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City of Burnaby
Burnaby Metrotown skyline.jpg
Brentwood Skytrain long-exposure.jpg
Metropolis at Metrotown (46677227024).jpg
Burnaby highrises across Deer Lake.JPG
Burnaby Mountain Park, 12 sept 2007, 4.jpg
Cherry Bloom Burnaby 2.JPG
Burnaby BC Aerial view 2015.jpg
From top, left to right: Metrotown skyline, Brentwood Town Centre station on the Millennium Line, Metropolis at Metrotown mall, Deer Lake Park, Burnaby Mountain and the Burrard Inlet, Cherry blossom bloom on a residential street, Brentwood, Metrotown, and Edmonds skylines
By River and Sea Rise Burnaby
GVRD Burnaby.svg
Canada British Columbia relief location map.jpg
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Coordinates: 49°16′N122°58′W / 49.267°N 122.967°W / 49.267; -122.967 Coordinates: 49°16′N122°58′W / 49.267°N 122.967°W / 49.267; -122.967
Province British Columbia
Regional district Metro Vancouver
Incorporated as a district municipality September 22, 1892
Incorporated as a citySeptember 22, 1992
Named for Burnaby Lake
SeatBurnaby City Hall
  Type Mayor-council government
  Body Burnaby City Council
  Mayor Mike Hurley (Ind.)
  City Council
List of councillors
  • Pietro Calendino
  • Sav Dhaliwal
  • Alison Gu
  • Mike Hillman
  • Dan Johnston
  • Colleen Jordan
  • Joe Keithley
  • James Wang
  Total98.6 km2 (38.1 sq mi)
  Land90.57 km2 (34.97 sq mi)
Highest elevation370 m (1,214 ft)
Lowest elevation0 m (0 ft)
 (2021) [2]
(2021) [3]
  RankRanked 22nd in Canada
Ranked 3rd in British Columbia
Ranked 3rd in Metro Vancouver
  Density2,750.7/km2 (7,124/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−08:00 (Pacific Standard Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC−07:00 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Forward sortation area
Area codes 604, 778, 236, 672
Website www.burnaby.ca OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Burnaby is a city in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. Located in the centre of the Burrard Peninsula, it neighbours the City of Vancouver to the west, the District of North Vancouver across the confluence of the Burrard Inlet with its Indian Arm to the north, Port Moody and Coquitlam to the east, New Westminster and Surrey across the Fraser River to the southeast, and Richmond on the Lulu Island to the southwest.


Burnaby was incorporated in 1892 and achieved its city status in 1992. A member municipality of Metro Vancouver, it is British Columbia's third-largest city by population (after Vancouver and Surrey), and is the seat of Metro Vancouver's regional district government. 25% of Burnaby's land is designated as parks and open spaces, one of the highest in North America. [4]

The main campuses of Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology are located in Burnaby. It is home to high-tech companies such as Ballard Power (fuel cell), Clio (legal software), D-Wave (quantum computing), General Fusion (fusion power), and EA Vancouver. Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown is the largest mall in British Columbia, the third most visited in Canada and the fifth largest in the nation. [5] Canada's largest film and television production studio [6] and more than 60% of BC's sound stages are in Burnaby, contributing to the growth of Hollywood North. [7]

The city is served by SkyTrain's Expo Line and Millennium Line. Metrotown station in downtown Metrotown is the busiest station on weekends and the second-busiest on weekdays in regional Vancouver's urban transit system as of 2021. [8]


Pre-colonial (before 1850)

Burnaby is the original home to Halkomelem- and Squamish-speaking Central Coast Salish Nations. Local landmarks such as Burnaby Mountain, Deer Lake, and Brunette River feature prominently in Indigenous history passed down through oral traditions. [9] The northern shorelines of Burnaby, along the second narrows of Burrard Inlet was site of an ancient battle between the attacking Lekwiltok and the defending Musquem according to Chief Charlie Qiyəplenəxw. [9]

