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Less than 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver by car or the SkyTrain rapid transit link, Burnaby (pop. 205,000) invites visitors to enjoy some of the province's biggest shopping malls, ramble through lush parks, play a round of golf, watch live theatre and sports events, and explore diverse artistic, cultural, and heritage sites. It is the third-largest municipality in British Columbia, and its central geographic location within Metro Vancouver makes it easy to access.
Avid shoppers head for Metropolis at Metrotown, BC's largest shopping mall with more than 450 shops, 10 movie screens and the biggest food court in Canada. Burnaby, divided into four town centres, also has major shopping malls at Brentwood Town Centre and Lougheed Town Centre. It's a great place to spend a cold or rainy day – or go for the sales!
Outdoorsy types can relax at Deer Lake Park with boat rentals or pop, blues, and classical concerts, go bird watching at Burnaby Lake Regional Nature Park, or try mountain biking at the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. Golfers can test their skills on two well-maintained public golf courses.
Check out live opera at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, or enjoy ballet or symphony performances at the Michael J. Fox Theatre. The swanky new Grand Villa Casino attracts high rollers.
The city, encompassing 99sq km/38sq mi, is picturesquely bounded by Burrard Inlet to the north and the mighty Fraser River to the south. It's named after Robert Burnaby, a member of the Royal Engineers of the Columbia Detachment of the British Army, who surveyed the area in the late 1850s. Burnaby was incorporated as a municipality in 1892 and as a city in 1992.
Learn more about the early history of Burnaby at the open-air Burnaby Village Museum, which features more than 30 original and replica buildings and 1920's-style costumed guides. For a magnificent view of the city and a taste of contemporary education, visit the Simon Fraser University (SFU) campus atop Burnaby Mountain, designed by world-renowned architect Arthur Erickson in the 1960s.
Culturally speaking, Burnaby is Metro Vancouver's answer to the United Nations. Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Hindi are just some of the languages and ethnic heritages that are well-represented here.
In North Burnaby, stroll through the Heights neighbourhood on Hastings Street, and discover Italian delis and Greek tavernas amid independent bookstores and beauty salons. From the Asian food court at the Crystal Mall shopping centre to the West Coast cuisine of Horizons and the Hart House Restaurant, Burnaby caters to every palate and has myriad ethnic dining options.
For museum-goers, the National Nikkei Cultural Centre commemorates the contributions of the Japanese-Canadian community, while the SFU Museum of Archeology and Ethnology emphasizes Pacific Northwest aboriginal art.
Movie stars like Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future) hail from here, as do musicians including crooner Michael Buble and rocker Matthew Good. NHL hockey players Joe Sakic and Cliff Ronning were born in Burnaby.
For more information about activities, directions, and availability in Burnaby, go to the City of Burnaby visitor kiosk at Metropolis at Metrotown (open seasonally), check out the brochure rack at Burnaby City Hall (4949 Canada Way), or visit the official City of Burnaby or Tourism Burnaby websites.
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