Burnaby is the third-largest city in British Columbia, Canada, after Surrey and Vancouver. Incorporated in 1892, it was named after famed explorer, legislator and Freemason, Robert Burnaby, who was secretary to Colonel Richard Moody, himself the first land commissioner for the Colony of British Columbia. In its first few decades, the settlement of Burnaby lay nestled in the shadows cast by Vancouver and New Westminster, serving as a simple rural trade outpost complete with markets. Thereafter, the town served as a hub between the Fraser Valley, Vancouver and various other points of interest. Over the course of its earlier history, Burnaby’s critical position between the wilds and the more densely populated areas attracted more and more traders, explorers and other people to, first, move through it and, eventually, settle there.

A Unique City Multi-Culture

Over the course of its existence, Burnaby’s mood and style has shifted from rural to suburban to a thriving urban metropolis. The city is now one of eight in Canada whose populations exceed the 100,000 mark but in which no one race is the majority. The largest group is White (mostly European/Canadian) clocking 39.1 percent, but next largest, East Asians, approaches that mark with 36 percent. Many groups from all around the world inhabit the thriving city of Burnaby, including Latin Americans, Southeast Asians and many others.

Many religions are represented in Burnaby, though a significant minority (35.3 percent) do not consider themselves to be affiliated with any particular religion. Exemplifying its international outlook, Burnaby currently has four sister cities which are: Zhongshan, in the province of Guangdong, China; Kushiro, Japan; Mesa, in the State of Arizona, United States of America; and Hwaseong, in Gyeonggi province, Korea.

Politics and Government

Burnaby earned its city rank in 1992, one century after its incorporation. The body of government known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District, self-styled as Metro Vancouver, presides over the city which supplies approximately 10 percent of the region’s population as of the year 2001. The third most populated city in British Columbia, Burnaby’s 223,281 souls encompass a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The population count comes from the 2011 Canadian Census.

The census also recorded a population density of 2,463.5 people per kilometer squared. The median age is approximately 40 years old (Canada’s being 40.6). A 2011 National Household Survey concluded that the median private property (home or apartment) value is $600,000, which far exceeds the national average of $280,500. A 2009 Maclean’s magazine survey concluded that Burnaby is the best run city in Canada. The metrics considered include overall efficiency, the effectiveness of general city services and more.

Education Par Excellence

Burnaby’s public schools fall under the purview of Canada’s 41st School District. Given the city’s unique culture, it is no wonder an International Students’ Programme was created, to accommodate those coming from overseas. The Community and Adult Education Department, in tandem with many post-secondary institutions ensure that no one is left out in the rain in terms of education. The umbrella of learning extends to all.

Importantly, the main campus of renowned Simon Fraser University (SFU) rests atop Burnaby Mountain. SFU perfectly falls in line with Burnaby’s many efforts to internationalize, their mission outlined in a “Strategic Vision” to marry a service-oriented work ethic with a welcoming attitude toward people from all over the face of the Earth.

Also worthy of mention is Burnaby South Secondary School’s Michael J. Fox Theatre, which seats 613. In terms of a great night out on the town, a community theatre performance is the perfect complement to a nice meal with friends and loved ones. In fact, many award winning actors and actresses hail from or currently live in the City of Burnaby, including Carrie-Anne Moss (most well-known for her role in The Matrix trilogy) and Michael J. Fox.

Industry and Transport

In the city of Burnaby is headquartered the famous SkyTrain rapid transit system, which crisscrosses the city. Public transportation is made cost-effective and simple by such amenities.

Several major enterprises also call Burnaby home, including video game giant Electronic Arts (EA), Ballard Power Systems, Petro-Canada and Chevron Corporation. Nokia and eBay, among others, maintain large bases of operation within the city limits, and firms such as HSBC Group, Canada Wide Media, Teradici and Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell provide a vast array of employment opportunities. Various TV stations operate from Burnaby as well.

Notable Geographic Locations

There are many beautiful natural locations to explore in Burnaby, including:

  • Burnaby Mountain, a low, forested mountain, whose elevation reaches 370 meters. In 1995, Simon Fraser University transferred 330 hectares to the Province of British Columba, in order to incorporate it within the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. Burnaby Mountain itself lies within the city proper.
  • Robert Burnaby Park is a public park whose amenities include an extensive trail system, a swimming pool and tennis courts.
  • Burnaby Lake Regional Park, which is located within the city, is home to at least 70 species of birds and has been painstakingly preserved since 1977 by the Metro Vancouver Parks Department.
  • Deer Lake lies within central Burnaby and is populated by diverse species of plant and wildlife. Walking trails make this the perfect place to take a relaxing break.

These are but a few examples of the beauty that can be found within the charmingly unique City of Burnaby.


SFU Burnaby Resources