The Coast Salish people living in BC and Washington state numbered more than 100,000 people, a level of population density only supported by agriculture in other geographies. [9] Techniques to preserve and store surplus food sustained a hierarchical society. Burnaby's marshlands along its rivers and lakes were cranberry harvesting areas for numerous villages, some numbering over 1,000 residents. [9] Indigenous people travelled through Burnaby to reach the mouth of Brunette and Fraser River for the bountiful fishing seasons, eulachon in the spring and sockeye salmon in the late summer. Early European explorers and fur traders introduced diseases that decimated the Indigenous population. This false appearance of Burnaby as a vast open space, along with traditional Indigenous farming techniques which did not permanently alter the landscape, meant Indigenous land in Burnaby was mislabelled as terra nullius. [9]

Incorporation (1850–1990)

The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858, the first of many gold rushes in British Columbia, brought over 30,000 fortune seekers, including many American miners. The fear of an impending annexation by the United States led to the creation of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858 and the establishment of New Westminster as its capital. [10]

Settlers in Burnaby acquired land through a process called pre-emption which allowed people to claim a piece of land by clearing forests and building houses. Pre-emption was excluded from Indigenous people. Royal Engineers dispossessed land from Indigenous people with the assistance of military force including the original routes of North Road, Kingsway, Canada Way, and Marine Drive. Logging permits given to settlers destroyed the forests of southern Burnaby which had provided vital sustenance for Indigenous people. [9]

The City of Burnaby is named after Burnaby Lake, in turn named after Robert Burnaby, who was a Freemason, explorer, and legislator. He was previously private secretary to Colonel Richard Moody, the first land commissioner for the Colony of British of Columbia. [11] [12] In 1859, Burnaby surveyed a freshwater lake in the city's geographic centre. Moody named it Burnaby Lake.

Burnaby was established in 1891 and incorporated a year later in 1892. In the same year, the interurban tram connecting Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster began construction. [9]


The expanding urban centres of Vancouver and New Westminster influenced the growth of Burnaby. It developed as an agricultural area supplying nearby markets. Later, it evolved into an important transportation corridor between Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Interior. The introduction of the Skytrain's Expo Line cemented this trend into the 21st century.

As Vancouver expanded and became a metropolis, Burnaby was one of the first-tier suburbs of Vancouver, along with North Vancouver and Richmond. During the suburbanization of Burnaby, "Mid-Century Vernacular" homes were built by the hundreds to satisfy demand by new residents. The establishment of British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in 1960 and Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 1965 helped Burnaby gradually become more urban in character. In 1992, one hundred years after its incorporation, Burnaby officially became a city. [13]

Since the 1970s, Burnaby has seen a decline in resource sectors and a subsequent rise of high value-added services and technology sectors. The presence of BCIT and SFU promoted research & development in the area. For example, manufacturing plants near Still Creek closed in the late 1970s, only to reopen few years later as film production studios. [9] The continued expansion of media production in Burnaby contributed to Hollywood North.

Geography and land use

Capitol Hill and the North Shore mountains, as seen from Deer Lake Park RoyalOakBurnabyWinter2016.jpg
Capitol Hill and the North Shore mountains, as seen from Deer Lake Park

Burnaby occupies 98.6 square kilometres (38.1 sq mi) and is located at the geographic centre of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. The regional district's government is located in Burnaby's Metrotown area. Situated between the city of Vancouver on the west and Port Moody, Coquitlam, and New Westminster on the east, Burnaby is bounded by Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River on the north and south, respectively. Burnaby, Vancouver and New Westminster collectively occupy the major portion of the Burrard Peninsula. The elevation of Burnaby ranges from sea level to a maximum of 370 metres (1,214 ft) atop Burnaby Mountain. Due to its elevation, the city of Burnaby typically has more snowfall during the winter months than nearby Vancouver or Richmond. Overall, the physical landscape of Burnaby is one of hills, ridges, valleys and an alluvial plain.

Burnaby is home to many industrial and commercial firms. British Columbia's largest (and Canada's second largest) commercial shopping mall, Metropolis at Metrotown, is located in Burnaby. Still, Burnaby's ratio of park land to residents is one of the highest in North America. It also maintains some agricultural land, particularly along the Fraser foreshore flats in the Big Bend neighbourhood along its southern perimeter.

