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vancouver-770This coastal seaport city is the hub of Greater Vancouver. With over 2.3 million residents, it is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country (after Toronto and Montreal), and the most populous in Western Canada. The city proper has more than 640,000 people, making it the eighth largest in Canada, and the most densely populated Canadian city of over 25,000 residents, with 5,039 people per km2 in 2006. Port Metro Vancouver is the busiest and largest in Canada, as well as the fourth largest port (by tonnage) in North America.

The steps in the foreground lead up to Canada Place and the Pan Pacific Hotel. The cruise terminal here is the main point of departure for Alaska with more than one million passengers passing through each year. Reclaimed in the 1970s and 1980s, the city and foreshore exploded upwards after Expo 86 with high-rise apartment buildings and other development.

The redeveloped shore is a delightful coastal urban park that features walkways, bike paths, scenic overlooks to Coal Harbor, and many rest stops. The boardwalk along the seawall follows the shore to Stanley Park, one of the world's great coastal urban parks. The seaplane harbor on the right hand side of the image is a busy place. Seaplane companies operate frequent scheduled service from the downtown Vancouver harbor direct to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, on Vancouver Island and other coastal destinations.

As seen in this image, the coastal urban landscape is a pleasing sight and with all of the waterside amenities it is easy to understand why Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide "livable city" rankings for more than a decade. In fact, Vancouver is the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most livable cities for five straight years.

(Photograph by Charlie Finkl, Coastal Education & Research Foundation, August 2011).

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