And the Winner Is...

And the Winner Is...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Jane Mundy

In 2008, opinion leader Conde Nast Traveler magazine awarded Vancouver second place on its Top Ten Cities in the Americas list, and the Econimist Report honoured Vancouver as the most livable city in the world.
 
At first glance you might think the accolades are based on one obvious factor: location.  But the city has much more going for it than its breathtaking natural beauty.  It's friendly citizens are its other crucial asset - many diverse communities represent a rich and colourful multicultural tapestry and Vancouver is now home to more than 70 different ethnic groups.
 
A city of newcomers, Vancouver boasts one of the world's highest percentages of foreign-born residents.  About 40 per cent of the City of Vancouver's near 612,000 residents claim to have emigrated from outside Canada.  Over one third of the city's residents are of Asian Descent - not surprising considering Vancouver is Canada's gateway to the Pacific Rim.  The city's Chinatown is North America's second largest.  The population is truly diverse, with Japanese, Greek, Indo-Canadian, Italian, Iranian and Jewish immigrant communities, to name just a few.
 
First Nations lived here first, for thousands of years (totem poles decorating the landscape remind visitors of the area's roots) before the Spanish salied into Burrard Inlet in 1791.  One year later, the British followed, with Captain George Vancouver giving to the city its name.  Vancouver's ice-free port appealed to walry settlers by providing easy ocean access and the raw materials necessary to feed its canneries and sawmills; it's now the busiest sea port in Canada and worth a billion dollars a year, shipping about 72 million tons of cargo. 
 
In 2007, over 78,000 people migrated to Metro Vancouver (which numbers almost 2.5 million people), many of them now calling the City of Vancouver home.  Many areas are being rezoned to accommodate housing, and the term "eco-density" has become a buzzword.  And Vancouver is fast becoming a leader in sustainability, from its Green Homes Program to efficient and accessible bicycle routes.  It's no surprise that Greenpeace was founded here. 
 
Although the city loves high-density living (the downtown population has doubled to 85,000 in the last 20 years), pristine wilderness is eality accessible and the upgraded Sea-to-Sky Highway offers spectacular viewpoints driving to Whistler and the Coast Mountain Range. 
 
When the crowds and clamour of downtown overwhelm, many Vancouverites escape to Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre oasis of trees, flowers, lagoons, streams, lakes, playgrounds and sports fields.  Others go shopping:  Not everyone dresses in fleece and Gore-Tex, as is evident from world-famous brand names along Robson Street and the high-end department store Holt Renfrew. 
 
No matter what they're up to, Vancouverites tend to dress casually and treasure the West Coast lifestyle that justifies their relatively high rents and mortgage payments.  They usually enhoy outdoor activivites no matter the weaterh, from sailing, kayaking and scuba diving to golfing, skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. 
 
The city's ethnic diversity makes for great restaurants, recognized worldwide.  Vancouver's best chefs, blesses with an abundance of local produce, meats and seafood, use and promote organic, regional and local products with award-winning results. 
 
The service industry, along with tourism and high-tech(video games in particular), is one of the top employment sectors here, replacing the traditional resource sectors such as fishing and mining.  As well, the city boasts the third-largest film production industry in North America. 
 
Residential property sales in Metro vancouver declined about 30 percent this year and housing economists say the housing bubble has burst, batting the real estate market in the buyer's court.  The average home price in Metro Vancouver fell eight percent (from September 2007) to $536,000; at the same time, the number of residential listings soared.  MTV 

 
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And the Winner Is...

Jane Mundy | 6/7/2010

Vancouver ranks tops on the world stage, from livability to location. ...