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Burnaby is a city in British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker, located immediately to the east of Vancouvermarker. It is the third-largest city in British Columbia by population, surpassed only by nearby Surreymarker and Vancouver itself.

It was incorporated in 1892 and achieved City status in 1992, one hundred years after incorporation. It is the seat of the Metro Vancouvermarker government.


In the first 30 to 40 years after its incorporation, the growth of Burnaby was influenced by its location between expanding urban centres of Vancouver and New Westminstermarker. It first served as a rural agricultural area supplying nearby markets. Later, it served as an important transportation corridor between Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Interior and continues to do so. As Vancouver expanded and became a metropolis, it was one of the first-tier bedroom community suburbs of Vancouver itself, along with North Vancouver and Richmondmarker (originally it was primarily a suburb of New Westminstermarker).

At incorporation, the municipality's citizens unanimously chose to name it after legislator, speaker, Freemason and explorer, Robert Burnaby, who had been private secretary to Colonel Richard Moody, the Colony of British Columbia's first land commissioner in the mid-1800s. In 1859, Mr. Burnaby had surveyed the freshwater lake near what is now the city's geographical centre; Moody chose to name it Burnaby Lake.

Geography and land use

Burnaby occupies 98.60 square kilometres (38.07 sq mi) and is located at the geographical centre of the Metro Vancouvermarker area. Situated between the City of Vancouver on the west and Port Moodymarker, Coquitlammarker, and New Westminster on the east, the City is further bounded by Burrard Inletmarker and the Fraser River on the North and South respectively. Burnaby, Vancouver and New Westminster collectively occupy the major portion of the Burrard Peninsulamarker. The elevation of Burnaby ranges from sea level to a maximum of 370 metres (1,200 ft) atop Burnaby Mountainmarker. Overall, the physical landscape of Burnaby is one of hills, ridges, valleys and an alluvial plain. The land features and their relative locations have had an influence on the location, type and form of development in the City.

Burnaby is a maturing, increasingly integrated community, which is centrally located within a rapidly growing metropolitan area. Burnaby's characteristic has shifted from rural to suburban to largely urban. Still, Burnaby's ratio of park land to residents is one of the highest in North America, and it maintains some agricultural land, particularly along the Fraser foreshore flats in the Big Bend neighbourhood along its southern perimeter.

Burnaby parks and lakes

Major parklands and waterways in Burnaby include Burnaby Lakemarker, Still Creek, the Brunette Rivermarker, Central Parkmarker, Deer Lakemarker, Squint Lake, Robert Burnaby Parkmarker, Kensington Parkmarker, and Burnaby Mountainmarker.



The SkyTrain rapid transit system crosses Burnaby from east to west in two places: in the south along the Expo Line (completed in 1986) and in the middle along the Millennium Line (completed in 2002). The SkyTrain has encouraged closer connections to New Westminstermarker, Vancouvermarker, and Surreymarker, as well as dense urban development at Lougheed Town Centremarker on the city's eastern border, at Brentwood Town Centremarker in the centre-west, and most notably at Metrotownmarker in the south.

Major north-south streets crossing the City include Boundary Road, Willingdon Avenue, Royal Oak Avenue, Kensington Avenue, Sperling Avenue, Gaglardi Way, Cariboo Road, and North Road. East-west routes linking Burnaby's neighbouring cities to each other include East Hastings Street, Barnet Highway, the Lougheed Highway, Kingswaymarker (which follows the old horse trail between Vancouver and New Westminster), Canada Way and Marine Drive/Marine Way. Douglas Road, which used to cross the city from northwest to southeast, has largely been absorbed by the Trans-Canada Highway and Canada Way. Since the 1990s, Burnaby has developed a network of cycling trails. It is also well served by Metro Vancouver's bus system, run by the Coast Mountain Bus Company, a division of TransLink.


Religious profile

Burnaby's religious profile:

People and politics

While Burnaby occupies about 4% of the land area of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, it accounted for about 10% of the Region's population in 2001. It is the third most populated urban centre in British Columbia (after Vancouver and Surrey) with an estimated population of 205,261. Like much of Greater Vancouver, Burnaby has always had large ethnic and immigrant communities: to cite two examples, North Burnaby near Hastings Street has long been home to many Italian restaurants and recreational bocce games, while Metrotown's ever-sprouting condominium towers in the south have been fuelled in part by more recent arrivals from Chinamarker (including Hong Kongmarker & Macaumarker), South Koreamarker, Taiwanmarker, and the former Yugoslavia. According to the 2006 Census, 54% of Burnaby residents have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French.

Politically, Burnaby has maintained a centre-left city council (which recently completely eliminated the city's debt) and school board for many years, while sometimes electing more conservative legislators provincially (for the Social Credit and BC Liberal parties) and federally (for the Reform, Alliance, and Conservative parties). Its longest-serving politician had been Svend Robinson of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada's first openly homosexual member of Parliament, but after 25 years and seven elections he resigned his post in early 2004 after stealing and then returning an expensive ring. Burnaby voters endorsed his assistant, Bill Siksay, as his replacement in the spring 2004 Canadian federal election. In the May 2005 provincial election, residents of the city sent a mix of BC Liberal and NDP representatives to the British Columbia legislature.

According to a 2009 survey by Maclean's magazine, Burnaby is Canada's best run city. The survey looks at a city's efficiency, the cost of producing results, and the effectiveness of its city services.

Industry and economy

Metrotown at sunset as seen from Lochdale
Major technology firms such as Electronic Arts, Creo (now part of Eastman Kodak), Ballard Power Systems and Telus base their operations in Burnaby; heavy industry includes Chevron Corporation and Petro-Canada petroleum refineries on the shores of Burrard Inlet. Other companies such as eBay, Future Shop and Nokia have significant facilities in Burnaby as well. The City features high density residential areas, major commercial town centres, rapid transit, high technology research and business parks, movie and TV studio facilities and comprehensive industrial estates.


School District 41 is responsible for the public schools in Burnaby. It also has a Community and Adult Education Department, and also an International Students' Programme. Major post-secondary institutions include the main campuses of Simon Fraser Universitymarker (atop Burnaby Mountainmarker) and the British Columbia Institute of Technologymarker.

Notable residents


Burnaby's official flower is the rhododendron.

Sister cities

Burnaby has three sister cities (or "twin towns"):

Surrounding municipalities


  1. Burnaby Community Profile from 2001 Census at Statistics Canada

  • Adapted from

See also

External links

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