Parks, rivers, and lakes

Major parklands and waterways in Burnaby include Central Park, Robert Burnaby Park, Kensington Park, Burnaby Mountain, Still Creek, the Brunette River, Burnaby Lake, Deer Lake, and Squint Lake.


Burnaby's Simon Fraser University weather station is located 365 metres (1,198 ft) above sea level on Burnaby Mountain. Therefore, climate records are cooler and wetter, with more snowfall, as compared to the rest of the city.

Burnaby has an oceanic climate (Cfb) with mild, dry summers and cool, rainy winters.

Climate data for Burnaby (Simon Fraser University) 1981−2010 at 365 metres
Record high °C (°F)16.5
Average high °C (°F)5.8
Daily mean °C (°F)3.6
Average low °C (°F)1.4
Record low °C (°F)−13.9
Average precipitation mm (inches)280.9
Average rainfall mm (inches)256.5
Average snowfall cm (inches)24.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)20.516.218.916.114.913.57.46.810.317.121.619.8183.1
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)18.114.718.316.014.913.57.46.810.317.021.017.3175.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)
Source: Environment Canada [14]


Population history
1996 179,209+12.8%
2001 193,954+8.2%
2006 202,799+4.6%
2011 223,218+10.1%
2016 232,755+4.3%
2021 249,125+7.0%
Source: Statistics Canada

Religion in Burnaby (2011) [15]

   Christianity (42.9%)
   Buddhism (4.8%)
   Islam (4.5%)
   Sikhism (2.9%)
   Hinduism (2.2%)
  Other or not religious (42.7%)

In the 2021 Canadian census conducted by Statistics Canada, Burnaby had a population of 249,125 living in 101,136 of its 107,046 total private dwellings, an increase of

In 2016, the median age is 40.3 years old, slightly younger than the British Columbia median of 43.0 years old.

Similar to the Metro Vancouver region, Burnaby has always had diverse ethnic and immigrant communities. For example, North Burnaby near Hastings Street has long been home to many Italian restaurants and recreational bocce games. Metrotown's high-rise condominium towers in the south have been fuelled in part by arrivals from China (Hong Kong and Macau) during the 1990s, Taiwan, and South Korea. According to the 2006 census, 54% of Burnaby residents have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French.

Canada 2016 Census
EthnicityPopulation % of Total Population
Visible minority group [16] South Asian 18,735
Chinese 78,025
Black 3,670
Filipino 13,000
Latin American 4,630
Arab 1,700
Southeast Asian 4,620
West Asian 4,960
Korean 7,790
Japanese 3,655
Other visible minority690
Mixed visible minority4,840
Total visible minority population146,310
Aboriginal group [17]
First Nations 2,615
Métis 1,365
Other Aboriginal groups225
Total Aboriginal population4,195
European Canadian 79,575
Total population230,080100%


The 2016 census found that English was spoken as the mother tongue of 41.33 percent of the population. The next three most common languages were Mandarin (14.53 percent), Cantonese (12.32 percent) and Tagalog (3.35 percent). [16]

Mother tonguePopulationPercentage
Mandarin 32,29514.53%
Cantonese 27,37512.32%
Tagalog 7,4353.35%
Korean 7,0103.15%
Punjabi 5,0002.25%
Spanish 4,1651.87%
Persian 4,0801.84%
Italian 3,9751.79%
Russian 2,6501.19%

Industry and economy

Metrotown at sunset, as seen from Lochdale Metrotown Burnaby.JPG
Metrotown at sunset, as seen from Lochdale

The city features major commercial town centres, high-density residential areas, two rapid transit lines, technology research, business parks, film studios such as The Bridge Studios, and TV stations such as Global TV.

Major technology firms such as Ballard Power Systems (fuel cell), D-Wave Systems (quantum computing), Clio (legal tech), Creo (imaging), and Electronic Arts Canada (studio) have their headquarters in Burnaby.

Metropolis mall located in the Metrotown neighbourhood, the downtown area of Burnaby, [18] is the largest mall in British Columbia with West Vancouver's Park Royal in second place. It is the second largest in Canada behind the first-place West Edmonton Mall in Alberta. Metropolis was the second most visited mall in Canada in 2017 and third most visited in 2018. [19]

Heavy industry companies including Chevron Corporation and Petro-Canada petroleum refines oil on the shores of Burrard Inlet.

