A City By The Sea

Vancouver has always been a coastal community defined by its proximity to the ocean and the Fraser River. Thousands of years before European settlement, xʷməθkʷəyə̓ m (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) villages and settlements dotted the shorelines, with trade and travelers using the waterways as highways to travel great distances. Each Nation had, and continues to have, its own relationship to the area, including place names and uses for the lands and resources. Today, our city remains a bustling west coast seaport and Indigenous peoples retain their strong connections to the water. Vancouver’s waterways play a central role in our economy, and they also contribute to health and well-being by connecting us to nature, culture, and places for sports and recreation.

Learn. Prepare. Act.

From past to present to future

Around the west end of Burrard Bridge are the Sen̓áḵw lands. The Sen̓áḵw lands are part of the unceded territory of the Squamish Nation, and were historically home to a seasonal fishing village which became a permanent village in the 19th Century. The original 80-acre reserve included most of Kits Point, including modern-day Vanier Park, Molson Brewery, Seaforth Armory, and condominiums and offices of Creekside Drive. Beginning in the early 20th Century, however, pressures from the City of Vancouver, senior levels of government, and various non-Indigenous public and private interests displaced Squamish residents and dismantled reserve land holdings. In the late 1970s, the Squamish Nation began a decades long court action over rightful ownership of the Kitsilano Reserve lands. In 2001, they were awarded the return of a small, 10.5-acre parcel of land under and surrounding the Burrard Street Bridge. View the Places tab to see a map.

Where is the False Creek floodplain?

False Creek is a bustling, urban, mixed-use waterfront area that is one of Vancouver’s major destinations for residents and visitors alike. Historically one of Vancouver’s major industrial centres, the last few decades have seen False Creek transition into a social and recreational heart of Vancouver, featuring a variety of higher density multi-family residences, commercial areas, and parks that are used by many for recreational and marine activities. Three bridges and two viaducts cross the False Creek area and have been the site of multiple marches and protests.

The False Creek project areas encompasses numerous, diverse neighbourhoods. False Creek North includes portions of Northeast False Creek, Yaletown, and Chinatown. False Creek South passes through Fairview, South East False Creek, Olympic Village, and False Creek Flats along the south shore. False Creek North and South both include sizeable parcels of yet-to-be developed land. Managed by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Granville Island is one of the most flood-vulnerable areas in False Creek.

Planning for sea level rise and Vancouver Plan

Over the next two years the City of Vancouver is working with residents to create a plan for the Vancouver we want and need. The Vancouver Plan will outline a vision for 2050 and a path to get there. The outputs from the Coastal Adaptation Plan – False Creek will be used to shape ideas and big moves that will be created as part of the Vancouver Plan.

Vancouver's Climate Emergency

In January 2019, Vancouver City Council unanimously approved a motion recognizing the climate crisis that the planet faces and acknowledged that the City needs to do more in response to this emergency. As a coastal city, sea level rise and flooding are two of the major climate adaptation challenges Vancouver is facing. A plan to address the Climate Emergency will be presented to Council in November 2020.

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