Vancouver is the largest city in Western Canada, located at the southwestern corner of the province of British Columbia. Situated between the North Shore and coastal mountains and the edge of the Pacific ocean, Vancouver is one of North America's most beautiful cities, and was recently ranked as "the world's most desirable place to live" in a survey of 127 cities performed by the Economist magazine's Intelligence Unit.
In 2010, the city hosted the world, as the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games came to Vancouver / Whistler-Blackcomb.
The vibrant downtown core offers all of the amenities of an international destination -- from hundreds of restaurants and clubs, to countless parks and recreation facilities, to world-class entertainment and sporting events (including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Canucks, the city's major league hockey team).
Vancouver's natural surroundings offer limitless opportunities for outdoor pursuits, such as hiking and mountain biking in the spring and summer, and skiing at nearby Whistler-Blackcomb resort in winter.
Vancouver's first park and one of the city's main tourist attractions, Stanley Park is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility. The park abounds in wildlife and its features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings.
One of the natural amenities which makes Vancouver among the most livable in the world is public access to the waterfront. Almost 18 km (11 mi) of beaches surround Vancouver including ten expansive ocean side locations and one fresh water lake. Enjoying waterfront access can take many guises: observing the beautiful landscape while cycling, walking or driving by; playing in the sand, swimming, windsurfing, sailing or merely sitting.