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This article is about the governing body of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. For the urban geographic entity see Greater Vancouvermarker.

Metro Vancouver, legally titled the Greater Vancouver Regional District, is the inter-municipal governing body of the regional district known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District, charged with certain aspects of governance for the metropolitan area surrounding and including the city of Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker. The Greater Vancouver Regional District was incorporated on June 29, 1967. Greater Vancouvermarker as a region and name emerged when the newly born City of Vancouver expanded to become larger than the older New Westminstermarker. The territory under Metro Vancouver's authority is essentially synonymous with what is usually meant by the colloquial term "Greater Vancouver", although wilderness and outlying rural regions within the regional district are not generally meant when the term "Greater Vancouver" is used. Statistics Canada defines the Vancouver CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) as having perfectly coterminal boundaries with the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Although the region's principal city is Vancouver, its administrative offices are located in the City of Burnabymarker, while the centre of the Lower Mainland as a whole is located in North Surrey.

Despite the typical equation of the regional district with the metropolitan area and the geographical region, the many Indian Reserves in the Greater Vancouver region as well as the University Endowment Landsmarker (UEL) are not part of the representation in the regional district (the UEL is in GVRD Electoral Area 'A', but has its own system of government and is outside the regional district's authority). Other political geographic regions parallel to the regional district are the Lower Mainlandmarker region of the Ministry of Environment, the Chilliwack Forest District, the New Westminster Land District, and the Fraser Health Authority. Schools are not subject to municipal or regional district governance and are administered via the school districts system.

The Greater Vancouver Regional District was established in 1967, following the creation of Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District (GVSDD) in 1914 and Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD) in 1926. In 2007, the GVRD board unanimously supported a proposal to the provincial government to change its official name to Metro Vancouver. While the new name took effect in September 2007. The Province declined to amend the Greater Vancouver Regional District's letters patent to change the name to "Metro Vancouver". The name of the physical area governed by the organization remains the Greater Vancouver Regional District.


Thirteen of the province's thirty most populous municipalities are located in Metro Vancouver. The official land area of the district is . It is the most densely populated regional district in British Columbia.

The Regional District comprises the governments of 21 incorporated municipalities and one unincorporated area. The 21 municipalities are:
Municipality Type Population Year
Anmoremarker village 1,992 2007
Belcarramarker village 701 2007
Bowen Islandmarker island municipality 3,551 2007
Burnabymarker city 216,336 2007
Coquitlammarker city 120,512 2007
Delta district municipality 101,668 2007
Langleymarker city 25,134 2007
Langleymarker district municipality 100,049 2007
Lions Bay village 1,394 2007
Maple Ridgemarker district municipality 73,248 2007
New Westminstermarker city 62,607 2007
North Vancouvermarker city 47,463 2007
North Vancouvermarker district municipality 86,954 2007
Pitt Meadowsmarker city 16,757 2007
Port Coquitlammarker city 55,735 2007
Port Moodymarker city 30,004 2007
Richmondmarker city 186,628 2007
Surreymarker city 423,935 2007
Vancouvermarker city 611,869 2007
West Vancouvermarker district municipality 44,097 2007
White Rockmarker city 19,839 2007
Electoral Area A unincorporated area 19,252 2007
Greater Vancouver Regional District regional district 2,249,725 2007

Abbotsford is a member for parks purposes only.

Greater Vancouver Regional District Electoral Area A comprises all unincorporated land within the Regional District boundaries, and includes University of British Columbia, the University Endowment Landsmarker and residential areas and isolated dwellings on Howe Soundmarker between Lions Bay and Horseshoe Bay, on Indian Arm to the north of Deep Cove and Belcarra/Anmore, and on the west side of Pitt Lakemarker to the north of Port Coquitlam. Passage Island and Barnston Islandmarker in the Fraser River and are classified as Regional District Remainders.

There are also seventeen Indian reserves within the geographical area that are not subject to governance by the municipalities or the Regional District; they have a combined population of 7,550 (2006).

The cities of Abbotsfordmarker and Chilliwackmarker and the district of Missionmarker, located to the east, although often linked to Vancouver in promotions and tourism, are part of a separate regional district, the Fraser Valley Regional Districtmarker, though part of the same region, the Lower Mainlandmarker. See Greater Vancouvermarker for the larger geographic region meant by that term ("Metro Vancouver" refers only to the government of the regional district, and the regional district is not exactly coterminous with the region as such).

Administrative role

The principal function of Metro Vancouver is to administer resources and services which are common across the metropolitan area. These include community planning, water, sewage, drainage, housing, transportation, air quality, and parks.

There are three legal entities that operate under the name Metro Vancouver: the Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD); the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District (GVS&DD); and the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). The Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation is wholly owned by the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Greater Vancouver Regional Parks oversees the development and maintenance of nineteen regional parks, as well as various nature reserves and greenways. (The regional parks are distinct from municipal parks in that they are typically more "wild" and represent unique geographical zones within the region, such as bogs and mature rainforests.)

Although, the Greater Vancouver Water District comprises a system that covers more than 2,600 kmĀ², all the water for the district comes from three sources: the Capilano reservoirmarker, the Seymour reservoir, and the Coquitlam reservoirmarker. Metro Vancouver controls the Cleveland Dam on the Capilano reservoir, which supplies 40 percent of the district's water.

One initiative of the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District was the Ashcroft Manor Ranch Mega-Landfill Proposal in Ashcroft, British Columbiamarker, in the Thompson Country of the British Columbia Interior, as there is no more room in the Lower Mainland for Metro Vancouver's garbage. A similar project nearby adjacent to the town of Cache Creek, British Columbiamarker has almost reached capacity. Environmental concerns about the area's sensitive shrub-steppe climate and ecology are strong, while Highland Valley Copper, near Logan Lakemarker, has offered the use of its mine-pit instead. Other GVSDD landfill locations serving the regional district in the past have been in the Fraser Mills area, between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Fraser, and at Port Mann, beneath the south foot of the Port Mann Bridgemarker.


Population density map of Metro Vancouver.
According to the 2001 census, 1,986,965 people lived in the metropolitan area, about half of the population of British Columbia. The 2006 Census has placed the population at 2,116,581, representing 6.5% growth since the last census.

In 2006, Metro Vancouver had a population of 2,116,581 living in 870,992 dwellings. The regional district has a land area of and a population density of .

Metro Vancouver has a large ethnic minority population. Census 2006 showed that nearly 41.7% of the population were of visible minority origin, the largest group being the Chinese followed by South Asians. Other prominent groups include Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, Southeast Asian, West Asian, and Latin Americans. There is a high percentage of visible minorities in the Metro Vancouver region. British Columbiamarker is Canadamarker's most ethnically diverse province.


  1. Statistics Canada - BC municipalities - Population
  2. Greater Vancouver - BC Stats 2007 Population Estimates
  3. Metro Vancouver Water Sources & Supply
  4. Greater Vancouver Regional District - Population Growth
  5. [1],, April 2, 2008.
  6. [2],, April 2, 2008.

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