Vancouver (/væn.ˈkuːvər/) is a coastal harbour city in British Columbia, Canada. Located in the Lower Mainland, Greater Vancouver is the third-largest metropolitan area in the country and most populous in Western Canada with 2,116,581 residents at the 2006 census. The city proper ranks eighth among Canadian cities, with a population of 578,041 at the 2006 Census.In 2010 the population was estimated at 642,843, and the metropolitan population estimated at just over 2.37 million, making it the most densely populated Canadian city among those with over 25,000 residents.
The settlement of Gastown grew around a logging sawmill established in 1867, enlarging to become the town site of Granville. With the announcement that the railhead would reach the site, it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated as a city in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada, and London. Port Metro Vancouver is the new name for the Port of Vancouver, which is now the busiest and largest in Canada, as well as the fourth largest port (by tonnage) in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Metro Vancouver into the third-largest film production centre in North America after Los Angeles and New York City, earning its film industry the nickname Hollywood North.
Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide "livable city" rankings for more than a decade according to business magazine assessments and it was also acknowledged by Economist Intelligence Unit as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most livable cities for five straight years. It has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. The 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics were held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 miles) north of the city.