BC LOWER MAINLAND NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE
Lower Mainland City Guide
BC LOWER MAINLAND NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE
This is a general overview of the different cities in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
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Often votes as the Best cities to live in the world, Vancouver is one of the largest cities in Canada with beautiful mountain and ocean views. From trendy Yaletown to hipster Main Street to beach side Kitsilano, Vancouver is a series of villages, each with its own character. Outside downtown, neighborhoods tend to be leafy, even if redevelopment has thinned the tree canopy, and many have their own park and community center. Vancouver is conveniently served with one of the best public transit and system and bike-friendly routes in North America.
Blessed with abundant green space and industries ranging from tech to film, Burnaby is pursuing urban density. It’s home to four post-secondary institutions, including SFU and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), and established clusters in technology, utilities, film and television, and regional headquarters. Thanks to its Park Acquisition Program, a quarter of the city is open space and parks with walkable neighborhoods. To encourage more high-density, compact communities, the city has been divided into four quadrants, each with a town center served by rapid transit: Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed and Edmonds.
Located on the North Shore across Burrard Inlet via the Lions Gate Bridge from Vancouver, West Vancouver is one of the wealthiest cities in Canada. The municipality is also one of Canada’s most beautiful communities. It’s also home to splendid parks, ski trails, beaches and miles of natural beauty.
North Vancouver is a community of communities. Bounded by the Capilano River to the west, the Coast Mountains to the north, Indian Arm to the east and Burrard Inlet to the south, it contains the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, the Squamish Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. The waterfront city and district combine urban conveniences with easy access to the North Shore’s mountainous wilderness
Richmond is B.C.’s most Asian city combines culinary delights and a thriving economy with quick access to nature. Attractions in Richmond include Metro Vancouver’s largest summer night market, whose roughly 500 stalls draw more than 30,000 visitors on a typical evening. Another popular spot is picturesque Steveston Village, one of Canada’s largest commercial fishing harbor, with more than 500 boats coming and going every day.
New Westminster is more than booming—it’s blossoming into a nexus of urban cool. People are now flooding back to New Westminster to live and work. Home buyers fleeing Vancouver prices and suburban sprawl come for the compact, character-filled, walkable streets of Western Canada’s oldest city, which was founded in 1858. Commuters can choose from five SkyTrain stations that get them to downtown Vancouver within 25 minutes.
Rapid transit is driving rapid growth to Coquitlam . Mayor Richard Stewart credits the Evergreen SkyTrain Extension with driving a flood of new residents to the community even before it opened in late 2016. Homebuyers have long flocked here to take refuge from Vancouver’s higher prices, but Coquitlam is leveraging its growth to ensure that there’s more to its future than a being bedroom community and a construction job site. It’s building on its role as a regional commercial hub.
Port Coquitlam , with its close-knit charm, may be the Lower Mainland’s best-kept secret. Outsiders often ask locals, “How do you like it in Coquitlam?” But PoCo is not its much bigger, namesake neighbor. Today it’s a rapidly growing forest of big-box stores, anchored by brands like Costco, Home Depot and Canadian Tire. And just like when the rail yard was built, a diverse array of other buildings is springing up in its shadow—restaurants, grocery stores, churches and townhouse complexes.
Port Moody is a city within Metro Vancouver that’s home to Rocky Point Park, Belcarra Regional Park, Sasamat Lake and other beautiful places in nature. The town is attractive, but the main draw is all the parks, most of which are forested. Similar to Vancouver’s North Shore , the region is covered in coniferous trees which don’t lose their leaves in winter, which means the area looks beautiful and green pretty much all year.
Surrey is large and diverse, with a third of its residents under the age of 19 and a mix of cultures. B.C’s second most populous city, it’s expected to surpass Vancouver in size within the next decade. That’s because it’s being transformed. The area formerly known as Whalley has been renamed City Centre and is being redeveloped from a low-rise suburban neighbourhood to a metropolitan hub for business, technology and innovation.
Langley has kept its small-town feel but offers many big-city amenities for residents and businesses. Shopping centers, car dealerships and industrial complexes line the city’s northern limits. The downtown core offers a more local experience, and it’s building on its small-town heritage to become the kind of walkable, neighborly community that planners around the world are trying to recreate.
Delta is a spectacular place to watch the world go by. From its log-strewn beaches along the Strait of Georgia, you can marvel at some of the five million migratory birds that use the Fraser River delta as a vital stopover on their annual journeys between the Arctic and southern destinations. Delta is mostly split among three distinct communities. There’s North Delta, a suburban community of some 50,000 that borders Surrey. There’s Ladner, which started out in the late 1860s as a fishing and farming settlement and, with a population of 25,000, retains much of its small-town charm. And then there’s Tsawwassen, home to one of the Lower Mainland’s two major BC Ferries terminals as well as about 25,000 people.
Pitt Meadows might not look like a boom town to casual observers. With a population of just under 20,000, it’s Metro Vancouver’s smallest city. Farmland and marshes, not condominium towers, dominate most of its landscape. Yet Pitt Meadows’ population grew 7.1 percent between 2012 and 2017—a faster pace than in bustling nearby centers like Vancouver, Coquitlam and Burnaby.
Maple Ridge ’s pace of life has always moved a little slower than in most of Metro Vancouver. The city is encouraging and incentivizing developers to add multifamily homes and business premises to the town center, aiming to make it more vibrant, dense and walkable. Newcomers are drawn to housing that’s less expensive than in many parts of Metro Vancouver. Those homes have become more accessible in recent years, thanks to the 2009 completion of the Golden Ears Bridge and four new lanes on the Pitt River Bridge.
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