North Vancouver, British Columbia Is Perfect For Startups

North Vancouver is a city and district municipality located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet in British Columbia, Canada. It is a suburb of Vancouver and part of the Metro Vancouver regional district.


North Vancouver is between the Burrard Inlet to the south and the North Shore mountains to the north. The city has a cool, rainy oceanic climate with mild, wet winters and dry, warm summers. Elevations range from sea level to 1,400 meters in the mountains.


The area has been inhabited by several Coast Salish peoples, including the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam nations, for thousands of years. The first European contact occurred in the 1790s with Spanish and English explorers.


In the 19th century, the rich forests attracted the first settlers, including T.W. Graham and George Scrimgeour, who acquired a timber stand in 1862. A small sawmill town called Moodyville developed, which became the largest settlement on the inlet.


The District of North Vancouver was incorporated in 1891. The Second Narrows Bridge in 1925 and the Lions Gate Bridge in 1938 provided fixed links with Vancouver. The city of North Vancouver was incorporated in 1907.


As of the 2021 census, the City of North Vancouver had a population of 58,120. The median age was 41.2 years old in 2011, slightly higher than the national median. The median household income was $52,794 in 2011.


North Vancouver is an important shipping port for lumber, ore and grain. Its shipyards were central to the Canadian economy for much of the 20th century. Major industries today include shipping, chemical production, and film production.


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the British Columbia Ambulance Service, and the North Vancouver City Fire Department serve the city. It is home to the North Shore mountains, which provide outdoor recreation opportunities.


History of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by the Coast Salish peoples, including the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. The first European contact occurred in the 1790s with Spanish and English explorers like George Vancouver.


In 1862, the first attempt was made to harvest the North Shore's timber, leading to the founding of Moodyville, the main settlement on the inlet until 1901. The District of North Vancouver was incorporated in 1891, stretching from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.


The City of North Vancouver seceded from the District in 1907, and its population was around 1,500. The city included the piers and public buildings consigned to it by the district. Moodyville was incorporated into the city in 1915.


The shipyards at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue, established in 1906, became integral to the city's economy, working around the clock during the war years. The Second Narrows Bridge opened in 1925, providing a rail and road link with Vancouver. The Lions Gate Bridge followed in 1938.


Today, North Vancouver is a thriving suburb of Vancouver, with a population of over 58,000 as of 2021. It remains closely connected to its First Nations heritage and the natural environment of the North Shore mountains.


Geography of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver is situated on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, across from the city of Vancouver. It is surrounded by the North Shore mountains, which rise steeply from sea level to over 1,500 meters in elevation.


The city is divided by several river valleys, including the Capilano, Lynn, and Seymour rivers. These rivers and their tributaries, such as Mosquito Creek and Eastcap Creek, flow down the forested slopes of the mountains.


The area's geology is quite old, with some of the rocks dating back 400 million years to when the area was part of a volcanic island chain called Wrangellia. These ancient rocks, like the Caulfield Gneiss, were later accreted onto the western margin of North America.


The steep, mountainous terrain makes North Vancouver prone to geomorphic activity, such as debris flows, rock slides, and other slope failures. The area's proximity to the ocean and high rainfall also contribute to its dynamic landscape.


Despite the rugged terrain, North Vancouver is a densely populated city, with many residential high-rise buildings, especially in the Central Lonsdale and Lower Lonsdale neighbourhoods. The city has a land area of 11.83 square kilometres and a population density of 4,912.9 people per square kilometre.


Demographics of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

According to the 2021 Canadian census, the City of North Vancouver had a population of 58,120, while the District of North Vancouver had a population of 88,168. The city's population grew by 9.9% between 2016 and 2021, while the district's population grew by 2.9% over the same period.


Some key demographic highlights for North Vancouver:

  • The largest age group is 50-54 years old, while the smallest is 80-84 years old
  • The median age is 41.2 years old, slightly higher than the national median of 40.6
  • 51.4% of the city's population identifies as irreligious, followed by 36.4% Christian and 7.4% Muslim
  • The city has one of the highest Middle Eastern population ratios in Canada at 11.3%
  • English is the mother tongue for 61.4%, followed by Persian (10%), Tagalog (2.9%) and Chinese languages (2.9%)
  • The city has a population density of 4,912.9 people per square kilometre, while the district has a density of 548.8 people per square kilometre.


North Vancouver is a relatively affluent area, with a median household income of $52,794 in 2011, slightly below the national average. The median dwelling value in the city was $599,985 in 2011, significantly higher than the national average of $280,552.


