24 (more) things you might not know about Vancouver

Mar 10 2017, 8:59 am

Vancouver is a city on the rise.

Not just through construction (though our peninsula of towers is quite the impressive sight), but by all the new events taking place, and in the people who call it home.

See also

But there’s some interesting things about this city that even the longest-standing Vancouverites may not know about.

So why not test your knowledge of rain city by seeing how many of these Vancouver facts you already knew. You never know, you might just learn a thing or two…

1. Vancouver is NOT the rainiest city in Canada

The top spot for most rain is actually held by Abbotsford, according to rainfall data between 1981 and 2010. Vancouver comes in second, though if you account for precipitation overall (rain and snow), St. John’s, Newfoundland would take the silver medal.

2. …but we do still get a lot of rain

The city gets an average of 57.3 inches of precipitation a year, over an average of 164 days of wet weather.


Image: Kaique Rocha/Pexels

3. Vancouver is aiming to be greenest city in the world by 2020

With 93% of the city’s energy being generated by renewable resources, Vancouver is one of the greenest cities in the world. However, we want to be the very best, and are working to reach that pinnacle by introducing more green jobs and lowering emission levels.

4. A past Vancouver mayor worked for only $1 a year

Fred Hume (also known as friendly Fred) was mayor of Vancouver from 1951 to 1958. As he was already quite wealthy before taking office, Humes gave his mayoral salary to charity, keeping only $1 each year for himself.

5. We hosted Houdini’s straight jacket escape

In 1923 Harry Houdini performed his famous straight jacket escape while dangling upside down over a Pender street sidewalk.

Harry Houdini hanging upside down in Vancouver

Harry Houdini hanging upside down in Vancouver. Image: City of Vancouver archives

6. Grouse Mountain could’ve changed its name to Mt. Vancouver

As though the name Vancouver isn’t already on enough things around here, there was an idea put forward in 1926 to change the name of Grouse Mountain. City aldermen were at odds over the issue however and of course, the original name stuck.

7. Led Zeppelin recorded in Vancouver

Though not credited on the album, the legendary band recorded some of the harmonica featured on Led Zeppelin II in a Vancouver recording studio.

8. The Gastown steam clock really isn’t that old

Though the tourist attraction looks as though it has been a part of Vancouver since its inception, the steam clock was actually built in 1977.

9. Vancouver has an indoor beach

6pack Indoor Beach sits on Mitchell island in the Fraser River, and is a giant warehouse full of sand, that is used for indoor activities like beach volleyball.

6pack Indoor Beach

Image: 6pack Indoor Beach Vancouver / Facebook

10. We play “O Canada” everyday… sort of

The Heritage Horns atop Pan Pacific hotel play the first four notes of the national anthem everyday at noon.

11. We have an art piece perfectly symbolizing how much rain we get

“The Drop” is a sculpture at the Bon Voyage Plaza in Coal Harbour. It was created by german artists and was commissioned as part of the 2009 Vancouver Convention Centre Art Project.

The Drop sculpture

Image: Inges Idee/Vancouver Convention Centre

12. The Chinese smorgasbord was invented here

During the creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chinese cooks offered buffets of westernized Chinese food to Scandinavian loggers. Thus the smorgasbord we know today was born.

Image: Shutterstock

13. Our SkyTrain is looooooong

We have the largest fully grade-separated metro rail system in all of Canada — as far as track length does — at 79.6 km, beating Toronto’s 68.3 km long subway.

14. Like, world record setting long

With the recent addition of the Evergreen extension, Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain line surpassed Dubai’s record of world’s longest fully automated rapid transit system.

Marine SkyTrain Station

Image: Chandler Walter/Daily Hive

15. Though we don’t even have that many people

Vancouver is the third most populous metropolitan area in Canada with 2.5 million residents (based on a 2015 estimate of the 2011 census), lagging behind Toronto (6.1 million) and Montreal (4 million).

16. …especially compared to the cities down south

Vancouver is actually quite small compared to US metropolitans. Portland’s metropolitan region is most akin to Vancouver’s, with 2.4 million people.

17. We have all the time in the world

The Watch Seller statue, located at Main Street/Science World SkyTrain Station, displays 720 watches, with all possible hour and minute combinations shown.

18. Rogers Arena used to have a different name

Along with once being known as General Motors Place, the home ice of the Canucks was also fondly referred to as “The Garage.” During the two weeks of the 2010 Olympics, it was even renamed “Canada Hockey Place” due to Olympic regulations around corporate sponsorship.

19. A lot of people cruise on in to our port

The city has a rich tourism and cruise ship industry, with approximately 228 cruise ship calls per year. Each ship brings about $2 million in economic activity – and roughly 830,000 passengers to Vancouver’s shores.

Image: snub_you / Flickr

20. They also fly, drive, or train on in

More than 10 million tourists visited Vancouver in 2016, the highest number of overnight visitors the city has ever seen. Vancouver’s airport is rated the best airport in North America, according to Skytrax world airport awards.

21. And they need a place to stay

There are about 24,000 hotel rooms in Vancouver’s metropolitan area, with 10,400 of those being in the downtown core.

22. Vancouver hosted an annual Indy race from 1990-2004

Champ cars would fly through the city at the annual Molson Indy Vancouver, which brought controversy over the noise and disruption that the event caused. It would eventually be cancelled, though it’s fun to imagine cars racing through Vancouver’s streets at more than 30 km/hour.

Molson Indy Vancouver racer

Molson Indy Vancouver racer (Sergei Bachlakov/Shutterstock)

23. Elvis Presley played in Vancouver, and it was a huge disappointment

When the King of Rock N’ Roll played at Empire Field in 1957, a crowd of 16,500 fans bulldozed over the line of police officers that held them back, and the concert had to be stopped short after only 22 minutes of performance.

24. The story that inspired Superbad took place in Vancouver

Written by Vancouver-born Seth Rogen and his good friend since childhood, Evan Goldberg (yes, Seth and Evan) the story is loosely based around their experiences as seniors in Vancouver. In a scene where a character is asked where the party is that night, he responds with “13th and Granville” a nod to the Vancouver streets.

Chandler WalterChandler Walter

+ Vancouverites