Nicknames of Vancouver

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There are many nicknames for the city of Vancouver, the largest city in British Columbia and third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Some reflect the city's history, climate, geography, economy, and demographics. Others have their origins in cultural aspects of the city and its inhabitants.


The first non-aboriginal settlement in the area was known as Gastown. This name continues today as a nickname for Vancouver, although more specifically for the original core of the city, which is part of the Downtown Eastside.

Geography and climate[edit]

  • Rain City (or Raincouver or the Wet Coast) – Vancouver receives on average 1,199 mm (47.2 in) of rainfall a year (YVR).[1] Especially during the winter months, the city has a reputation for wet weather.
  • Terminal City – refers to Vancouver (or specifically Gastown) being the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway.[2]
  • Saltwater City (Chinese: 鹹水埠) – name for Vancouver used by early Chinese immigrants to the city.[3]


  • Hollywood North[4] – the city is home to the third-largest film and television production industry in North America, after LA and New York.[5]
  • The Big Smoke – Vancouver's heavy fogs in combination with the many sawmill burners and other industrial pollution produced thick smog. Common as slang and in casual usage.[6][7][8] It is also used outside of BC for Toronto, London, Sydney and other places. Very common in use within BC, especially in the BC Interior, for both Vancouver and the Lower Mainland in general.


  • Vansterdam – like Amsterdam, Vancouver has a reputation for relaxed attitudes towards recreational drug use, specifically marijuana.[9]
  • Lotusland – coined by Vancouver Sun writer Allan Fotheringham, Lotusland refers to Homer's Odyssey, in which the hero, Odysseus, visits a land whose inhabitants are befuddled by a narcotic lotus (the "Land of the Lotus-Eaters"). It sometimes is used to describe all of British Columbia.[10]
  • City of Glass – taken from the title of a Douglas Coupland book, this name reflects the dominant steel-and-glass architectural aesthetic of the city's downtown.[11]
  • No Fun City (or Nofuncouver) – long-time nickname[12] which can refer to a variety of things depending on use and context. It can refer to some of the city's cultural policies that result in a less lively local music scene,[12] to a perceived "lame" nightlife.[13]
  • Blandcouver – similar to 'No Fun City,' this nickname[14] is often used self-deprecatingly by locals who think Vancouver's cosmopolitanism is over-hyped.[15]


  • Hongcouver – name with xenophobic connotations, it came into use in the 1980s and 1990s. Although Vancouver has had a large Chinese community from its earliest days, the Chinese population surged as large numbers of Hong Kong citizens immigrated prior to the British handover of that city in 1997.[16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000". Environment Canada. 2009-04-30. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  2. ^ "Editors' Picks: City history and landmarks". Georgia Straight. 23 September 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  3. ^ By Any Other Name: Salt Water City, Vancouver is Awesome, 6 December 2011
  4. ^ "B.C. Facts". Province of British Columbia. Archived from the original on February 16, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  5. ^ BC Film Commission Archived 2010-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Attention Vancouver: INCOMING!, Raincoaster Media, 2 May 2014
  7. ^ Moving to the Big Smoke, Shari van Spronsen
  8. ^ "The Big Smoke", Mooie, Third Gardener blog
  9. ^ Hampson, Sarah (October 22, 2007). "Prince of pot or dope of Vansterdam?". Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Grant, Kelly; Mehler Paperny, Anna. "How cities grow – up is in". Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  11. ^ Rowe, Dan. "A career spent being curious about Vancouver". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  12. ^ a b James, Melissa. "No Fun City – About". No Fun City. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  13. ^ Moxley, Mitch (5 October 2012). "Welcome To Vancouver: 'No Fun City'". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  14. ^ "Blandcouver". Scout Magazine: Vancouver Lexicon. 4 February 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "Blandcouver (@blandcouver)". Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Cernetig, Miro. "Chinese Vancouver: A decade of change". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-31. Retrieved 2015-05-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)