Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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A Canadian city, in the province of British Columbia. It is a major seaport and the largest metropolitan centre in western Canada, home to 514,008 people in 1996. Vancouver is the main city in the region commonly known as the Lower Mainland, where 1,831,665 [1996] live. It is situated at 49 degrees, 16 minutes north and 123 degrees, 7 minutes west.

Vancouver is positioned adjacent to the Strait of Georgia, a body of water that is separated from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. The Strait of Georgia was first explored in 1791 by Spanish explorer Lieutenant Jose Maria Narvaez. In the following year, 1792, the British naval Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798) joined the Spanish expedition based at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island’s west coast and explored in more detail the Strait of Georgia, as well as Puget Sound.

Early industry along Burrard Inlet, the body of water where Vancouver’s port is today, was lumbering. The first sawmill began operating in 1863 at Moodyville. The first export of lumber took place in 1865 and where shipped to Australia. By 1865 the first sawmill, Stamp’s Mill, started in what was to become the City of Vancouver.

In 1870, the colonial government of British Columbia surveyed the community officially known as Granville. It was sited immediately west of Stamp’s Mill and was commonly known as Gastown, a name that survives today.

In 1885 Granville was selected by the Canadian Pacific Railway to be the western terminus of the transcontinental railway commissioned by the Government of Canada under the leadership of Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald's. In April 1886 the City of Vancouver is incorporated. And by July 1886 the first train from Montreal arrives.

With the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 Vancouver begins to grow rapidly as it is fully connected Vancouver to all of Canada and thus Vancouver was able to enjoy the benefits of access to Canadian markets. Additionally, as part of the agreement to join Confederation, British Columbia's debt of approximately $1,000,000 was paid in full by the Canadian government, creating additional business opportunities.

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