Best Buy, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, Pacific Blue Cross and Nokia have significant facilities in Burnaby.

Other firms with operations based in Burnaby include Canada Wide Media, Doteasy, Telus, Teradici, AFCC, Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell, HSBC Group Systems Development Centre, and TransLink. eBay ceased local operations in 2009. [20]


Burnaby Central Secondary School, one of Burnaby's eight public secondary schools Centralsecondary.jpg
Burnaby Central Secondary School, one of Burnaby's eight public secondary schools

Public education

Over 24,000 students across the 41 elementary schools and 8 secondary schools  are managed by School District 41 in Burnaby. It operates a community and adult education department, an international students program, and a French immersion program. [21]

The British Columbia School for the Deaf is located on the same grounds of the Burnaby South Secondary School.

Higher education

Simon Fraser University's main campus, with more than 30,000 students and 950 staff, is located atop Burnaby Mountain. In Maclean's 2020 rankings, the university placed first in their comprehensive university category, and ninth in their reputation ranking for Canadian universities. [22]

British Columbia Institute of Technology's main campus in Burnaby, home to more than 49,000 full-time and part-time students, was established in 1964. A new $78 million, net-zero emission Health Science Centre, expected to open in late 2021, will accommodate 7,000 students. [23]

Arts and culture

Burnaby is home to multiple museums highlighting the diverse history and culture of the city. Burnaby Village Museum is a 4.0-hectare (10-acre) open-air museum preserving a 1920s Canadian village. The Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, which includes a Japanese garden, opened in 2000 to promote awareness and understanding of Japanese Canadian culture. The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is located within the Simon Fraser University campus at the top of Burnaby Mountain.

Burnaby Public Library was first established in 1954. It currently has four locations throughout the city, including the central Bobbie Prittie Metrotown branch in downtown Burnaby. The library system holds over three million items in circulation, with more than 5,000 visitors per day.

Many cultural facilities are located in or around Deer Lake Park, including the Burnaby Art Gallery, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, and the Burnaby Village Museum.

Michael J. Fox Theatre, a community theatre that seats 613, with 11 wheelchair spaces, is situated within Burnaby South Secondary School.


The city's main stadium, Swangard Stadium, is located in Central Park (Burnaby). It was completed in 1969. The stadium was home to the Vancouver 86ers (now the Vancouver Whitecaps FC) in the Canadian Soccer League from 1986 to 2010, when the team relocated to BC Place to play in the Major League Soccer.

Burnaby Velodrome hosted the National Junior and U17 Track Championship in 2014.


Burnaby skyline January 18 2019.jpeg
Burnaby, seen from Highway 1

The SkyTrain Operations Controls Centre 1, built in the 1980s, is responsible for the maintenance and operations of both the region's Expo Line and Millennium Line. In 2021, construction began on a $110 million Operations Controls Centre 2 to accommodate growing transit ridership. [24]

The Expo Line, completed in 1986, crosses the south along Kingsway. The Millennium Line, completed in 2002, follows Lougheed Highway. The SkyTrain has encouraged closer connections to New Westminster, Vancouver, and Surrey, as well as dense urban development at Lougheed Town Centre on the city's eastern border, at Brentwood Town Centre in the centre-west, Edmonds–Highgate in the southeast and, most notably, at Metrotown 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 Hastings Street, Barnet Highway, the Lougheed Highway, Kingsway (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, more than 70 kilometres (43 mi) of bike routes and urban trails have been laid in Burnaby. [25]

The city is served by Metro Vancouver's bus system, run by the Coast Mountain Bus Company, a division of TransLink, the region's transportation authority. The 49 bus route, connecting Metrotown and the University of British Columbia, is the second most boarded bus route [26] after route 99, which is the busiest bus route in North America. [27] Burnaby is also served by the R5 Hastings St RapidBus. [28]

The 2050 Burnaby Transportation Plan, adopted in December 2021, outlines three targets: to reduce traffic fatalities to zero, to increase public transit and active transportation to 75 percent of all trips, and to reduce vehicle emissions by 100 percent. [29]


The Brentwood neighbourhood, with Capitol Hill in the distance Fairlawn Brentwood.JPG
The Brentwood neighbourhood, with Capitol Hill in the distance

While Burnaby occupies about 4 percent of the land area of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, it accounted for about 10 percent of the region's population in 2016. It is the third most populated urban centre in British Columbia (after Vancouver and Surrey), with a population of 249,125 (2021).

