So far as cities go, the area we call home has seen its fair share of interesting events.
To celebrate our extraordinary city here are 25 things you may not know about Vancouver.
1. It wasn’t always named Vancouver
Prior to being named Vancouver, the city was called Gastown, followed by Granville, B.I. (Burrard Inlet).
2. It was named after a famous explorer…
Vancouver was called after Captain George Vancouver, an English explorer renowned for leading the expedition that charted a bunch of the Pacific Northwest. He discovered the region which would ultimately became Vancouver.
3. … who actually has his name on a great deal of things…
Vancouver’s name was used for Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Washington, a mountain in New Zealand, and a hill on the Yukon/Alaskan border.
4. … and who has been responsible for naming many other things…
Vancouver was the first explorer to enter the Burrard Inlet, which he named after his friend, Sir Harry Burrard. He called a lot of places after his friends, including Mount Baker, Mount St. Helens, the Puget Sound, Mount Hood, and Mount Rainier.
5. Our city name caused a lot of trouble for a US city.
Through the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, businesses and hotels in Vancouver, Washington fielded calls from all over the global world, with people seeking to make reservations for the Olympics, that was been happening 400 kms away!
6. It may one day be the only Vancouver
There's been talk before of Vancouver, Washington changing their name to FORT, Washington.
7. Stanley Park is bigger than Central Park….
Stanley Park is 10% larger than New York City’s famous Central Park, at 1,001 acres. Stanley Park, named after imperial governor Lord Frederick Stanley.
8. Gray squirrels are a new feature to Stanley Park… are we really calling them a “feature”!
All of the grey squirrels in Vancouver are descended from eight mating pairs who came from New York City in 1909. Someone was getting lucky!
9. The California Roll was invented in Vancouver.
A very popular sushi a dish that is be enjoyed by locals, The California Roll is commonly thought to have been created by Japanese-born Vancouver chef Hidekazu Tojo.
10. Vancouver has A LOT of different languages spoken here…
Vancouver is one of the most linguistically diverse cities in Canada, with 52% of residents having a first language other than English.
11. The 9 O’Clock Gun didn’t always fire at 9 O’Clock…. Really, eh?
Vancouver’s 9 O’clock Gun, which fires at 9 pm every night, was originally fired at 6 pm. It was meant to remind salmon fisherman to halt fishing on Sundays.
12. the 9 O’Clock gun was made in England
The gun was cast in Woolwich, England, in 1816, before being shipped to Vancouver in 1894.
13. Dynamite used to be a replacement for the gun
The 9 pm firing of the gun was used to permit boats in the port to create their chronometers. Before the gun was installed for this purpose, the keeper at the Brockton Point Lighthouse detonated a stick of dynamite over the water every evening at 9 pm. For Real!
14. The gun has only ever NOT fired five times
The gun has been silent five times. Once during World Battle II. Once in 1969 when it was taken by UBC Engineering students who demanded a “ransom” be paid to the BC Children’s Medical center for its safe come back. It had been silenced in 2007 throughout a work stop again. Then in 2008 it dropped silent when UBC Executive students painted the gun red, and in 2011 for no explained reason.
15. Vancouver once boasted the tallest building in the British Empire
At 321 feet, the Marine Building, located at 355 Burrard Road in Downtown Vancouver, was once the tallest building in the UK Empire.
16. The oldest building in Vancouver is OLD with a capital “O”!
The Hastings Mill Store, now moved from it’s original location and residing at 1575 Alma Street, is the oldest building in Vancouver, construct in 1865 originally.
17. A ale built The Lions Gate Bridge company
The Lions Gate Bridge was originally built by the Guinness Family to connect North and West Vancouver to the Vancouver downtown core.
18. 50 of the biggest movies and shows are produced in Vancouver
They don’t call us Hollywood North for no reason! Big budget blockbusters like Deadpool and Godzilla; popular Television shows including Arrow, Bates Motel and iZombie Motel are filmed in Vancouver.
9. It has a serious ecological credibility
International environmental activism group Greenpeace was started in Vancouver in 1971, and is now considered the most discernable environmental organization in the world.
20. There are SO MANY sushi restaurants
Metro Vancouver has over 200 sushi restaurants now, not including food markets. I bet there is even more since writing this article!
21. One of the largest Pride Parades in the world happens RIGHT HERE!
Vancouver houses one of the biggest Pride Parades in the global world, with over 500,000 attendees every year!
22. We have a lot of sushi places but check out how many Starbucks locations we have!
There are 44 Starbucks locations in the downtown Vancouver alone.
23. A science fiction tale lives here
Legendary science-fiction author and longtime Vancouver resident William Gibson is accredited with creating the term “cyberspace.” One of his short stories, The Winter Market, is set on Vancouver’s Granville Island.
24. Vancouver has even been in video games...
The video game Mass Effect 3 features an opening arrangement set in a futuristic Vancouver that is under attack from extraterrestrial space ships. Landmarks such as the North Shore Mountains and Canada Place can be seen.
And of course, Vancouver also had two video games for hosting the 2010 Olympic Winter Games: Nintendo Wii’s Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and the PS3/XBox/PC Official Vancouver 2010 Game.
25. A Hollywood star died here… not sure this is something we need to be proud of…
Errol Flynn, star of Golden Age swashbuckler movies like Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, died in Vancouver in 1959 at the age of 50.