Vancouver is a significant city in western Canada, located in British Columbia's Lower Mainland. As the province's most populated city, 662,248 inhabitants were recorded in the 2021 census, up from 631,486 in 2016. In 2021, the Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2.6 million, making it the country's third-largest metropolitan area. With almost 5,400 people per square kilometre, Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada. Vancouver is one of Canada's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, with 52 percent of citizens not being native English speakers, 48.9% speaking neither English nor French, and 50.6 percent belonging to visible minority groups.
Vancouver is regarded as one of the world's most livable cities. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada and the globe when it comes to house affordability. Vancouver aspires to be the world's greenest city. The city's urban planning design ideology is known as Vancouverism.
The Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard) peoples have lived in Vancouver for over 10,000 years, and the city is located on their traditional and unceded territory. The contemporary city, previously known as Gastown, grew up around the site of a makeshift bar established on the western outskirts of Hastings Mill on July 1, 1867, and held by proprietor Gassy Jack.
The Gastown steam clock marks the original location. Gastown was later incorporated as a townsite known as Granville, Burrard Inlet. Through an agreement with the Canadian Pacific Railway, the city was renamed "Vancouver" in 1886. (CPR). By 1887, the Canadian Pacific transcontinental railway had reached the city. The city's vast natural harbour on the Pacific Ocean became an important commerce link between Asia, East Asia, Europe, and Eastern Canada. Many international conferences and events have taken place in Vancouver, including the Commonwealth Games in 1954, UN Habitat I, Expo 86, APEC Canada 1997, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. The finals of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup were held at BC Place in Downtown Vancouver, as were the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which were held in Vancouver and Whistler, a resort town 125 kilometres (78 miles) north of the city. Greenpeace was started in Vancouver in 1969. In 2014, the city became the permanent home of TED conferences.
Port Metro Vancouver is the fourth-biggest port in the Americas by tonnage, the busiest and largest in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America as of 2016. While forestry is still the city's greatest industry, tourism is the city's second-largest. Major film production studios in Vancouver and neighbouring Burnaby have transformed the region into one of North America's largest film production centres, earning it the moniker "Hollywood North." 
Archaeological evidence suggests that Aboriginal people lived in the Vancouver area between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago. The city is located in the historic and currently unceded areas of the Coast Salish peoples, the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard). They had settlements in different locations throughout modern-day Vancouver, including Stanley Park, False Creek, Kitsilano, Point Grey, and at the Fraser River's mouth. Lhq'á:lets, which means "broad at the bottom/end" in contemporary Halkomelem, was the name given to the area where Vancouver is now located.
In 1791, José Mara Narváez of Spain surveyed the coast of present-day Point Grey and parts of Burrard Inlet, introducing Europeans to the future Vancouver area—although one source claims that Francis Drake may have visited the area in 1579.
Simon Fraser, a North West Company trader, and his crew were the first known Europeans to set foot on the present-day city site. They travelled down the Fraser River from the east in 1808, possibly as far as Point Grey.
On their journey to the Fraser Canyon, around 25,000 men, mostly from California, arrived in neighbouring New Westminster (established February 14, 1859) on the Fraser River, bypassing what would become Vancouver. Vancouver is one of British Columbia's newest cities; McCleery's Farm on the Fraser River, just east of the old village of Musqueam in what is now Marpole, was the first European settlement in what is now Vancouver in 1862. The city's long history with logging began in 1863, when a sawmill was erected in Moodyville (now the City of North Vancouver). It was swiftly followed by Captain Edward Stamp's mills on the inlet's south coast. Stamp, who had started logging in the Port Alberni area, attempted to run a mill at Brockton Point, but due to challenging currents and reefs, the enterprise was forced to relocate in 1867 to a spot near the foot of Dunlevy Street. The Hastings Mill, as it was known, became the centre around which Vancouver grew. After the entrance of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the 1880s, the mill's importance in the community faded. Despite this, it was vital to the local economy until it closed in the 1920s. The community, which became known as Gastown, rose swiftly around "Gassy" Jack Deighton's impromptu pub, which he built on the edge of the Hastings Mill land in 1867. The colonial administration surveyed the settlement and laid up a townsite in 1870, renaming it "Granville" in honour of Lord Granville, the then-British Secretary of State for the Colonies. This site, with its natural port, was chosen as the Canadian Pacific Railway's terminal in 1884, much to the dismay of Port Moody, New Westminster, and Victoria, who had all vied for the railhead. British Columbia was enticed to join the Confederacy in 1871 with the promise of a railway, but the Pacific Scandal and disagreements over the employment of Chinese labour delayed building until the 1880s.
Vancouver is situated on the Burrard Peninsula, with Burrard Inlet to the north and the Fraser River to the south. Vancouver Island protects the Strait of Georgia from the Pacific Ocean to the west. The city is located in the Pacific Time Zone (UTC 8) and the Pacific Maritime Ecozone, with a total size of 114 km2 (44 sq mi) that includes both flat and hilly terrain.