A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Vancouver as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the city.
History & Geography
In recent years Vancouver has acquired the reputation of being one of the most desirable places in the world to live. Much of this has to do with its stunning location and mild climate. The city is located on the Burrard Peninsula on the west coast of Canada, with Burrard Inlet to the north and to the south Fraser River. The city is sheltered from the Pacific by Vancouver Island, which is the largest island on the west coast of North America. Vancouver started life in the 1860s as a ramshackle frontier settlement dubbed Gastown, named for Jack ‘Gassy” Deighton who ran the local tavern. In 1870 the settlement was renamed Granville, to honour the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Granville. In 1884 the town was selected as the terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, due to its excellent natural harbour, and much to the disappointment of other nearby communities. The city was incorporated in 1886 and given the name Vancouver, after British Naval officer and explorer George Vancouver. Later that year the entire city was burnt down in a fire, however it was quickly rebuilt and its population continued to expand rapidly driven in part by the logging industry and also outfitting prospectors headed to the Klondike Gold Rush. During the 20th century the city continued to prosper, though was the scene of heated conflict between big business and a strong labour movement. Vancouver suffered greatly during the Great Depression but with the advent of WWII the city’s fortunes. Vancouver became a major service point for naval ships and antiaircraft batteries further boosting the city’s economy. Since then the city has only continued to prosper and grow, engendering a lifestyle and standard of living that is the envy of the world.
Vancouver’s location has made it an indispensable economic hub and it is one of Canada’s most important industrial centres. The Port of Vancouver, ranked second on the West coast in terms of cargo volume, does more than CAD 75 billion in annual trade and generates CAD 22 billion in economic output. Mining is also a major part of the local economy, which has recently become increasingly diversified. Other industries important in Vancouver are software development, biotechnology, aerospace, video game development, animation studios and film. So successful is the city’s burgeoning film industry that it has been dubbed ‘Hollywood North’. The financial services industry is also firmly established in the city, with Canaccord Capital Corporation and Phillips, Hager & North both headquartered in the city. All the major Canadian banks have substantial operations in Vancouver, as does HSBC Canada and Vancity. Vancouver is also a popular destination for trade fairs, exhibitions and political summits. It hosted the Yeltsin-Clinton Summit in 1993 and the APEC annual meeting in 1997, as well as UN 2006 World Urban Forum. Also vital to the economy of the city is the tourism industry, which brings in millions of dollars every year.
Visitors come to Vancouver for any number of reasons, one of which is its beautiful location. The city is only 126 kilometres south of the famous Whistler-Blackcomb Resort and is surrounded by beautiful forest and lakes. Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour, and Cypress Mountain are all within 30 kilometres of downtown and offer a wide variety of summer and winter activities such as camping, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding. They all also offer panoramic views of the city they look down on. Vancouver’s mild climate is also a large part of its attraction, being one of the warmest citys in Canada. Vancouver on average only experiences about eleven days of snowfall in winter and temperatures usually do not drop below much below zero. The city itself has a huge variety of parks, beaches and waterfronts perfect for outdoor activities. However for those in favour of less active pursuits, the city also offers up a nightlife scene that cannot be rivaled. The Granville Entertainment District in particular is known for having a massive confluence of bars, nightclubs and restaurants which only close their doors in the wee hours of the morning. The Gastown district is also well known for its bars and restaurants, as is Davie Village, home to the city’s gay and lesbian community. Vancouver also has a thriving music scene with venues like Rogers Arena, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, BC Place Stadium, and the Pacific Coliseum, all of which regularly host concerts with some of the largest names in music today.
Vancouver is served by Vancouver International Airport, which is located on Sea Island in the City of Richmond just south of the city. It is Canada’s second busiest airport and is accessible by train from downtown. Unlike many metropolises Vancouver does not feature any major freeways into the downtown area. The city also boasts the longest automated metro system in the world as well as an extensive network of bike paths. Biking is very popular among denizens of the city, who hold a Critical Mass ride on the last Friday of every month. Also serving the city is an extensive bus system as well as a streetcar network serving downtown. A passenger-only ferry called the SeaBus connects Vancouver and the city of North Vancouver across Burrard Inlet.
Vancouver has a internationally renowned standard of life, however this is reflected in the generally high cost of living, including rent for residential and commercial spaces. The city has a thriving office market with a current vacancy rate downtown of only 4.7 percent. The average rent for downtown class A offices is CAD 30 per square foot per month and rising demand is likely to keep rents at their current level. An additional 200,000 square feet of office space was supplied in 2012.