Greater Vancouver and Lower Mainland Navigating Around Vancouver
The names of Vancouver 's streets follow a number of simple conventions:
"Vancouver " is divided into a number of municipalities collectively called "The Lower Mainland." There are four main areas: the North Shore, the area between the Fraser and Burrard Inlet, between the Pitt River and the Fraser, and the flat landmass south of the Fraser.
The North Shore includes (from west to east) Lions Bay, West Van, and North Van. The stretch between Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River includes: Vancouver , Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Belcara. North of the Fraser River but east of the Pitt River are Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge. In the area south of the Fraser River, down to the US border you'll find: Tsawwassen, Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley City, Langley Township, Fort Langley, and Aldergrove.
One thing is for sure. With all the rivers and waterways around Vancouver , if you've crossed a bridge you weren't expecting to cross,
its easy to get yourself lost!
Vancouver , like many Western Canadian cities was planned and laid out by the railway's surveyors. Such there is a strong logic in its design. "Streets" generally go north-south, and "avenues" go east-west. The first avenue north of the American border is 0 Ave, which starts in White Rock and runs east from the coast. The Avenues increment from there northwards, though this system stops when you hit the Fraser or the Pitt Rivers. The Streets likewise increment from west to east (higher numbers are further from the coast, though "zero" seems to be in the middle of the Georgia Strait). There are 8 streets or avenues to the mile.
In Richmond, the major Roads, No.1, No. 2, .... increment each mile from the coast. You'll notice the major roads in Richmond form nice 1 mile squares, called "sections."
In Vancouver , the numbered streets occur south of English Bay and False Creek, though here they are neither evenly spaced or even straight, most likely because of the hilly terrain. Streets that run west of Cambie Street are called "West", as in "West Pender". Streets that run east are called "East" as in "East Pender." Building numbers also increment from this point onwards.
On the North Shore, there is a similar system. In North Vancouver , the "streets," now running east-west, increment from the waterline. Lonsdale Ave, the main street in North Van (running north-south), marks the split between east and west. In West Vancouver , they do things a little bit differently: they too increment streets from the waterline, but here they do it in alphabetical order.