15 things you might not know about Burnaby

Apr 5 2017, 5:31 am

Burnaby has come a long way since its inception as a route between New Westminster and Vancouver.

It now acts as the heart of Metro Vancouver, flanked by different municipalities at all of its borders.

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The city is known for its park lands, schools, lakes, and mountain, but there may be some things about Burnaby that you don’t know about.

Until now, that is…

1. A lot of celebs have come from Burnaby

Michael J Fox painting in Montreal, Canada (Meunierd/Shutterstock)

Michael J Fox painting in Montreal, Canada (Meunierd/Shutterstock)

Michael Buble, Michael J. Fox, Joe Sakic, and national soccer team player Christine Sinclair all came out of Burnaby. Can we all agree that there should probably be some sort of Back to the Future museum?

2. And Buble is building a mansion in the city

Michael Buble is currently constructing a 27,000 sq ft mansion in Burnaby, at a cost of roughly $6.4 million.

3. It’s got some Japanese culture

The Playground of the Gods near SFU (Marius M. Grecu/Shutterstock)

The Playground of the Gods near SFU (Marius M. Grecu/Shutterstock)

Atop Burnaby Mountain is the Playground of the Gods, home of roughly 50 totem poles created by Japanese artist Nubuo Toko, along with his son, Shusheo. The poles overlook Coal Harbour, and are there to symbolize the bond Burnaby has with its sister city, Kushiro, Japan.

4. Burnaby elected the first openly gay member of parliament

NDP politician Svend Robinson was elected out of Burnaby. He was Canada’s first openly gay MP and was a long-serving politician for the city.

5. It runs like a well oiled machine

In 2009 Maclean’s magazine named Burnaby Canada’s best run city. I’m sure the two skytrain lines help with that!

6. The mall is pretty big

Metropolis at Metrotown (DeymosHR/Shutterstock)

Metropolis at Metrotown (DeymosHR/Shutterstock)

The Metropolis Mall at Metrotown is Canada’s second largest commercial mall, and the largest in BC. No wonder it is so easy to get lost in there.

7. And so are the parks

Burnaby has one of the highest park land to resident ratio in all of North America, with roughly 25% of the city’s land being parkland or open space.

8. There was actually a guy named Burnaby

The city takes its name from Burnaby lake, which was named after explorer Robert Burnaby travelled the area in 1859.

9. Burnaby has a neon sign as an official landmark

#helentheswinginggirl #neonsign #swingonby #theheights

A post shared by Fabian Corona Hernandez (@sketchyfabi) on

Helen ‘the Swinging Girl’ is a kinetic neon sign that hangs in The Heights shopping district. It was installed in 1956 and had been official labeled a civic heritage landmark as of 2010.

10. A lot of people live there

Burnaby counts for 10% of the total population in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, though it only accounts for 4% of the land.

11. …and they speak all sorts of languages

Roughly 54% of people in Burnaby have a primary language that is neither of Canada’s two official languages, English and French.

12. It’s the home of a 100+ year old (working) carousel

Burnaby Village Museum

Image: Burnaby Village Museum / Facebook

Built in 1912, the carousel at the Burnaby Village Museum was originally purchased for $5,886. It eventually found its way to Vancouver, and then into Burnaby after being saved from being deconstructed and auctioned off horse by horse. It still runs during the museum’s public hours, and only costs $2.50 for a spin.

13. Burnaby has its own version of the grouse grind

The Velodrome Trail is a 1,400m path in Burnaby that starts at the parking lot of the Doug Drummond trailhead. It is a 240m elevation climb, so not quite as steep as Grouse Mountain. Let’s consider that a plus.

14. And an adorable (rideable) train

People riding on the Burnaby Central Railway (Burnabyrailway.com)

People riding on the Burnaby Central Railway (Burnabyrailway.com)

The Burnaby Central Railway has over two miles of track that traverses a seven acre lot, and offers rides on their miniature locomotives.

15. It is the home of an intimidating flock of crows

At last count, somewhere between 3,000 and 6,000 crows gather at the Still Creek Roost (near Willingdon Avenue and Highway 1) in Burnaby at dusk each winter.

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