Vancouver is a sparkling city nestled in a beautiful setting between sea and mountains. It consistently ranks in the top 5 world cities (and the top in North America) for the standards of living. A tram carries visitors from the outskirts of the city to ski areas, while unlike in San Francisco, much further South, the water is warm enough for beach-goers to actually swim. The natural harbor setting has allowed its port to become North America's busiest on the West Coast. Because the surrounding mountains and ocean limit the real estate, Vancouver's downtown in dominated by residential and commercial high-rise buildings, although there are also areas of brick buildings and old lamps such as Gastown, known for its steam clock, the world's first. Reflecting its ethnic diversity, Vancouver's chinatown is the second largest in North America (after San Franciso's). The stores carry varieties of tropical fruit not allowed in the US. Vancouver is home to a number of large urban parks, including Stanley Park, one of North America's largest, Queen Elizabeth Park. and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
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