conditions make it one of the best places for winter sports. Whistler is just two hours drive north from Vancouver and hosted many of the events for the 2010 Winter Olympics. In the summer time, the world renown ski and snowboard trails of Whistler are transformed into Whistler Mountain Bike Park, which draws mountain bikers of all skill levels from all over the world.
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, located on the southern end of Vancouver Island. It has a population of over 80,000. Getting to Victoria from YVR Vancouver International Airport typically requires a 1.5 hour ferry ride to Swartz Bay ferry terminal on Vancouver Island, then a 30 min drive south into Victoria. Victoria is one of the oldest cities in Canada and retains a old-time ambiance with many historic buildings in tact. Some famous historic buildings include the Empress hotel and BC’s Parliament Buildings. Victoria also boasts the oldest Chinatown in Canada.
Richmond is located just south of YVR Vancouver International Airport. It is an island city by nature, formed by sediment carried down by the Fraser River over thousands of years. It is in fact below sea level and is surrounded partially by a dyke to prevent flooding. Because of the way its land was formed, Richmond’s topography is very flat, although the mountains to the north are easily visible and provide a nice view anywhere in Richmond. Richmond has developed and grown fairly rapidly over the past few decades due to it being a popular destination for Asian immigrants to settle. Over 60% of the population are immigrants, which is the highest in Canada. As a result, there is a large variety of Asian stores, restaurants and malls in Richmond. The Olympic speed skating oval, constructed for the 2010 Winter Olympics is located at the northwestern corner or Richmond. Richmond has been used as a filming location for popular movies such as ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’
Located in the southern part of the Okanagan Valley , British Columbia’s interior, Kelowna has a population of roughly 180,000 people and is the largest city in the Okanagan Valley. Kelowna is a city that has produced award-winning wines. Popular recreational activities available at Kelowna and the surrounding area include boating, hiking, golf and winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Kelowna was first settled in 1859 by a Roman Catholic missionary named Charles Pandosy, but it wasn’t until 1905 that Kelowna was officially established. The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus is located in Kelowna where over 5000 students attend full time. The University’s main campus is located in Vancouver. Kelowna is one of the fastest growing cities in North America which has caused housing prices to sky rocket. Kelowna is currently the fourth least affordable place to live when it comes to purchasing a home.
Kamloops is located about 150 miles north east of Vancouver. It sits just east of Kamloops lake where North Thomson River splits off of the Thomson River. Kamloops has a population of over 85,000 people making it the 59th largest municipality in Canada. The name “Kamloops” comes from a Shuswap word which translates to “meeting of the waters”. Kamloops hosted the Canada Summer Games in 1993, the BC Summer Games in 2006 and the Western Canada Summer Games in 2011, among others. Over time, Kamloops has come to be known as the Tournament Capital of Canada, with the many sports events taking place in its modern facilities. Interestingly, Kamloops has been used as the location of popular films such as ‘The A Team’, ‘Firewall’ and ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’.