Economy of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver has a diverse and robust economy with several key industries driving growth:

  • Film, arts, and entertainment: The city has seen significant job growth in the motion picture and video industries, with over 2,000 jobs related to film, digital media, and entertainment as of 2018. The average wage in the motion picture and video industries is $74,027.
  • Recreation and tourism: North Vancouver is a top destination for travellers, with attractions like Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge drawing millions of visitors annually. 7.2% of the labour force works in the accommodation industry.
  • Technical, engineering, and innovation: Professions in natural and applied sciences have grown by 15% since 2014. North Vancouver is home to innovative companies like Nuytco Research Ltd. and Vandrico Inc., which work on underwater technology and wearable tech applications.
  • Life sciences and services: There was a 7% job growth in this sector between 2011 and 2016.


Other important industries include retail, restaurants, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and trades. Most businesses are small, with 69.6% having fewer than four employees.


The city works closely with the North Vancouver Chamber, Economic Partnership North Vancouver, and the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area Society on economic development initiatives. 


Priorities include preserving employment space, improving business services, supporting employee transportation and housing, and cultivating great public spaces.


North Vancouver's economy benefits from its major port location, scenic natural environment, and proximity to Vancouver. Through its economic development strategy, the city aims to support local businesses, create new opportunities, and enhance quality of life.


Education in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver has a robust education system with several public and private schools serving the community:


Public Schools

The North Vancouver School District operates 31 elementary schools (K-7) and eight secondary schools (8-12) in the city and district. Some notable public schools include:

  • Argyle Secondary (8-12)
  • Carson Graham Secondary (8-12)
  • Handsworth Secondary (8-12)
  • Mountainside Secondary (9-12)
  • Seycove Secondary (8-12)
  • Sutherland Secondary (8-12)
  • Windsor Secondary (8-12)


The school district also offers an International Education Program for students worldwide to study at their schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12.


Private Schools

North Vancouver has several private and independent schools, including:

  • Bodwell High School (8-12)
  • Brockton Preparatory School (K-12)
  • Cousteau L'école Francaise Internationale (K-9)
  • Kenneth Gordon (K-12)
  • Lions Gate Christian Academy (K-12)
  • St Alcuin College for the Liberal Arts (K-12)
  • Vancouver Waldorf School (K-12)


Post-Secondary Education

Capilano University is a public university in North Vancouver that offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and certificates. The North Vancouver School District also operates North Vancouver Online Learning for K-12 students.


North Vancouver provides diverse educational options for students of all ages, from public schools to private institutions and online learning opportunities.


Transport System of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver has a well-developed public transit system operated primarily by TransLink, Metro Vancouver's regional transportation authority. Key components of the city's transport system include:

  • Bus Service: North Vancouver is served by an extensive network of buses operated by TransLink. 73% of city residents live within a 5-minute walk of a transit stop. The city is working with TransLink to implement bus priority measures and improve reliability.
  • SeaBus: The SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry that connects downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver in a scenic 12-minute ride. It is part of the TransLink network.
  • RapidBus: The R2 Marine Drive RapidBus provides frequent, limited-stop service between Park Royal and Phibbs Exchange. It will soon be extended to Metrotown.
  • HandyDART: TransLink's door-to-door service for passengers with disabilities who cannot use conventional transit.
  • West Vancouver Blue Bus: While TransLink operates most North Vancouver buses, the West Vancouver Blue Bus system runs some routes connecting to West Vancouver.
  • Cycling: North Vancouver has an expanding network of bike routes to support cycling as a transportation option. The city works with TransLink on cycling infrastructure and amenities.
  • Walking: 73% of residents live within a 5-minute walk of transit. The city's Mobility Strategy aims to make walking more convenient for accessing transit.


North Vancouver's transportation system is focused on increasing transit and active mode share to 50% of all trips by 2030. The city collaborates closely with TransLink on service improvements and infrastructure to support this goal.


Living in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver is a vibrant and scenic city located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet in British Columbia, Canada. It offers a high quality of life with easy access to nature, outdoor recreation, and the amenities of nearby Vancouver.


Advantages of Living in North Vancouver

  • Accessibility: North Vancouver is very walkable and bikeable, with many areas easily accessible on foot. Buses provide convenient public transit options, and the SeaBus ferry offers a scenic 12-minute ride to downtown Vancouver.
  • Nature: The city is surrounded by the North Shore mountains, which provide ample opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, and other outdoor activities. Popular attractions include Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge, and numerous parks and trails.
  • Family-friendly: North Vancouver is known for being a family-oriented city with many activities for children.
  • Proximity to Vancouver: While maintaining a suburban feel, North Vancouver is close enough to Vancouver that commuting to work is manageable. The SeaBus provides a quick and affordable way to access downtown.


