Vancouver is located in the southwest corner of Canada in the province of British Columbia, at about 49° Latitude and 123° Longitude, next to the Pacific Ocean.
Archaeological evidence shows that coastal Indians had settled the Vancouver area by 500 B.C. British naval captain George Vancouver explored the area in 1792. Vancouver was founded as a sawmill settlement called Granville in the 1870s. The city was incorporated in 1886 and renamed after Captain Vancouver.
With a present population of about 560,000 (estimated), Vancouver lies in a region of more than 2 million people. Vancouver is the largest city in the province and the third largest in Canada. It covers an area of 113 sq km.
Vancouver is surrounded by water on three sides and overlooked by the Coast Range - mountains that rise abruptly to more than 1,500 m. Its climate is one of the mildest in Canada. Temperatures average 3°C in January and 18°C in July. Vancouver's average annual precipitation is 1,219 mm. Most rainfall occurs in winter.
Vancouver is a major port and probably leads the world in grain exports. As the main western terminus of Canada's transcontinental highway and rail routes, it is the primary city of western Canada, as well as one of the nation's largest industrial centers. Major industries include lumber and paper products, shipbuilding, food processing, petroleum refining, fish processing, and metal product manufacturing. A superport at Roberts Bank, 40 km to the south, is used for exporting coal and ore to Japan.
Vancouver is a major tourist destination. In addition to the city's scenic location, visitors enjoy beautiful gardens and world-famous Stanley Park, one of more than 180 city parks, and a combination of natural forest and parklands near the city center.