Just over a century ago, Vancouver was a two-block collection of buildings called Granville (now known as Gastown). This location on Burrard Inlet was competing to be the west coast terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. By 1887, a year after the City of Vancouver was incorporated, the first passenger train arrived at the foot of Howe Street, and future growth was assured. In the next seven years, a building boom began to move the city centre from Water and Cordova Streets up to Georgia and Granville Streets. Streetcar service was initiated in 1890, joining the waterfront to Granville, Pender and Cordova Streets.
Downtown is known for a buzzing nightlife scene on neon-lit Granville Street, with raucous bars, clubs, and live bands at the art deco Commodore Ballroom. By day, it’s a busy shopping hub of chain and luxury boutiques, plus high-end department stores in the CF Pacific Centre mall. Food trucks and casual lunch spots dot the area, and cruise liners depart from Canada Place, a terminal designed to look like a ship.