Challenges of Living in North Vancouver

  • Housing Costs: Rents in North Vancouver are very expensive due to high demand and limited space for growth. The average monthly rent for a single person is $2,367.
  • Traffic: With only two bridges connecting North Vancouver to Vancouver, traffic can be heavy during peak hours, especially when crossing the Lions Gate Bridge or Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.
  • Hilly Terrain: North Vancouver's hilly landscape is built on a mountain, which can make walking and biking challenging in some areas.


North Vancouver offers an excellent quality of life with its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and proximity to Vancouver. However, the high cost of living, especially for housing, is a significant drawback. Residents must weigh the benefits against the financial realities of living in this desirable city.


Healthcare in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver offers a range of healthcare services to meet the needs of its residents:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health: VCH operates the North Vancouver Community Health Centre, providing primary care and community health services. The North Vancouver Urgent and Primary Care Centre offers same-day care for non-emergency concerns like minor injuries and illnesses.
  • Private Clinics: North Vancouver has several private healthcare clinics, such as the TELUS Health Care Centre, Holistic Total Care, Proof of Care, Shylo Home Healthcare, Comfort Keepers, and Retire-At-Home. These clinics offer various services, including home healthcare, physiotherapy, counselling, and more.
  • Nurse Practitioners: Some clinics, like Parsa Wellness, have nurse practitioners who provide comprehensive healthcare, diagnostics, and personalized treatment plans.
  • Specialized Services: Parsa Wellness also offers specialized services such as IV therapy, NAD+ therapy, osteopathy, physiotherapy, and therapeutic counselling to support holistic health and well-being.
  • Disabilities Access: Many healthcare facilities in North Vancouver provide access for people with disabilities.
  • Language Support: Services are primarily offered in English, but some clinics may also have staff who speak other languages.


North Vancouver's healthcare system aims to provide accessible, quality care to residents through public services and private clinics offering specialized treatments. However, wait times and costs can vary depending on the type of care needed and whether it is covered by public health insurance.


Tourist Places in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver offers a variety of popular tourist attractions and activities:

  • Grouse Mountain: One of the most well-known attractions, Grouse Mountain provides year-round outdoor recreation, including skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. The SkyRide gondola takes visitors to the top of the mountain, where they can enjoy panoramic views.
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: This park features the iconic suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River, the Treetops Adventure walkway through the forest canopy, and the Cliffwalk along the canyon walls.
  • Lynn Canyon Park: A free alternative to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Canyon offers hiking trails, a suspension bridge, and a 30-foot swimming hole.
  • Deep Cove: A picturesque village known for kayaking, canoeing, and hiking trails like the Quarry Rock hike with views of the Indian Arm.
  • Lonsdale Quay Market: A popular waterfront market with shops, restaurants, and the SeaBus terminal connecting to downtown Vancouver.
  • Shipyards District: The revitalized Lower Lonsdale area features the Shipbuilders' Square, restaurants, breweries, and the Polygon Gallery.
  • Seymour River Fish Hatchery: Located at the end of the Seymour Demonstration Forest, the incubator offers a glimpse into salmon conservation efforts.
  • Maplewood Farm: A small petting zoo and farm with over 200 animals, perfect for families.


North Vancouver's natural beauty and outdoor activities make it a top destination for visitors to the Vancouver area. The city offers a mix of free parks and paid attractions for all ages and interests.


Local Food of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

North Vancouver has a vibrant local food scene with several initiatives supporting urban agriculture and access to fresh, nutritious food:

  • Farmers Markets: The city hosts several farmers markets throughout the year, including the Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market and the Edgemont Village Farmers Market. These markets allow residents to purchase locally grown produce, baked goods, and artisanal products directly from farmers and producers.
  • Community Gardens: North Vancouver has numerous community gardens, such as the Loutet Urban Farm and the Delbrook Community Garden, where residents can grow food. These gardens promote food security, community engagement, and environmental sustainability.
  • Urban Farms: The Edible Garden Project operates urban farms like the Loutet Farm, which grows food for the community and provides educational programs. These farms demonstrate the potential for urban food production and help increase access to local produce.
  • Food Assistance Programs: Organizations like the Harvest Project and the Salvation Army provide food assistance to residents in need, helping to address food insecurity in the community. These programs distribute donated food and offer meal programs.
  • North Shore Food Assets Map: This interactive map lists grocery stores, food providers, and organizations across the North Shore offering low-cost meals, subsidized groceries, and food education. The map aims to connect people with existing food resources and highlight gaps in local food security.
  • North Shore Community Food Charter: The City of North Vancouver is a signatory to this charter, which aims to create a more integrated food system across the North Shore region and promotes values such as food security, sustainability, and community engagement.


North Vancouver's commitment to supporting local food production, distribution, and education helps create a more sustainable and equitable food system for its residents. By participating in farmer's markets, community gardens, and food assistance programs, residents can access fresh, nutritious food while supporting local agriculture and building community resilience.


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