Friday, February 12, 2010

40 - Captain Vancouver

Apart from the media hype over who happens to be the leader of our Canucks hockey franchise, there really was a Captain Vancouver, and his name was George.

At the close of 2007, I wrote an article that had to do with the city of Vancouver for  I needed a picture of Captain Vancouver RN for the piece, but I did not have a public domain picture to use.  My choices were to take the bus out to Vancouver City Hall and snap a picture of the Captain Vancouver statue out there, or just draw my own.  It turned out to be faster to do the drawing, using Corel Painter.  Vancouver buses are notoriously slow as well as expensive. 

The notes in my article capture the basics of how our region was shaped by Vancouver's mission: 

"International media frequently places Vancouver as one of the top three cities in the world for standard of living, typically in the running with Vienna, and Geneva. Without going deeply into how Vancouver manages to be at the top of the list year after year, I will simply report that there is much to see and do here, that the food is good and the water is clean, the scenery is consistently breathtaking, and the people are generally friendly and accepting of a colourful diversity of culture.

Historically, Vancouver derives its name from the Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver, whose exploration of the west coast of North America in the 1790's provided excellent maps and fairly good relations with the native population. The city as we know it now was originally settled in the 1860's and began development in earnest in 1887 after it was connected to the Canadian Pacific Railway, the intercontinental rail line that linked the west coast of Canada to the east.

Today, when people speak of Vancouver, they are most likely speaking of the conglomeration of cities, towns, and villages that comprise its urban sprawl. Since the 1960's, the population of Vancouver and its satellites was administered by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the GVRD. In 2007, the name of GVRD was switched to Metro Vancouver, although legally we can still use GVRD.

This area is composed of these municipalities: Vancouver City (which holds the densely populated downtown core and the troubled East Side), as well as trendy North Vancouver and West Vancouver. The westernmost district is rugged Bowen Island. Heading south, we find Richmond, where the Vancouver International Airport resides (CYVR), and Delta, which borders on the United States. Farther east are Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam (home of the late Terry Fox, one of Canada's all-time greatest citizens). Smaller cities and rural regions in Metro Vancouver include Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, White Rock, Langley, Belcarra, Anmore, Lion's Bay, and the sparsely populated Greater Vancouver Electoral Area A."