Skip to Content

19 nicknames for Vancouver BC used by locals

Have you been visiting Vancouver and heard some funny nicknames for Vancouver BC as you wander about?

Or, are you a local that’s new to the city and have heard someone refer to it as something a bit weird?

Perhaps you’re wondering where those nicknames for Vancouver have come from.

I spent six years living in Vancouver and have heard a lot of nicknames for Vancouver. While I’m sure there are others out there that I didn’t come across, here are some of the most common nicknames for Vancouver Canada that you’ll hear.

Looking for more things to do in Vancouver and nearby? Check out my Vancouver travel guides which are full of information on the best things to do in Vancouver, the best Vancouver restaurants, and detailed guides for each of the main neighborhoods.

Nicknames for Vancouver BC

kitsilano vancouver (1 of 4)

How many of these funny nicknames for Vancouver have you come across? And which is your favourite?

I’ve called Vancouver Raincouver many a time when it’s felt like it’s been non-stop raining in the city.

1. Raincouver, Rain City or the Wet Coast

things to do in vancouver when it rains
Embracing the rain while living in Vancouver

If you’ve ever visited November in the winter (especially, November!), then chances are you can understand why Vancouver is often called Raincouver.

Vancouver has exceptionally high rainfall meaning locals, and other Canadians, sometimes call it Raincouver or Rain City Vancouver.

I lived in London in the UK for a few years and when I first moved to Vancouver everyone would say “Oh, you’re from London, you must be used to all the rain!”

And sure, it rains in London and the UK quite a lot, but nothing like it does in Vancouver.

In Vancouver, if it’s raining, you can be sure it’s going to rain most of that day. In the UK it’ll rain for a few minutes then be bright sunshine the next.

Plus, Vancouver’s annual rainfall is more concentrated.

The summers are usually very dry whereas the UK spreads its annual rainfall throughout the year.

So, now you know the Raincouver meaning, do you agree?

prospect point snow in winter

2. Van or Vancity

This is the shortened version of Vancouver.

The Vancity meaning can refer to the city, but Vancity is also a bank in BC so you’ll have to use context to work out whether someone is referring to Vancouver or the bank.

I personally quite like using the Van City abbreviation for Vancouver Canada or ‘Van’ now and again.

Especially when used in conjunction with certain parts of Metro Vancouver such as North Van, West Van or East Van.

Looking for a 1 day in Vancouver itinerary? This one is the best with all the must-sees included.

3. Kits

“Kits” refers to the beachy neighbourhood and Lululemon-yoga-loving part of Vancouver: Kitsilano.

4. The Big Smoke

vancouver casino parq

There are a few theories behind the origins of this.

The most likely case is that you’ll hear this in the more remote areas of BC where people refer to Vancouver as ‘The Big Smoke’ because it’s a big city to them.

Others think it comes from smog in Vancouver but honestly, I’ve never considered Vancouver as a city with smog. The air quality in the middle of the city is usually very good. The only exception to this is during summers when there are bad wildfires throughout the province.

5. Hongcouver

Personally think this one is xenophobic. It refers to a large number of Vancouver residents that are originally from Hong Kong.

things to do in vancouver in winter

6. Saltwater City

Vancouver is rarely called this these days and it refers to the original Chinese name for Vancouver which translated as Saltwater City.

7. Gastown

gastown steam clock thing to do in gastown
The Gastown behind the Gastown nickname for Vancouver

This one isn’t really a nickname for Vancouver, but the name of one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city.

Gastown was named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, who opened the area’s first saloon in 1867. There used to be a statue of him in the centre of Gastown but this was torn down due to his marriage to an underage Indigenous girl.

8. Terminal City

This nickname for Vancouver comes from the fact that Vancouver was the Western terminus of the transcontinental railway.

In fact, the Canadian Pacific Railway president, William Van Horne, gave Vancouver its name in honour of Captain George Vancouver.

gastown flat iron building

9. Hollywood North

Hollywood North is another of the funny nicknames for Vancouver that isn’t obvious immediately unless you know a bit about Vancouver already.