Politically, Burnaby has maintained a left-wing city council closely affiliated with the provincial NDP and school board for many years, while sometimes electing more conservative legislators provincially (from the Social Credit and BC Liberal parties) and federally (from the Reform, Alliance, and Conservative parties). Its longest-serving politician had been Svend Robinson of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada's first openly gay 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 2004 Canadian federal election. In the May 2013 provincial election, residents of the city sent 3 NDP MLAs and one Liberal MLA to the British Columbia legislature. The NDP MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed, Jane Shin, faced controversy after the election for misrepresenting herself as a physician despite not having completed a medical residency nor holding a licence to practice medicine. [30]

According to a 2009 survey by Maclean's magazine, Burnaby was 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. [31] However, Maclean's did note that Burnaby has one of the worst municipal voter turnouts in the country, at 26 percent. In 2015, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) included Burnaby as a Vancouver periphery to rank eighth for entrepreneurial communities. [32]

Notable people

Joe Sakic, former captain for the Colorado Avalanche Joe sakic.jpg
Joe Sakic, former captain for the Colorado Avalanche
Actress Carrie-Anne Moss, known for movies such as The Matrix trilogy and Memento Carrie-Anne Moss 07 TIFF.jpg
Actress Carrie-Anne Moss, known for movies such as The Matrix trilogy and Memento
Christy Clark, a former BC Liberal premier of British Columbia Christy Clark by Kris Krug 03.jpg
Christy Clark, a former BC Liberal premier of British Columbia

Sister cities

Burnaby has four sister cities: [33]

Related Research Articles

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Metrotown station Metro Vancouver SkyTrain station

Metrotown is an elevated station on the Expo Line of Metro Vancouver's SkyTrain rapid transit system, and is located along Central Boulevard, directly across from the Metropolis at Metrotown shopping centre, in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. As of 2019, it is the second-busiest station in the SkyTrain system.

Metropolis at Metrotown Shopping mall in Burnaby, Canada

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Lougheed Town Centre station Metro Vancouver SkyTrain station

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North Burnaby

North Burnaby is a general name for a large neighbourhood in the City of Burnaby, British Columbia, that includes a number of smaller ones. It stretches from Boundary Road in the west to Burnaby Mountain with Simon Fraser University in the east and bounded by Burrard Inlet to the north and the Lougheed Highway to the south. It is a desirable place to live for many local and immigrant families which is reflected by real-estate prices that keep climbing and have doubled in the last 15 years.

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Parkcrest is a hillside neighbourhood in North Burnaby, British Columbia adjacent to Kensington Park which gave it its name. It has a long rectangular shape stretched north to south and is bounded by Springer Avenue to the west and Kensington Avenue to the east. To the north its border runs along Hastings Street, its southern border lies along the Lougheed Highway and Skytrain tracks. Its elevation gradually lowers to the south and ends up in Central Valley, quite low above the level of Burnaby Lake.

Willingdon Heights

Willingdon Heights is a neighbourhood in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. It is named after a major Burnaby thoroughfare Willingdon Avenue connecting North Burnaby with Kingsway and the Metrotown area in the south. Willingdon Heights was developed significantly during construction spurred by the National Housing Act in 1944 that made mortgage money more widely available and provided joint loans for housing for veterans under the Integrated Housing Plan (IHP).

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Metrotown, Burnaby Town centre of Burnaby in British Columbia, Canada

Metrotown is a town centre serving the southwest quadrant of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the city's four officially designated town centres, as well as one of Metro Vancouver's regional town centres. It is the central business district of the City of Burnaby.


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