Vancouver has the fourth-largest film and television production industry in North America, after LA, New York and Toronto. There are so many movies/ TV/ Ads etc filmed in Vancouver although most of the time you wouldn’t know it because the film/TV show etc claims it’s somewhere in America.

When I was working as a dog walker in Vancouver I saw so many things being filmed and it was funny when you’d see they’d covered up road signs and renamed them to look American.

If you’re visiting Vancouver and want to see what’s filming, this website has all the filming going on across the city.

yaletown vancouver (12 of 12)

10. Vansterdam

Because, like Amsterdam, Vancouver has a reputation for recreational plant use.

11. Lotusland

This one is a weird one which I’ve never heard before. This nickname of Lotusland Vancouver is believed to refer to Homer’s Odyssey, in which Odysseus, the hero, visits a land whose inhabitants are befuddled by a narcotic lotus (the “Land of the Lotus-Eaters”).

Another theory is that it comes from the reputation Vancouver has for being full of yoga lovers and so the name comes from the yoga position: the lotus.

12. Blandcouver

This one is used deprecatingly by some locals who think Vancouver’s cosmopolitanism is overhyped and that the city lacks nightlife or things to do.

the sylvia hotel vancouver

13. The Left Coast

A nickname for Vancouver that has a double meaning. First, it’s because of the left-leaning politics that is the majority in Vancouver, and secondly because if you look at a map, Vancouver is on the ‘left coast’.

14. The Land Beyond Hope

Apparently a funny nickname for Vancouver that’s used by Albertans because to get to Vancouver they typically have to drive past the town of Hope, BC.

kitsilano vancouver (3 of 4)

15. No fun city or Nofuncouver

I came across this nickname for Vancouver before we even moved thanks to this youtube video/song.

Vancouver gets this nickname for a variety of things. It can be because there isn’t a huge nightlife in Vancouver, or because some of the rules, especially around ‘fun things’ like drinking are very strict.

I remember going to a music festival in Vancouver and only being allowed to buy one drink at a time at the bar. I’ve never been anywhere before where that’s a rule and it also made the queues super long since people couldn’t get drinks for their friends.

In fact, it’s believed that the prevalence of Happy Hours in Vancouver was to try and make it more of a fun city than a no-fun city. But, as per Vancouver’s strict drinking rules, restaurants introducing happy hour drinks deals had to have happy hour food deals too.

16. City of Glass

Vancouver author Douglas Coupland came out with this book with the very same title which is about Vancouver.

This Vancouver nickname comes from the downtown Vancouver core which is full of glass skyscrapers.

It’s unknown whether the name comes from him, or whether he just used it as a book title.

17. YVR

The nickname YVR for Vancouver is the code given to the Vancouver International Airport. It’s a pretty neutral nickname but people who are all clued up on their airport codes and names don’t like it being used outside of that context.

west end vancouver travel guide (2 of 8)
Sunset beach at sunrise

18. The 604

Perhaps this is Vancouver slang used as a way of trying to sound cooler and more like Toronto with their ‘The Six’ nickname?

604 is one of the dialing codes for Vancouver-based phone numbers (but not the only one), and so some people refer to Vancouver as ‘The-604’. It’s a less common Vancouver short form term used for the city.

19. The ‘Couve

The ‘couve, rhymes with ‘move’.

I don’t mind this one but it’s more commonly used as a nickname for Vancouver, WA in the US rather than Vancouver, BC.

FAQs about nicknames for Vancouver

Is Van short for Vancouver?

Yes. Van is the shorthand for Vancouver and is most commonly used when talking about North Vancouver, East Vancouver, or West Vancouver. It’s a common Vancouver abbreviation, the other being YVR for the airport.

What are Vancouver people called?

Wondering what do you call someone from Vancouver? People who live in Vancouver or are Vancouver residents are called Vancouverites.

What are BC nicknames?

BC stands for British Columbia. The license plate and tagline for BC is ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ on account of the amazing natural scenery. BC is also said to stand for ‘Bring Cash’ on account of how expensive much of the province is to live in.

What is Vancouver known for?

The city of Vancouver is known for its Stanley Park, mountains, rain and outdoors loving residents.

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Hannah

    This post may include affiliate links. These give me a small source of income and come at no additional cost to you.